If you are planning on studying law at UNSW, you’ll be pleased to hear that they are one of the only subjects that give you a reading week. This semester, I productively used this week to go on a mini holiday to Melbourne with my boyfriend. Being Australia’s second largest city and being regarded as the cultural and fashion capital of Australia, renowned for its fine restaurants; Melbourne is definitely one to put at the top of your Aus bucket list. Fitting everything into 5 days is a challenge, however I think we did it perfectly, so here’s my guide of How to Do Melbourne in 5 Days…
Day 1 –
We booked a really central apartment from air bnb which I think was perfect – slightly more luxurious than a hostel but still with the flexibility to cook and the opportunity to ‘live more like a local’ than a hotel. It was on Spencer Street, directly opposite the train station and bus transfer from the airport so ideal travel wise. It was also within the free tram zone so we could get free trams from outside our door to other parts of the city centre.
Arriving in any new city, its best to get your bearings – there’s a very highly rated central walking tour that is run by volunteers twice daily for free but we decided to just wander ourselves to familiarise ourselves with the city. It was an easy walk to the renowned Hosier Lane (a lane absolutely filled with bright graffiti – even on the bins) and then onto the busy Federation Square. Food recommendation: Huxta Burger on Collins Street. We ended our day by walking down the Yarra River which is beautiful juxtaposed to the cbd buildings especially at sunset. Particularly prominent was the Crown Casino and its Gas Brigades – eight towers along Southbank that shoot the world’s largest fireballs on the hour from 18:00 (unless there is a total fire ban!)
Melbourne’s culture is highly rated and so as we had a day of rain while we were here, we spent the day ‘being cultural’ and museum-hopping. Quick overview:
- Australian Centre for the Moving Image: set in Federation Square and gives an overvire of the history of moving images in Australia.
- National Gallery of Victoria: Australia’s largest, oldest and most visited art museum – highlight was this bike statue and the impressive waterfall front.
- Australian Centre for Contemporary Art: in the inner suburb of Southbank, a modern art centre that shows different exhibitions – NEW16 was being exhibited when we were there. There’s also a really good coffee shop connected to it in the bookshop!
After spending the day walking between these and running from the rain, Chin Chin restaurant on Flinders Lane was welcomed. It’s a Thai Fusion restaurant and one of the best I’ve ever been to. The hour long queue to get a table was well worth the wait! We got the even having to queue for an hour before getting a table. Ask for the “Feed Me” option and for $69 (around £35) you are continually served a selection of their dishes for about an hour – such a good way to try loads for less… and end up feeling about 5 stone heavier after. If you just get two things I’d recommend: the Kingfish sashimi with lime, chilli, coconut and thai basil and the coconut sago with sweetcorn ice cream praline & puffed wild rice for dessert. Delicious!
Day 3 –
Melbourne bike share is a fun alternative to the trams for getting round the city – there’s loads of bike stations around the city and you get unlimited free bike trips for up to 30 mins. We spent the morning trying to find our way round and found ourselves at the Royal Botanic Gardens where there was an easy cycle/running track called the ‘Tan Track’ that took us round to the Shrine of Remembrance. This is a really impressive war memorial that is definitely worth visiting – we were there a few days before Anzac Day and so saw all the school kids preparing and bringing flowers.
For sunset we went up the Eureka Tower which is a 975-foot skyscraper located in Southbank that offers 360 views of Melbourne… still not quite as impressive as Sydney Tower (in my biased opinion) but a fab way to see the whole city from above!
There’s a real European influence throughout the city – both in their landmarks (Edinburgh Gardens, Brighton Beach etc) and in their food (lots of patisseries). We took advantage of the Scottish influence by going to the Highlander Bar where we were treated to a platter of haggis, black pudding, deep fried cauliflower and whisky cocktails.
Day 4 –
Brighton Beach is a short train from Flinders Station and a good photo opportunity with its brightly coloured beach huts lining the beach. We spent the morning there and then got the train back to St Kilda – a coastal suburb renowned for their little penguins at the Breakwater. We went to Luna Park which is a historic amusement park with rides right by the beach. It’s an easy walk along the promenade with a detour to Acland Street and Fitzoy Street being necessary to try a strawberry tart from one of the many cake shops.
The NSW Lock Out Laws don’t able in VIC so we were able to enjoy a much more flexible Saturday Night Out without stressing about 1am entry or banned shots after midnight. I’d recommend starting your night at Naked for Satan where you can get tapas for $1 per plate – take as many as you like and then pay according to how many toothpicks you’re left with. As the night goes on, heading upstairs there’s a slightly more clubby/upbeat vibe at Naked in the Sky: a rooftop bar in Fitzoy. We were advised to go to Laundry Bar, which is a really fun RnB club.
Day 5 –
If you visit on a Sunday definitely go to Queen Victoria Market – some of the shopping stalls are quite tacky and filled with typical Australian souvenirs/ knock off designer tops but the scale is still impressive. Even more impressive is the food court! They have so many different fresh food stalls of different cuisines that all looked and smelt amazing. We tried a massive samosa, this Sri Lankan chicken dish that was stir fried in front of us and finished with the best donuts from the American Doughnut Kitchen.
We ended our trip with a visit to the beautiful State library and one last walk down the river, stopping in for a hot chocolate at the Lindt Café before flying home!