Often visitors to the World's Most Livable City only have one day to explore this amazing town of Melbourne. To help you with this conundrum here is a guide to the best way to spend your 24 hours in the culinary capital of Australia.
Let's start at the start. Melbourne is the BEST city for coffee Down Under and possibly The World so there is no shortage of quality barista manned coffee shops that I could recommend you. My tip to start your weekday combines coffee simplicity with Melbourne's laneway culture. Hidden down a lane off the Corner of Little Bourke and Little William, which at times is referred to as the ass end of town, is where you will find Patricia
Now Patricia is not quite the soup nazi of coffee shops but it is certainly not the place for your skinny, soy Frappuccino with extra syrup and whipped cream. It is very European in the standing room only sense and the sweet staff are more than patient with first time visitors who have a very simple choice between, black, white or filter. Tea drinkers are not left out with a delicious drop of tea made from the coffee leaves. Nor are sugar fiends who are suitably tempted with a range of decadent doughnuts, slices and cookies from some of Melbourne’s best bakers. It’s why I must stay away; I simply cannot control myself in the face of such temptation! But you’re on holidays so go ahead and indulge.
Once you have had your fix it’s time to explore and the best way to do that with limited time is on a Melbourne bike. You can pick one up from outside the RACV Club at 501 Bourke St. Be sure to choose one with a complimentary helmet, as it’s compulsory to wear them. If there aren’t any helmets check the signage for where you can buy one close by for $5. The bike will set you back about $20 for 2 hours. After not too much fuss you will be on your way down William St and over the infamous Yarra River heading towards Port Melbourne beach via the leisurely and thankfully flat bike track that commences at the corner of Whiteman St and Normanby Road. This will bring you to Port Melbourne beach where the ships dock, take a left to cruise along the bay towards St Kilda.
Once you get to Fitzroy St make another left and continue on until you reach Albert Park Lake, the home of the Melbourne Grand Prix. Take in the sights of this stunning lake and the majestic swans until you reach Albert Rd. You can say goodbye to your bike once you reach the corner of Park St and Albert Rd, then pop around the corner to 50 Albert Rd to a gorgeous place for breakfast, Kettle Black. The hot cakes are the prettiest I have ever seen and the baked eggs with chorizo dish is sublime. Grab a lamington, with jam, to pop in your bag for later, you never know when you’ll need a snack!
Your next stop is a short waddle across St Kilda Road to the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne’s war memorial. It is a remarkable structure commemorating the efforts of those who have fought for our country. It also affords you some stunning views of Melbourne so be sure to have your camera handy. Entry is free but donations are welcomed.
Next to the Shrine is the Royal Botanical Gardens which is ringed by the Tan Track, a well used 3.87km running and walking track with the Anderson St hill presenting a challenge for many. The Gardens are free and provide a serene oasis with spectacular plantings and ornamental lakes. You can even take a 30min gondola ride if you want to rest your legs for a bit; $25 per adult & $12 per child. Speaking of kids there is also an interactive Children’s Garden and for big kids there is a quality gift shop for souvenirs.
You are most likely peckish at this point but please heed this warning: the only place you should dine in the gardens is the fabulous French-Vietnamese Jardin Tan by renowned Melbourne Chef, Shannon Bennett. Don’t panic there are no Vue de Monde waitlist or prices here, in fact there is a delightfully delicious and affordable outdoor café/kiosk where the freshest banh mi, the best almond croissants, refreshing coconut water and long necks of VB sit joyously side by side. If you prefer a more formal affair there is also the Jardin Tan restaurant adjacent to the gift store.
Once you have restored your energy it’s off to Eureka Tower by foot or via any of the trams heading towards the city. Make sure you have a topped up myki travel card which you can pick up at any 7/11 convenience store. Eureka provides you 360-degree views from the city to the bay to the Dandenong Mountains, tickets start at $19.50.
I can understand that by now you might be in need of a little siesta back in the hotel and then freshen up for dinner. If you have a bit of a thirst though you might want to quickly duck into Pony Fish Island for a tipple in the only bar on the Yarra (2 min walk from Eureka Tower).
There are so many places I could recommend you for dinner but the one I have chosen is the one I have gone back to time and time again, Movida. It is important to make the distinction here and say that it is the original Movida at 1 Hosier Lane. I have had the best sangria and tapas of my life here, including my trip to Barcelona. It is just that good. They even accept bookings, which is all too rare in Melbourne these days. Photographers have the added bonus of being up close and personal with Hosier Lane, one of the best street art displays in the city.
For the night owls, you could finish this magical day off with the most mouthwatering cup of gelati at Gelateria Primavera They even have dairy free, vegan options. You won't be sorry you took the short walk up to Spring St for this. And if you need something a little stronger than gelati, pop upstairs to Siglo at the European where you can enjoy a quality cocktail, a cigar and a rooftop view over St Patrick’s Cathedral and Parliament House.
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