Headed to Melbourne, but with a time-strapped schedule? Of course, we recommend you spend your vacay hanging out with us, but if you’re still looking for something to do after your food tour or cocktail adventure, we also have a few suggestions (courtesy of our expert local Melbourne tour guides, of course!) to make the most of a little time in this fun, quirky city.
Get a coffee! Melbournians are obsessed with coffee. Anywhere is pretty good, but cup.of.truth in the underground Campbell Arcade (the Degraves Street subway) is one of the best in the central business district (CBD).
Wander down to Fed Square to see if there is some free entertainment on, or watch the rowers on the river. Wait for 9.30 to roll around so you can get your daily transport ticket at an off-peak discount. While you’re waiting, you can shoot across the road to Hossier Lane, Melbourne’s most famous graffiti alley.
Download the Detour App for descriptions of the works. Laneway hop through to the Block Arcade and check out the floors and ceilings for some seriously decadent artwork, then emerge on Elizabeth Street to catch a Number 19 tram. Head north past the Victoria Market, Melbourne University, and Princes Park to the newly hip Sydney Road. Jump off at Dawson Street and walk back to Tom Phat for a delicious breakfast. We recommend the roti omelette.
Grab a set of wheels from Melbourne Bike Share (you can rent a helmet for $5 from a number of retailers such as 7-11, close to the bike docks). Head east to Lygon Street and Little Italy, then walk your bike through the Exhibition Gardens past the magnificent buildings through to Gertrude Street, down Brunswick Street, and then back up Smith Street. These streets are home to Melbourne’s hipsters, so the people-watching here is pretty great.
Remember there are lanes behind just about every main street and around these parts, which means miles of outdoor art galleries with stencils, post-ups, and free-form graffiti taking up every space. When you hit the top of Smith Street, turn left and head down to Victoria Street (away from the city into Richmond) for the world’s best sandwich, a banh mi from Nhu Lan.
Detour past the Carlton and United Brewery and hit the river. Follow the Yarra trail all the way back into the city, taking in sights like the Rod Laver Arena at the National Tennis Centre, the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), and the Royal Botanic Gardens and drop your bike back near Parliament Station.
Rest those tired legs by grabbing a 96 tram, voted one of the world’s best tram routes. You’ve already explored the Exhibition Gardens and from here you can take in the Parliament buildings, Bourke Street and the Post Office building, Crown Casino, Southbank, and Albert Park (home to the Melbourne Grand Prix) before hitting the beach at St. Klida. People-watch on the beach, go for great quirky shopping along Acland Street, or check out the iconic Luna Park.
Try out the kitchen at Melbourne’s home of live music, The Espy. Or, for something a little more refined, try Izakaya Den next door.
Stay on to watch a band at The Espy or across the road at the Palais Theatre or around the corner at The Prince. As the sun goes down, pop over to the St. Kilda breakwater. Look for the Earthcare volunteers who keep an eye on the local fairy penguin community. If you’re lucky, you’ll see some of these famous residents coming out of the water and into the nests for the evening.