MELBOURNE # 2: What To Do


As you may have realized i'm doing a little Melbourne series. This is hopefully handy to anyone traveling there at some point, or perhaps you already live there and want some inspiration. Either way I got up to a lot of great things and thought i'd share what's worth doing.

1. State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston St
Located on what i'd call the main street of Melbourne (Swanston Street) is this lovely library. Definitely worth a visit as it's such a beautiful building. Many people come here to study or read, which is nice but I can't fathom how as i'd get so  self conscious having tourists walk around clicking at their cameras *cough* me *cough*. It also features a small gallery which is nice for all the art lovers out there. It's free to visit too. If you have time stay around and play a game of chess with someone. 

2. The Shrine of Remembrance       
Birdwood Ave 
The Shrine of Remembrance was originally built for Victorians who served in World War I but is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. It's located just 5 minutes on the tram away from the CBD so it's really easy to get to. Inside there is galleries and you can go up to the balcony which has a stunning view of the city. Opening hours are 10am - 5pm. Admission is free too!

Alyssa and I would actually go get takeaway coffee and a croissant to sit on the steps of the shrine looking out to the city.  There's something calming about looking out onto a city but being surrounded by the quietness of the park.
3. Shopping (of course)
Melbourne shopping is incredible compared to the lackluster shopping here. There's just so much variety in what you want. There is the gigantic shopping centre just off  Bourke Street (Emporium Shopping Centre, 287 Lonsdale St) which is around six stories and includes 225 stores. I feel like Emporium is definitely the place to go if you want to hardcore shop.

Alternatively what is great is that all the surrounding suburbs bring their own flair. My favourites are Fitzroy and Chapel St. They feature a variety of well known shops, vintage shops, and little start up clothing businesses in their pop up stores. If you're after some new original pieces then the suburbs if where you should go. Easily accessible on the tram.

4. Fitzroy
Fitzroy is the cool place. I mean all of Melbourne is pretty much cool but this area just brings "it". There's lots of cool cafes, beautiful coffee shops, clothing stores, little nik-nak places with quirky gifts/homewares, bookstores etc. As I mentioned in my last blog post on "where to eat" there is a croissanterie called "Lune" in one of the backstreets which is a MUST visit (and I don't say that lightly, you have to visit it).

Now i've mentioned the tram quite a bit and if you haven't been down before i'll give you the 4-1-1: basically the public transport works by "myki" cards, which if you've been to London before they're basically the same as oyster cards. You can purchase a Myki card from 711. Each tram stop will have a map of the routes - but it's 2017 so just download the public transport victoria app and you can plan your route on there. It's very simple. Fitzroy is about 10 minutes out of the CBD so the tram is your best option.

5. National Gallery of Victoria
180 St Kilda Road
Sadly when we went to Melbourne it rained quite a bit which was awfully beautiful but just meant we had to get a little creative on where to go that was indoors. So to the National Gallery of Victoria we went! It houses an extensive collection of artwork from Europe, Asia. America, and Oceania (can you tell I stole that line from the website? haha). It's free and open 10am-5pm daily. There's currently a Van Gogh exhibition on at the moment which runs until the 9th of July, this one does cost $28. I didn't go as i've been to Amsterdam and went to one there but if you've never been then i'd recommend it. 
6. Cafe/Coffee Shop Hopping
Repeat after me: if someone tells you they know the best coffee shop in Melbourne - they're lying. Honestly, every coffee shop in Melbourne is the best!!! The standard of coffee has grown so high that each place just tastes incredible, coffee has truly peaked and I don't know how it can taste better. 

Ahem...after my small little rant...basically what i'm trying to say is that there is so many great coffee shops that you should definitely cafe hop around the city. There's this great little app called "Bean Hunter" which tells you where all the good coffee shops are (hint: cause it's Melbourne there is a dozen on every street). This place is known for having a great cafe culture so soak it up and feel the buzz of four coffees before 10am. 

7. South Bank At Night
South bank is beautiful at night, this photo is evidence of that. All the city lights reflect upon the water. You can go for a stroll along the river but there is also a variety of bars around if you want to enjoy the view with a glass of pinot noir or prosecco. 

8. Go to the Parks - The Botanical Gardens or Fitzroy Gardens
What I like about how this city was designed is that they have a lot of space for parks. As a true introvert I can feel quite drained after a whole day in the CBD going in and out of shops and getting caught up in crowds walking around. Something that re-energizes me is the parks. Not only are they beautiful but also aren't very busy. Go grab a takeaway coffee and stroll around the park :')

9. Go To The Hidden Bars
One of my favourite things about Melbourne is how many cool hidden bars there are. This was the first time I had really been to them, and I must say: they didn't disappoint. You go to creepy back alleys where you ask yourself "am I going to get murdered?" but then you find an inconspicuous door..enter..and BAM..a hustling bustling bar! 

I feel like i'm breaking a code by posting the places here...but...I want you guys in the loop of where are some cool places to go!
  • Hihou - a Japanese bar. Located 1 Flinders lane. You have to ring a doorbell and they'll come get you (how cool is that?!). Great for all you Sake lovers.
  • Eau De Vie - a prohibition themed bar with an INCREDIBLE cocktail selection. Located 1 Malthouse Lane. You walk down the creepiest lane to get there..and the door looks equally creepy..but inside is beautifulll. 
  • Gin Palace - a classy place great for martinis. I actually had my first martini ever here! With olives and everything. Located 10 Russel place. 

So those are my top picks on what to do in Melbourne. It's such a cool place and definitely worth visiting! 

Holly xx

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