Melbourne is a city full of culture, music and brilliant street art! We loved our time in the place which we can best describe as Australia’s answer to East London. With great links to St. Kilda, the Yarra Valley and the Great Ocean Road it was the perfect start our Australian adventure.
We landed in Melbourne at 7:30am after travelling for 24 hours from London. When we landed our mission was to shake off the jet lag and get ourselves into Australia’s time zone sharpish! Therefore, we jumped on the SkyBus and headed straight to our apartment.
The SkyBus took us to Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station, a 4-minute walk away from our apartment at Punthill Apartment Hotel Northbank Melbourne. The apartments are in a great location, walking distance from Melbourne’s main attractions and a tram stop just outside for connections all over the city. They’re modern, clean and have a stunning view over Melbourne from the roof! Plus, the apartments cafe, Mini Bar, sells great fresh smoothies to start your day right. We can highly recommend the Go Green Smoothie and the Very Berry Smoothie.
Information on Melbourne’s Airports…
- Be aware that Melbourne has two airports. Tullamarine is closer to the city, whereas Avalon is a little further out. People often say it is better to fly from Tullamarine, however we went to both and feel either will do.
- Due to Avalon being further away from the city the flights are normally cheaper, yet it only costs $2 more to get there.
- The SkyBus takes you to and from both airports – $20 to Tullamarine and $22 to Avalon.
After we’d checked in, showered and took in the amazing view from the apartments roof we headed out for the day. As we were still adjusting to Australia’s time zone and in dire need of some caffeine our first stop was Hardware Lane, a great street full of little coffee shops and restaurants. Just grab a table outside and sip your coffee while taking in the sunshine and the fact that you’re half way around the world! We’re not going to lie we had a surreal ‘We’re in Australia’ moment while waiting for our coffees to arrive.
Next, we walked to Melbourne’s famous street art spot Hosier Lane. Hosier Lane is a walkway full of street art by local and international artists. There is so much variety you could spend hours walking up and down looking at all the different and intricate details, and if you’re lucky, you may even see an artist in action!
We spent the rest of our day exploring every corner of Melbourne. From Flinders Street Station, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Federation Square to finishing off with a walk along the beautiful Yarra River.
By this point we’d seriously worked up an appetite so we decided to devour a late lunch and headed back to Flinders Street where you’ll find Arbory Afloat, a pop-up bar floating on the river in summer. The restaurant is set in a stunning location and has holiday vibes written all over it. We opted for the antipasti starter followed by a pizza each and we can say it was absolutely delicious. Of course, topping it off with a bottle of prosecco, it would be rude not to right?!
Later that night we hopped on the tram to Naked for Satan, a Cocktail Bar with a rooftop that offers amazing views over Melbourne’s Skyline! And if you’re not ready to head home yet then just a short walk down the road is Baxter’s Lot, a bar with live music open until the early hours. We have to say it definitely helped us shock our bodies into Australian time!
Our second day in Melbourne was a little more relaxed than the one previously. We took our time in the apartment in the morning, only going downstairs to pick up some delicious smoothies from Mini Bar. We feel this really helped us relax our bodies after the long flight, busy day exploring and night on the town! What can we say we like to hit the ground running.
Once we were out and about we caught the tram to the Shrine of Remembrance. The Shrine of Remembrance is a war memorial dedicated to all those from Victoria who fought in World War 1. It is a stunning building located at the top of a hill and surrounded by greenery. We’d suggest walking to the roof as you can see yet another amazing view of Melbourne – the last one we promise… actually we’re not going to apologies, the views are banging!
From here you can walk 25 minutes down to South Melbourne Market and we’d highly suggest walking as you’ll see so much more of the city. Check out the houses on your way, we’ve never seen houses like they have in Melbourne, they’re cute, quirky and every pastel shade you could imagine. They give the multi-coloured houses in London’s Chelsea a run for their money!
When you reach the market, you’ll be ready to eat everything in sight and we promise this is the perfect place to eat to your hearts content. The market has everything to offer, from sushi to burritos, baguettes and paella, you’re bound to find something you fancy! We’d suggest grabbing a table in the sun and sharing a selection of different foods as it’s all truly delicious.
Next, we ordered an Uber and headed down to St. Kilda. St. Kilda is Melbourne’s seaside town, the perfect place to grab some wine from the Bottle-O and sit on the beach, relaxing and watching the world go by until the sun goes down. Plus, if you’re not a fan of sand then there’s plenty of grass areas to set up camp as well. Even more, after sunset you can walk down to the pier to see the local penguins who nest in the rocks.
For dinner we to La Roche which is only a 15 minute walk from the pier. Camilla opted for a dreamy Chicken Risotto while Natalie went for the Chicken Caesar Salad. Now, we have to warn you Australian portion sizes are as big as America! We definitely struggled to finish it but at least you’re getting your money’s worth.
Top Tip: Australian restaurants rarely allow you to split the bill, therefore we suggest getting cash out beforehand or one person paying and the rest transferring later.
On our last full day in Melbourne we’d booked a wine tour to the Yarra Valley with Dancing Kangaroo Tours. As previously instructed, we headed to have a big breakfast ahead of a day of tasting numerous amounts of wine.
We’d been recommended The Grainery Store, which was just around the corner from our apartment, and we have to say to did not disappoint! We had a incredible bagel with bacon, mozzarella, egg and avocado, just what we needed to set ourselves up for our wine tour.
The tour picked us up from outside St. Paul’s Cathedral where we met our wonderful host Sean. Sean was incredibly welcoming and had so much knowledge about the Yarra Valley and wine making – we promise you’ll leave having learnt something new!
The Yarra Valley is about an hour’s drive from the centre of Melbourne, however it is a great chance to take in the sights of the city and watch it fade away into the rolling hills that is the stunning Yarra Valley.
Over the day you visit a number of different wineries including the Helen & Joey Estate and St Huberts, along with a cheese shop and chocolate factory. We loved all the wine we tried and were particularly taken by a sweet apricot dessert wine – we actually intended on bringing a bottle or two back to London, but they may have been drank along the way…
If you’re looking to do a wine tour on your trip to Australia then we’d highly recommend Dancing Kangaroo Tours. It’s is an amazing day tasting different wines from all over the region, taking in the beautiful scenery and enjoying the sunshine!
After the tour we arrived back at St. Paul’s Cathedral around 5:30pm and walked down to China Town for dinner. We went to Shujinko – the best Ramen in Melbourne we’ve heard, and we couldn’t agree more. Shujinko is a lovely little restaurant with authentic Ramen dishes. We opted to the traditional pork Ramen however there are also vegetarian options.
Before leaving Melbourne we couldn’t help but squeeze in one more brunch – we’re not going to lie Australia knows how to do a good brunch! This time we managed to find a great brunch place even closer than The Grainery Store as Cherry & Twigs is on the side street next to the apartments.
Now, we’ve had some good smashed avocado in our time however we have to say Cherry & Twigs took it to the next level – Smashed Avo on toast with poached eggs, feta, mint, paprika and lemon. It was the perfect breakfast to finish our time in Melbourne and head onto the next stop: Sydney.