If you’re looking to get a taste of Australia’s city culture, you can’t miss Melbourne. Many people say that Melbourne is the culture capital of Australia (and despite my obvious bias, I totally agree with them!). Galleries, exhibitions, dancing, singing, community events – Melbourne has it all, no matter what your interests may be.
What’s even better is we love sharing this culture with all our visitors. We’re a friendly bunch – I promise! Aussies love to have a laugh with you, but they’ll be sure to welcome you during your whirlwind trip.
Melbourne is an exciting city. You can navigate your way through the ever-changing laneways with their colourful graffiti art, and no matter how many times you visit – your experience will be different.
If the graffiti art isn’t really your cup of coffee, you can attempt to avoid the temptation of the quaint cafes that greet you every time you turn the corner (yes, we DO love our coffee). Whatever your style for exploring, whether it be fast-paced and adventurous, or relaxed – you’re bound to leave this wonderful city feeling excited and refreshed (and filled to the brim with coffee).
If you only have 24 hours to indulge in some classic Aussie culture – don’t stress! I’m here to help you create the perfect 24 hours in Melbourne (with lots of opportunity to buy coffee). Here are my suggestions:
Start your morning with an amazing coffee from one of the coffee capitals of the world, and a delicious bite to eat in one of Melbourne’s most famous laneways. Located just two minutes from Flinders Street Station, breakfast in Degraves Street is the perfect way to kick off your 24 hours in Melbourne. Here, you can experience Melbourne’s unrivalled café culture for yourself.
Can’t decide where to eat? I recommend a quaint little store called ‘Little Cupcakes’, which sells the most amazing (you guessed it) cupcakes, and has a lovely outdoor seating area.
Head back down Flinders Street and you’ll find yourself back at the front of Melbourne’s famous train station. To Melbournians, Flinders Street Station is the heart and soul of Melbourne. Completed in 1910, the station is a central transport hub, an icon and a meeting place.
Yet it’s possible that this beautiful piece of architecture was never intended for Melbourne. There’s a bit of an urban myth surrounding the station’s history. In my research, I can’t find any evidence that the story is true – nevertheless, most Melbournians have heard the tale. Legend has it that the plans for Melbourne’s train station were mixed up with plans for a station in Mumbai (Bombay). Mistakenly sent to the wrong place, it is supposed that Melbourne received the designs meant for Bombay, and Bombay received those meant for Melbourne. I guess we’ll never know if this is in fact true, but if it is a myth – it’s pretty well known!
Across the road from the station you’ll be able to set eyes upon Federation Square. This is another common meeting place for Melbournians. If you’re lucky, you might catch one of the many events and festivals that regularly occur at Federation Square. Funnily enough, this square was actually named by some as one of the ugliest buildings in the world. I think it’s pretty cool. Each to their own!
Continue on down Flinders Street and you’ll see a turn off into Hosier Lane. In this colourful street, the brick walls are used as a canvas by local artists. Coming during the day means you might even get to see an artist in the midst of their work. There’s only one rule for the art in these laneways – “go over, go better” – so you can’t add to or go over a work unless you’re going to improve it.
You’ll need a way to relax and re-energise after all your exploring, and what better way to do that, than with a high tea in one of Melbourne’s beautiful arcades. The Hopetoun Tea Rooms is located in the Block Arcade, a delightful heritage shopping precinct in the centre of the city. With a huge list of teas and mouth-watering cakes and tarts, you’ll be sure to find something you’ll enjoy.
When you’re done, have a wander through the arcade and get some of those holiday gifts sorted!
No visit to Melbourne would be complete without a trip to the iconic Queen Victoria Market. This 19th century market is an important part of our culture. Anyone who went to school in Melbourne has probably been on an excursion to this famous market in their early years.
You can buy all sorts of souvenirs, clothes and trinkets here and there’s also a fresh food market. I recently visited again myself and had a lot of fun here. There’s great food, and some of the clothing stores sell such beautiful dresses and coats.
Make sure you don’t miss the “American Doughnut Kitchen” truck and try some of their delicious jam donuts. These are famous around Melbourne, so make sure you live like a local and bite into one of these sweet treats.
Take a stroll along Southbank before stopping to relish in a delicious dinner along the Yarra River.
A lot of the restaurants and bars along Southbank are a little expensive – though albeit wonderful if you can go. But if you’re like me, and you’re looking for something with good views, good vibes and good food without breaking the bank, I’d recommend Arbory Bar and Eatery.
This great little outdoor bar and eatery has views of Flinders Street Station and the Yarra River, and is reasonably priced. The burgers here are great and the atmosphere is even better. It is, dare I say it, truly Melbournian.
Finish off your perfect day in Melbourne by viewing this beautiful city from above. Head up to the 88th floor of the Eureka Skydeck and enjoy stunning views over Melbourne from the highest vantage point in the southern hemisphere.
The Eureka Tower is actually named after the Eureka Stockade, a rebellion that occurred in the midst of the Victorian gold rush (1854).
This rebellion was a hugely significant move for the development of Australian national identity. Not only does the Skydeck honour this in name, but also in the design features of the building.
Armed with this knowledge, you’ll feel like you’re part of Victoria’s history when you’re 285 metres up in the air!
If there’s one thing I can tell you about Australians, it’s that we value a good sense of humour. To see what I mean, be sure to visit one of Melbourne’s many comedy shows or open mic nights. There are many great places to choose from that have weekly comedy nights. Try the Comic’s Lounge or the Imperial.
A jam-packed day that will offer you the best of Melbourne’s architecture, culture, food and views. With this guide, you’ll be sure to leave Melbourne feeling like you truly got to experience it like a local. Make sure you take the time for plenty of breaks to recuperate, and most of all: enjoy the city!
I look forward to welcoming you all and hearing about your wonderful Melbourne adventures!
*** This blog post was entered in Accor Hotels ’24 Hours in…’ Competition.
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