No trip to Melbourne would be complete without a visit to one of the city's great food markets (Queen Victoria market, South Melbourne market & Prahran market are my 3 favourites). And from mid-November to the end of February most of Melbourne's markets are open late one night a week. There's live music, and stalls selling street food from all around the world. Snacks/dishes are usually reasonably priced (under $12) and there's a great atmosphere.
You could easily miss the lanes in Melbourne. Melbourne is a beautifully laid out city with a grid of wide streets.
However, in between these, in the original service lanes, has developed a unique city culture - really what makes Melbourne special.
This is where the coffee culture small local shops are located, from cup cakes to shoe maker, from barbers to fashion designers and artists.
They are great to stroll through, have lunch, coffee, or find some unique artisan wares.
The most attractive Melbourne lanes are located between Swanston and Elizabeth and Bourke and Flinders Street. You will find them on either side of Flinders Lane. Check www.we-love-melbourne.net/melbourne-lanes.html
The most attractive Melbourne lanes are located between Swanston and Elizabeth and Bourke and Flinders Street. You will find them on either side of Flinders Lane. www.visitmelbourne.com/Regions/Melbourne/Destinations/City-precincts/Laneways.aspx
Google map: bit.ly/pHV1nT
What is it? It's a cross between a fun house, museum and a shop.
This place in Melbourne is full of collectables, fossils, old antiques, old scientific curios, natural history items (taxidermy anyone?) and even has a perfume library. Amazing, crazy, eclectic, eccentric ... that's Wunderkammer!
Great for lunch. Go to the deli section, order a pie, sandwich, coffee etc. They have Greek, Italian, Vietnamese - you name it. Then find a seat in the alley out back and they will bring it to you. It is a sunny spot if the weather is fine. Afterwards you could stock up on bargain souvenirs to take back home. There is often some kind of street theatre going on too. It is a lively, vibrant place and definitely should be included on a visit to Melbourne.
Yarraville Village is an area about 7km from the CBD (Inner West). The village is fantastic little hideaway and very cute with loads of little cafes, restaurants, art deco cinema, unique little designer shops and fantastic jazz bar.
Yarraville Village is an area about 7km for the CBD (Inner West). Catch the Weribee Train.
Melbourne might be addicted to great coffee bars and a second rate form of football, but to really taste its gritty, multicultural heart visit
the Queen Vic. It’s enormous – it claims to have 1,000 stalls and be the largest in the southern hemisphere – with Greek, Italian,
Vietnamese and Yugoslavian flavours of local flogging everything from fresh fish and pets to rugs and furniture.
The food stalls are unforgettable: every variety of olive, glistening slabs of fresh fish
and walls of cheese. So that’s why Melbourne has so many epic restaurants.
Where to start? Melbourne is a great town. Go to the Victoria market in the centre of town, or the smaller and groovier South Melbourne Markets at the weekend. Take a surfing lesson in Torquay after a trip along the Great Ocean Road, or a breathtaking dawn hot air balloon ride over the Yarra Valley wineries. Inner city Melbourne has some excellent bars down its lane ways: check out Honky Tonks for great cocktails or the Hi-Fi bar for grungier action. Brunswick Street Fitzroy is a haven for great food and drink and funky clothes.
Learning to surf at Torquay (at the start of The Great Ocean Road) with local surfing instructors was a highlight. Also shopping at the surf brand outlets and checking out Bells Beach.
Take an old hospital spread over a few blocks in the CBD, knock it down and put in its place a completely new shopping and retail precinct and you have QV, which gets its name from the previous Queen Victoria hospital that was on the site. Specialist fashion retailers mix it with coffee shops and there is also a huge food court. Standard supermarket chains (Big W and Safeway) are also there.
Corner of Swanston and Lonsdale Streets, within easy reach of all city stations and trams;
tel: 9658 0103;
Block Arcade is an old shopping arcade tucked away in the inner part of Melbourne. It has been refurbished and all its 19th century fittings restored. It originally was a place to shop but these days also has the obligatory cluster of cafes (lots of them!)
Melbourne city centre, between Collins St and Little Collins St (a short walk from Flinders St station);
From its humble beginnings as Australia's first shopping centre, Chadstone (Chaddy to the locals) has grown to be one of the largest (in size) and is the largest in sales turnover in Australia. It is now known as Australia's 'fashion capital' centre. It has masses of off-street parking and a huge variety of stores.
1341 Dandenong Rd, Chadstone;
Buses from all suburbs head there. Nearest railway station, Hughesdale, is a 10 min walk away;
tel: 9563 3355;
The CBD has some great record stores. Start at Metropolis (experimental/black metal/psych/folk), work your way down to Missing Link (indie/folk/hardcore/black metal), then Synaesthesia (experimental/avantgarde/black metal), Basement Discs next door (for jazzier/roots/blues fans), then wind down with a capuccino at Metal Mayhem (er, metal, all kinds) in the Banana Alley vaults under Flinders Street Station.
Dance music stores are pretty crap, though Slap records (10/60 Langridge St, Collingwood) has some nice folks working there. Polyester on Bruswick Street, Fitzroy is also good for indie, as is Greville Records (off Chapel Street in Prahran) though it's more on the rockier side.
A small lane in the city filled with great cafes, boutique shops and amazing graffitti. Personal favourite is Degraves Cafe which makes arguably the best cafe latte in the world.
Off Flinders Street, between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets.
Great street to explore for cafes, restaurants and shopping. There’s Greek, Italian, Turkish and Lebanese food. Highlights are : Mediterranean Wholesalers - an Italian supermarket - A1, Tabett's Lebanese bakeries and Istanbul Meats. Just wander up and down the street and find lots of hidden gems.
North Coburg tram goes there from Elizabeth St in the City
OK, so the guide book will tell you that this strip isn't the same since the yuppies/students/wannabe cool people moved in, but it still offers a rainbow concoction of fine eateries, dusty booksellers, gelaterias and wacky florists. Add to that an unmanageable range of places to drink: you can't do it in a day, never mind a night.
Sesame seed and honeycomb ice-cream anyone? Head to the 'clinical' Trampoline for cheap, light and supersmooth gelato, or late lunch at Bimbo’s, where you can get pizza (I went for the vegan pumpkin and pine nut with soy cheese) and a beer for $5 - that's £2 - until 5pm. For dinner, Vegie Bar is a real find - even for the strictest carnivore, or try the Morrocan Soup Kitchen for some of the most amazing food you'll ever taste. There's no menu - not even a specials board, you're just told what's cooking. I ate like a queen for $15. It's on the far end of Brunswick Street, furthest from the city. It's busy, so you'll have time to check out some of the great bars nearby while you wait for a table.
Really, do spend a day here, there's more than enough to do and see. Explore the side-streets (especially Gertrude Street) and you really feel like you're seeing the city. Somehow you know that if you lived here you'd end up spending a lot of time on this strip. Just make sure you arrive hungry!
Brunswick Street is in Fitzroy, northeast of the CBD. Head towards the Melbourne Museum and you aren't far, otherwise take the tram: 112 runs the length of the street, or the 86 which crosses it at Gertrude Street
Collins Street for posh shopping and designer stores. Melbourne Central (between LaTrobe St and Londale St) and Bourke Street for High Street shopping
Smith Street and Brunswick Street (to the north of the City - tram 86 and
tram 112) and Bridge Road (to the east - tram 48) for alternative shops and outlets
Queen Victoria Market for market stuff
Warburton is a small town about an hour’s drive north-east of Melbourne on the Warburton Highway, nestling at the base of the Great Dividing Range and overlooked by Mt Donna Buang.
Originally a honeymooner retreat in the 50s and 60s it was involved with the Sanitarium Health Food company after that. Sanitarium closed their factory and Warburton became to place to go to the craft and antique shops. The number of coffee shops and cafes also increased and today it is a great place for a stroll on a lazy weekend.
During winter, Mt Donna Buang is snowbound and a day trip to the snow is one for all the family.
Every Sunday the handicraft market is held on the (upper) Esplanade at St Kilda... this being the extension of the famous Acland Street. Melbourne has lots of weekend markets from Red hill to the Queen Vic (not forgetting all the suburban ones) but for position and variety, the Esplanade ones is tops.
The (upper) Esplanade St Kilda between Acland St and Fitzroy St, a short walk along Fitzroy St from the light rail station
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