Melbourne Guide

The spirited traveller’s guide to Melbourne

Victoria’s buzzing capital city Melbourne needs minimal introduction. Built around the leafy curves of the Yarra River and spreading gracefully onto the sparkling beaches of Port Phillip’s bay, the city is a multicultural empire fuelled by delicious food, an impressive arts scene, a buzzing night life and an ardent passion for sport.

Stylish, artsy and cosmopolitan, Melbourne possesses the unique ability of easily blending magnificent Victorian-era buildings with art-deco structures, Parisienne vibes with New York flair, and cultures from all around the world with Aussie-born passions. The 230-plus laneways that penetrate the heart of the city are like a maze that’ll enlighten all your senses: it’s here you’ll savour nearly every type of cuisine, sip on perfectly crafted beers, shop for vintage treasures, admire colourful street art, catch unmissable events at the MCG and underneath the Arts Centre’s spire.

Melbourne’s culinary scene is nothing short of spectacular: from hatted restaurants to unassuming holes in the wall serving up juicy dumplings, the city offers something for everyone. Its coffee culture will have you hunt for the best brew and beans in town – and will make you miss the silky lattes when you leave. If it’s modern concoctions, fancy cocktails and good beers you’re after, you certainly are in the right spot: Melbourne has over 2400 bars to choose from.

Venture further away from the CBD and you’ll encounter verdant neighbourhoods dotted with quaint local shops and cafes, glittering beaches and postcard-perfect parks. So come curious, and let Melbourne surprise you with every twist and turn you take.


Explore the city like a local

Melbourne’s laneways form a colourful wonderland of street art, al fresco restaurants and chic wine bars. From iconic Flinders and Hosier Lane, to the lesser-known Rutledge Lane and buzzing Degraves Street, take some time to explore the art-filled arteries of the CBD. And don’t worry about getting lost: that’s half the fun! You could also join a tour and let the expert guides show you all there is to know about the city – from hidden laneways to art deco explorations, Meltours has all sorts of walking tours available.

Embrace the culture

Dubbed the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne is blessed with a thriving arts and events scene. The calendar here is always packed with countless shows, musicals, exhibitions and exciting events – and you can’t leave the city without catching at least one of them. Whether it’s a night at the ballet underneath the iconic spire of the Arts Centre Melbourne, an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (Australia’s oldest and most visited gallery) or a musical at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne has your hunger for culture covered.

Shop your heart out

Melbournians’ passion for fashion is evident everywhere you go. The main streets and secret laneways of the CBD are home to a myriad of vintage boutiques, fashionable shops by local designers and world-famous fashion names alike. Head down the so-called Paris-end of Collins Street for famed international brands, or shop until you drop on Bourke Street, where you’ll find Zara, H&M and other major retailers. And if this is not enough, Melbourne Central and Emporium Melbourne have everything you need from luxury jewellers to Australian designers and beyond.

Spend a day at the beach

Leave the CBD’s busy streets behind for a relaxing day on the waters of Port Philip’s Bay and its sparkling beaches. The laid-back neighbourhoods along the bay including Ellwood, Brighton and further down Mordialloc will make you feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. If you head even further down the coast you’ll reach the chic villages of the Mornington Peninsula, its wild beaches and the ocean. Closer to town and to Spirit of Tasmania, our very own Port Melbourne is a buzzing neighbourhood with a seemingly endless beach that is perfect to catch some rays (views over Spirit of Tasmania included).

Discover the markets

Get deep into the city’s lifestyle with a visit to Melbourne’s lively markets, where you’ll be able to shop for the freshest produce available and get a taste for irresistible treats and perfectly poured coffees. A 10 minute tram ride from the CBD will see you arriving at the charming Queen Victoria Market. An historical landmark dating back to 1878 spread over two city blocks, the market is open five days a week and is home to over 600 stalls and shops, selling anything from Australian fruit to clothing and souvenirs. Venture out of the city to reach South Melbourne’s beating heart – South Melbourne Market, where you can indulge in delicious French treats from Agathé Patisserie, eat traditional Turkish gozleme at Koy Restaurant, and sip on some of the finest coffees in town at Clement Coffee.

Uncover the neighbourhoods

Melbourne’s inner-city neighbourhoods are a true statement to the city’s multicultural heritage: each one is renowned for something different, and each brings a piece of the world to the streets of Victoria’s capital. Richmond – the city’s Vietnamese stronghold – is where you’ll find crispy Banh Mi and traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Carlton’s Lygon Street is the pulsing heart of the Italian community, jam-packed with Italian restaurants and authentic gelato shops, while the red gates of Chinatown open the road to the city’s tastiest dumplings and pan-Asian fare. Who said you need to venture far to travel the world?


Arbory Bar and Eatery

When the sun shines, Melbournians flock to one of the city’s most popular riverside venues: Arbory Bar and Eatery. A true Melbourne institution, built on a disused railway platform at Flinders Street Station, this is the city’s longest bar, flowing along the banks of the Yarra River. Come summer, the venue spreads onto the water, and Abrory Alfoat pops up. This is the place to be on a Friday night, or any night really, for a taste of Melbourne’s real life.

Flinders Lane

A walk down Flinders Lane will have you wonder if this narrow street is in fact the epicentre of all things food. No matter where you look, Flinders Lane is lined with bars, award-winning restaurants, chic wine bars and underground cocktail bars. Chin Chin, Supernomal, Cumulus Inc and Tonka can all be found here, together with Eau de Vie, Melbourne’s most legendary cocktail bar.

Naked for Satan

Killer cocktails, sweeping city views and tasty Spanish fare: this is Naked for Satan – one of Melbourne’s best rooftop bars. Set deep within the eclectic neighbourhood of Fitzroy in a heritage building dating back to 1897, this funky rooftop terrace is as iconic as its views. Getting a good seat with a view can be tricky, especially during balmy summer’s nights: get there early for the best table in the house, and cheer to the views with one of the 20 in-house infused vodkas available, plus wines, craft beers and delicious Basque-influenced plates.

D.O.C Pizza & Mozzarella Bar

Nestled on the banks of the Yarra, D.O.C takes pizza and mozzarella very seriously, and brings a piece of Italy to Melbourne. It’s all about fresh ingredients, perfectly cooked pizza, delicious toppings such as San Marzano Tomato, Italian pecorino, buffalo mozzarella and Prosciutto di Parma here. You’ll also be spoiled with a selection of salumi and mozzarella that will have you feel like you’ve just landed in Italy – all washed down with good glasses of Italian vino, of course.

The Espy

Fancy a pub meal with a side of views over the bay? Then head to Hotel Esplanade, in the vibrant neighbourhood of St Kilda. This legendary Melbourne pub, affectionately known as The Espy, has been standing proudly on the St Kilda Esplanade since 1878. Recent renovations have brought this grand seaside hotel back to life, and made it even more legendary. With 12 bars, three stages and two restaurants, killer bay views and menus featuring best seasonal produce, this is the go to place for a pint, a cocktail or a good feed.

Spirited traveller's guide to Melbourne

Photo credits:

Must See & Do (from top to bottom): Hosier Lane - Ain Ridik, Her Majesty's Theatre - Josie Withers, Paris End of Collins St - Ray Reyes, Port Melbourne foreshore - Josie Withers, Winter Night Market @ Queen Victoria Market - Ewen Bell, Chinatown at night - Robert Seba.

Must Eat & Drink (from top to bottom): Arbory Afloat - Emily Godfrey, Plated dishes at Chin Chin - Josie Withers, Naked for Satan - Amanda Fordyce, DOC Pizza and Mozzarella Bar - Josie Withers, The Espy - Ain Raadik.