Things to do in Melbourne
I HAVE FINALLY FINISHED EDITING MY AUSTRALIA PICTURES! What an Everest of a task.
So I have been thinking about the best way to share my Aussie adventure- given that I was out there for so long if I were to post about each individual GLORIOUS day, we would be here forevs. So I’m going to treat you to two giant posts, one about things to do and one about things to eat and drink. SO HERE WE GO!
I spent half my time there staying out with my family in the suburbs about an hour outside Melbourne, and the other half with my chums in South Yarra which is about a 20 min tram journey out of central Melbourne, and it was the best balance. Staying outside meant getting to see the mountains, the coast and the countryside as well as getting my big city fill. PERFECT.
Strap in and grab a cuppa. This is a MEATY OLD POST.
Um like, if you think Westfield is big, you have seen NOTHING yet. Chaddy is the biggest shopping centre in Oz and is MASSIVE. 530 stores, 2 food courts and comes with its own hotel. WEAR COMFY SHOES.
2. Street Art
Melbourne has an awesome tradition for legalised street art with dedicated spaces for colourful murals dotted around the city, most famously on Hosier and Rutledge Lane where the art changes almost daily. Hitting up these spots with a takeaway coffee is a great way to spend a thrifty day.
3. Awesome Place Names
Melbourne has some of THE BEST named streets and shops EVER. As well as Batman Avenue and Bionic Ear Lane, these delights tickled me something chronic.
5. Federation Square
Right in the heart of Melbourne next to the river lies Federation Square, a complex of galleries, restaurants and is used as a central gathering spot, hosting events, live music and comedy. It’s a great place for people-watching in the sunshine and also has free wifi which is really handy, because I am not about that data roaming charge hun.
6. Birrarung Marr
A stone’s throw away from Fed Sq is Birraung Marr, the city’s newest park. There’s split level grass and sand areas to hang out on, a children’s art centre and installations dotted around celebrating Victoria’s indigenous culture.
Plus, the view up the Yarra at dusk is pretty spectacular from here:
7. South Melbourne Market
Melbourne does markets really really well. This permanent indoor fixture is teeming with everything you could imagine- meat, fish, groceries, wine, beer, ice-cream, interior design, clothes, jewellery- THE LOT. We had a wonderful morning wandering round (in our jumpsuits because we are COOL) coffee in hand, buying flowers and chowing down on salted caramel and panacotta ice-cream.
8. The Royal Botanical Gardens
Ohhhhhhhhh THE BOTANICAL GARDENS ARE BEAUTIFUL. They are huge and vast with a load of different walks you can do through them, and there’s a big lake in the middle (where we saw a wedding ceremony taking place cuuuuute), and there’s so many cacti, and a Fern Gully and an English rose garden and OH MY it is glorious. One of my absolute favourite places we went. PLANTS ARE COOL YO.
10. The Dandenong Ranges
Just outside Central Melbourne are the Dandenong Mountain Ranges, a set of mountain ranges, villages, rolling hills, valleys, gullies all covered in rainforest and ferny undergrowth. We took a day trip up there to explore, where we saw Puffing Billy, a hundred year old steam train, fed cockatoos at Grants picnic ground, hit the mountain peak at Skyhigh and saw the most incredible Aboriginal inspired art carved right into the woodland at the William Ricketts Sanctuary. WHAT A DAY!
11. St Kilda
6k from the city centre is St Kilda, the city’s seaside playground. Here, there’s a beach, a STRONG food scene, a pier that’s home to a penguin colony, a mini botanical gardens and Luna Park, an awesome (if slightly creepy…) amusement park which first opened its doors in 1912. Nothing quite like the fear of being on a rollercoaster and hearing the staff say ‘This ride is over 100 years old so it’s quite bumpy. Enjoy!’
Or the Australian Centre for the Moving Image to you and me. It’s kind of like the Melbourne version of the BFI but with a free gallery downstairs all dedicated to Australian media. It’s brilliant. Costumes from Moulin Rouge, interactive shadow puppetry displays and a whole section of gaming from the past and present.
13. The Ian Potter Centre
A hop, skip and a jump away from ACMI is the Ian Potter Centre, which is the branch of the National Gallery housing all the Australian art. I managed to catch a wonderful exhibition whilst I was there, ‘200 Years of Australian Fashion’ which was BELTING.
14. The National Gallery of Victoria
THIS IS THE BIG BOY. The National Gallery is huuuuuuge and awesome. I actually went three times, firstly to see the increddddddddible Warhol/Weiwei exhibition (side note- Ai Weiwei is such a dude.), secondly to explore the rest of the galleries and thirdly to see a secret gig from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (probably the most cultured thing I’ve ever said). The gardens are also beautiful and a wonderful place to have a bit of shhhh in the middle of the city.
15. The Eureka Skydeck
88 floors up and there are some absolutely incredible views over the city from this 360 degree viewpoint. Best way to see the city, even if it did induce a bout of vertigo.
16. Peninsula Hot Springs
Oh god this day. This amazing, wonderful day. Whenever I feel stressed I’m going to try my absolute best to mentally place my mind back to this place. This place is made up of pools of natural hot springs and we spent the sunniest, most stunning day dipping in and out of the cave pool, strolling up and down the reflexology walk, breathing deep in the Turkish steam bath, getting all hot and bothered in the sauna before jumping into icy cold plunge pools, easing out aches and pains under the massaging thermal mineral showers, taking in the views from the hilltop pool and sunbathing on our own dock whilst dangling our feet into the reed pool. I know, I’m jealous of me too.
The morning after that blissful day we took a drive out to Sorrento to have breakast on the beach and I got all giddy and felt like I was five again, paddling and clambering over the rocks to peer into the rock pools.
18. Maru Koala and Animal Park
Needing to get my fill of marsupials whilst I was down under, we took my two little cousins (though tbf I was way more excited than they were) to this cool little animal park to cuddle koalas, feed kangaroos and see tasmanian devils, emus, dingos and a whole host of other Aussie animals. Things I learnt: emus are really scary and kangaroo men have really big balls.
19. Melbourne Museum
Even though we are mega spoilt for museums in dear ol’ London, I thoroughly enjoyed the Melbourne museum. There’s an amazing living forest exhibition, a well interesting section on the history of the Aboriginal people, a tear-jerking exhibit about WW1 and a BRAIN BOGGLING bit all about the mind. SUPER DOOPER. OH AND ALSO A GIANT SQUID LOL.
20. Royal Exhibition Building
Just round the corner from the museum is the Royal Exhibition Building which is pretttyyyy beautiful to gaze upon.
And they have this fountain outside. Which upon closer inspection had this guy on it.
21. Healsville Animal Sanctuary
We drove out to the middle of WINE COUNTY for a day and strolled around this amazing huuuge animal and nature sanctuary. We saw THE BEST BIRD SHOW I HAVE EVER WITNESSED (omg seriously, a legit eagle flew so close to me its wing brushed my cheek and I felt so majestic), paddled in the creek and had to stop me from stealing a wallaby.
Oh yeah, and I also sat in a giant nest and pretended to be a gentle nurturing mother bird.
I’m telling you this flat out. I hate sport. I really really dislike sport in all shape, size and form. I was probably the only person in the UK who was genuinely norrrrrr’assed when the Olympics was on in London. So I had my scepticism firmly in place when my pals told me we were going to watch an Australian Football League game. And guess what?
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT OMG AFL IS THE BEST GAME IN THE WORRRRRRRLD! All the teams are massive and the rules are jooooookes and every team has their own musical theatre-esque song that they sing beforehand (seriously though, this is such a tune) and oh god I just adored it. Maybe I do like sport. I mean, I actually like wine these days too. Wow am I a grown-up?
23. State Library of Victoria
I love books, because stories are cool and all rad people read them, so a trip to the stunning state library was a must. As well as the gorgeous domed ceiling and reading rooms, there’s permanent galleries and exhibitions all about the written word and, well, it was my porn.
I mean I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface (oh and also now I’m weeping because I miss Melbourne so much) but in the words of Farmer Hoggett in one of the greatest movies of all time (obv I’m talking about Babe) “That’ll do pig. That’ll do.” Hope you enjoyed having a scroll through these snaps of my all-time ever favourite travel adventure and I’ll scribble another post soon dedicated to all the incredible things we ate and drank, because omfg there is some food porn you need to clap your hungry eyes on. But now I’m off to watch Babe.
LOVE YOU BYE