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Travel Guide: Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is a significant place for me – it’s where I started my travel journey, re-prioritized my life started working remotely and became comfortable traveling and exploring on my own.

I covered in detail my decision to live in Melbourne over Sydney in my article on moving to Australia. This article is geared more for tourists visiting the city – a quick neighborhood summary with restaurants, bars and things to see and do in the city and Victoria.

Fitzroy – laid back neighborhood, was hipster central until they all moved up to Brunswick

Bars:

  • Bimbo Deluxe – $4 pizzas when you buy any drink
  • Naked for Satan – The rooftop here is a must do! Tons of infused vodkas and one of the best views of the city. During the day and on weeknight evenings, they serve pintxos in the downstairs bar for $1 per item (just hang on to your toothpicks and pay at the end)
  • Kodiak Club – An American themed whiskey bar
  • The Everleigh – Swanky and good cocktails, but expensive

Restaurants:

  • Smith and Daughters – Vegetarian and vegan Mexican food, served in small bite format.
  • Veggie Bar – Always popular, affordable and vegan or vegetarian options
  • The Napier Hotel – Home of the Bogan Burger, as well as other solid Aussie dishes. Fun for drinks too.
  • Gelato Messina – also in Sydney, some of the best gelato in the city
  • DOC Pizza – Roman style, with super thin base and chewy crust. Get the white chocolate pie for dessert. (This is in Carlton)
  • Easey’s Burger Bar – Burgers in a train on a rooftop – too good to resist.

CBD

Bars:

  • Father’s Office – $5 happy hours from 5-7 and 8-10
  • The Croft Institute – hospital themed bar, drinks are served with syringes and the bathrooms are set up like a waiting room. Can be very empty on weeknights.
  • Fall from Grace – In the basement of State of Grace restaurant, the entrance is hidden behind a secret bookshelf. Delicious cocktails and swanky. Business crowd.
  • Madame Brussels – Another classic Melbourne rooftop bar, set up like a garden party. Great for a pitcher of Pimm’s cup.
  • Goldilocks Rooftop – Enter through Noodle Kingdom on Swanston Street and go ALL the way to the roof (Goldilocks has 2 floors, but the roof is the place to be).
  • Heartbreaker – dive bar, rock and roll style
  • Cherry Bar on Thursday nights for fun live music
  • Whiskey & Alement
  • Arbory or Ponyfish Island for waterside drinks
  • Workshop Brothers – great little cafe in the CBD.
  • Holey Moley – fun spot for a group of friends to play mini-golf while sippin’ cocktails

Restaurants:

  • Chin Chin – Incredible Chinese food – fairly expensive.
  • Big Boy BBQ – American Style BBQ, and $1 per person for BYO
  • Shanghai Street Dumplings – Cheap as chips and delicious.
  • Bomba – $15 lunch special for tapas. Have a nice rooftop that is open in the evening.
  • Hutong Dumpling – For nicer Chinese food. Bookings required.
  • St. Ali Coffee Roasters – there are a few cafes that are associated with each other
  • Chuckle Park – a caravan bar and cocktail jugs in a trendy laneway

St. Kilda – On the beach, bit of a backpacker scene and can be seedy in places.

  • 29th Apartment – Pizza is $1 on Fridays, if you buy a drink. The bar is set up like a NY apartment.
  • The Vineyard – right on Acland street
  • 7 Apples Gelato
  • The Kettle Black – amazing brunch spot
  • Lentil as Anything – vegan pay what you wish

Richmond – Probably the area you will need to get most dressed up to go out, at least on the weekends. Draws a well-heeled crowd.

  • Bridge Hotel – Karma Kegs on Fridays (they tap a keg and you pay what you think the drink is worth), as well as $14 steak and chips on Tuesdays
  • Kong – owned by the same people as Chin Chin, one of the most popular restaurants in the CBD, this is share style Asian BBQ
  • Terminus Hotel- good for dinner and bar

SEE/DO

  • Walk to the top of the Shrine of Remembrance for a great view of the skyline
  • Take a free walking tour that meets at the State Library
  • Best lanes-  Centre Place, Degraves St., Hosier Lane, Hardware Lane
  • See Ned Kelly’s armor for free, in the State Library
  • Hire a car and drive the Great Ocean Road
  • Hire a bike in Fed Square and ride the Capital City Trail, stopping for lunch at Lentil as Anything in Abbotsford Convent (the restaurant is pay what you wish)
  • Queen Vic Night Market on Wednesday evenings for live music, bands and drinks
  • Head to the end of the St. Kilda pier about 30-45 minutes after sunset to see the fairy penguins
  • Picnic or go for a run in the ‘Tan (Botanical Garden)
  • Thursday night is Comics Night at European Beer Cafe… $12 for the ticket, cheap drinks and 5-6 comics who are generally pretty funny
  • Melbourne is a HUGE coffee town. Don’t go to Starbucks.
  • Wine tasting in the Yarra Valley
  • Spend a weekend hiking and visiting the vineyards on Mornington Peninsula

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