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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 excellent 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 a 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 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 two 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 with a beautiful 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, a 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 – fantastic 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.)
  • 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

Things to 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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