Entering its seventh year as the world’s most liveable city, it’s no wonder that tourists from across the globe flock to Melbourne again and again. Abuzz with trendy food joints, a hip coffee scene and artsy vibes, Melbourne’s CBD is a plethora of hidden gems waiting to be explored. Plus, with Thai summer at our heels, Melbourne's great weather only makes a trip down there even more enticing. If Melbourne sounds like a great idea anytime soon, here are some essential spots and things to do.
Kick-start the day with brekkie and a wake-up call. Nothing turns a late-riser into a morning person like good breakfast and a mean cup of joe. Cumulus Inc. is known for having one of the best combos in town. Stop by in the AM for your early morning cuppa, best enjoyed with their selection of classic breakfast options like crumpets and bacon baps. Don't miss out on the infamous lemon curd-filled madeleines too!
Tatler Tip: Cumulus Inc. is pretty famous as far as hip foodie destinations go. Head over a little earlier (they’re open at 7AM) to skip the morning crowds and get yourself dibs on some of the nicer—AKA more photogenic—seating spots.
Flinders Street Railway Station
That customary landmark snapshot. Have you really left the country if you don’t post at least one photo of an iconic local attraction from a faraway land? Serving as Melbourne’s main station, all trails lead back to Flinders Street Railway Station. What earns the place its spot on the local must-see list is its architecture. The regal building looms with grandeur on the corner of Flinders and Swanston streets. Crowned by an impressive dome and tinted a whimsically playful yellow hue, the building boasts grand arches and a clock tower that serves as both popular photo-op and meeting point, night and day.
Tatler Tip: The building is so large that it can be hard to fit into your insta-snap. For the best views, stand on the same side as St. Paul’s Cathedral to get the perfect perspective of Flinder Street Railway Station in all its magnificence.
Immerse yourself in local art. Now that you’re at St. Paul’s Cathedral, walk ahead for a short distance on Flinders Street and a burst of colour should catch your eye. Overflowing with vibrant hues and creative expression, this is where local graffiti talents gather and show their prowess against anything with a surface. Don’t expect the alleyway to look the same in a year’s time—the area is constantly changing as new art gets added over old, so returning visitors can rest assured there’ll always be something different to look forward to.
Tatler Tip: The vibrant walls and striking graphics provide a perfect backdrop for a cool portrait. Use a wide lens and stand in the middle of the lane to capture you and Melbourne’s graffiti scene in all its glory.
Every getaway needs a romantic river stroll, and Yara River has you covered on this front. Stand facing Flinders Street and the river will be on your left. Take your time to indulge in the scenic surroundings and pleasant walking weather we get so rarely back at home. The River Yara is flanked by the shining cityscape of Melbourne’s CBD, and avid photographers generally prefer setting up their equipment around sunset when the buildings start to light up. The best view of the river is from the bridge crossing it. Get a snap while you're enjoying your stroll.
Tatler Tip: Stop by at one of the abundant restaurants and stalls along the route if your food cravings kick in. And, if you're feeling thirsty, the retro-chic Ponyfish Island is an ideal riverside venue that serves micro-brewed ales with laid-back, serene vibes.
State Library of Victoria
Indulge your inner bookworm. The State Library of Victoria is breathtaking enough to give non-readers second thoughts. The interior contains an impressive hall that branches out to various spaces for reading, along with multi-functional annexes, and the miniature park in front of the library makes the perfect spot for people-watching. Expect to see all sorts of people lounging on the grass either reading or just basking in the nice weather. Occasionally musicians will also show up to perform. During your visit, be sure not to miss the building’s highlight, The Dome—a magnificent structure that looks like an eight-pointed star lined throughout with books. During the day natural sunlight pours in through the roof for a truly spectacular atmosphere.
Tatler Tip: There’s a giant chess set just outside the library in the mini garden area. Make some new friends in a giant game of chess or just get an impressive snap for Instagram.
Shrine of Remembrance
For a meaningful touch, pay a visit to the Shrine of Remembrance, a regal pyramid structure. Originally built to honour Victorian citizens who served in the first World War, it now pays tribute to all Australians who served in war. More profound than the other happy-go-lucky destinations, the Shrine of Remembrance adds a touch of meaning to your itinerary and is also a rather tranquil area to spend the day.
Tatler Tip: Be sure to make a stop at the building’s rooftop for unmissable views of the entire cityscape.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Breathe some fresh air in the big city. With such great weather, how could you miss a stroll in the park? Head over to the Royal Botanic Gardens, where you can expect to see people from all walks of life getting some R&R away from hectic city-life. From fitness enthusiasts going on their daily jog to families and even couples enjoying each other’s company, the gardens provide an ideal environment to while away your day surrounded by lush wildlife and tranquil vibes.
Tatler Tip: If you head over to the southeastern corner of the gardens you’ll come by Guilfoyle’s Volcano, which features a collection of highly instagrammable succulents and cacti. The area is circled by viewing platforms and boardwalks that also offer great views of Melbourne’s cityscape.
Learn a thing or two during your trip at the incredible Melbourne Museum. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or back for the fifth time, the museum never ceases to amaze—mainly due to its vastness that makes it impossible to explore in just one day. Enter the museum and you’ll be greeted by a number of different zones, ranging from ecology to the human body.
Tatler Tip: Don’t miss out on the Dinosaur zone for magnificent sculptures of dinosaur bones towering high above you. Extremely insta-worthy and informative all in one go.
Reach new heights. Rising high into the skies along the scenic Yara river, the Eureka Skydeck gives you front-row seats to Melbourne’s skyline. With unobstructed 360 degree views, this is where you’ll get that FOMO-inducing shot of you ft. Melbourne city to make all your friends jealous. For those scared of heights, sometimes you have to face your fears for the gram, right?
Tatler Tip: Be sure to take full advantage of Eureka Skydeck’s key highlight: a section of the floor made of transparent glass that'll make it seem as though you’re levitating above Melbourne.
National Gallery of Victoria
Let art transport you to faraway lands. Considered paradise for art lovers, National Gallery of Victoria is an extensive building split into various zones where brilliant art pieces are kept, maintained and showcased for all to admire and admire again. From paintings to stunning sculptures, this gallery is where works of art from different periods throughout the centuries up till today meet in a blend of new and old.
Tatler Tip: Big as the gallery is, there are two things you definitely shouldn't miss. The first is the stained glass ceiling in the building’s great hall, which happens to be the world’s largest piece of suspended stained glass. The second is high tea at The Tea Room, located on the first floor. The menu here changes constantly to reflect the themes of the main exhibits in the gallery.
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