Behold Melbourne: both bohemian and bourgeois in equal measure. Known as Australia’s cultural capital, one can spend days playing spot-the-bearded hipster and arguing over where to find the best coffee (Industry Beans in Fitzroy or Sun Moth Canteen in the CBD?), eyeing the city’s black clad fashionistas or lining up for the latest food fad (such as unparalleled croissants at La Lune).
This city is more than a culture mecca though, there’s grime, grit and glam to spare when strolling down the graffiti-scrawled cobbled laneways of the city centre, eating at some of this multicultural mecca’s best restaurants (Chin Chin, Cumulus Inc or Vue de Monde) or cycling along the Yarra River into beautiful bushland.
When they’re not revering their “magic” coffees (steamed milk poured over a double ristretto), Melburnians are celebrating the cult of Aussie rules football – what’s not to love about men in tiny shorts chasing a pigskin ball through the mud while you swill a beer and eat a pie at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground?
Serious about their culture, Melbourne’s literati can be found at the Malthouse watching experimental theatre or perusing world-class exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria where the glass water wall façade entices selfie snappers and small children.
Drawing hipster comparisons as the Portland of the southern hemisphere you’d think Melbourne’s citizens weren’t friendly but you simply have to sit down at one of the numerous historic pubs (67 in the city centre alone) and order a “pot” of beer and friendly banter will ensue.
After all that talk, the evening is best capped off strolling along St Kilda beach and watching the least pretentious Melbournians – the Fairy Penguins – waddle into shore of the world’s most livable city.
Melbourne’s city centre grid structure makes it easy to navigate. Tram travel in Melbourne’s central city area is free but if you are going further afield, buy a myki (a card that you can top up)– which also let’s you hop on trains and buses. Taxis are yellow, silver or white and you can book them in advance or hail them on the street. Uber, the rideshare app, is also a popular and convenient way to get around town.
1. Explore the city laneways for boutique designers, cafes and street art
2. Stroll to the end of St Kilda Pier at dusk to meet the Fairy Penguins
3. Catch a show at the Princess Theatre followed by a cocktail on the balcony at Ciglo
4. Watch a game of AFL footy at the 'G' (MCG)
5. Take a day trip along the Great Ocean Rd or Yarra Valley wine region