WHEN IN MELBOURNE
So you’ve done the Eureka Skydeck, taken a flutter at the Crown Casino Complex and picnicked at the Royal Botanic Gardens. If you’re wondering how else to spend your time in Melbourne, here’s a shortlist of things to do in the city, all easily accessible
Food is fantastic in Melbourne. A melting pot like Malaysia, you’ll find an international menu of cuisines that’ll satiate every taste bud you have. With the largest Greek population of any city outside of Athens, Melbourne, naturally, has some of the best Greek food you’ve ever eaten. GAZI on Exhibition Street, with its hanging terracotta pots from the ceiling and florescent toilets, might be hip and buzzing but its tzatziki, souvlaki and loukoumades are seriously good. Italian also has a good rep in Melbourne. 400 Gradi on Lygon Street serves a divine Pizza Margherita, which actually won the World Pizza Championships in Italy in 2004. For a sweet ending, head for Brunetti (multiple locations, including Lygon Street), where you’ll be truly spoilt for choice. And, if you’re too pressed for time to make a trip down to the wineries of the Yarra Valley, do note that Treasury Wine Estates has its headquarters in Southbank.
St Kilda Beach is around 6km from the city centre but it’s almost another world entirely. Luna Park dates back to 1912 and operates, among others, the Scenic Railway, the oldest continuously operating roller coaster in the world, while the famous – and colourful! – Brighton Bathing Boxes that line the beach are over a century old. There is also a small colony of penguins living in the rocks of the breakwater and it’s worth staying till sunset to catch a glimpse of them.
The Melbourne Arts Precinct is where you’ll find the city’s leading galleries and performing arts venues, including Arts Centre Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, Southbank Theatre, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, The Coopers Malthouse and Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Less formally, art is found right on the street in this city that is sometimes called the graffiti capital of the world. Head for Hoosier and AC/ DC Lanes and Flinders Court for a blaze of colours and energy.
One of the city most popular destinations, for both locals and visitors, is the Queen Victoria Market, the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere. You’ll find a variety of fresh food, as well as gourmet and specialty delicacies, and a diverse range of clothing, shoes, jewellery, and arts and crafts. More shopping can be done at Chapel Street but do make time for the former Melbourne Government Post Office, on the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke Streets, which now functions as a shopping mall.