City guide

Mel­bourne, the world’s most live­able city

Paradise - - In Paradise | Contents -

Please for­give us Mel­bur­ni­ans when we con­stantly re­mind you that our city has been voted the world’s most live­able, seven years run­ning. With city beaches reached by tram, a buzzing art scene, the coun­try’s best food and cof­fee and year-round sports fes­ti­vals, we can af­ford a lit­tle pride.

GET­TING AROUND

Jump on board one of the city’s land­mark trams, which criss-cross the me­trop­o­lis. Travel within the city cen­tre is free. You’ll spot blue bikes for hire around the city from $3, perfect for fol­low­ing the in­ner-city bike tracks (mel­bournebike­share.com.au). For longer dis­tances, the city has trains and buses that traverse its sprawl­ing sub­urbs (ptv.vic.gov.au).

SIGHTS

This is one of the world’s great street-art ci­ties – don’t be shy about head­ing down a laneway in the name of art. Hosier Lane is the best-known street-art gallery in the city, while nearby Cen­tre Place, Duck­board Place and Cale­do­nian Lane are also top scor­ers.

For mu­rals that span sev­eral storeys, the nearby sub­urb of Fitzroy fea­tures works by RONE, Ad­nate and Smug.

Be­ing a street-art tour guide is now a vi­able job and stree­tart tours abound – hit up the­blender­stu­dios.com for tours led by the artists them­selves.

For a great over­view of the city, head up to Sky­deck 88 at the top of the Eureka Tower, Mel­bourne’s tallest sky­scraper (eu­rekasky­deck.com.au).

MEL­BOURNE SPE­CIAL

Sport lovers, you are among friends. The city’s so­cial cal­en­dar is book­ended by two world sport­ing events: Jan­uary for ten­nis at the Aus­tralian Open and Novem­ber for the spring rac­ing car­ni­val, crowned by the ‘horse race that stops the na­tion,’ the Mel­bourne Cup.

This is also home of the Mel­bourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Even if you’re not catch­ing an Aus­tralian Foot­ball League (AFL) game, a cricket match, or tak­ing a tour of the revered sta­dium, you can visit the Na­tional Sports Mu­seum (mcg.org.au).

To be seen among the trim and ter­rific, don the ly­cra and take a walk or jog around ‘the Tan’, the 3.8-kilo­me­tre run­ning track through the Royal Botanic Gar­dens.

CUL­TURE VUL­TURE

The Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria (NGV) is renowned for its coups in the art world – this year’s Winter Mas­ter­piece, open­ing in June, is an ex­hi­bi­tion of mas­ter­works from New York’s iconic Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art (ngv.vic.gov.au).

The gallery is split across two sites – on St Kilda Road and at Fed­er­a­tion Square, which houses its per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tion of land­mark Aus­tralian art­works. Be­side the NGV, the Arts Cen­tre Mel­bourne is home to the Mel­bourne Sym­phony Orches­tra and the new Aus­tralian Mu­sic Vault, a cel­e­bra­tion of pub rock and singer Kylie Minogue’s hot­pants.

A key event on Mel­bourne’s arts cal­en­dar is the an­nual White Night, where the city shines with light in­stal­la­tions from dusk un­til dawn (whitenight.com.au).

Fitzroy’s Rose Street Artists’ Mar­ket draws lovers of cre­ativ­ity ev­ery week­end (60 Rose Street, Fitzroy, ros­es­t­mar­ket.com.au).

DO­ING BUSI­NESS

As the sky­scrapers at­test, the city cen­tre is Mel­bourne’s busi­ness heart. Much of the busi­ness net­work­ing is done over cof­fee, a lo­cal ob­ses­sion.

If you need a meet­ing place, sug­gest long-timer Brunetti’s new Flin­ders Lane cafe and or­der cof­fee and can­noli like a lo­cal (250 Flin­ders Lane, brunetti.com.au).

For river views with your busi­ness meet­ing, slip into Ar­bory, wedged between the Yarra River and the city’s main train ter­mi­nus, Flin­ders Street Sta­tion (1 Flin­ders Walk, city, ar­bory.com.au).

For hot-de­sk­ing op­tions, try depo8 in hip Prahran (depo8. com), while One Roof Women is a co-work­ing and event space for women-led busi­nesses (oneroof­women.com).

RE­TAIL THER­APY

Chad­stone Shop­ping Cen­tre, in the south-eastern sub­urbs, is the coun­try’s largest shop­ping mall, while Em­po­rium in the CBD is its most glitzy.

In the sub­urbs of Fitzroy and Colling­wood, Gertrude, Brunswick and Smith streets are hubs for fash­ion, jew­ellery and shoes – de­signed and often also made lo­cally.

Queen Vic­to­ria Mar­ket and South Mel­bourne Mar­ket are colour­ful and a good place to stock up for a pic­nic, per­fectly roasted cof­fee, and pos­si­bly a kan­ga­roo-skin wal­let (qvm.com.au, south­mel­bourne­mar­ket.com.au).

PIL­LOW TALK

Cosy up with a bushranger – 1880s gold-rush out­law Ned Kelly is de­picted by Aus­tralian artist Adam Cullen at the Art Series Ho­tels’ Prahran prop­erty, The Cullen (164 Com­mer­cial Road, Prahran, art­seriesho­tels.com.au).

New on the scene, QT Mel­bourne blends lav­ish lux­ury with wild-eyed art in­stal­la­tions, not to men­tion a stel­lar rooftop bar (133 Rus­sell Street, qtho­tel­san­dresorts. com), while the sig­na­ture shot of the 34-room Adel­phi is its pool over­hang­ing the streets be­low (187 Flin­ders Lane, adel­phi.com.au).

The water­front precincts are fi­nally grow­ing up. The new­est ac­com­mo­da­tion at South­bank is the Novo­tel Mel­bourne South Wharf (7 Con­ven­tion Cen­tre Place, South Wharf, ac­corho­tels.com), while fur­ther around, the Four Points by Sher­a­ton in Dock­lands is easy on the hip pocket – and the tram pulls up right out the front (443 Dock­lands Drive, Dock­lands, four­pointsmelbourne­dock­lands. com).

EATS

In a town that loves to eat, put a few key eat streets on your radar, in­clud­ing Lit­tle Bourke Street in Chi­na­town for plump dumplings and slur­pable noo­dles.

Chapel Street, in Windsor, heaves with cafes cater­ing to the lat­est health whim, de­signer turmeric/ matcha/ beet­root lat­tes or pulled­pork break­fast plates, while St Kilda’s Acland Street is renowned for its cake scene – perfect af­ter a walk along the beach prom­e­nade.

And don’t be shy about veer­ing off down the city’s al­ley­ways. In fact, the laneways are where some of the best food is found, from Peru­vian to top mod­ern Aus­tralian.

In Rip­pon­lea, At­tica is cur­rently ranked 32nd in the World’s Best Res­tau­rants (74 Glen Eira Road, Rip­pon­lea, at­tica.com.au), while sky-high Vue de Monde, in the CBD’s Rialto Tower, is a win­ner for its un­sur­passed views and ul­tra­fine din­ing (525 Collins Street, city, vuede­monde.com.au). Crown Mel­bourne has a string of river­front fine-din­ing res­tau­rants (South­bank, crown­mel­bourne.com.au).

Each March, the city goes food­mad for the Mel­bourne Food & Wine festival, with more than 300 events (mel­bourne­foodand­wine.com.au).

WA­TER­ING HOLES

The rule of thumb when drink­ing in Mel­bourne is that the smaller the bar, the bet­ter the drinks. Take, for in­stance, the world-renowned Bar Amer­i­cano in the CBD, with room for just 10 drinkers (20 Pres­grave Place, baramer­i­cano.com).

A broad brush­stroke of Vic­to­rian wines is found at Smith­ward (48 Smith Street, Colling­wood, smith­ward.com.au).

Rooftop bars are plen­ti­ful – try Madame Brus­sels for cro­quet and quirk (59 Bourke Street, city, madame­brus­sels.com), so­cially con­scious Feast of Merit (117 Swan Street, Rich­mond, feast­ofmerit.com) or el­e­gant Siglo, which over­looks the flood­lit Vic­to­rian par­lia­ment (11 Spring Street, city, siglo­bar.com.au).

LO­CAL KNOWL­EDGE

Air­ileke In­gram, be­low, is a Pa­pua New Guinean-Aus­tralian drum­mer, per­cus­sion­ist and mu­sic pro­ducer. He has per­formed in bands in­clud­ing Yothu Yindi and Telek. In 2015, he co-directed the Pa­cific Games open­ing cer­e­mony in Port Moresby. His fam­ily comes from Gabagaba vil­lage, in Cen­tral Province (onepagelink.com/ Air­ileke/). I love Mel­bourne be­cause …

it’s one of the best mu­sic ci­ties and the best cof­fee city in the world. Sum­mer­time is for fes­ti­vals, and the hip-hop cul­ture is alive and well here in ‘Burn City’, with DJs like world champ DJ Dex­ter.

A great night out is … Sun­day nights at The Horn for Ethiopian jazz, then the Night Cat to check out a 15-piece live Latin band be­fore kick­ing on at to the Eve­lyn for hip-hop or reg­gae: all three are walk­ing dis­tance from each other (the­horn­cafe.com.au, thenight­cat. com.au, eve­lyn­ho­tel.com.au).

We all gather at … the Lomond pub in East Brunswick. It’s just across the road from my record­ing stu­dio and they’ve got a soft spot for PNG. There’s not a very big PNG com­mu­nity in Mel­bourne, so I rec­om­mend link­ing up with our

wan­toks from the West Pa­puan com­mu­nity. They also have the very pop­u­lar Black Or­chard String band.

The best sport is … the ‘Dream­time at the G’ game between Essendon and Rich­mond, an an­nual match ded­i­cated to recog­nis­ing in­dige­nous peo­ple.

Don’t for­get to … pay re­spects to the Wu­rund­jeri peo­ple of the Kulin Na­tion, papa graun lain (land own­ers) of Mel­bourne. See the per­ma­nent Abo­rig­i­nal art ex­hi­bi­tion at the Na­tional Gallery or Mu­seum (ngv.com.au), which hap­pens to be looked af­ter by To­lai artist Lisa Hilli.

By night ... Mel­bourne has a thriving food and bar scene, with some of the city's finest places tucked down laneways in the CBD.

Art form ... Hosier Lane (left); Brunswick Street (above).

Wa­ter views ... the Ar­bory stretches along­side the Yarra River.

City at­trac­tions ... Chi­na­town (op­po­site page); Gertrude Street (above left); Bar Amer­i­cano (above).

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