A local’s guide to the garden-inspired city
Voted the world’s most liveable city for seven years running, Melbourne is a haven of culture and the arts, beautiful and quaint landscapes, good food, amazing wine and fantastic coffee. Here’s a first-timer’s list of things to see and do:
1. Unique laneways
Join a free walking tour with an itinerary that includes unique laneways. In these narrow passageways, you can see commissioned graffiti on walls and windows that are colorful and chaotic at the same time. Get a taste of urban art at Hosier Lane, Flinders Lane between Russell Street and Swanston Street, and at Blender Lane off of Franklin Street.
2. Local coffee shops
Order a “flat-white” at one of the local cafes. An Aussie-original, a perfect flat-white prepared by a skilled barista will have that strong coffee flavor yet velvety smooth feel from the microfoam that’s different from a typical cappuccino or latte. Melbournians are serious coffee aficionados who want, no, need coffee at all time of the day. Neighborhood cafes — as opposed to global coffee chains — are everywhere. Personal favorite coffee shops are Axil Coffee Roasters on Finders Lane, The Kettleblack along Albert Road, and the Sensory Lab on Collins Street.
3. Royal Botanic Gardens
Located at Birdwood Avenue, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is approximately 2km from Melbourne’s city center. During the summer, the Royal Botanic Gardens hosts activities including outdoor cinemas, plus theater and music performances. Bonus stop: you can visit the nearby Shrine of Remembrance, a Victorian state memorial to Australians who served during the war. It’s located between the gardens and the Flinders Street Station
4. National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)
The National Gallery of Victoria is definitely a must-see. Currently on show: the NGV Triennial exhibition which features art and design by more than 100 artists and designers from 32 countries. Entrance is free.
5. Brighton Bathing Boxes
Photogenic and Instagram-worthy, the 13km short trip from the central business district to the iconic Brighton Bathing Boxes at Dendy Street Beach is worth it. These colorful wooden bathing boxes are uniformly structured along the beach. Look out for the most popular (and most photographed) bathing box painted with the Australian flag.