Got some time free to spend in Melbourne?

As a Sydneysider, I always enjoy visiting Melbourne – personally for me its usually about shopping, food and art but even if your interests are a bit different there is plenty to do if you find yourself with a few hours free before or after BILT or if you are lucky – a few days.

I always start my visits to Melbourne at Degraves Place –for breakfast/brunch, lunch or coffee, I love the atmosphere (and particularly love the soup shop – Sydney is too hot to have any dedicated soup shops).  For me Degraves Place is also the start of the laneways I like to explore, basically from Elizabeth St to Exhibition St along Flinders Lane winding in and out of the laneways and arcades (but make sure also to go under Flinders St from Degraves Place, there are some cool little shops in there).  Depending what’s on I might check out an exhibition at the NGV or the Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square – which also both have cool designer/architecture gift and book shops.  For any international visitors with a passion for architecture – both these buildings are well worth checking out.

These days while I wander, its also amazing to check out how much construction has been happening in Melbourne over the last few years.  Head over the river to Southbank and the area around Crown and it’s a mass of super tall apartment buildings including the Eureka Skydeck 88 – a glass cube 88 stories above ground projecting out of the Eureka Tower, a 297 metre gold plated skyscraper.  Personally, I haven’t been up there…I’d rather stick to the ground.

Once I’m done with shopping and galleries, if it’s a nice day, I’ll head to Ponyfish Island – while I’ve noticed there are now quite a few more riverside bars and restaurants now – this bar is on an island in the middle of the Yarra River.  For the evening there are so many great choices of bars and restaurants – you could stick with Southbank and the Crown complex or you could explore Melbournes Laneways for cocktails, whiskey or food.  Some of my old favourites are Movida and Eue de Vie (still favourites even with Sydney branches) Madame Brussels and The Croft Institute (which sometimes I can’t even find despite having been there before!)  Explore the laneways (or possibly google before you go) and find many more new favourites.

If shopping, galleries and drinks aren’t your thing – of course I haven’t yet even mentioned the street art.  You can do street art or street art and food tours or wander your own way through many of the same lanes great for bars.  For sports fans there is of course the Melbourne Cricket Ground (you can do tours) or if you’ve got a few hours free Sunday, maybe a game of AFL (Melbourne vs GWS Giants). Or for all our tech heads, particularly if you have a few mates with just a couple of hours to spare – maybe a visit to Zero Latency described as “Free-Roam, Epic Scale, Multiplayer Virtual Reality Entertainment” it will be sure to get you pumped for entering Vision 20/20!

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