Slow Travel Diary: 72 Hours in Melbourne
Melbourne is the ultimate hip kind of town but with a most laid-back and friendly feel. It’s a great place to visit and maybe an even greater place to live. Laid-back and effortless, with a knack for quality organic coffee, local food and conscious design, it oozes the good life. There is plentiful of art, a lively cultural and design scene, gorgeous architecture and parks, and the sea is not far. And its people are so friendly that it makes a European blush. We fell in love in an instant.
72 Hours in Melbourne, Australia
Diving Into Hipster Melbourne
1) Local Fashion
Even though, we don’t want to encourage you to go shopping crazy, the shop scene in Melbourne is fun to explore. Melbourne is a paradise for independent boutiques and there is a thriving scene of beautifully curated, independent shops and vintage stores, and the creativity of Melbourne street style is vivid and alive. The northern districts of Fitzroy, Collingwood and Brunswick is were most of the action happens, and for the first day of your stay, we recommend leisurely spending an entire day browsing the offerings of Brunswick Street, Smith Street, and Gertrude Street.
1. Arnsdorf Store, 229 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
// Local mindful designer brand with sophisticated sense of aesthetics.
2. Limb The Label Store, 82 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
// Independent boutique stocking minimalist clothing by the namesake label and accessories, shoes, and jewellery by other conscious Australian brands.
3. Recycle Boutique, 127 Sydney Road, Brunswick and 2 Johnston Street, Collingwood
// Huge selection of quality second-hand clothing and accessories.
4. Bruce, 284 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North and 157 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
// Designer consignment store stocking the likes of Yohji Yamamoto, Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester.
2) Eating And Drinking Up North
The quality of food and drink is generally high, and there is a multitude of charming, privately owned cafés, bars and restaurants to choose from.
Amarillo Bar is a simple and effortlessly stylish mid-century-European-inspired neighbourhood bar serving uncomplicated and healthy dishes and interesting wines. For vegan options, try Neko Neko (Japanese) or Red Sparrows (pizza).
Exploring The City Centre
The city centre is marked by high-rises and bustling high streets, neatly arranged in a grid on the north side of Yarra River. On the south side of the river, you find the entrance of the lush Royal Botanic Gardens and the city’s key temples of art and crafts.
1) Morning: Art And Plants
Start your morning with a light breakfast at the NGV café and some art-seeing at the National Gallery of Victoria or the nearby Australian Centre of Contemporary Art. Then step back into the sunshine and enjoy the beauty of the Royal Botanic Gardens just across the road.
2) Late Lunchtime Italo Style
Before you hit the busy streets of the centre, regain some energy and lunch at Pellegrini’s. It’s a Melbourne institution and to say it’s charming is a clear understatement. Pellegrini’s is time and space travel combined and here you can enjoy some down-to-earth and delightful Italian fares and an espresso by the bar in true 1950’s style.
3) Afternoon: Great Shops In Town
Most of our shopping highlights are found up north but there are some hidden gems in the centre that would be a pity to miss.
1. No Order Market, 187-193 Elizabeth Street
// No Order Market is a collaborative space housing Baserange’s Melbourne Store, local conscious brand Suku Home and designer concept store Shifting Worlds.
2. Kuwaii, 37 Swanson Street
// Kuwaii is a Made-In-Melbourne brand sporting timeless designs. It’s cute city boutique is hidden inside a beautiful and once grand, stuck-in-time shopping arcade.
3. Monk House Design, 4 Driver Lane
// Monk House Design is a small boutique stocking an interesting range of independent fashion and design from Australia, specialises in contemporary women’s wear.
4. R. M. Williams, 300 Lonsdale Street
// R. M. Williams is an Australian heritage footwear brand founded in 1932. Its handcrafted boots are made to last a lifetime.
4) Evening: Nighttime Picknick In Fitzroy Gardens
Pack your picknick bag and head to Fitzroy Gardens for some sunset dinner in the park, bats and kookaburras included. If the weather is not on the warm and sunny side, Supernormal’s Asian inspired dishes in a sleek setting are a great alternative. There is even a karaoke room in the basement.
Escapes For The Senses
After two days in the hustle and bustle, it’s time to take a break.
1) Morning: At The Farm
Enjoy your morning with a yummy local organic breakfast at the great Farm Café of Collingwood Childrens’ Farm. The surroundings are lush and green, there are lots of cute farm animals, and a farmers’ market on Saturdays.
2) Daytime: Heidelberg Modernism
Take a train or taxi and head to the Heide Museum of Modern Art in the suburb of Heidelberg. The “Heidi” began life in 1934 as the home of collectors John and Sunday Reed who acquired works by leading artists of the modernist movement in Australia and later a broad range of art from figurative to abstract, expressionist to realist. Not only the collection is a very special must-see but also the gardens and architecture of the space.
3) Evening: Dining Delights
If it’s your last night in town, you should not miss Embla. They serve some funky natural wines with real character and food for all the senses. It’s so good. A real treat.
Thank you for some great local advice to Ally at Kinobi, Jade at Arnsdorf, Sigrid at Intent Journal, Nessie at Corepret, and to Prue, Henry, James and Irene.
For more up to date recommendations, check out Broadsheet.