Sydney-siders aren't supposed to say this (at loud, at least), but Melbourne is actually a pretty cool place to visit. Only an hour's flight away, it's the perfect place for a quick break! Here's a guide to making the most of Melbourne, in 24 hours!
0830 - Breakfast Start the morning with a great coffee. Melbourne has such great café culture, that a trip here would be incomplete without a visit to a java house. My personal picks are:
1. The Laurent Boulangerie Patisserie on Little Collins St. It's one of my favourite places to indulge in my love of all things French, including pastries, tarts, and rich food. 2. Hardware Societe on Hardware St. The food is absolutely divine, while the long queues, not so much. 3. Market Lane, in the Victoria and Prahram Markets. While there's no food, this a great place to get a good cup of coffee at a reasonable price.
1000 – National Gallery of Victoria and Old Melbourne Gaol After you've been decently fed, head on down to central Melbourne. The first stop in the tour should be the National Gallery of Victoria, on St Kilda Rd, although there is another location on Swanston St. General entry is free, and you can enjoy some of the most beautiful artworks and sculptures the state has to offer. Once you've indulged in some of Melbourne's most beautiful sights, head to Old Melbourne Gaol on Russell St for some of the ugliest. Old Melbourne Gaol was once home to a range of criminals, and is the place where Australia's most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly, was hanged. The gaol is even reputed to have a ghost or two lurking about.
1300 - Lunch Take some time out from walking, to have some lunch. My personal recommendations would be: 1. Lentil As Anything in St Kilda. A great place where you pay-what-you-can for a delicious, nutritious feed!
2. Crossways Restaurant on Swanston St. A full meal here costs $7.50. Yes, you read that right - $7.50. 3. Mr Natural in Fitzroy. A pizza place with a twist – everything here is (relatively healthy). There are also plenty of vegan, lactose-free and gluten-free options.
1430 – Scienceworks Museum and Royal Botanic Gardens After lunch, head to the Scienceworks Museum on Booker St. A world-renowned museum, many of the exhibitions are hands-on, such as a simulated high-pressure rescue situation, or a journey through space. When you need a break from learning, take a walk (or cycle) along the Yarra River, and then head to the Royal Botanic Gardens. If you're there at the right time, you might even catch a free outdoor play.
After the sun sets, there are still a wide range of options. Grab dinner at one of the many restaurants along the Yarra River, and enjoy beautiful food and great entertainment. My personal picks are:
1. The Moroccan Soup Bar in Fitzroy. A traditional Moroccan place where you can indulge your tastebuds, at a very hefty price of just $18 per head.
2. Grumpy's Green in Fitzroy. An eco-friendly pub? Who would have thought!
3. Mama Ghanoush in Prahran. Middle-Eastern fare for as little as $25 a head. I guess you can't really ask for more.
2000 - Nightlife
After dinner, if you've got a lucky hand, head inside Crown Casino, and try your luck at one of the many pokie machines, roulette tables or card tables. If you're there on a Tuesday night, enjoy the two-for-one cocktails offer. For those who don't like to gamble, there are restaurants, nightclubs and bars, a bowling alley, cinemas, and the Palms Auditorium, proving that this casino really does wear the entertainment crown.
When you've decided you've had enough for one day, head back to your accommodation, and indulge in a good night's sleep. You've done something few people can do – Melbourne in 24 hours!