Beat The Heat in Melbourne I shouldn't be telling you this, but I'm actually a New Zealander. That means I'm programmed to always have an umbrella in my bag, and I take any rain and arctic winds in my stride. As you'd probably guess, the Melbourne heat drives me to despair. I complain to anyone who will listen how terribly hot I'm finding the weather, and I stalk meterology websites to find out when the cool change will finally arrive.
However, encouraged by my Australian counterparts who naturally associate hot weather with good times, I've recently found that there are plenty of things to do in and around Melbourne that help you beat the heat. Here are a few of my favourites - and if they worked for me, I promise they'll work for you.
The iconic bathing sheds of Brighton Beach, with the city skyline in the background
Pack a picnic and head off to Port Philip Bay's Brighton Beach, which is a short 15 minute drive from the CBD. You'll recognise this popular beach from the iconic bathing sheds, which are frequented by private owners throughout the summer. Settle in on the sand, have a splash in the water and enjoy the views of the city skyline. When you're ready for refreshments, make your way to Church Street, Brighton, where there is an abundance of little cafes and bars. My favourite is Pantry, which is where Shane Warne and Liz Hurley are often spotted.
Less than an hour out of Melbourne are the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. One of the best places to catch a breeze on a hot day is up Mt Dandenong, where you'll also enjoy a spectacular view of the Melbourne. The cafe up there is a little bit touristy, so I suggest you grab a coffee at the local gem Kalorama Kitchen. Surrounded by lush greenery and located halfway up Mt Dandenong, this cute little cafe is a great little place to stop at for refreshments.
Windswept cliffs lead to beautiful Mornington beaches
The Mornington Peninsula is an easy hour's drive from Melbourne. There are plenty of trendy little seaside villages to visit, with Rye, Blairgowrie, Sorrento and Portsea all being popular choices. As well as having an abundance of quiet beaches, the Mornington Peninsular is also home to a lot of fantastic locally grown produce and wine. There are over 50 cellar doors in the area, with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay being the most well-known local wines. I recommend you pay a visit to one of the many boutique hotels or country retreats in the area and make a weekend of it.
If, like me, you don't have air conditioning at home, make a bee line for the air conditioned comfort of Melbourne Museum. At the moment, the Museum has a few really interesting exhibitions to check out. One of my favourites for this summer is coincidentally titled 'Summer Holiday Snaps.' This photo exhibition takes a nostalgic look back on photos of Australian summers between 1900 and 1938. Museum Victoria acquired this collection of photos with the goal of creating 'Australia's Biggest Family Album.' Have a giggle at the conservative bathing suits of the 1920s, and reminisce with the timeless photos of summer fun in Australia. Have a look at the Museum's website for opening hours and admission prices.
Belgian Beer Cafe Bluestone
Belgian Beer Cafe Bluestone's hugely popular beer garden
Nothing says summer like a cold beer. A popular way to spend a hot Sunday afternoon is to make your way to Belgian Beer Cafe Bluestone on St Kilda Road. Located in the grounds of Vision Australia, this beautiful bluestone is made up of a bar and restaurant as well as a huge beer garden. During the summer, the beer garden serves up food from a BBQ, and drinks are available at either of the two outdoor bars. The Belgian Beer Cafe Bluestone's Sunday Sessions featuring different DJs are also really popular, so get there early to grab a table, then sit back and enjoy a cold beer to some great music.