I absolutely loved Melbourne. A young, fun and vibrant city, it delivered on all counts and was definitely somewhere that I could see myself quite happily living. Locals described it to me as “the Europe” of Australia {or the closest you were going to get at least}, in light of its diverse offerings, world-class dining, hipster vibes and arty culture. Voted the world’s most liveable city for a 6th consecutive year, I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint!

1. Take the “City Circle” No. 35 Tram Loop

This is such an awesome way to the city, and the best part? It’s FREE. You can hop on, hop off as many times as you like around the loop and go in the opposite direction if you so please. In addition to stopping off at many of Melbourne’s most iconic tourist attractions, including Flinders Street Station & Federation Square, the Old Treasury Building, Parliament House and the Princess Theatre, there is a voice-over which provides history on all of the sights as well as info on all the various suburbs of Melbourne, what they offer and how to get there. I highly recommend this to be at the top of your to-do list as it really helps you get your bearings in the city and scoop some insider tips!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. Visit Flinders Street station + people watch in Federation Square

If you’re not staying in the CBD, hop off the tram/make your way to Flinders Street Station and admire the architecturally beautiful Flinders Street railway station. Just across the road is Federation Square, which is a hub of hustle & bustle with the steps offering the perfect place to just sit and watch the world go by {coffee in hand, of course}.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3. Coffee, coffee, coffee

So, in case you haven’t heard, Australians take their coffee very seriously. I had a coupl’a good brews during my week-long stay but if you want a proper caffeine tour the best places to go are Degraves Lane {known for its European vibe with a hipster spin} and Hardware Lane {which has a more quintessentially Aussie feel}.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

4. Go see the street art in Hosier Lane

A few streets down and you will find Hosier Lane, otherwise known as “graffiti lane”, as it’s filled with mind-blowing street art. As well as being super impressed with some of the artwork on display {can we please take a moment to appreciate the detail in those eyes… done with a spray can!}, I loved the idea that every time you return it will never look the same, since graffiti artists come & go on a daily basis and none of the artwork is protected.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5. Drive the Great Ocean Road

This is an absolute must. The Great Ocean Road offers stunning views of the coastline and, put simply, is an incredible drive. If you’re travelling solo or don’t want to rent a car, I would definitely recommend doing a tour. Not only is it a great way to meet people but it ensures that you see all of the best spots. I went with Teepee Tours and had the best 2-day/1-night trip with an “unconventional” (to put it lightly) but fabulous tour guide; I’d highly recommend Andrew if you’re not uptight and looking for a good time and many laughs, since he definitely doesn’t hold back and acts like one of the group making for a really chilled experience. In addition to getting to know my awesome group really well and having loads of lols along the way, the tour included a surf lesson on the famous Bells Beach alongside the pro’s, wild koala & parrot spotting, picnicking on shark & chips, seeing the renowned Twelve Apostles, visiting a stunning and relatively unknown beach spot at Loch Ard Gorge Beach, cooking up a beaut group BBQ enjoyed with the sunset and, of course, sleeping in THE teepee. {If you do book Teepee Tours, be sure to mention that I recommended you and wangle yourself a discount!}

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
img_8180
img_8190
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
img_3102
Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

 6. Visit Brunswick St in Fitzroy

Fitzroy is where the locals tend to hang out and is Melbourne’s answer to Shoreditch. Quirky vintage stores, diverse bars and restaurants flank the streets and are definitely worth a visit. Whether you’re window-shopping or actual shopping, you could easily spend a few hours here + a very fun evening out. Upon Andrew’s (our Teepee Tour guide’s) recommendation, we (+ him) had a great night out at Baxters Lot, which had awesome live music as well seriously comfy sofas where you could still chill & chat.

 7. Have a big night out on Chapel St at the weekend

I was over the moon to be reunited with my favourite travel buddy Ronnie who I met travelling Vietnam two years ago and, who after rocket-fuelling us with some excellent homemade espresso martinis, took me for a night out on the tiles on Chapel Street. Packed full with young folk and offering all kinds of bars & clubs and varieties of music it is definitely the place to go for a fun night out at the weekend.

8. Wander around the Royal Botanic Gardens

I’m a sucker for a bit of greenery and open space {as you will know from my appreciation of Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay}, and wandering through Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens on a sunny day certainly did not disappoint. Whether you have a keen gardening eye, simply want to laze on the grass with a book or have the perfect picnic, it’s a really peaceful environment to spend an afternoon in. On the flip side, should you wish to put your runners on the infamous “Tan Track” loops around the Gardens and offers the perfect 3.8km walk/run and people-watching opportunity.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

9. Visit the rooftop bars

Having been totally spoilt by the many rooftop bars in Hong Kong, venturing out alone on my first night in the city and stumbling across an awesome rooftop bar was the closest I could feel to “home” at the time. Cookie is awesome with a real relaxed hipster vibe, live music and fake grass upon which to eat their famous burger & chips whilst soaking in the surrounding skyline. The Carlton and Naked in the Sky are a little more “upmarket”, with The Carlton a flashy cocktail bar that has a psychedelic colour scheme and quirky animal decor, and Naked in the Sky a smart rooftop terrace with stunning views of the city, best enjoyed during the day.

10. Take a day trip to St Kilda

This is another must visit in my personal opinion. St Kilda {which I’ve provided a separate guide to here} is totally different to the CBD and has a proper seaside town feel to it, a bit like Brighton in the U.K., and is a lovely (and close!) escape from the city where you can breathe in some real ocean air, go for a run on the beach and do some penguin spotting!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
img_8223
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I hope you enjoyed my guide to Melbourne! I’m planning on doing more of these throughout my 3-month adventure so please let me know if you found it useful or interesting in the comments below so that I know they’re worth my while! Otherwise, have you been to Melbourne? If yes, did you love it as much as me? And where do you stand in the Sydney vs. Melbourne debate? xo