Never mind if you’ve been to or lived in Melbourne. This guide, filled with must-see attractions, hipster cafe spots and fab hotel picks, will make you wish you were there right now
Voted most livable city by The Economist for the fourth year running, Melbourne is a city of charming juxtapositions – cosmopolitan-chic, yet green (you’re never too far from jaw-dropping scenery and nature) at the same time. With so much to do and see in the Victorian city (The cafes! The indie shops and markets! The farms!), it proved difficult for us put together a handy, best-of guide without exploding our bandwidth. So, we turned to our friends at Lightfoot Travel to give us a hand – after all, they are the experts. If you’re planning a holiday Down Under, consider giving these cool recommendations a go!
Great Ocean Road
Take a few days to drive out to the stunning Great Ocean Road. Though the 12 Apostles and London Bridge limestone stacks are the most famed sights on this road trip, there are a plethora of other superb landscapes that are not to be missed.
For a spot of adventure, try ziplining in the Otway National Park. Not only give you a good rush of adrenaline, it also offer a great vantage point to admire the scenery of rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, rock platforms and windswept heathland. Then, head over to Bell’s Beach and admire the surfers taking on the swells. Avid surfers might want to organise their trip to coincide with the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competitions, which will see the crème de la crème of the surfing world battle it out in a dramatic backdrop. If you’re keen on breaking a sweat, hike the spectacular Grampians Mountain Range, a 167,000-hectare park noteworthy for its superb trails and Aboriginal art sites.
Go on a road trip out to the under-rated Mornington Peninsula, just over an hour from the city. Its vineyards and olive groves give the place a Mediterranean flavor, and historic country houses add to the charm. Be spontaneous and enjoy of driving around its country roads, stopping on a whim at a vineyard that tickles your fancy.
The penguins may be the stars of the show on Philip Island, but you won’t be able to resist squealing at Aussie’s other native critters such as wallabies, kangaroos, emus, wombats, and koalas at Maru Koala Park en route to your final destination. Seal Rocks’ backdrop of staggering cliffs is home to one of the largest colonies of Australian fur seals – and that certainly makes for a dramatic, picture-perfect sight. End off the day trip at dusk, when thousands of little penguins arrive ashore to come home after a big day of fishing at sea.
Movida has been an institution in Melbourne for the last decade or so. With its humble beginnings in Hosier Lane, the tapas establishment has now expanded across the city, but our favourite is still in Melbourne’s edgy laneways on Bourke Street. Every item on the menu is fresh and full of flavour, it’s almost hard to pick a favourite from the list!
Obviously, your trip to the cultural city simply isn’t complete without a taste of its famous and oh-so wonderful coffees. In fact, you’ll be hardpressed to find a local café in Melbourne that serves bad brews. Serious connoisseurs, we suggest hitting up Seven Seeds, which continually wins awards for its brews and prides itself on a selection of carefully sourced blends.
If you’re on the hunt for awesome tipples, make Bar Americano your destination. Awarded Timeout 2014’s Best Cocktail Bar in Melbourne, this tiny establishment, inspired by American Prohibition era of speakeasies, is uncompromising in its tip-top cocktail-making standards. Step in for its quick ‘Hanky Panky’ or a ‘Bobby Burn’.
Tussie Mussie Vineyard
Love the sound of the Mornington Peninsula? Extend your time there in Tussie Mussie Vineyard Retreat, a beautiful property surrounded by lovely manicured gardens and, of course, a vineyard. Not only does the space ooze charm a la Provence, it can be reserved exclusively for 14 guests, so bring your friends and/ or family for a grand time. Foodies take note: you are never too far away from a local market!
Located in South Yarra, The Lyall perfectly captures the essence of its stylish address, a stone’s throw away from the city’s hottest cosmopolitan cafes, art galleries and international shops. Each of the 40 bedrooms are equipped with a kitchen and small balcony to make you feel right at home instantly.
Lake House Daylesford
To unwind, there’s nothing quite like the serene shores of Lake Daylesford, just an hour and a half away from Melbourne’s city centre. This tranquil retreat is set within six acres of lush gardens, and within close proximity to the Wombat State Forest – great for those in need of fresh country air! Lake House also boasts a renowned restaurant from where guests can indulge in delectable cuisine or a glass of wine from the 800-odd reference list. Check into the spa for superb treatments among the treetops. Swoon!
This article was brought to you by Lightfoot Travel, a Singapore-based luxury tour operator offering expert travel advice and inspiration, tailor-made itineraries and full booking services.