From Airport (MEL) to Melbourne Hotel CBD
Travel time: 35-45 minutes from Melbourne Airport to Melbourne Hotel CBD
Cost: Around $55 depending on traffic.
The fares are in Australian dollars and are based on non-peak traffic conditions. The taxi fare excludes any bridge or road tolls.
Royal Botanic Gardens
From the air, these stunning, 94-acre gardens evoke a giant green lung in the middle of the city. Drawing nearly two million visitors annually, they’re considered one of the finest examples of Victorian-era landscaping in the world. Here you’ll find global plantings and a range of Australian flora. Mini ecosystems, a herb garden and an Indigenous rainforest are set amid vast, picnic-friendly lawns and black-swan-spotted ponds.
Housed in a vast, brutally beautiful, bunker-like building, the international branch of NGV has an expansive collection, from ancient artefacts to the cutting edge. Regular blockbuster exhibitions (prices vary) draw crowds, and there are free 50-minute highlight tours on the hour from 11am to 2pm daily. PSA: it’s a rite of passage to touch the water wall at the entrance.
Queen Victoria Market
With more than 600 traders, ‘Vic Market’ is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere. Visit early morning to shop for fresh produce, accepting tasters and dodging the booming cries of spruiking stall holders. The wonderful deli hall with art-deco features is lined with everything from soft cheeses and Polish sausages to Greek dips and kangaroo biltong. Check if the Wednesday Summer Night Market or Winter Night Market are on for hawker food, bars, entertainment and shopping.
There’s a large collection of native animals in natural bush settings, a platypus aquarium, fur seals, plenty of reptiles and an entire faux–Southeast Asian jungle village built around the elephant enclosures. In some cases walkways pass through the enclosures: you can stroll through some of the aviaries and enter a tropical hothouse filled with colourful butterflies. See if you can pass through Lemur Island without an internal soundtrack of ‘I like to move it, move it’ turning over in your mind.
Melbourne Cricket Ground
With a capacity of 100,000 people, the ‘G’ is one of the world’s great sporting venues, hosting cricket in summer and AFL (Australian Football League, Aussie rules or ‘footy’) in winter – for many Australians it’s hallowed ground. Make it to a game if you can, otherwise there are non-match-day tours that take you through the stands, media and coaches’ areas, change rooms and members’ lounges. The MCG houses the National Sports Museum. A two-night outdoor cinema on the field happens in February.
Whether they love or hate the architecture, Melburnians embrace Federation Sq as a place to meet, celebrate, protest, watch major sporting events or simply hang out on deckchairs. Occupying a prominent city block, ‘Fed Square’ is far from square: its undulating and patterned forecourt is paved with 460,000 hand-laid cobblestones from the Kimberley region in WA, with sight lines to important landmarks. Its buildings are clad in a fractal-patterned reptilian skin. Check the website to see what’s on.
Melbourne’s most celebrated laneway for street art, Hosier Lane’s cobbled length draws camera-wielding crowds and wannabe Instagram models posing in front of edgy graffiti, stencils and art installations (watch them from the comfort of the window seats at Bar Tini). Subject matter runs to the mostly political and countercultural, spiced with irreverent humour. Be sure to also see Rutledge Lane, which horseshoes around Hosier.
Royal Exhibition Building
The building and gardens host everything from craft fairs to car shows. While you’re there, Carlton Gardens is a stunning place to picnic or rest by the grand fountain, and if visiting in March, you can attend the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, the largest in the southern hemisphere, attracting more than 100,000 people over five days.
This museum provides a grand sweep of Victoria’s natural and cultural histories, incorporating dinosaur skeletons, a 600-species-strong taxidermy hall, 3D volcano and an open-air forest atrium of Victorian flora. There’s a children’s gallery, and the excellent Bunjilaka on the ground floor presents Indigenous Australian history told through objects and Aboriginal voices with state-of-the-art technology. There’s also an IMAX cinema.
For more than 150 years this section of central Melbourne, now flanked by five traditional arches, has been the focal point for the city’s Chinese community. It remains a vibrant neighbourhood of historic buildings filled with Chinese and other restaurants. A must-visit for foodies, come here for yum cha (dim sum) or to explore the attendant laneways for late-night dumplings and cocktails. Some restaurants stay open until the wee hours. Chinatown also hosts the city’s Chinese New Year celebrations.
Brunetti began trading at the Faraday street location in 1985. The Angelé family acquired the business in 1991 and transformed the lovely café that it was into a truly authentic Roman Pasticceria.
An overload for the senses, Chin Chin is quintessentially Australian with a South-East Asian injection.
Max on Hardware
Dine al fresco right in the heart of Melbourne’s iconic Hardware Lane with family and friends, while experiencing quality food and beers. From our signature hand-crafted pizzas to our succulent steaks and burgers, we offer a fantastic fare of authentic Australian-Italian cuisine.
Panda HotPot serves authentic Sichuan Hot Pot by sourcing raw materials from its origin and recruiting chefs with extensive passion and experience in the Hot Pot industry. An exclusive Sichuan cultural dining experience is further encapsulated through the intricately hand-crafted decor and Live Sichuan-Opera Shows
Not quite a cafe, not quite a restaurant, we offer innovative fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner, alongside specialty coffee. Executive Chef Paul Bongiovanni’s menu features superb dishes and plates characterised by imaginative pairings made from fresh, local produce. We use only the best specialty coffee with an exclusive blend catering to Higher Ground and sibling venues Darling Cafe, Top Paddock, The Kettle Black, Dundas & Faussett and Bambu Asian Eating House.
The Quarter cafe is a casual dining space that sits nestled amongst the hubbub that is Degraves St. The 80 seats fill quickly as patrons flock to sample the Mediterranean fair on offer. The European ambiance and black and white euro art lures unsuspecting passersby in for a closer look…. the strong aroma of freshly ground coffee is to strong to ignore. The Quarter Cafe is the kind of space that comes to mind when you think,” Melbourne”,” Cafe culture.”