25 March 2013

Suitcase. Melbourne: my top 5

I have been to Melbourne too many times to count in my life (honestly, it would have to be in the hundreds) so I thought it was about time I shared some of my top picks for one of my favourite cities in the world. Over the years I have seen and done some fabulous things in this culture-rich city and never go more than a few months at a time without another trip to visit family (and do some much-needed shopping!).

Here are my Top 5 picks for Melbourne’s CBD:

  1. Spend a day at the Flemington horse races, after all, Melbourne is home to ‘the race that stops the nation’. There are plenty of carnivals on all year round if you can’t make it to the Melbourne Cup and they all provide a great opportunity for a day of fashion, fillies and plenty of bubbles. Plus you can shop for your outfit in Australia’s top fashion city; try Bourke Street Mall, Chapel Street (of course!), Bridge Road for a bargain or Chadstone for an indoor mall.

  1. If you’re in the city you’ve got to make time to wander the alleys and laneways. These little backstreets are an iconic part of Melbourne culture and are home to a veritable treasure trove of bars, restaurants, galleries and boutiques. I recommend DeGreaves Street (especially for breakfast, see my review here), Celestial Lane and Hosier Lane (home to some of the city’s most fabulous street art). There’s a handy app named ‘City Maps & Walks’ that will give you a great self-guided walking tour of Melbourne as well as 470 other cities.

  1. Victoria isn’t called the Garden State for nothing. On your next trip make sure you make some time to wander the many parks and gardens of the city. Some of my favourites include the Fitzroy Gardens, the Botanic Gardens (the tan track is great for running) and Albert Park, home of the Melbourne Grand Prix.

  1. If you’re a new-comer to Melbourne then I highly recommend making it up to the top of the Eureka Tower in Southbank, especially on a clear day. The views are panoramically breathtaking and really do provide a great vantage point for the city. You can see through the CBD, up to Carlton and the zoo, the East Melbourne sporting complex including the MCG and Rod Laver Arena, south to St Kilda and the ocean and over towards the West-Gate Bridge.

  1. Finally, make sure you explore the coastline (this activity is probably best on a warmer day as the wind off the water can get pretty chilly). Start your day with coffee and pastries from one of Acland Street’s many bakeries in St Kilda then just keep following the water. There are plenty of cafĂ©’s, shops and photo opportunities and Elwood and Brighton have some beautiful beachfront real estate. If you’re willing to stray outside the city, then continuing along this direction, all the way to the Mornington Peninsular, is a fabulous trip. This area of Melbourne is like Victoria’s version of the Hampton’s, check out Mount Martha and Sorrento for some incredible beach-front property.

Photo by Melbourne Tourism.

P.S. Pearls is very excited to have a guest post on Mademoiselle Slimalicious today. MS is a great foodie blog providing all the best in European recipes by Cyndie, a French expat. I shared with her my recipe for Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli which you’ll find here. Cyndie has also recently founded a fantastic little company called Europe in a Box where a monthly subscription provides you with a hand-delivered box full of authentic European goodies including food, drinks and keep-sakes. Such a lovely idea!