When temperatures start to drop, Melburnians migrate to Europe like a stampede of Wildebeests. A stampede of Wildebeests with a particular fondness for Aperol Spritz, pasta and cut off tees.
If your poor ass can’t afford the arm and kidney it costs to fly to Europe (‘cause you’ve been too busy fighting virtual zombies, making rainbow cheese toasties and booking Harry Potter-inspired brunches), we’ve got a solution for you.
Here are all the things to do in Melbourne if you’re too broke to be in Europe.
1. Satisfy Your European Sweet Tooth At Austro
A melting pot of Eastern European-inspired baked treats, Austro is new a Viennese-inspired coffee and bakehouse, nestled just up the road from South Melbourne market.
Feast your eyes (and stomach) on latticed Linzertorte, poppy seed kugel cakes, Austrian Bienenstich or stewed and spiced apple strudel. Look for Park Street, or just follow the smell of cinnamon and dark cherries.
2. Dance Like There’s Zero Chance Of Running Into Your Ex
Pretend you’re in Berlin by starting pre’s at midnight and heading to the club at 3am.
While we don’t have any venues that can stand toe-to-toe with Berghain, we also have very few clubs that will refuse to let you in after a three-hour queue. Compromise. Try The Carlton Bar, Laundry Bar or Revolver for a boogie.
3. Pretend You’re In Warmer Weather With A Rooftop Pool
Holy crapballs, if I have to see another photo of European summer while I stand in my dark kitchen, eating soggy Weetbix and scrolling through Instagram, I’m going to take up day drinking.
Make a beeline to the Adelphi Hotel’s refurbished rooftop pool instead, which is heated to a toasty 25-degrees all year round. You can even order bar snacks and drinks from Om Nom, the elegant Willy Wonka-style dessert bar downstairs.
4. Share Some Belgian Mussels Coated In Blue Cheese Sauce
A Camberwell-based French-Belgium bistro, Franco-Belge’s Moules Frites is the only thing on the menu you should have your eyes on.
Think: a big bowl of fresh steaming mussels slathered in Blue Cheese Sauce, plus a side of fries. Who needs Europe when there are blue cheese-covered mussels in Melbourne?
5. Pick-up Some Classic Italian Gelato
No need to fly 24-hours for a serve of Nutella gelato—Pidapipo is home to artisanal-style, Italian gelato. Their gelato-creations are founded in lessons taught at the Carpigiani Gelato University (yes it’s a thing) in Bologna, so you know you’re getting the legit stuff. Head in for flavours including fior di latte, salted caramel, or bacio.
6. Invest In Small-Batch Wines From European Wine Store
With just over 600 wines hailing from France, Portugal, Italy, Spain and Austria, you can pick up wines produced from small wineries at the European Wine Store.
7. Buy Your Weight In Cheese
No Europe trip is complete without a soul-warming, heart-healing dose of cheese.
Along with farmhouse and artisan cheeses from Australia, the Spring Street Grocer offers a wide range of French-hailing cheeses. Don’t pair them with anything but a fresh baguette and wine.
8. Catch Europe’s Best Up ‘N Coming Talent at MIFF
Hosting a huge line-up of Australia’s and Europe’s most promising up ‘n coming talent, the Melbourne International Film Festival is a feast of storytelling, culture and art.
Expect directors from Greece, Argentina, Poland, Iceland and Sweden to name a few.
9. Warm Up In A Turkish Hammam Chamber
The Mansion Hotel & Spa is home to a traditional, elegantly tiled Turkish Hammam chamber.
A private steam room credited for hydrating the skin and exfoliating properties, essential oils and body mud is also provided to complete the experience.
If you are heading overseas, get further travel inspo here.
Image credit: Austro Bakery | Michelle Jarni