Nothing defines Melbourne quite like the food scene. But in between heavenly bouts of feasting, this vibrant city boasts a wealth of things to do and see.
Whether you're seeking the renowned galleries, high-end shopping, collection of sprawling markets or the abundance of beautiful gardens, Melbourne offers something to quench every desire.
Head down early Friday evening, just in time for cocktails on the Yarra, and prepare yourself for a jam-packed weekend. Here are our top picks for the ultimate getaway.
This is an extensive list—but the below picks should not to be missed.
*Chin Chin on Flinders Lane is inspired by the deep dining halls of Bangkok, and takes casual street-style Asian food to impressive new heights. The cocktail list is extremely imaginative, giving an Asian twist to the well-loved classics.
*One of Australia's most famed taquerias, Mamasita serves up Mexican street food with style and finesse. We highly recommend the elotes (chargrilled corn) and huitlacoche quesadilla!
*Two Birds One Stone is great post a Chapel Street shopping spree. Featuring all the breakfast favourites, the food is crafted with absolute attention to detail.
*Crazy for coffee—don't miss Auction Rooms, Monk Bodhi Dharma, Seven Seeds, Sensory Lab or St ALi.
*For lovers of cheese and wine, Milk The Cow in St Kilda is a late night fromagerie offering fabulous cheese and wine tasting flights (the selection of cheeses is 100 plus!).
*At Kid Boston drinks are mixed with mastery, where inspired cocktails include the Earl Grey Martini and the Rhubarb Bitter. Paired with a smooth soundtrack and the sweet aromas of the open kitchen, this cosy wine bar is a great spot to unwind.
*The CBD's maze of cobbled laneways and arcades should be your first point of call when in Melbourne. Awash with bustling eateries, one-off shops and hidden little bars, you never know what's around the corner. Highlights include Degraves Street, The Block Arcade, The GPO building and the revamped Art Nouveau building Curtin House.
*Head to High Street Armadale for a selection of the finest shops including: ACNE Studio, Camilla and Marc, Lee Mathews, and for quirky gifs, Papyrus Design and Lululoft.
*The Rose St. Artists' Market offers a smorgasbord of street culture and locally independent designers. Here you'll find a vast range of handmade products, showcasing everything from accessories to homewares, art and collectables. The markets are set just off Brunswick Street, so make a day of it and wander through this unique precinct of shops, cafes and boutique galleries.
*While the sand doesn't quite live up to that of Sydney's, the 82 colourful bathing boxes on Brighton Beach are intrinsically Melbourne, and demand a seaside stroll. Close by, St Kilda is home to the iconic Luna Park and the Acland Street cake shops—where a decadent selection of desserts await.
*SO:ME Space at South Melbourne Market is a showcase of emerging designers from around the country, featuring pop-up artists as well as permanent labels such as Mr Simple, Creatures of Comfort and Bakerlite. While at the Market, be sure to wander the isles of fresh produce, cheese, cured meats and tasty baked goods.
*Check out what's on at ACMI, a unique Melbourne institution, which celebrates and explores the moving image in all its forms, be it film, television or digital culture.
*Melbourne has an abundance of fine hotels to suit every taste. Our top picks include: The Langham for classic luxury, the Art Series Hotels (The Cullen, The Olsen and The Blackman) for a splash of sophistication; or the historic Hotel Windsor for those that prefer to be in the heart of the city.
Image credit: Seven Seeds