The Queen’s Birthday long weekend is just on the horizon, meaning it’s the perfect time to start planning that well-deserved long weekend away. Stuck for where to go? We’d recommend a trip to Australia’s capital of coffee culture, Melbourne. To help you get started, here are our top picks of things to do in Melbourne, plus our favourite places to eat, drink, and shop during your long weekend get-away.
The Cullen | Prahran
Part of the Art Series Hotel Group, The Cullen is the perfect boutique hotel on Melbourne’s southside for those who like their living quarters with a healthy serving of culture. Decked out in grungy artworks by Sydney artist Adam Cullen, the hotel itself is lavish without being stuffy and is set just off the uber-cool Greville Street, which is great for a spot of lazy shopping. Oh, and did we mention you can find both the Gramercy Bistro and the famous HuTong Dumpling restaurants on site? Winner.
Industry Beans | Fitzroy
Industry Beans is top of our foodie wishlist when it comes to brunch in Melbourne. Operating one of Melbourne’s best coffee roasters from inside its space, the cafe serves up some of the tastiest brunch in Fitzroy as well as incredible coffee, which is also available to order from Sydney online. You won’t just be having the standard avo on toast fare either—with a firm focus on ‘brunch reimagined,’ Industry Beans’ kitchen plates up beautiful creations that combine fresh ingredients, mouth-watering flavours and cutting-edge techniques. Mushrooms with truffle foam? Compressed rose-water infused watermelon? You’d be mad not to eat here!
The Kaleidoscopic Turn at the NGV | Southbank
If, “Ooooh, pretty colours!” is as far as your art knowledge goes, you’ll love The Kaleidoscopic Turn, an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, which showcases the best international art from the gallery’s archives that focuses on colour and light. There’s a great book and giftshop at the gallery too—ideal for picking up postcards that don’t feature stock photos of kangaroos.
Flinders Lane | Melbourne CBD
You’re going to need that extra suitcase, Listers! Flinders Lane plays home to some of Melbourne’s most iconic brands, including Alphaville, Life With Bird, Green With Envy and more. If you’re a luxury fashion lover, make sure you pay a visit to Christine’s, which is hidden in a basement, and if you’re looking for local artisan pieces, get to Craft Victoria’s retail space at the Eastern end of the piece. Fancy getting lost in some above street-level retail therapy? Climb the staircases of the Nicholson building for books, vintage fashion, independent boutiques and imported textiles, and have yourself an adventure!
Saint Crispin | Collingwood
Collingwood restaurant Saint Crispin is described by many a seasoned foodie as the best restaurant in Melbourne. Run by a team of local chefs who met while working at London’s twice Michelin-starred eatery The Square, Saint Crispin’s menu combines cutting-edge cuisine with local ingredients and seasonal delicacies. Pro-tip: If you’re in need of an after-dinner drink, pop upstairs to the hidden cocktail bar Thomas Olive for something strong and expertly mixed.
Rose Street Artists' Market | Fitzroy
Fitzroy is world-renowned for its reputation as a creative hub, and there’s no better place to find the suburb’s crafty folk all in one place than at Rose Street Artists' Market, which runs every Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 4pm. You’ll find everything from textiles to topiary, ceramics to cross-stitch, as well as heaps of incredible jewellery, fashion and home accessories.
Eau De Vie | Melbourne CBD
Melbourne cocktail bars don’t come much more iconic than CBD laneway find, Eau De Vie. Hidden behind a solid door on the dimly lit Malthouse Lane, Eau De Vie is somewhat of an Aladdin’s Cave of liquor and food. Serving up some of the most creative cocktails in the city alongside an epic cheeseboard, this is definitely one for the must-do list, if you can find it that is!
Hair & Beauty…
Meddlers | South Yarra
If you’re in Melbourne for an event and need some hair-spiration, book into Meddlers in South Yarra, where their experts always manage to turn limp strands into glossy celebrity-like tresses. Boasting multiple cutting and colouring stations, a relaxing 'chill out' zone, and cutting edge styling services for both women and men, it’s a one-stop shop to feeling and looking fabulous.
Wine Compass | CBD pick-up
The nearby Mornington Peninsula is home to some amazing wineries and the best way to hit up the best in a day is to book into a Meet The Makers tour, run by boutique tour group Wine Compass. You’ll get the chance to learn some more about the region, as well as trying delicious local food and drink. Thanks to the company’s unique approach, Wine Compass tours are fresh, fun and light-hearted too. You’ll learn your share of food and drink lingo without the stuffy attitude—let’s face it, indulging in a glass of vino should never be hard work!
Looking for more things to do in Melbourne during your stay? Check out our Melbourne Facebook page for more suggestions.
Image credit: Industry Beans