Offshoot laneways that lead to clandestine, quality bars, restaurants and design houses have long been talked about when one discusses the allure of Melbourne; you know, what it is that encapsulates its spirit. But there’s just so much more to lose yourself in here – both within the CBD and around its suburbs. A multicultural habitation surrounds its perimeters and the harmonic fusion of ethnicity is highlighted in the varied cuisine Melbourne consumes. Being a regular fixture on the world’s most liveable city list, put out by Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Survey, has become commonplace for the capital.
Melbourne City Rooftop Honey provides bees (living in hives stored up on rooftops) to many of the regions’ restaurants also. This particular concept is all about the purity of the organic produce, building community spirit and showing real innovation – all traits Melbourne people live by on a daily basis.
Melbourne also has a ritualistic sports adoration of local AFL (Australian Football League) football teams, on top of eminent art galleries that are in abundance and showcase leading works from around the world. The National Gallery of Victoria and Heidi Museum are two of the finest, while theatres roll out the stars nightly. The underground thespian scene is as good as any, and the flourishing hospitality scene just doesn’t quit, with a ‘hot new place’ opening its doors every few weeks.
The coffee culture of Melbourne is thriving. Countless cafes such as Brother Baba Budan on Little Bourke Street or South Melbourne’s St Ali and Dead Man Espresso all specialise in single-origin coffee, grind the product in-house and discuss the art of caffeine with regulars on a first-name basis.
Flinders Street Station is where most locals and itinerants meet to discuss which way the day or night will pan out, but many a time the city leads you in its choose-your-own-adventure-type set-up. Melbourne is a metropolis that never sleeps, and is continually offering up events – cocktail parties, live music performed by exalted locals and the biggest touring names from around the globe who simply can’t get enough of the place and return time and time again to play to adoring fans.
Young designers are constantly thinking, creating and doing. Hawthorn boutique Swoon houses much of the wares of the up-and-comers, including founders Keegan Hunt and Brahman Percra’s own Margery Daw and Elgar&Lyle labels. With gardens aplenty located throughout Melbourne, leafy and lush experiences are best enjoyed at the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Carlton Gardens, which have a backdrop of the 19th century Royal Exhibition Building. The free City Circle tram leads guests on their merry way if a little sightseeing is on the cards, and the water can be found down at Docklands or over towards St Kilda, which has expansive views over Port Phillip Bay.
So there’s clearly plenty to see and do, then? Welcome to Melbourne.
WORLD CLASS DINING
Neil Perry, French chef Jacques Reymond, Vue de monde’s food scholar Shannon Bennett and brothers, Andrew and Matt McConnell are merely some of the incalculable culinary masters who run eateries in Melbourne. While Attica, led by chef Ben Shewry celebrated its 21st placing, and top Australian listing, at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards in 2013.
High-end fashion is ubiquitous in nature in Melbourne: from Little Collins Street’s Marais to Collins Street proper, Chapel Street to Armadale, Toorak and South Yarra and then back to Flinders Lane where contemporary art, craft and design retreat Craft Victoria is situated.
Words: Tom Nolan