We flew in from Perth on Jetstar, landing at 5.30pm at Sat 17/11. Got a taxi to our hotel, Citadines on Bourke, for about $50. Dinner was booked at Ezard for that evening, we had the 8 course tasting menu with matched wines. This was a stand out event for the whole trip. Leaving the restaurant at 11.30pm I was amazed to see the CBD bustling and alive, everything was open - quite different from Perth!
Sunday morning went for breakfast at Hardware Societe. Great coffee and food, however no menu changes allowed. This was not so good for me as I'm vegan, so ended up just having sourdough fruit toast. We were booked in for a Laneways walking tour with MelTours. Great idea for newcomers and picked up some great places to re-visit in our own time. Had lunch at The Organic Food & Wine Deli on Degraves St, great vegan options. After lunch headed to Princess Park on the tram for the World Vegan Day Festival which was a real treat! That night had we dinner at Cookie on Swanston which was fantastic, great coktails and great food, and really great staff. After dinner headed to Ponyfish Island on the footbridge to Southbank. Not a fancy bar but a nice location, enjoyed the view and fine weather with a cider then headed home for the night. Stopped at Tom Turtle for some ice cream cube treats on the way home!
Monday we started at Gordon's for breakfast on Little Collins, and spent the morning exploring more of the CBD, where we had excellent coffee at Brother Buba Budan on Little Collins, then headed to Southbank for lunch at Waterfront. Nice seafood restaurant, however I had already eaten Lord of the Fries before heading over but the others enjoyed oysters and a nice looking scollop and duck dish. Explored Southgate for a bit then headed back to the hotel for a relax before dinner at Ajisen Ramen on Bourke, just opposite our hotel. Really good ramen! Couldn't help ourselves and had more ice cream cube treats from Tom Turtle after dinner.
Tuesday we grabbed breakfast from the hotel restaurant Heirloom, nothing special as far as hotels go. Walked to the Queen Victoria Markets for a look around. Was impressed with the variety of fresh food and smallgoods, however the outdoor market stalls left a lot to be desired, unless you're on the hunt for junk then you'd be in paradise. From there we walked to the Royal Botanic Gardens, was a nice loooong walk haha. Explored the gardens for an hour and a half or so, then ended up getting a taxi back into the city, for about $13. I had Lord of the Fries again for lunch then we ended up at The Workers Food Room on Little Lonsdale. Walking further down the road we discovered a massive multi level mall/shopping centre full of clothing stores and the like, which I enjoyed more than regualr CBD shopping. I think it was called Melbourne Central, and had a train station on the ground level. That evening we went to Hardware Lane and ate at Grill Steak and Seafood where I had a simple tomato vege pasta, and the others shared a giant seafood platter. Not my first choice of restaurant but they offered us a free entree and bottle of wine, so that got us in the door. After dinner we hunted down Bar Americano in Presgrave Place. This place was super cool - a speakeasy bar right out of the movies and the bartender played the part well. Only licenced for 10 patrons and with no cocktail menu we had to tell him our tastes, then watching him make the cocktails was a lot of fun.
Wednesday we were booked on a Yarra Valley wine tour with A Tour With A Difference. Grabbed a quick breakfast at Heirloom again. We visited Domain Chandon, Rochford Wines, Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company, Sticks Estate Winery, Yerring Station and finally Punt Road Winery and Cider Brewery. Enjoyed some lovely wines, beers and ciders throughout the day, and had a really nice lunch at Hargreave's. It was a long day but thoroughly enjoyable, and would recommend this tour company without a doubt. That evening we went to Noodle Kingdom on Swanston for dinner, you can watch the noodles being made in the window, so you know they're really fresh. Unfortunately there wasn't much for me to eat here - all their soup broths were chicken or beef, but I was more than happy to have Lord of the Fries again afterwards! After dinner we headed to a little jazz club on Goldie Place called Paris Cat. Was $15 for the show and we had a great time. Small, dark and full of character, and the musicians were very talented.
Thursdary monring we jumped on the tram and headed straight for the Prahran Markets. I was gunning for the Mr Nice Guy Cupcakes stall and wasn't dissapointed. Enjoyed super tasty vegan cupcakes for breakfast! Another great show of fresh produce, smallgoods and flowers. We left the markets and walked down Chapel Street then Toorak Road exploring the shops. When we got to Punt Road we jumped on a tram and headed back into the cty, then took another tram to Brunswick Street in Firtzroy. Had a fantastic lunch at Yong Green Food on Brunswick, probably my favourite meal other than Ezard. Walked up and down both sides of Brunswick Street, really enjoyed the shops here more than the CBD. Got another tram back to the hotel for a quick relax, then caught a taxi out to Shakahari on Faraday Street in Carlton for dinner. Afterwards popped across the road to Brunetti's, and I just couldn't believe how busy this place was for a Thursday night! Had some coffee and sorbet before walking home.
Friday moring we ate breakfast at Bar Urban on Bourke, a very busy cafe full of business people. Got on the tram again to go to Smith Street in Collingwood. Very much the same as Brunswick Street but the far end was all outlet shops. We enjoyed a nice lunch at Kerynia, sort of Greek/Cyprus fusion. Then we jumped on another tram and headed out to St Kilda where we walked up and down Acland Street enjoying one or two ice creams along the way. Didn't spend too long here, as we had to get back early for our evening's entertainment - Draculas! Now this was a different experience, and not quite what I was expeciting, but it was lots of fun none the less! A a nice way to spend out last night out in Melbourne.
Saturday morning was rather uneventful, just breakfast at Heirloom again, with a quick walk around to check out some last minute shops, then a taxi to the airport at 11.30am for our flight home.
Well what a week we had in Melbourne! Sorry for such a long post. I had a fantastic time, eating and drinking and exploring. It really is a great city and I would love to live here some day. The top things to take my notice about the city are that everyone is super friendly and helpful. Melbourne has certainly perfected customer service. The city is alive at night, everything is open late, even on weekdays. It's easy to get around, once you work out the trams, and cabs are easily hailed from the side of the road. Get a Myki card first thing from a 7/11 so you're not stuck somewhere without change and unable to ride the tram. Food is relatively cheap, I was actually expecting it to be more expensive. Food comes out super fast after you order, a lot of times we were only waiting 5 or 10 minutes. It was great to just wander the city, eating chocolates and cupcakes everywhere we turned, coffee here and there, a spot of lunch and a drink, watching the world go buy and enjoying the fine weather. Thank you Melbourne :-)