How to Spend a 3-Day Long Weekend in Melbourne

3/06/2019 2:40 PM

Melbourne is Australia’s quiet achiever. The capital city is an urban playground that’s gritty and pretty at once. It has a thriving arts, culture and nightlife scene, and a bunch of inner-city suburbs that are full of character. Thanks to its cosmopolitan yet accessible lifestyle, it was ranked the world's most liveable city’ seven years in a row - which was no easy feat! From the city to the coast, there’s something for every type of traveller. Naturally, we’ve tailored our three-day Melbourne itinerary to photographers:

Day 1:

Wander through Queen Victoria Market

Start your day at Queen Victoria Market, a foodie paradise. The market is a landmark that dates back to the late 1800s, and is home to over 700 stalls fresh produce, deli goods, clothes and bags. Grab a coffee from Market Lane Coffee and a spinach and feta borek from The Borek Shop, and chat to the locals. Many of the stalls are family-owned, and some of the backstories are incredible.

Drop by Flinders Street Station

Hop on the train and head to Melbourne’s CBD and cultural heart. The first stop: Flinders Street Station, which stands out with its green domed roof and yellow walls. Visit Victoria says the historic building juxtaposes with the new LED lights, and it’s a hive of activity. There’s even an old ballroom on the third floor! Factor in the passing cars and traffic, and it’s the perfect spot for a long exposure, so bring a wide angle lens.

Check out Federation Square

After the train station, cross the road to Federation Square. The square functions like a town centre, and the people-watching is next to none. To capture it all, it’s worth carrying a travel tripod. While you’re there, pop into the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). It has cutting-edge art, culture and film exhibitions year-round. If you’re interested in Aboriginal art, the Ian Potter Centre and Koorie Heritage Trust are musts.

Go to Flinders Lane for lunch

Hungry? Walk over to nearby Flinders Lane and sit down to lunch at Chin Chin, an amazing Asian fusion restaurant. It’s popular and doesn’t take reservations, so you may have to wait a bit – but the chic cocktail bar will make the time fly by.

Pop into the State Library of Victoria

The State Library flung open its doors in 1856, and is one of the most beautiful buildings in Australia. Its star attraction (and Instagram sensation) is the La Trobe Reading Room. Visit Victoria confirms the domed room is magnificent, and there’s a viewing platform of level six that offers panoramic views below. The library also has a games room, in case you need an escape on a rainy day.

Get lost in Melbourne’s laneways

Melbourne is famous for its cobbled laneways – or urban art galleries. The walls are covered in graffiti and colourful murals, and they’re ever-evolving, so snap your favourite artworks before they disappear. The best-known laneway is Hosier Lane (which is directly opposite Federation Square). While anyone can take a paintbrush to Melbourne’s other laneways, the street artists who paint Hosier Lane need a special permit. Translation: They’re very talented! Don’t limit yourself to Hosier Lane, though. Union Lane, Tattersalls Lane and AC/DC Lane are also explosions of colour.

Pro Tip: Our friends at Hidden City Secrets recommend Croft Alley, too. They say if you follow the laneway to the end, you’ll stumble across The Croft Institute, a speakeasy that’s decorated like a doctor’s practice.

Tour the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

Melbourne is the sporting capital of the country – and the MCG is a shrine to all things sport. It’s the biggest sports stadium in Australia, and the 10th largest in the world. In summer, the MCG hosts cricket games, and in wintertime, the focus switches to Australian Rules Football (AFL). The Australian Museum of Sport is inside the stadium and well worth a visit.

Grab dinner in Chinatown

Melbourne has a huge Chinese community, and Chinatown will transport you to the motherland with bright lanterns and the smell of delicious food wafting through the air. To get there, make your way to Little Bourke Street, and walk through one of the five opulent gates. Any restaurant you visit is guaranteed to be good, but you can’t go wrong with dim sum at Crystal Jade. Post-dinner, get a taste of Melbourne’s nightlife at Lily Blacks or Berlin Bar.


Day 2:

Spend the morning in Fitzroy

Fitzroy is known as Melbourne’s quirkiest suburb, and there’s plenty to see. Fuel up with breakfast at Mario’s (a Melbourne institution), and then stroll Brunswick Street, Gertrude Street and Smith Street, all of which are lined with eclectic boutiques, op-shops, cafes and street art. According to Hidden City Secrets, when you’re in Fitzroy, one of the best things to do is the Rose Street Artists Market. It shines the spotlight on local designers and artisans, and there are stalls selling everything from clothes and jewellery to homewares and skincare.

Stop for lunch on Brunswick Street

Next to Rose Street, you’ll find Brunswick Street, a bustling strip of bars and restaurants. For lunch, Hidden City Secrets recommends Rice Paper Scissors, which serves up South East Asian food with a side of colourful murals and paintings. If you’re looking for sweeping views of the city skyline, head to Naked for Satan, one of the most well-known rooftop bars in Melbourne. The tapas menu is pretty good, too.

Visit the National Gallery of Victoria

Get a cultural fix at the National Gallery of Victoria. The gallery houses works by big-name artists like Van Gogh, and regularly hosts internationally acclaimed exhibitions. It’s free to see the permanent collection, and you can usually enter the ticketed exhibitions for $30 or less. To avoid the crowds, we suggest going on a weekday.

 

Take in the view from the top at Eureka Tower

Dress up for the evening and catch the sunset from Eureka Tower, which offers a birds-eye view over Melbourne. Book your tickets in advance – the sunset sessions often sell out. After that, make your way to Southbank for dinner. With views overlooking the Yarra River and city, the area is as picturesque as it gets. We like Waterfront for seafood, La Camera Southgate for Italian, and Miyako for teppanyaki.

Sip on a nightcap at Melbourne’s best bars

After dinner, wind down with a glass of wine at The Rum Diary, Siglo, Goldilocks, Cookie or The Palmz. The team at Crumpler, who have been proud Melbouranians since the mid-90s, also recommend QT Hotel’s rooftop bar for an excellent espresso martini. If you want to dance, go to Fall from Grace.


Day 3:

Venture to St Kilda

Another day, another suburb to explore! Rise, shine and try to catch the sunrise over Port Phillip Bay from St Kilda Pier. The pier itself is historic and photogenic, and boasts beautiful views over the city. After that, eat cake for breakfast courtesy of Monarch Cakes, and enjoy a lazy morning breathing in the salty sea air, strolling the esplanade, and going for a swim at St Kilda Beach. The area is also home to Luna Park, which has the oldest operating wooden roller coaster in the world. If you’re lucky enough to be there on a Sunday, check out the Esplanade Market. Before jetting off, grab lunch at an old-school yet trendy pub like The Prince of Wales Hotel.

Pro Tip: Staying in St Kilda? On the beach, there’s a rock outcrop that’s home to penguins, and you’ll see them waddling their way across the sand at dusk.

Snap the iconic beach boxes at Brighton Beach

You’ve probably seen those pictures of bright beach boxes on Instagram. They’re in Brighton Beach, and you can get there by hopping on the Sandringham train line from St Kilda. There are 82 quirky houses dotted along the shore, and they’re all owned by locals. While they’re small, they’re a major status symbol – and many cost more than $300,000! If you’re peckish, pop into Brighton Soul on Church Street for a bite.

Admire the Royal Botanic Gardens

Pack some picnic supplies in Crumpler’s Extrovert canvas backpack, and make your way to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Though they’re just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the CBD, the gardens feel like a world away. They’re popular among landscape photographers too. Before leaving, pay your respects at the Shrine of Remembrance, a monument to the soldiers who served Australia during the two World Wars. The balcony of the memorial is a beautiful spot to catch the sunset.

End your trip on the water

On your last night, treat yourself to a lavish meal at Long Chim or Cutler & Co, and then catch a cab to Arbory Afloat. The floating bar is open during the summer and spring, and offers an unbeatable view of the city from the water.

Capture Melbourne in all its glory

In Melbourne, there’s a photo opp around every corner. As a travel photographer, the biggest challenge is finding fresh ways to capture much-loved settings and scenes. The best way to make sure you’re prepared for any situation is to travel with solid camera gear. If you need a camera or tripod, or a new lens to add to your collection, the team at your local Ted’s Cameras store can steer you in the right direction.

 

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