Hailed as the world’s most liveable city and often considered the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne has so much to offer. From their hipster cafes to graffiti art adorning every little corner of the street, below is a list of awesome things you can consider on your next trip to Melbourne, especially if it is your first:
1. Satisfy Your Korean Food Cravings
Singaporeans love our food so it is not surprising that the first on the list is something food related. But why Korean food? Korean food is not as prevalent in Singapore as it is in Melbourne – walk along most of the city streets, you’ll definitely find at least a few Korean restaurants to satisfy your food cravings. Be it Korean fried chicken, kimchi pancakes or the ever popular army stew, you’re bound to find something to whet your appetite. For starters, here are a few restaurants to kickstart your Korean food journey in Melbourne:
GAMI Chicken & Beer
Fried chicken need not necessarily be associated with your usual fast food outlets. GAMI serves up their signature deep fried chicken, with the options of coating it in sweet chilli or soy sauce. Other than fried chicken, you can also expect other alternatives like corn cheese and the traditional kimchi and seafood pancakes.
Location: 100 Lt. Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
A popular spot amongst students, Jan Gung might not be as easy to locate since it is not right smack in the city centre. However, the extra effort put into locating it will pay off once the food is served. If you are a cheese fanatic, Jang Gun offers famous dishes like their cheese egg roll and cheese buldak which are pretty decent. Non cheese lovers can also opt to try their Kimchi pancake and seafood stew. Pair these dishes up with some flavoured soju or makgeoli (rice wine) and you are good to go!
Location: 3/21 Healeys Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Donwoori Korean BBQ
If you are more of KBBQ fan, then Donwoori would be the perfect fit. Situated in North Melbourne, just opposite the famous Queen Victoria Market, Donwoori certainly promises to be worth the time and money spent there. Their friendly staff, who try to do the cutting and cooking for you, coupled with their generous portions of meat and decent cuts, proves that it is one of the better places to go for KBBQ in Melbourne. A tip is to make a reservation before heading over because the restaurant is quite small so it can get packed quickly.
Location: 276 Victoria St, North Melbourne VIC 3051, Australia
2. State Library Of Victoria
Situated right in the heart of the CBD, the State Library of Victoria not only has a library of books for visitors to browse, but also allows them to enjoy featured exhibitions and free guided tours. Known for being Melbourne’s cultural landmark and icon, the highlight of its architecture design is the fact that it is symmetrical and dates back to the 19th century, making it Australia’s oldest library. Upon a closer look, you might notice some neoclassical architectural details such as the La Trobe Reading Room. Book lovers and architectural junkies, or if you are someone who simply wants to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life to relax and read, the state library is the place for you.
Location: 328 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
3. Drive Along The Great Ocean Road
A must do, especially if you are visiting Melbourne for the first time, the impressive coastal Great Ocean Road drive promises to be one the best road trips you have ever taken. Beginning at the seaside town of Torquay, not only will you be passing by the 12 Apostles, but you will also get to drive along the Southern Ocean and have pit stops at places like the Loch and Gorge, Lorne and the Gibson steps. The ever famous 12 apostles continues to be the main tourist attraction along the Great Ocean Road. Formed by the constant erosion of limestone cliffs over 20 million years ago, only 8 apostles remain. However, these apostles are backed up by towering and stunning cliffs up to 70 metres high. If you are not one to drive, fret not. There are day tours that bring you along the Great Ocean Road.
4. Visit The University Of Melbourne Campus
Did you know that the underground car park in Melbourne University (very dimly lit and has a kind of creepy atmosphere to it) was featured in the original Mad Max (1979) movie? Arguably the best University in Melbourne, the University Of Melbourne (Parkville campus) offers free guided tours every Monday and Friday, at 10AM. It is an hour led activity by the University’s very own student volunteers, where you will get to better immerse yourself in the history and major landmarks of the campus. Landmarks such as the Old Arts Clock Tower and the 1888 building to the newly built Arts West building showcases the University’s eclectic mix of old and new architectural designs. If you are unable to make it for the guided tours, there is always an option for you to do a self-guided campus tour, simply by downloading the guided tour map.
Location: Parkville VIC 3010, Australia
5. Take A Walk At The Royal Botanical Gardens
If you are a horticultural junkie, or if you are simply looking for some peace and tranquility, you may consider taking a stroll along the Royal Botanic Gardens. Be awed by the breath taking landscapes and serene lakes, featuring over 10,000 plant species that differ across seasons, from over the world. If you feel up to it, you may even opt to pack some food and have a picnic with a group of friends.
Location: Birdwood Ave, South Yarra VIC 3141, Australia
6. Go Café Hopping
Have you truly visited Melbourne if you haven’t stepped into a few of their Instagram-worthy cafes? Known for having the best cafes in the world and their insane coffee culture, below is a list of cafes to visit:
The Hardware Société
Tucked neatly in Hardware Lane, The Hardware Société is a French-Spanish café, with a little Australian twist, in terms of the food and drinks they serve. Most flock here for breakfast and you can expect to endure a 20-30 minute wait before getting a seat in the humble looking but crazily busy café. Once seated, be sure to get their Baked eggs (AUD $19), Croque Madame (AUD $21) and Lobster Benedict (AUD $26). Top your food off with a cup of coffee of your choice and you’ll be doing something quintessentially Australian – having a hearty and satisfying brunch whilst chilling in a café.
Location: 118 to 120 and 123 Hardware St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Higher Ground Melbourne
Located just across the Southern Cross station, this café is another must go when you’re visiting Melbourne. You’ll most likely have seen pictures of Ricotta Hotcakes topped with seeds, grains, fruits and flower for that added aesthetic purpose. This is the place to go if you are on the search for one of the best Ricotta Hotcakes (AUD $21) Melbourne has to offer. The soft and fluffy pancakes coupled with maple syrup drizzled over it packs just the perfect punch! A tip is to share the dish with someone as it can be very filling.
Location: 650 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
If you prefer to travel and explore the neighboring suburbs like Collingwood, do consider visiting AU79. The first thing that you’ll notice is the sheer size of the café – it’s actually the biggest café in Melbourne, with a seating capacity of over 200. The aesthetics of the café is amazing. It is home to a wide range of plants (just like your typical botanical gardens) and features an in-house roastery, bakery and patisserie. They prepare everything from scratch – roasting their own beans, baking their own bread and making their own butter. Their menu changes quite often so be sure to ask the waiter for recommendations if you’re unsure of what to have there!
Location: 27/29 Nicholson St, Abbotsford VIC 3067, Australia
7. Watch A Musical
For fans of the arts scene who wish to experience watching a musical in an iconic theatre full of history and heritage, this is the activity for you! Melbourne’s theatre scene has so much to offer, and even comparable with that of London’s west end – from blockbuster musicals like the Wizard of Oz and Aladdin, to late night cabaret shows, you’ll most likely find something that will pique your interest. Check out what’s on in melbourne to find out more about plays happening now and upcoming plays.
With an exhaustive list of things to cover in Melbourne, you’re all set for your holiday. However, here’s the catch: Melbourne has a relatively high cost of living. You can expect to spend about $1,100 if you travel to Melbourne for a week, and eating out is costly as well. Be prepared to spend anything from $12 – $25 for a meal out, which you would most likely be doing unless you have the time and effort to go grocery shopping and cook at your accommodation.
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