See & Eat: 2 Day Rejuvenation Plan in Melbourne
Having just 2 days in Melbourne (I know...it’s too short!), I was pleasantly surprised at how much my family was able to squeeze into such a short timeframe! These 2 days turned out to be a very rejuvenating city experience after spending about 5 days on the road in Victoria’s coastal towns. Read more about the coastal drive here.
Tourism Australia conducted a survey, which found that 66% of Singaporeans think you can’t visit Australia for a long weekend. A long weekend would probably include the Friday and/or the Monday? So, judging by how much we were able to accomplish in just 2 days, I’d say a 3- to 4-day getaway in Melbourne is very doable, especially since many of the attractions are close to one another.
Tip: Have a list of things to see and eat on hand that are close to one another, this way, you can pick and choose things along the way as you deem fit.
There’s plenty to do in the CBD area alone, so booking our stay right in the CBD allowed us to waste no time getting a good dose of this beautiful city. In addition, the tram rides didn’t cost us anything, because all that we did was within the Free Tram Zone. Score! Here’s a list of what we were able to SEE and EAT in just 2 days!
1. Film YourOwn Matrix Bullet Time at ACMI
ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image), located at Federation Square, is Australia's national museum of film, video games, digital culture and art. Entry is free, for the Screen Worlds showcase and exhibitions in Gallery 2. We joined the 11am tour of Screen Worlds, and had an entertaining time learning about the history of film and digital art. After the tour, be sure to try the different hands-on digital installations like Matrix Bullet Time, shadow displays, retro video games and many more. Overall a wonderful whimsical place for children, as well as those who are young at heart.
Opening Hours: Museum, 10am—5pm (daily); Cinemas, until late (daily)
Address: Federation Square, Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Free Daily Tours: Screen Worlds: 11am & 2.30pm (daily)
2. Appreciate Art at the State Library of Victoria
The State Library of Victoria is known as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, and I was not disappointed stepping in. Its combined library, museum and gallery houses a collection of two million books as well as 350,000 photographs, manuscripts, maps and newspapers, with a special focus on material from Victoria. Head up to the Dome Galleries on Level 4 and 5 for the ‘World of the Book’ and ‘The Changing Face of Victoria’ exhibitions. Then, make sure you get up to Level 6 for a nice top-down view of the stunning La Trobe Reading Room that is 34.75 metres in height and octagonal in shape. Also, the paintings in the Cowen Gallery are a must-see. Dating back to 1840, these artworks depict Melbourne’s colourful history as a hub for ex-convicts as well as the city’s urbanisation journey.
Opening Hours: Library, 10am–9pm (daily); Dome Galleries, Fri–Wed 10am–6pm, Thu 10am–9pm
Address: 328 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Free Tours: World of the book 11.30am (daily); Changing Face of Victoria 2pm (daily); Dome to Catacomb 1.30pm (weekly), booking required; Welcome to the Library 11am (daily)
3. Admire the Street Art Laneways
Melbourne is known for its street art. In the CBD alone, there are a number of places you can find gorgeous murals like Duckboard Place, Hosier Lane, Centre Place, AC/DC Lane, Caledonian Lane, Croft Alley, Rankins Lane, and Stevenson Lane, just to name a few. If you’re pressed for time, I’d recommend heading down to Flinders Lane to be able to view a sizeable collection of these graffiti masterpieces in one place.
4. Get Lost in Queen Victoria Market
Spanning a whopping 7 hectares, the Queen Victoria Market has all you can expect to find at a market and more. Besides cute knick knacks, art pieces and clothes, being a temperate country, it’s not surprising that the fruits and vegetables are large, fresh and cheap! But, what got me going was the cheese selection that you could sample and buy at the delicatessen section. I bought some hard cheese, placed it in the zip-lock bag, and checked it in. I had gorgeous cheese for days after I came back to sunny Singapore. (You’re welcome!)
Also, another thing I feel that’s quite worth the hassle to bring back are the herb and spice mixes from Gewürzhaus Herb & Spice Merchants. They offer savoury spice blends like Bavarian Roast Chicken Spice to sweet Christmas Cake and Pudding Spice. Of course, feel free to buy some yummy munchies from the ample food stalls that you can indulge in as you explore the massive market. We went with hot jam donuts and coffee. Pick your poison!
Opening Hours: Tue & Thu, 6am–2pm; Fri, 6am–5pm; Sat 6am–3pm; Sun 9am–4pm; Closed Mon & Wed
Address: Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
5. Join the Cult of Lune Croissanterie
We’ve long heard about the Lune Croissanterie serving croissants to-die-for and generating a cult following after its classic beurre was named as one of the finest in the world in the New York Times. So, while we were in Melbourne, we had to make a pitstop at the famous outfit in the CBD at Collins Street. We expected to wait in line for a bit, but was happy to be served within 5 minutes. We ordered the pain au chocolat, the ham and cheese and almond croissants. They were just the right amount of buttery, flakey, fluffy and chewy. Coupled with the hot chocolate, this delectable snack makes you go for seconds. We have most willingly joined the cult, and would definitely visit again.
Opening Hours: Mon–Fri, 7am–3pm
Address: Shop 16/161 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
6. Have a Hearty Steak at Meat Maiden
This was probably where I had the best grilled steak of my life (so far)! Situated in the basement of The Georges Building, it looks unassuming until you walk down a flight of metal stairs and through a heavy door into a rustic bar restaurant. They specialise in grilled and smoked meats, dry-aged steaks and craft beers. Their burnt ends starter was a crispy brisket heaven, pork gruyère croquettes were soft and juicy. I had ordered the special steak for the night, which was a kobe beef steak with a Beef Marble Score of 8+. At that time, I had no idea what that score meant, but when I started digging in, the meat had just the right amount of bite and fat that melted in your mouth. Incredible! The Kobe steak was about 75AUD for 300 grams. Not too expensive for this level of quality. This place is worth the trip, money and calories!
Opening Hours: Mon–Sat, 12–3pm; 5–10pm
Address: 195 Little Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
7. Have Brunch at The Hardware Societe
There is so many amazing brunch places in Melbourne, that you must have brunch food at least once when you are here. I had gone to The Hardware Societe before and had a really tasty Croque Madame and a splendid hot chocolate. On my recommendation, my family agreed to come here with me. This time, we ordered the Baked Eggs, Fried Brioche and Lobster Benedict. The food was as good as I had remembered, especially the Baked Eggs and the Lobster Benedict. We waited for about 20 minutes for a table but the food was worth the wait.
Opening Hours: Mon–Fri, 7.30am–3pm; Thu–Fri, 8am–3pm
Address: 123 Hardware St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
8. Indulge in a Sweet Treat at Zumbo Patisserie
After watching celebrity pâtissier and chef Adriano Zumbo wow the contestants with his over-the-top dessert creations on television programmes like Masterchef and Zumbo’s Just Desserts, we made it a point to get to the Zumbo Patisserie located in the Melbourne CBD. Thankfully, it was situated in Emporium Melbourne, right smack in a major shopping area. This patisserie had no seating available, so we packed his signature V8 Vanilla Cake, macarons and Markytime Lamington. The macarons were a little sweet for my liking, but the V8, with its 8 layers of vanilla in different textures, was an absolute delight! The Markytime Lamington also had amazing texture and flavour to it. If you like desserts, you are in for a treat!
Opening Hours: Sat–Wed, 10am–7pm; Thu–Fri, 10am–9pm
Address: Emporium Melbourne, Level One/287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
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