Most Melbourne locals will tell you that 48 hours is definitely not enough time to see all of the city’s top attractions. But if two days is all you’ve got, then use our handy guide to make it the best weekend possible in Australia’s coffee, culinary, and sporting capital.
A sustainable Melbourne stay
A fantastic boutique hotel option in Melbourne’s CBD is Alto Hotel on Bourke, which is a leader of the green pack. Not only was Alto the first Australian hotel to receive the prestigious EarthCheck Gold Certification, but it’s also Australia’s first carbon neutral hotel. It runs 100% on renewable energy, and has its own herb garden and rooftop beehive. You can enjoy the fruits of this labour at the onsite restaurant. Alto’s accommodation options include queen rooms, as well as studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments.
Top Melbourne eats
Now, Melbourne is known for its award-winning coffee. Start your morning right with a delicious cup from one of these leading CBD cafes: Dukes Coffee Roasters, Everyday Midtown and Industry Beans Lt. Collins. For a sweet treat, head to Fitzroy where locals and visitors alike line up daily for a flaky bite of pastry from Lune Croissanterie.
For dinner, choose from one of Melbourne’s many innovative restaurants. Vue de Monde is a part of Shannon Bennett’s Melbourne foodie empire and is located on the iconic Rialto Building’s 55th floor. It does a seasonal chef tasting menu that focuses on unique Australian delicacies, such as mud crab with native pesto and barbecued baby corn with cured kangaroo. A lot of the organic produce used is grown at the company’s Burnham Beeches property in Sherbrooke Forest as well. For a nightcap, look no further than its neighbour, Lui Bar, which is known for its contemporary cocktail list.
Alternatively, visit the award-winning Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. You know his name, but what you may not know is that Dinner’s menu is inspired by Australian and British history. Some of the dishes are based off of 13th-century recipes. It will surely be a Dinner you won’t forget. Finally, Taxi Kitchen is an eco-friendly modern Australian restaurant located in Federation Square. With 180-degree Melbourne views, Taxi Kitchen only uses free-range meat and poultry products, has an exclusive Victoria-only red and white wine list, and a lot of its sustainable produce is picked from Fed Square’s community garden.
Shopping in Melbourne
Hit the shops in Melbourne without feeling guilty. Kuwaii is a local clothing brand that focuses on creating timeless pieces you’ll wear forever. They produce their clothing locally, with 50% of their fabric from sustainable or transparent sources. Vintage lovers should make a beeline for Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. The street’s top vintage boutiques include Hunter Gatherer, Vintage Sole and Out of the Closet.
For lovers of books, music and film, visit one of Readings’ seven outlets in Melbourne. Readings is an award-winning and independent Australian retailer.
Get lost in a laneway
Melbourne is home to a maze of laneways, where you will find boutiques, coffee shops and rooftop bars. One of the most popular laneways is Degraves Street, where a visit to Il Papiro is mandatory. The fanciest arcade award goes to Block Arcade, which was built in the 1890s. Step back in time and indulge at the arcade’s Hopetoun Tea Rooms.
Check out some street art
Don’t miss street art spotting in one of the world’s street art capitals either. Check out this official City of Melbourne street art map for the best Instagram opportunities. Art lovers should also pay a visit to NGV, which is Australia’s largest and most-visited art museum. General entry into NGV is free, but there are also paid exhibitions. The art gallery is home to 75,000 works of art, including pieces by Rembrandt and Monet. If contemporary Australian art is more your style, visit Heide Museum of Modern Art and its sculpture garden.
Take a stroll
If you happen to visit Melbourne when the sun is shining, take advantage and pound the pavement. Walk along the Yarra River from the CBD to Docklands; stopping for a drink at Ponyfish Island or Arbory along the way. Admire the cool waters of Port Phillip Bay and walk beside the beach from Port Melbourne to St Kilda. You could also do the loop around Albert Park Lake or head into the Royal Botanic Garden. The best way to see Melbourne is definitely by foot, so don’t forget to pack your comfiest sneakers.
Watch a game of footy
No matter which team you support, there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of a packed Melbourne sports stadium. The AFL fans here are a lively bunch, and intense rivalries exist between the local teams, which typically draw massive crowds and interest regardless of both teams’ positions on the ladder. If you’re in town during the Autumn or winter months, grab a ticket and show your support at one of the blockbuster games between the Big-4 Victorian clubs.
Getting around Melbourne
We’ve discussed how good walking in Melbourne is, but the city does have the best public transport system in Australia as well, with buses, trains and trams available. Make the most of the Free Tram Zone in the CBD to get from A to B, or from, you know, Federation Square to Queen Victoria Market.
Bookmark this guide for a guaranteed fun weekend in Melbourne, year-round.