Friday 30 August 2019

Inside Guide to Melbourne (Part 3: History & 'Hoods)

Continuing my guide to Melbourne's hotspots, taken from a downloadable guide I once wrote which is no longer available in that format (don't worry, I've updated it). Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Visit Victoria

Day 2 – Indulge in History and Hipster Hoods

Though it’s one of Australia’s youngest cities, Melbourne wears its colonial history on its sleeve. After having breakfast in the cool industrial-themed laneway café Krimper, walk to the Queen Victoria Market to admire this great survivor of the 19th century.

A sprawling collection of stalls selling food, clothing and many other items, the Queen Vic Market still a favourite place to shop for both locals and visitors. The bratwurst stand is particularly famous, for its tasty sausages served in bread rolls. For a great coffee here, drop into Market Lane Coffee.

Find it:
Krimper (20 Guildford Ln,
Queen Victoria Market (65 Victoria St,
Market Lane Coffee (at both QVM's Dairy Hall and 83 Victoria St,‎)

Photo courtesy of Visit Victoria

Walk to the spacious Carlton Gardens and take in the grand Royal Exhibition Building with its distinctive dome and spectacular fountain in front.

A World Heritage listed structure, this is one of the few buildings surviving from the golden age of world expositions. It also hosted the opening of Australia’s first national Parliament in 1901, a few months after six British colonies federated to create the new nation.

Behind it, the excellent Melbourne Museum is a vast modern building which houses a number of mini-museums including the excellent Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

Have lunch on nearby Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, a hip stretch of art galleries and restaurants. Gabriel does great coffee and café food here, and there's fine pizza at Ladro.

For a final dose of the past, visit the Old Melbourne Gaol, a grim former prison which was the main jail in central Melbourne in the late 19th century. Its most well-known inmate was the notorious bushranger Ned Kelly, executed here by hanging in 1880.

Find it:
Royal Exhibition Building (9 Nicholson St,
Melbourne Museum (11 Nicholson St,‎)
Gabriel (187 Gertrude St,
Ladro (224 Gertrude St,
Old Melbourne Gaol (377 Russell St,

Head out to hip Northcote

Northcote is a suburb lying a few kilometres northeast of the city centre, and is rarely visited by tourists. As the place where the hipsters fled when the inner-city area became too expensive, it’s a wonderful district of retro-chic shopfronts, cafes, restaurants and live music venues.

Getting here via tram or train from the downtown, treat yourself to a meal at Estelle, a relaxed restaurant with excellent contemporary dishes. Alternatively, keep it simple with a classy pizza at Pizza Meine Liebe.

After eating, check out a live band at the Northcote Social Club, the suburb’s most famous live entertainment venue. After that, end the evening with a drink at the atmospheric Wesley Anne, a bar in a former church.

Inside tip: Many operators in Melbourne’s lively food truck scene hang out in the Northcote area at some point each week. There's always several of them stationed at Northcote's food truck hub Welcome to Thornbury.

Find it:
Estelle (243 High St,
Pizza Meine Liebe (231 High St,
Northcote Social Club (301 High St,
Wesley Anne (250 High St,
Welcome to Thornbury (520 High St,

Next week... Crossing the river! (gasp)

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