Just recently, I spent 3 nights in Melbourne with my best friend for a girls weekend. It was my first visit to Melbourne but not my first visit to Australia. I know many people that live in Melbourne or have visited and they all say the same thing – Melbourne is a great city.
We stayed at Novotel on Collins, in the heart of Melbourne CBD. Not only was the hotel worthy of it’s 4-star rating, it’s location make it the perfect place to stay when visiting Melbourne. The hotel is walking distance to the Queen Victoria Markets, Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium, the Melbourne Arts Centre and Melbourne Central shopping mall. Right outside the hotel is a tram stop which is great if you want to take advantage of Melbourne’s free tram system within the CBD. We found that everywhere we wanted to visit was within walking distance, but if you don’t feel like walking, the free tram will take you all around the CBD. The tram system in Melbourne is an easy and efficient way to get around. We took the tram to St Kilda (a beach-side suburb located 20 minutes from the city centre). After an initial confusing moment at the ticket station, we soon had our Myki cards and were ready to go. St Kilda is a really cool place to visit and I imagine that the beach is a popular destination in summer. It’s also the home of Luna Park – the amusement park, which celebrated 100 years in 2012, is free to enter (you just pay for the rides) and is an iconic Melbourne attraction (unfortunately, it was closed when we were there!)
Ackland Street is another must visit especially for good food and in particular, the cake shops! The selection of cakes and desserts along the street are amazing. It’s very hard to choose what to have!
Melbourne is famous for it’s great shopping and we definitely experience that! Melbourne Central is a great place to start, with lots of great stores and great dining options – from fast food to sit down restaurants such as American chain TGI Friday’s, which is where we went.
There’s also the Emporium for the shopper with designer tastes – here you can find stores like Chanel, Armani Exchange, Michael Kors, Victoria’s Secret and more. Another great place to visit is H&M, which only recently opened in Melbourne. The retail giant is a great place to find great clothes for a great price.
The Queen Victoria Markets are another must-visit location on a trip to Melbourne. We were lucky enough to be visiting on a Wednesday so were able to visit the Night Markets. The night markets have over 50 food stalls and the food on offer is amazing. Definitely make sure you are hungry when you visit! I had a Cheesesteak, a delicious Sangria and probably the best pavlova I’ve ever had.
Whilst we did spend a lot of time shopping, we did act like tourists and visited Melbourne’s Sea Life Aquarium. Tip for visiting here – buy tickets online as they are cheaper than buying them when you get there, unless your hotel has a discount brochure like ours did (we saved 20%, so the tickets cost us $32 each). The aquarium is really well-done and definitely a must-visit if you have kids. I enjoyed it but I don’t think it was worth the price we paid, especially as we were only there for about an hour.
Overall, I really enjoyed Melbourne. If you are only visiting to do some shopping, 3 nights was more than enough time, however I could easily spend longer in Melbourne and add in some day trips, such as a winery tour or a visit to the Great Ocean Road.