Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Melbourne Travel Like a Local

Melbourne could be described as quirky, charismatic, charming and sophisticated.  It has a European feel.  There is art oozing out of every nook and her creative inhabitants really rock.  Different in a good way, would be an organically honest description this city's vibe.  I was shown around by two locals this past weekend, really the only way to see a city right and  today we are going to deal with this must see Australian destination in lists.

The Best Ice Cream

This is Jock's at 83 Victoria Rd Albert Park.  It is a Melbourne institution and you can tell how popular it is, by all the people lining the pavement licking their cones.   It was very yummy.  I stuck with one scoop to avoid 'a moment on the lips and a lifetime on the hips' outcome. But it may be hard to stop at one.

The Funkiest Bar

Siglo Bar @ 161 Spring Street is way groovy.  It's between The Windsor Hotel and The Princess Theatre.  It's behind a beautifully fashioned vintage wooden door.  You have to look hard not to miss it, which only ads to its intrigue.  When you find it, walk up the stairs to level 2.  Its' like a little bit of Paris smack bang in the middle of Melbourne.  With great views of Parliament House and other historic buildings, serving tapas and fabulous local wines.  It's outdoors and well heated in Winter.

The Restaurants

This is Coda Restaurant in the Basement at 141 Flinders Lane. I didn't eat here, but it was packed and comes highly recommended.  It's cuisine is modern Australian with an Asian bent

We did eat at Movida and it was gorgeous Spanish inspired tapas.  Interesting dishes, fabulous service and buzzing with locals.  1 Hossier Lane Melbourne.  There is a more affordable option in the adjoining bar, known as Movida Nextdoor.  Bookings for the restaurant are well in advance, so try the bar if you are travelling to Melbourne on a whim.
Australian Traveller has described it as ' Probably the Best Tapas I've had in Australia'

The Best Markets

These are known as the Magnolia Street Markets and are a pop up event of carefully selected artisans, selling beautiful bespoke items ranging from clothing, jewellery, toys and gourmet food.  I was lucky enough to be in town for the St Kilda version of these ab fab markets.  Go here for the next pop up event.  It will be totally worth it.  Have a look at what I bought.

A beautiful resin rose ring, in the big is beautiful theme, from Keep Resin. Here's her FB page  

This ring I adore and have been supporting it on my finger ever since I bought it.  It's already started a few conversations and I've only been wearing it for 2 days.

I also bought this gorgeous Crayon Chick
crocheted garland for the Beach House Brat's Bedroom.  It's so different and that is why I found these markets just so enchanting.  

Find this  garland and many more crocheted delights here

We only had time for a bite on he run. The food was delish and very reasonably priced.

The styling of this market by the Magnolia Square girls was something else.  White and vintage......oh yeah it was good.

Exercise in Melbourne

Take a turn around Albert Park, home of the Melbourne Grand Prix and the Korowa Rowing Club.

Jog along the beach at St Kilda, take a dip in the sea, or if you prefer a more structured swim, try the St Kilda Baths.

Take a walk along the promenade at St Kilda.  There are plenty of coffee stop options along the way.

Kite surfing is huge when the wind is on.  I finally got a shot of this guy flying through the air.

And after you can exercise no more, vege out in the gorgeous afternoon sun.

Taking a walk at night is also the done thing in Melbourne.  I was a little apprehesive upon entering Fitzroy Gardens on dusk, but my local guide, Marie, assured me it was fine and there were lots of people doing the same. I wouldn't be so happy doing it  in Sydney, but it seemed quite OK here in Melbourne.

It was so safe, we even walked home along the Yarra River amongst the well lit street sculptures.  

A Fabulous Breakky at Jerry's 

So Jerry's Milkbar is a Melbourne icon.  You know you are onto something when you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and I mean that in the nicest way, and the place is rockin'.  This place serves old style milkshakes and even has a lolly counter.  I don't think 5 cents would fill a bag these days, but if you are at all nostalgic for the 60's and 70's, you will love this joint.  The building is circa 1915 and Jerry's C.1964.  It's famous for it's all day breakfasts, which by all reports are terrific.  I had lunch.....choice is limited, but it was lovely.  Find Jerry's at 345 Barkly St, Elwood.

The Best Vintage Shopping

This store, Empire Vintage, is full of eclectic pieces and for someone like me, it is to die for.  Not cheap, but beautiful furniture and bric a brac, coupled with some fabulous vintage clothing, complete the fabulous shopping experience, that is this store.

Located @ 63 Cardigan Place, Albert Park, it is in a lovely little ribbon shopping development.  My local guide and friend Amanda, said the seafood buffet, at the Albert Park Hotel, just down the road, is pretty good for value as well.  Take tram #1 from Swanston Street Station, which takes you right to the centre of Albert Park.  It's that easy.

There's also plenty of vintage shopping to be had in St Kilda.  At the intersection of Grey and Barkly Streets, one block back from St Kilda Road, there are several stand out vintage stores to keep you busy.  My favs were Scout House......largely with an industrial bent and The Bitch is Back, with some gorgeous 20th Century retro pieces.

So if there's not enough to keep you busy here, have a look at the story I did on Williamstown when I was in Melbourne last Christmas.  Just a short ferry ride from Melbourne central at South Bank.

I adore this city and I hope I have highlighted for you, a few of the local hangouts you might not find on the standard tourist brochure.  Go well my friends.
Today I am linking with


  1. Oh my, your post has made me want to visit ... and I live here! Seeing your home as a tourist destination is fabulous, thanks so much for 'introducing' me! I'm glad you like your new garland, and thanks also for the mention.

  2. I'm so glad that you posted this - reading your post brought back so many memories!

    For a while, I worked on the corner of Spring Street & Collins Street, right across from the Treasury Gardens, which lead to the Fitzroy Gardens. My dad's favorite place to eat lunch when I lived there was the Hilton Hotel on the Fitzroy Gardens.

    St. Kilda is my old stomping ground from my mid 20's, and for a while I lived in Elwood!

    I miss milk bars! I remember going to the local milk bar and getting lollies by the bag - I can still remember when you could get 4 lollies for a cent. :) - Yes, I'm aging myself!!!

    Great post, Carolyn!

  3. Oh I loved this post! I've not been to Melbourne but my husband keeps promising me a shopping trip there, we'll see if it happens! ;) xo K

  4. you fitted a lot into your weekend. empire vintage must have been great! love the photo through the archway.

  5. Love this post! Am bookmarking it for our next trip to Melbourne. xx

  6. So what did you buy, apart from the ring? Nic

    1. I bought the crocheted garland and lunch. Amanda my girlfriend bought a beautiful stripped woollen scarf.

      Oh and i also got some fantastic sauces to baste meat, which I haven't used yet.


  7. How fabulous to get some insider tips on Melbourne. We visit family there regularly so will be including some of your suggestions in my next trip, thanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks for the virtual tour of Melbourne. Loved the pop-up shops/ There's some fantastic architecture there.

  9. Oh my this takes my back... I lived in Melbourne about 10 years ago and loved it! You nust try Bluetrain cafe on Southbank, it has the BEST lemon meringue pie ever! To this day I miss it still... Thanx for sharing and for bringing back memories :)

  10. I wanna go to Melbourne!!!! It looks like you had the most fabulous time. Nothing like being shown around my the locals. By the way, you have disappeared from my reader again, so I think Google is up it's tricks again. Xxx

  11. I think I would love to have that little doll, Carolyn. Melbourne looks lovely. The girls would enjoy visiting there, as they love to travel.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  12. I was at Siglo's on Thursday night. The only common aspect of our respective trips, I think.


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