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Melbourne Australia's coffee capital

By Ellie Schneider

With Melbourne's combination of world-class dining, art galleries, homegrown fashion and a packed sports calendar, it's no surprise Victoria's capital is regarded as one of the world’s most livable cities. Follow this guide to discover its hidden charms both ancient and modern.

Map of Melbourne, Victoria

Wander through Melbourne's laneways

The centre of Melbourne is threaded with cobbled laneways, which have become a mecca for coffee shops, cafés and unique shopping boutiques. Start at Flinders Street station, wander down Degraves Street, and explore the city’s beautiful arcades and street art around every corner - including works from England-based graffiti artist Banksy. Head down Collins Street to visit the exquisite Block Arcade then get your caffeine hit at pocket-sized Brother Baba Budan or Patricia, both on Little Bourke Street.

Get a taste of Melbourne's best coffee

For Melburnians, coffee is more than just an essential part of their morning routine. It's become so deeply embedded in the culture that it has truly evolved into an art form. Home to thousands of cafes and some of the world's best baristas, you'll never be far away from a sophisticated cup of single origin coffee. Australia's signature coffee is the flat white (similar to a latte), but you'll also find cold-drip, pour over, siphon and even Instagram-worthy green matcha, blue algae and tumeric infused lattes. Head to ST. ALi in South Melbourne, Seven Seeds in Carlton or Industry Beans in Fitzroy to see for yourself just how serious coffee can be. Find our top pick of Melbourne's coffee shops here.

Shop like a local

Melbourne is renowned for its markets, which sell everything from local produce to arts and crafts and vintage fashion. Get amongst the hustle and bustle of the Queen Victoria Markets, the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. You can take a bus from there to the South Melbourne Market, and enjoy dim sim or street-style Mexican food under its historic awnings. On weekends, pick up handmade pieces from emerging Australian designers at the Rose St. Artists’ Market in Fitzroy, just a quick tram ride from the city centre.

Dine at some of Melbourne's most famous restaurants

Book well in advance for Attica, one of the world’s 50 best restaurants, and tuck into Ben Shewry’s unique tasting menu. Melbourne’s city laneways are home to popular restaurants, such as Tonka, hidden down the graffiti-covered Duckboard Place, and elegant Flower Drum on Market Lane. Nearby, TV chef George Colombaris plates up modern Greek food at his flagship restaurant The Press Club and souvas at his string of casual restaurants Jimmy Grants. For the tastiest cheap eats, don't miss Hannoi Hannah's delicious Vietnamese street food or Fonda Mexican for tacos and burritos. Both pack out quickly. 

Sip cocktails at a rooftop bar

Enjoy drinks with a view at one of Melbourne’s many rooftop bars. Popping up across the city centre, and the bohemian neighbourhoods of Fitzroy and Carlton, these high-altitude bars enable you to watch the sun set with a drink in hand. Local favourites include the spectacular rooftop terrace at Naked in the Sky in Fitzroy, Rooftop Bar gracing Curtin House in the city centre (which transforms into a rooftop cinema in summer), and, nearby, the very unique Madame Brussels

Discover why Melbourne is regarded as the world's sporting capital

Melbourne is Australia’s sports capital and its venues are legendary. Join the fun at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the Australian Football League from March until September, or the international cricket matches from November until February. Go trackside at Flemington for the excitement of the Melbourne Cup, held on the first Tuesday in November, or be exhilarated by the Australian Grand Prix, when Albert Park is transformed into a high-speed racetrack. Find out more about Melbourne’s sports events.

Indulge at one of Melbourne's famed bakeries 

Hop on a tram from Bourke Street in the city centre to the seaside suburb of St Kilda. Here, you can stroll the foreshore to the St Kilda Pier, home to a colony of little penguins or take a ride on the roller coaster at historic Luna Park. Afterwards enjoy sweets at one of Acland Street’s many continental cake shops, such as the kugelhopf (brioche cake swirled with melted chocolate) at Monarch Cakes or a slice of baked cheesecake at Europa Cake Shop. If you're in Fitzroy, line up for what is often lauded as the world's best croissant (it's worth the wait!) from Lune Croissanterie and marvel at the state-of-the-art Lune Lab where diners can sample the latest experimental flavours. If you're looking for something vegan and allergy-friendly, head to Mister Nice Guy's Bake Shop, not far from Flemington Race Course.

Explore Melbourne's vibrant arts and culture

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is Australia’s oldest gallery (founded in 1861) and hosts an exciting range of international and local exhibitions and events, and a collection of more than 70,000 works. Visit the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) to immerse yourself in the world of film, television and digital culture or take a taxi to the Heide Museum of Modern Art at Bulleen for an insight into Australian artists. In the evening, catch a performance at one of Melbourne's many theatres, which host everything from musicals to comedy and cabaret. Or if you're in the mood for live music, swing past Bird's Basement jazz club in the centre of Melbourne for gigs from local and international musicians. You can also discover Aboriginal culture in Melbourne through art. Head to Melbourne Museum’s Bunjilaka Aboriginal Culture Centre and the Aboriginal-owned Koorie Heritage Trust.

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