Our cultured, beautiful, exquisite Melbourne.
Once named the most liveable city in the world, Melbourne residents have endured absolutely the longest and arguably the toughest lockdown in the world.
Our dynamic city has been devoid of the hustle and bustle of trams, restaurants, events, museums, art galleries and celebrations for so, so long.
But we're back, baby!
Lockdown is lifted and the Melbourne is again the place to be.
If you’re local and overwhelmed by what to do or you're thinking of visiting but not sure where to start, read on.
1. See the city from above at Eureka Skydeck
This isn’t one we’ve done because we’re too chicken, but if you can stand 88 floors above Melbourne in a see through box looking straight down on the city without throwing up, then this one’s for you!
Eureka Skydeck’s Edge is a glass box that extends three metres out from the 88th floor of Eureka Tower. As you step onto the Edge, the glass cracks (not really, just joking), the glass sounds as though it cracks and you look down more than 250m to the Yarra River and Melbourne below.
2. Head underground to Campbell Arcade
Melbourne’s city train stations are packed with shops and food halls but our favourite is Campbell Arcade o n the way into Flinders St station, a subterranean secret dating to 1956. Part-thoroughfare and part-shopping precinct home to a record shop, jewellery and women's clothing stores, a unisex hairdresser, and a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop, Campbell Arcade will time-warp you back 60 years.
If you want to experience what 1950’s Melbourne was like, Campbell Arcade with its salmon-pink tiled walls, black granite columns and art deco signage that has remained largely unchanged will take you there.
3. The Culture
Melbourne has a world-renowned cultural scene; the National Gallery of Victoria is one of Australia’s greatest art galleries and regularly brings global exhibitions to our country.
If art’s your thing, The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art is another Melbourne drawcard.
And for outdoor art lovers, spotting the latest street art is a major Melbourne pastime. Iconic spots like AC/DC Lane, Duckboard Place and Hosier Lane are just as vibrant as they were before lockdown. Or take a self-guided stroll to see all the new Flash Forward artworks popping up around the city.
4. Stroll through Melbourne’s endless inner city gardens
Topping the list is Melbourne’s beloved Royal Botanic Gardens – or The Tan as it’s affectionately known.Great for walking or jogging around, you can take the kids, dogs on a lead and enjoy the cafe or a picnic.
With the Conservatory, Tudor Village and Fairies' Tree, Fitzroy Gardens in East Melbourne comes a close second. Swinging by KereKere Green for a takeaway picnic hamper is the perfect way to spend a lazy weekend afternoon.
We love our trees and City of Melbourne has taken this one step further by allowing people to adopt a tree. It doesn’t cost anything to adopt but as trees have also been lonely during Melbourne’s lockdown, it is ok to send your tree a love letter. Love letters to your tree is actually a thing.
With a 5km limit on travel, the river’s been out of bounds for most of us for months. When the time is right, take a stroll beside the Yarra at sunset and capture that golden hour glow. Stop and gaze downriver from Princes Bridge to see the sun sparkle and glitter off the water. Or stand on the Arts Centre end of the bridge to look back into the city.
5. Just do stuff
As we’ve suggested in another article for Sydney’s locals and visitors,we should just do anything other than staying within the confines or our home or our suburb.
For those of us in metro Melbourne there may be a bit of anxiety about unlocking so go outdoors, enjoy a change of scenery and do some, or all, of the following to calm your nerves and get you back into the swing of things:
- spend a bit of $$ and have lunch or dinner at a swish restaurant with a view of our glorious city – while you’re at Eureka Tower book a window table for a dusk dinner; ride the elevator to the 55th floor of the Rialto building for lunch or dinner or a late night cocktail at Vue de Monde.
- spend a few hours away from home this weekend. Our favourite warm Sunday afternoon eateries right next to the Yarra are:
- Taxi Kitchen at Federation Square
- Arbory Bar next to Flinders St Station
- La Camera Italian at Southbank – yum!
- Bangpop Thai – at South Wharf – yum!
- Cargo and Berth both at Docklands and
- for a drink and something light to eat, the unique Ponyfish Island, right under the pedestrian bridge across the Yarra. It’s a great way to see the river and Yarra ferries at the top of Bourke street are two bars that are must visits in Melbourne
- our weekday lunchtime pick is always Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar, Melbourne’s Italian 1950’s iconic institution with THE BEST spaghetti with Napoli sauce we’ve eaten outside Italy and
- Grossi’s Cellar Bar, a couple of doors down the hill from Pellegrini’s, is where we’ve spent many warm after work al fresco ‘wine downs’ with friends and colleagues.
- we all need a laugh – a big one for those of us in metro Melbourne – and comedy clubs are the best places to find a good old belly laugh to make the world feel right again.
- support live music! Our thanks to all the creatives who have lived through an excruciatingly tough 18 months. Go to a type of music event you’d never usually consider, give yourself a mental break by seeing a local band you’ve missed, give some money to a busker and tell our city’s musicians how much we love them.
- What’s that? You want to watch a movie? Are you serious? Haven’t you watched enough? If you want to share the joy of cinema with anyone other than the people you live with, grab an outdoor movie.
- get yourself locked in an escape room – that’s got to be more fun than the real lockdown!
- go on a walking tour around some of Melbourne’s historic laneways or arcades, chocolate shops and cafes. Nights tours get a bit spooky with historical crime tours, ghost tours, Melbourne Cemetery and old Melbourne Gaol.
- go to a cabaret – if you haven’t been to a cabaret in more than three years, just go!
- definitely Melbourne and definitely for adults only, check out a burlesque show. It’s kind of like a cabaret but cheekier. Try a night at the Butterfly Club not just for the show but also for the kitsch and cocktails. We love it.
- get a ticket to a musical or show – and hurry! Hamilton comes to Melbourne in 2022 and as a city of musical lovers, get in quick for your ticket.
- If you haven’t been to a museum, art gallery, concert, theatre or the Melbourne Observatory in at least three years, then you need to go right now.
- treat yourself to some luxury and sleep in a bed that isn’t your own for the first time in ages. Hotels in particular have great specials at the moment as the CBD wakes up.
And one big tip known only to locals… Go for a gin and tonic at Naked for Satan in Fitzroy. It’s actually called that and if you don’t like any of the hundreds of gins available, go anyway as the roof top has fab views of Melbourne. Google the reason for this frightening yet strangely glamorous name.
Do any, some, or all of these and you’ll remember how wonderful it is to be back in our Melbourne and how lucky we are to live where we do.
Remember though that COVID-19 is alive and dangerous and can still make you and others ill regardless of your vaccination status.
Please follow the existing restrictions in place, such as mask wearing, hand sanitising and social distancing, and please respect the people whose job it is to remind you to adhere to the rules.
We’re out, Melbourne!
Residents of no other city in the world have as much reason to celebrate.
Let's do it.