Born to love Melbourne
Melbourne is a city I’ve been to a couple of times prior to my recent long-haul backpacking trip, however family duties overshadowed any chance of wild running around the city, but this all changed when I was backpacking- I was able to decadently enjoy/drink/eat/shop (on a small scale), generally revel in all of Melbourne’s delights. And there was a hell of a lot!
It’s a massive challenge to try and cram in all that Melbourne has to offer in an article, but it is without a doubt my favourite city in the world. It’s an eclectic place with a diverse multi-cultural energy that spreads from the non-stop pulse of the city centre, to the surrounding suburbs which all varies in style. Make it your No 1 destination if you ever venture over to Australia as I can guarantee there’s something for everyone!
The city centre is easily navigable with its New York grid-like street system and its unbelievably accessible with trams running everywhere. People watching and the architecture makes it a great city to sit at a coffee shop and watch life bustle past, but my love for the city was the gob-smacking intricate graffiti that decorates alley ways that snake through the city. Some are even rumoured to be protected and are ‘forbidden’ to be covered… not exactly sure how that’s enforced but it’s so impressive that local photographers often use the city walls as their object of interest. The allies also held hidden gems of watering holes which are more distinctive than the usual characterless city-slicker monotonous bars. Unique bars, such as Chinatown’s ‘Croft’s Institute’ (www.thecroftinstitute.net) which is decked out like a scientists laboratory, are tucked out the way and is decked out like a scientists laboratory. Just don’t order the ‘strongest shot they have’ or you too will soon want the world to stop spinning and have an odd craving for chicken nuggets and a fast taxi home…
However, I have to pay homage to my ultimate favourite suburb, which lies a mere 10min tram ride from the city centre: FITZROY. If you are a fan of vintage clothing and retro furniture, then Fitzroy’s Brunswick Street (www.brunswickstreet.com.au) and Smith Street will suck you right in with its famous bohemian streak. Again, people-watching is fantastic as vintage, alternative and arty styles populate the streets giving inspiration at every corner, and the beautiful Vistorian era buildings mixed with warehouses and cottages (and awesome wall art) add to the scenery.
I’m a big fan of brunches, I find poached eggs instant recovery food, but there are too many restaurants/ bars/ cafes to get around. Dammit I tried! Da Vincenzo (corner of Brunswick Street and Johnston Street) never failed me with immaculate lattes and stodgy roast vegetable foccacinos which can defeat even the hungriest hungover zombie. Immediately next door is the last of the three original cafes of Fitzroy: Mario’s. People actually queue and wait for a table during the hectic Sunday brunch rush hour, and for good reason: the best Eggs Florentine to ever grace my palette…
And lastly, a few gorgeous bars should be mentioned. I would recommend an espresso martini at the rare and delightfully decorated cocktail bar ‘Polly’s’. While reclining on the burgundy leather bound armchairs, use the old chandelier lamps to peer through the inch thick cocktail menu… if you’re indecisive then you’ll never leave, so just take my advice and try the delicious awakening espresso martini.
A drinking session in Fitzroy must include The Black Cat which is a laid-back Brunswick Street institution. A coffee shop with enjoyable light bites on squishy retro furnishings or the palm tree enclosed picnic benched area during the day. But when dusk ebbs in, so do the crowds whom fill the intimate space to tunes spun by a DJ tucked into the corner. And the staff are ready and willing to slink around the bar and toast to the night.