When you get lost in Melbourne, you never stop finding new things to see and do, from soothing seaside walks to curious cobblestone streets. Get lost in the endless culture of Victoria's capital and enjoy the street art, walking tours, gardens, grungy bars and hearty meals at hidden restaurants.
Airnorth Magazine - December 2018/January 2019
Words by: Robin Kopf
Places to experience
Blender Lane and Hosier Lane - While some like to roam museums, others roam the streets to see contemporary art at its most raw. You could spend hours checking out the murals, stencil art, posters, and spray paintings that colour the brick walls of Blender Lane and Hosier Lane. Whenever you feel like you need a break, just pop into a hole-in-the-wall cafe, bar or restaurant before continuing your exploration.
AC/DC Lane - If you’re after a grungy, rock ’n’ roll experience, look no further than AC/DC Lane, the laneway lovingly named for the ultra-famous Australian rock band, AC/DC. The world renowned Cherry Bar has free shows on most weeknights, and like most of Melbourne’s laneways, it is also a known hotspot for street art, with a variety of murals honouring rock ’n’ roll legends.
Australian Music Vault - Be captivated by the stories of some of Australia’s music legends, as well as the history of genres, music journalism, design and Maton guitars. The exhibition is free, but you may choose to purchase a mixtape card, which lets you create a Spotify playlist based on your favourite songs mentioned in the experience that is emailed to you at the end.
Centre Place - There’s every reason to get lost in Centre Place, Melbourne's most famous laneway. Marvel at the beautiful and unique street art, treat yourself to some boutique shopping, groove along with buskers and hop around to different cafes. Once you’ve realised you’ve been there the whole day, it certainly won’t be difficult to find a place to eat dinner and have a drink or two.
Places to eat
The Meatball & Wine Bar - The humble, unassuming meatball gets its time in the spotlight at this meat-loving and fun establishment. Comfort food in a homey atmosphere within a reasonable price range is a fantastic option after a long day of meandering the laneways. Needless to say, if you have a penchant for a glass of Italian wine with your ’balls, you know where to go.
HuTong Dumpling Bar - This old-style Chinese restaurant takes its name from the alleyways, or 'hutongs', that characterise the most ancient parts of China’s cities – so it’s perfectly situated in Market Lane. This is the place to go for dim sum and the kind of traditional dishes you might have found in everyday Chinese households long ago.
Pastuso - Get a taste of the fresh and delicious flavours of the Peruvian coast, jungle and Andes mountains in a colourful and modern atmosphere. Chef Alejandro Saravia leads the way, serving ceviche (think sashimi turned up to 11), grilled and smoked meats and his take on Peruvian street food. There is also an extensive, mostly South American wine list and inventive cocktails made with pisco, a Peruvian brandy.
Places to walk
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne - Perfect for a few breaths of fresh air amongst the hustle and bustle of the city centre, an amble through Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens admiring the lush green lawns and lily-spotted lakes is a serene way to pass a few hours. If the kids are coming along, take them to the children’s garden, where they can enjoy plant tunnels and a bamboo forest. The gardens also host summer events, such as theatre performances and movies on the lawn.
Williamstown Heritage Walks - Take a gorgeous waterfront walk and feel the breeze coming in from Port Phillip Bay. While Williamstown is full of shops and restaurants to browse, try a self-guided walking tour of the seafront and gaze at beautiful views of historic buildings and the Melbourne skyline. The Williamstown Botanic Gardens are also a soothing place to take a relaxing stroll.
Places to drink
Madame Brussels - Spend a sumptuous summer day getting a taste of the garden-party lifestyle at this cheeky rooftop bar. Shareable jugs, cocktails with naughty names and fancy party food are the stars of this luxurious spot. It’s the place for parasols, pastels and pursed lips from the afternoon until late.
The Workers Club - This Fitzroy music hub is the perfect place to see an up-and-coming band and have a relaxing drink any day of the week. You can’t go wrong with daily specials, hearty and filling pub food, and an easy-going atmosphere. Multiple rooms mean you can choose to either rock out or chill out.
TRAPT Bar & Escape Rooms - Have a little adventure by solving an escape room with a group of friends before getting to the bar. There are several themes from prohibition to espionage. One you’ve finished puzzle-solving, make your way to the speakeasy-style bar for some commemorative themed cocktails.
Glamp Cocktail Bar - This quirky and stylish bar is decorated with colourful patterns and canvas to give the appearance of a glamorous camping trip, hence its name. Start the evening with an East African dinner at Polēpolē downstairs, then head up to Glamp for African-inspired cocktails and snacks.
Airnorth flies to Melbourne from Toowoomba's Wellcamp Airport up to 7 times a week. For more information, head to www.airnorth.com.au
Australian Music Vault
The Meatball & Wine Bar
HuTong Dumpling Bar
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Williamstown Heritage Walks
The Workers Club
Glamp Cocktail Bar
TRAPT Bar & Escape Rooms
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