The Ultimate 36 Hours in Melbourne
Oh Melbourne! Or “Melb’n”, if you’re a true Australian. ???? From the aroma of roasting coffee beans to the vivid and colorful alleyways, Melbourne is truly a unique city. Melbourne is consistently named as the world’s most livable city, and after spending 48 hours there, we totally agree!
My husband, Chris, and I travelled to Sydney, Australia and Fiji in May 2016 and knew that we HAD to visit Melbourne while we were on the opposite side of the world! From the hipster culture to the delicious food scene, Melbourne is a great place to visit and should be on everyone’s bucket list!
Getting to Melbourne from Sydney is easy peasy lemon squeezy! We took a short 90-minute flight from Sydney Airport to Melbourne Airport. For cheaper options, you can also fly into Avalon airport and take a 50-minute shuttle into the central business district (CBD).
We got into Melbourne at 8:35 am on Saturday and left at 8:30 pm on Sunday, so we had exactly 36 hours in this amazing city!
We stayed at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Corner Exhibition and Lonsdale right in the heart of the city! The hotel was centrally located and within minutes from restaurants, sights, and shops. This hotel is also located in the Free Trolley Zone so you can just hop on to go to Queen Victoria’s Market (see below) or the Docklands. What a great way to see most of the city while staying on budget!
We are pretty familiar with the great Marriott brand and Melbourne Marriott did not disappoint. With a leather chair and ottoman and a writing desk, the room was very spacious and clean. The queen-sized bed was extremely comfortable and a welcome treat after a full day of sightseeing!
Overall, we enjoyed our one-night stay with Melbourne Marriott and would stay there again when/if we visit Melbourne again.
As soon as we dropped off our luggage at the hotel, we set off to explore the sights and atmosphere of Melbourne! First up was the famous Degraves Street. At first glance, Degraves street may not seem impressive. After all, it’s a dark and narrow alleyway in the CBD with graffiti all over the walls – what’s there to like? But some may say that a visit to Degraves Street is the quintessential Melbourne experience. As you walk down this 300 foot long street, you’ll get a vibe of what Melbourne is all about and what is important to their culture – good coffee, better food, and the best company! With a ton of alfresco dining options, you can try a variety of food and drinks while sitting in the outdoor cafe seating area and getting your fill of people watching!
RMB Cafe Bar
After perusing all of the large number of options on Degraves Street, we decided on RMB Cafe Bar for our first Melbourne meal.
The RMB One Breaky was 2 eggs (however you like), with mushroom, cherry tomato, pork and fennel sausage, and hash brown with toast.
The Spicy Eggs Atlantic was two poached eggs, spicy smashed avocado, and goat cheese, smoke salmon on toast
The service was quick and the food was very delicious and filling (which is a good thing, because it was a little expensive, ~$16 USD for each entree). What a great start to the Melbourne food scene!
After a relaxing time eating scrumptious food and people watching on Degraves Street, we made our way over to Block Arcade, which is a 2-minute walk! The Block Arcade is known for its architecture as it was built in 1892 and modeled after the oldest shopping mall in Milan, Italy. As you walk around, you take in the breathtaking architecture, the huge glass dome, and the gorgeous mosaic floor (actually the largest mosaic floor in the southern hemisphere), you are transported back in time. You’ll see unique shops, handcrafted items, a tea room, and handmade chocolates as you make your way through this charming building of Melbourne.
Melbourne Street Art
While walking around Degraves Street and the Block Arcade, you can’t help but notice small laneways and side streets with colorful and vivid graffiti. You really can’t leave Melbourne without snapping a selfie in front of some of these amazing street art. If you Google search “Melbourne Street Art”, you’ll find many opinions on where to find the best part. Most of the popular streets include Hosier Lane, Centre Place, and AC/DC Lane. My husband and I found it best to ditch the map and just get lost in these small alleyways. We certainly enjoyed walking through this living art exhibition – and it’s free!
St. Kilda Beach
St. Kilda Beach is a short 20-minute tram ride from Melbourne’s CBD and is a great place to visit to experience Australia’s very active lifestyle. Here, you’ll see bike riders, joggers, windsurfers, rollerbladers, swimmers, and the list goes on and on! We were able to rent bikes through Melbourne’s Bike Share, which only cost ~$2.12 USD for unlimited 45-minute bike rides in a 24-hour period. There’s a long bike pathway along the coast that we biked along. It was nice that it was separated from the walking path so we didn’t have to try and avoid walkers or runners. We timed our bike ride with the sunset and it was a romantic way to take in St. Kilda Beach.
TIP: Check the time of the sunset before you go to St. Kilda Beach to capture amazing photos of the sun setting over the water.
For our only dinner in Melbourne, we chose to eat at Rococo, a very popular Italian restaurant on the busy Acland Street. Rococo serves simple, authentic Italian food and has an amazing ambiance as you sit outside people watching. After an amazing day, we both opted for pasta to satisfy our hunger. The linguine with char-grilled seafood was a great portion size and even had prawns and mussels! The spaghetti with prawns “alla busara” was so delicious with it’s tomato-based sauce and juicy prawns.
Queen Victoria’s Market
We started day 2 of our Melbourne trip with a visit to Queen Victoria’s Market. Queen Victoria’s Market is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere and has over 600 small business that offer delicious bites and homemade souvenirs. We easily spent a few hours, wandering the stalls, taking in the sights and smells.
We stopped at American Donut Kitchen for a quick bite. It’s not exactly a kitchen, but it is actually a caravan that serves amazing deep fried hot jam doughnuts. The line was quite long, but it moves so fast and the end result is finger-lickin’ good!
We also visited Market Lane Coffee which is not only a cafe that serves great coffee, but it is also a specialty coffee roastery that demonstrates the art of making coffee. They serve manually dripped coffee and specialty coffee drinks. It was really fun to watch them pour water at the exact temperature over freshly ground coffee beans. Definitely would recommend a stop here for coffee aficionados.
South Bank Promenade
Finally, we ended our Melbourne trip by walking along the South Bank Promenade. You can enjoy the view of the skyline while taking in the Yarra River breeze. It is a very lively place with lots of cafes and restaurants. While we didn’t shop or eat (too stuffed from Queen Victoria’s Market), we took a leisurely walk and enjoyed the lifestyle of the Australians.
Our 36 hours in Melbourne, Australia were absolutely amazing. We love food, the art, the culture – the entire city! Thirty-six hours is a quick trip, but here is how you can see the highlights of Melbourne! Is Melbourne on our bucket list?