If you follow my blog, you’ll probably have seen that I recently took a trip to Melbourne, my first ever visit to the other side of the world.
After probably the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had after the longest journey of my life, we got up the next day and headed straight to Melbourne’s Federation Square. Opened in 2002, the Square has divided opinion thanks to its interesting contemporary architecture – it’s said you either love it or hate it. So, what do you think?
Not a huge fan myself when you compare it to the beautiful golden stone and architecture next door.
But there’s one thing about the Square that everybody can agree on. Thanks to its bustling atmosphere, handy meeting place location next to the famous clocks of Flinders Street Station, buzzing cafes, and blend of tourists and Melburnians, there’s always something going on here.
Lucky for us, we arrived just before the Australian Grand Prix was about to kick off. This meant a colourful range of events were on offer for tourists to enjoy – think tyre changing competitions, stall upon stall lining the Yarra River flogging F1 merchandise, and even Daniel Ricciardo’s car on show! Those interested had the opportunity to feel the tyres used on the F1 cars – and they’re surprisingly solid, with hardly any grip!
Other activity in the area included the annual Moomba festival, which was packed with fairground rides, eateries, and celebration. It was so nice to relax at the edge of the river and watch the water skiing championships that form a part of the festival with the sun warming up our backs.
Soon it was time to move on, and we headed to the famous Queen Victoria Market via the Parisian chic of leafy Collins Street. The market is bustling with all kinds of food, from some incredible blue crabs to fragrant cheeses, fresh fruit, and vegetables.
And food isn’t the only thing you can buy at a bargain price from here. It’s a great opportunity to buy a souvenir with a difference, with some impressive arrays of local photography, art, tapestries, and even didgeridoos sold in the many stalls of the market.
In a busy day of exploring the city, we set off for more of Melbourne’s downtown district, starting with the rather beautiful Royal Arcade.
As the capital of the state of Victoria, Melbourne naturally harbours some incredible Victorian architecture, and the Royal Arcade is no exception.
One of my favourite things about the city is the tiny cafes that are tucked away into the many alleyways scattered across it, offering tasty food and great coffees. Even inside the arcade are cafes with outdoor seating, allowing hip locals to enjoy post work drinks. One spectacle not to be missed is the Hopetoun Tearooms.
With beautiful William Morris-inspired wallpaper and Victorian ornaments throughout, it’s hard not to step inside with the incredible display of cakes on offer outside – very literally too pretty to eat!
If a calorific splurge isn’t on your itinerary, be sure to check out some of my other highlights of downtown Melbourne.
Venture on a walk past AC/DC Lane. Although, admittedly, nothing to look at, it’s cool nevertheless to witness the street that the Victorian government were begged to rename in homage to the legendary Aussie rock band. And so they did. Simple as that, eh!?
Melbourne is rich with street art, and it boasts some of the best I’ve ever seen! Even if Banksy isn’t your thing, head to Hosier Lane and I assure you you’ll be amazed by the splattering of art all over the walls and floor; some of it politically motivated, some of it simply entertaining.
Strolling around downtown Melbourne has been an absolute blast – it’s such an incredibly underrated city. If you haven’t been, make sure you get there one day!