Melbourne: Where NOT to go

Melbourne Insider
Station Pier: bland and overpriced food with a view of the <i>Sprit of Tasmania</i> ferry. (Photo: Regis Martin / Lonely Planet Images)
Station Pier: bland and overpriced food with a view of the Sprit of Tasmania ferry ...

With only limited time, Donna knows you won't want to spend your Melbourne holiday among huge crowds doing the same thing as everybody else. She tells you what to avoid and where to go instead.

Fashion faux pas

South Yarra's Chapel Street is fine for a quick sortie to pick up a pair of jeans or to do some Saturday afternoon people-watching, but it's not the fashion epicentre it once was. For Melbourne's most-inspired retailers and up-and-coming designers, head instead to the Prahran and Windsor stretch of Chapel; up to High Street, Armadale or Hawksburn Village, or stick to the city and Fitzroy. Church Street, Richmond is another fashion has-been; there are plenty of outlet stores but not a lot of bargains. Most local designers hold warehouse sample sales in suburbs like Richmond, Collingwood or Prahran, look to Missy Confidential for what’s coming up.

St Kilda on a Sunday

Okay, a Sunday session at one of St Kilda's pubs or bars can be a lot of fun. But forget St Kilda for Sunday brunch or a leisurely stroll, especially if the sun is out: it's a circus. Weekdays are another story, when cafes buzz with the local freelance set but you don't have to fight for a table (or elbow your way along the footpath). Fitzroy Street's Baker D Chirico (aka 'the Baker', 149 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda) is a breakfast favourite, or try the bar at Mirka at Tolano Hotel for lunch from midday.

King Street after dark

Melbourne's legendary nightlife started here with the '80s mega-clubs, but it's now a byword for buck's-night antics and late-night violence. The city's laneways offer plenty of drinking holes that cater for a broad range of tastes, from a modern day speakeasy at 24 Moons, city views and cigars at Siglo at Melbourne Supper Club, 161 Spring Street; or grownup cocktails at New Gold Mountain or Madame Brussel’s Parlour Room. Don't forget Melbourne's excellent live music venues either, including the Toff in Town, Miss Libertine, Roxanne Parlour and the Ding Dong Lounge.

Lygon Street, Carlton

Melbourne's original Little Italy still proudly flies the red, white and green flag. But you might want to give the CBD end of the street a miss: the food is often less authentic than the "ciao bella!" charm of the spruikers. That's not to say the neighbourhood is lacking in Mediterranean brio. Further towards Elgin Street there are authentic delis and cafes (as well as the excellent Readings bookstore). Around the corner on Faraday Street you'll find Brunetti, which serves up Italian staples from early morning to midnight, and fabulous pizza at D.O.C. (295 Drummond Street, Carlton).

Station Pier, Port Melbourne

Port Melbourne's redevelopment has swapped grimy portside atmosphere for slick high-rises and manicured dog-walking tracks. Bay views aren't easy to come by in Melbourne and the restaurants built atop Station Pier to capitalise on their rarity may be smartly designed but they're bland and overpriced. And while ships at anchor can be dreadfully romantic, the Sprit of Tasmania ferry doesn't really do it for us.

Fairy Tree and Tudor Village, Fitzroy Gardens

Avoid overselling Fitzroy Garden's Fairy Tree and the Model Tudor Village to your unsuspecting kids. Ola Cohn's kooky tortured trunk and the naively daubed, concrete tiny town won't hold their attention for more than the briefest moment. But the sprawling park itself is a great place for letting the little ones run free after a hard morning of shopping or sightseeing.

Got any more places to avoid? Have your say using the comments form below.

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User comments
Went to crown casino complex to bistro Guillaume for dinner. The steak and chips took 45 min to come and was ice cold on arrival and they charged $36 per steak.The attitude and treatment we got when we requested for our steaks to be re heated,they said we could leave if we wanted. This was totally rude and unacceptable how they behaved and felt very let down by the management Will not be returning to Bistro Guilaume at the crown complex melbourne. Glenn
are you serious, carterhead? geelong?... please, tourists, stay away from victorias' secret shame.
Sydney is nice, Melbourne is classier but so fast lane, But you can't beat Geelong, it Rocks!
This article has nothing to do with Sydney, dont take one comment and make it the subject of conversation. Melbourne and Sydney will always rival about which is the better city, who cares? if you like Sydney stay there if you like Mebourne stay in Melbourne! The article is about where not to go in me the whole article is full of it, as if you go to Melb and not go to the end of Lygon and St Kilda for brunch on a 'Sunday'? I would be suggesting that these are essentials for visitors to Melbourne, ok but I would have to agree with the king street thing!
Each city has great places and not so great places, opinions differ, and one city will appeal to someone more than another. Rivalry is insane because one man's trash is another man's treasure.
you people need to get over yourselves, melbourne is the is just an over crowded headache on the roads and the people are rude and self absorbed.
I want to give a little advice to all you AUSTRALIAN'S bashing both Sydney and Melbourne. I'm an Australian.. whom is currently living in London, UK. Im here for the arts, culture, opportunity and all that London has to offer. Well, here it is.... after 1.5 year here, I want to tell you all that BOTH cities, hands down crap ALL OVER London. Yes, London is a capital City with loads of great things to do.. but when you take away the QUALITY of people, you have NOTHING left. People in London, I must say, sadly and disapointingly - SUCK. They are the most AWFUL, cold and disattached bunch of people you will EVER meet or have to live amoungst. I never realised just how GREAT Sydney and Melbourne are, untill I stepped out, and moved overseas. I know there will always be competition between the cities, but what makes BOTH cities is the wonderful and friendly people, open and accepting culture - and (hands down) an UNBEATABLE lifestyle!!! Just appreciate both cities, contrast is a GOOD thing.
I would avoid Melbourne and Australia altogether. Australia is boring, the people are unsophisticated,bad mannered and unfriendly (the owner of my business premises in SE Asia visited Aus and said they were so friendly she is scared of Australians), there is gratuitous violence in the pubs, beaches, casinos and the streets. Visitors are subject to harassment at customs and by the police simply walking down the street, the supposedly "good" restaurants are expensive and the food is indifferent.
I have visited both cities and found both wonderful. Maybe cheaper eating in Melbourne but who wouldn't want to pay top dollar in darling harbour. People in both cities very friendly,
melb = class sydney = *** of course its slower here,time to savour. sydney is very fast,people trying to keep up with their noses. love you all though.................