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
, 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
'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.
Next: Near the beaten track