March 2008: Melbourne...and then what?!

Nov 6th, 2007, 12:50 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 8
March 2008: Melbourne...and then what?!

Hi all,

I'll be visiting Melbourne for a conference in early March, and after spending about a week in the city I'd like to do a bit of traveling.

In Melbourne, is there any particular apartment hotel that is recommended? Are there restaurants (especially local cuisine, seafood, vegetarian, Asian and not terribly fancy) that are not to be missed? What are the must-see sights both within and close to the city? Finally, does pre-season footy happen in early March? We'd love to see either that or rugby, but it seems that our timing might be slightly off.

Regarding the post-Melbourne itinerary, information in previous posts has led me to consider spending a few days in Tasmania, a few days in Sydney and a few days at the GBR. Iím a little torn about the Sydney time because while I do like cities, I really want to experience the natural beauty that the country has to offer and I'll already have spent a week in a city. I'd hate to be there and not see Sydney at all, though, so I'm definitely open to suggestions!

I'm also not sure of where to go in the GBR area. We'll want to do some snorkeling, but with regard to the other kinds of activities, scenery, etc., I'm not sure of the best place to stay or if we should plan to stay in the same place for the whole time we're there vs. changing locations to cover more territory.

Iím sure that flying will be the best option to get from place to place, and thatís fine. Iím also not averse to driving if there are recommendations to that effect. For activities, moderate (and maybe even more than moderate) physical activity is fine, and hiking, kayaking, etc. are even desirable.

In terms of accommodations, nice (i.e., updated more recently than 1970) and clean are critical but fancy isn't (air conditioning is desirable if the weather is going to be on the warm side). Iíd say that 3-star hotels are likely to be the best choice, but Iím willing to consider anything if there are reasons for doing so. And non-traditional is definitely better than the standard chain hotel!

Finally, are there particular wineries that we should try to visit? Are there good beer breweries as well? Any advice on wine and beer is especially valuable!

If you have any other questions for me, donít hesitate to ask. Basically, I know that I have to be in Melbourne for a week and then after that I have two weeks that are completely open. Any and all suggestions and recommendations therefore are greatly appreciated!

Thanks much for all of your help!

Melissa
hey_now12 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 04:41 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,073
Looks like you might be out of luck, football-wise.

AFL season appears to start 20 March (see www.afl.com.au)

We go to Melbourne for the tennis each year, and January this year we stayed at the Stamford Plaza apartments, in Little Collins Street. They were quite good and well located, and we've booked again for next January.

We've also stayed at International on Exhibition - (bloody poor value) and some Quest places. I've also stayed at the Windsor Hotel - and....in a 5-star hotel - not all rooms are 5-star! (and service sure isn't, either)

I can't answer the rest of your questions - when we're in Melbourne we're at the tennis from morning to midnight - there's not much chance to see anything else these days!
margo_oz is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 05:04 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 825
Yes the AFL season proper starts on March 20th., but the final of the preseason NAB Cup is on March 8th. However depending on the teams playing it may or may not be in Melbourne. Non chain hotels that are worth googling (I haven't stayed in them because I am a Melbournian) are The Lindrum on Flinders, The Sebel on Collins , The Hatton South Yarra and the Rendezvous on Flinders. The Langham (expensive) and the Travelodge at Southbank are in very good positions. IMO Southbank is the best area to stay and there are many apartments avilable at weekly rates. The Pacific International on City road e.g. www.pacificinthotels.com www.southbankapartments.com.au and stayz.com My advice is to book soon as March is THE month in Melbourne with the Grand Prix, Flower Show etc. and usually the best weather. In a city of 3.7 million there are heaps of dining options. Lygon St. in Carlton for authentic Italian, Chinatown etc. The Stokehouse and Donovans at St.Kilda are quintessential Melbourne. Having also lived in Sydney I don't feel you can come to Australia without spending a couple of nights there. With the magnificent harbour it is one of the great cities of the world and is a "must see" . Take a day trip to the Blue Mountains and a couple of day trips from Melbourne to the Dandenongs & the Yarra Valley as well as the Great Ocean Road and you will see some wonderful countryside. The GBR is also a mustsee, Cairns, Palm Cove or Hamilton Island are just a few suggestions. www.visitvictoria.com.au is another useful site.
DownUnder is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 08:19 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 42
Greetings hey_now12 From a Melbourne resident)
Noted your request re restaurant and would like to mention my favorite smorgesborg luncheon, which is downstairs week-days at the RENDEZVOUS HOTEL, 328 Flinders Street, Melbourne (between Elizabeth & Queen Streets) - - -
It's small in comparison to the many similar lunches offering but is noteworthy and memorable. There is also an a la carte menu if required. Probably better to book, but suggest if not, arrive around 12 noon. (phone 9250.1888)
Bon appetit ......
ps. The Hilton Hotel has a delightful smorgesborg Sunday lunch (which is opposite the Fitzroy Gardens in East Melbourne). After lunch you can visit Captain Cook's cottage which is located in the gardens. Then stroll back through the gardens to the city. Enjoy your stay!!
koaljay is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 08:37 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 149
Hi from another Melb resident. Downunder has given you some great info. March is the best time weather wise. Couple of other suggestions - take a tram down St Kilda Road to St Kilda beach. There is a Sunday market around the Southgate precinct where you will find some unusual hand made items that make great gifts. Yes the footy will be happening and you probably won't find it too hard to get tickets as preseason isn't as popular as the 'real' season. Take the City Circle tram - it's free and is clearly marked so you know which one to get on. It will take you around the city edge and gives you a good overview. There is also a tourist bus which I think is free too. The tourist bureau or your hotel should be able to tell you about this. There is a tourist centre at Federation Square with loads of information and helpful staff. The staff also roam the city streets in bright red jackets - feel free to stop them and ask questions. Try the web sites 'venere' and 'trip advisor' for hotel suggestions. Just google them. I find they are really good and give unbiased reviews from people who have stayed in the hotels. Enjoy your stay.
baysidegirl is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 07:09 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 766
Must recommend hiring a car in Melbourne and driving the Great Ocean Road, probably not all of it! but certainly go see the Twelve (or maybe 9 by now) Apostles- beautuful coastal scenery. We enjoyed South Bank by the Yarra River in Melbourne- very cool restaurants. Victoria Market also great.

Fly to Sydney which has a very different vibe.
bellini is offline  

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