Melbourne - four day weekend


Feb 1st, 2014, 02:04 AM
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Melbourne - four day weekend

Hello Fodor friends and happy new year to you all.

So myself, along with six girlfriends are heading to Melbourne in May - to see Wicked. We are heading down on Friday morning and home Monday afternoon. I found a hot hot deal at the Hotel Windsor so will be staying there for the three nights.

Most of the girls are keen shoppers so that's probably number one on the list. Reading on another thread it was posted that Sydney street is a good destination. Would you agree? We will be visiting the Victoria markets.

We also want to explore the laneways and I am really unsure whether to take a tour or explore ourselves - your thoughts?

Would like to have a dinner at Chinatown one night and Lygon street another night - any suggestions for good restaurant in each place?

We also discussed visiting Fitzroy Gardens and Captain Cook's cottage there.

There's probably two days with a number of hours free so suggestions would be appreciated - we don't really envisage travelling too far from the city but I am wondering if it's worth a tram ride down to St Kilda?

Looking forward to hearing from you.
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Feb 1st, 2014, 02:25 AM
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If you have any recommendations for limousine service as well thanks!
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Feb 1st, 2014, 12:23 PM
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Hi Stormbird.
I know you and your friends will love Melbourne.
My wife and I are from Brisbane, but get to Melbourne regularly.

The trams are a great way to get around Melbourne, but you need a Myki card now. You can purchase them from the airport where you by the tickets for the Skybus (just near taxi ranks). A full fare myki Visitor Pack costs $14 and includes $8 myki money for travel. That will get you started. You can top up at 7- 11 stores. Also valid for buses and trains.

Link to Myki Visitors Pack. -

As to the shopping, I could not comment due to me being a male.

The laneways in Melbourne are perfect for exploring. I would do it yourself, and then you can stay as long as you want, if you find something that appeals to you.
The lanes that I suggest arebr />
Hardware Lane – Runs from Bourke St to Little Lonsdale – Lots of bars and restaurants,

Degraves St (narrow like a lane)

All the lanes off Little Collins

All the lanes off Little Flinders

I would definitely do a trip to St Kilda. Jump on the # 96 tram from Bourke St, all the way to the end.

Lots of bakery’s restaurants and bars to explore at St Kilda. The cakes, tarts, chocolates and pastries on Acland St are amazing. The girls will love it.

If you want to go back a different way, walk to the other end of Ackland st (near Carlisle St, and catch the # 16 tram back to the city.

Chinatown has a great buzz. One of the best restaurants is Flower Drum, but I prefer to go to the smaller places, which have food just as good, and a lot cheaper. Share some meals at Supper Inn (the suckling pig is yummmmm).
Supper Inn - 15 Celestial Ave (off little Bourke St.

Once again, Lygon st has lots of restaurants. We have always had good food and service at Dimattina’s.- 306 Lygon Street, Carlton. If anyone is having a birthday, fill out the form at their website, and their meal is free. Must be done 30 days before.

Two other places I would recommend are:
Shanghai Street Dumpling - 342 Little Bourke St- Very cheap food, and the dumplings are great. You may have to line up at busy times, but it is worth it.

Café Salida - TG 25/181 William St (in little Bourke) Fantastic breakfasts, and well priced.

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Feb 1st, 2014, 05:13 PM
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Hi Stormbird

Barton's Limos - been using them for 10-15 years. Great people, super reliable.

Have fun - Deno has given you some good tips!
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Feb 1st, 2014, 08:38 PM
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Look for the free City Circle tram which will take you around the CBD.
Factory outlet shops in Bridge Road, Richmond - worth a trip if you are on a shopping expedition. Also factory outlet shops at Southern Cross railway station. The Australia Arcade between Collins Street and Little Collins Street has some nice shops, also Melbourne Central between Lonsdale Street and La Trobe Streets. Queen Victoria market is good mainly for food and people watching. It also has lots of clothes stalls but may not be what you are looking for.
There is a market on the Esplanade at St Kilda on Sundays.
Two good art galleries at the Victorian National Gallery and the Ian Potter centre, both in St Kilda Road near Flinders Street railway station.
Wander along the river between the Art Centre and the casino - lots of places to eat or stop for a coffee.
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Feb 2nd, 2014, 01:08 AM
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Do you enjoy wine? If so, I highly recommend the Wine Bus tour to the Yarra Valley. It includes a visit to Domaine Chandon Winery (sparkling wine) and other wineries, and a lovely lunch at Oakridge Winery. It was such a fun adult field trip! Beautiful food, wine, and views--and you don't have to drive.
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Feb 2nd, 2014, 01:30 AM
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I agree with Diamantina, the Yarra Valley wine tour is a great day. Well worth considering.
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Feb 2nd, 2014, 01:55 AM
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The outlet shopping has moved from the station to behind Jeff's shed ( exhibition centre). Another favourite in Lygon street is Tiamo. Also the "new" Brunettis in Lygon Court - the place to be . The new Emporium may be open by the time you come - over 215 shops joined to David Jones and Myer by overhead foot bridges.
Lots of lovely places to eat along Southbank. Also buskers there .
Hopetoun Tea Rooms over 100 years old in Block Arcade always has lines to get in plus people just taking photos of cakes in windows- the lines move quickly.
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Feb 2nd, 2014, 01:58 AM
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Not sure what you mean by Sydney Street Stormbird- do you mean Sydney Road? This is Brunswick and has interesting different shops for fashion plus lots of variety of restaurants eg Turkish, Middle East, Asian and others. Also has great Muslim fashion shops.
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Feb 2nd, 2014, 06:36 PM
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Hi Stormbird, we eat breakfast at Gill's Diner every Saturday morning. The Diner is in Little Collins Street, in Gills Lane, near the corner of Little Collins and Elizabeth Street.

(The couple sitting at the table closest to the espresso machine and the music system, him with his back to the main dining room, is us.). Excellent scrambled eggs,
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Feb 2nd, 2014, 06:38 PM
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Sorry, in May we will be travelling. But Gills is good, and you will have no trouble getting a table for six or seven people.
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Feb 3rd, 2014, 12:34 AM
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Shopping in Chapel Street (short tram or train ride) also good. Bridge Road full of factory outlets and is very good. Try Brunswick Street for food. City has lots of good shops. Coffee/lunch/breakfast in Degraves Street.
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Feb 3rd, 2014, 08:54 PM
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The lane tours, chocolate tours etc. are only good if you want the history and the stories. Other wise save your money.

The main chocolate shops are around Block and Royal Arcades.
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Feb 4th, 2014, 04:25 AM
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Lots of bars and restaurants in Melbourne, many of them hidden down a laneway, up a grungy flight of stairs or down in a basement. Don't be put off! (though the usual "big city" rules apply late at night). Finding them can be half the fun. King Street (in the western part of the CBD, on the opposite side of town to the Windsor) is best avoided late at night (unless mixing with drunken 'adult entertainment venue' patrons is your thing - which I suspect it is not....)

If you're staying at the Windsor, stop for a cocktail on your way out for the evening at New Gold Mountain (or its sister, Double Happiness), round the corner on Liverpool Street, north off Bourke. See the 'location' tab on the website for directions. Note there are two levels - 'red' and 'green' -

On the way home, stop for a nightcap at the Melbourne Supper Club, upstairs at 161 Spring Street. It's an unmarked door (though there is a small sign) next to The European. Further upstairs is Siglo. The European is good for breakfast (of coffee or any time..) if it suits.

Cookie is alway good for a drink (upstairs in Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street). Also The Toff In Town, in the same building. Depending on the weather, Section 8 provides a different venue if you're in Chinatown. Degraves and Centre Place run north/south either side of Flinders Lane - lots of cafes and if you're suddenly in need of something stronger, try Hell's Kitchen, upstairs (about halfway along on the right on Centre Place) - don't be put off by the grungy stairs - if there's seats by the window, a good place to watch the world go by below.

.... and there's always Madame Brussels...

Plenty of restaurants in Chinatown but also consider Red Spice Road (the original venue is in McKillop Street); if you go, try the pork belly and black vinegar. For another version of Asian, there's always (Neil Perry's) Spice Temple at the Crown casino. For Middle Eastern, try Maha. None of them are cheap but they make for something different.....

For a "sit and watch the world go by" place, try Arintji, at Federation Square (opposite Flinders Street Station). I wouldn't necessarily go for the food (or sit inside) but outside with a glass of wine....
For another Chinese, Bok Choy Tang at the back of Federation Square is usually good -

If you really want the tourist trail, go and have a drink with Chloe, upstairs at Young and Jackson (across the street from Flinders Street Station / Federation Square) -
St. Paul's (Anglican) Cathedral on the (fourth) corner opposite Flinders Street / Young and Jackson / Federation Square is always good for a few minutes of quiet contemplation.

If you want some art, the National Gallery of Victoria is a short walk down St. Kilda Road from Flinders Street Station (across Princes Bridge and past the Arts Centre). The second branch (The Ian Potter Centre) is at Federation Square and houses the Australian (including Aboriginal) art collection.

If you need a walk to work off the food and drink, take a tram down St. Kilda Road to the Shrine. Walk up past the Shrine (and visit if you're so inclined) and over the road, past the old Melbourne Observatory and into the Botanic Gardens. Walk through the Gardens to the northeast corner and exit via gate A. Cross the main road and head left down to the river and then walk back along the river. Just keep going straight and you'll end up going past the rowing club boathouses and be back at Princes Bridge/Flinders Street.

As Deno111 suggested, get a myki. If you stay in zone 1 (which you will), it's a maximum of $7/day (less on weekends) no matter how many times you jump on and off a tram. Just remember to 'touch on' when you board - not only so you don't rip off those (like me....) who actually pay but also so you don't get caught by one of the roving packs of ticket inspectors - it's an eye-watering 'no excuses' $212 fine if you get caught, which makes the $7 look like an absolute bargain. Hopping on and off a tram is by far the easiest way to get around and having a myki card makes it easy.

Deno111 also mentioned Supper Inn - a basic, no frills, usually-always-crowded Melbourne institution - and good food. A great place late at night if you're hungry.

If you go to St. Kilda (take the tram), a good place for lunch (or dinner) is Cicciolina, on Acland Street. Would be good for Friday lunch if you're in town in time - note they take reservations for lunch but not for dinner.

You can walk along the (south bank of the) river, from Princes Bridge to the Crown Casino. Lots of bars and restaurants along the way. The Gas Brigades, along the river outside the casino, are worth seeing.

As for shopping .... I'm afraid it's no good asking me! However, this article has some suggestions -
(It's from a cruising website so all the directions are "from Port of Melbourne; the picture is actually Centre Place - Hell's Kitchen is along on the right and upstairs).
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Feb 4th, 2014, 11:28 AM
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Wow these responses are fantastic - thank you guys. There's a bit to absorb but I will go through it all and will pass on to the girls - who have already requested another 'trip meeting' so I'm sure they'll love to chew the fat with all these suggestions. As you know, planning is half the fun.

For myself I'm excited about the lanes and a trip to St kilda on the tram, Wicked of course but anything else will all just be bonus for me.
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Feb 5th, 2014, 10:56 PM
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I agreed what is said above!!!
Me and my wife have visited there last weekend. Nod doubt Melbourne, has a variety of camping options with easy and fast access to the City Business District or town center area. Especially, you must try Brunswick Street for food. You will really like it.
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Feb 8th, 2014, 05:17 PM
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Fean_Jack -an obvious ad!!!
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