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Travel Guide / Australia

A guide to Melbourne’s coolest neighbourhoods

We were just in the neighbourhood, so thought we’d drop by.

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POV: You’ve braved that long as flight and just touched down in Melbourne, and now you’re thinking where the heck next? We’ve got you.

Like some of you, I’m a Brit who came to the land Down Under on a working holiday visa. Fast forward three years and I’m now a long black sipping, thrift shop-loving Melbournian who officially calls the city my home. Now for the hoods…

CBD

All your shopping, food and entertainment needs can be satisfied in Melbourne’s CBD (central business district). You’ll find colourful laneways filled with quirky coffee shops, restaurants and bars, street artists in action, unique stores in old luxurious arcades, wide Parisian-style boulevards on Collins Street and the foodie hotspot Queen Victoria Market. The more wrong turns you make the more you’re likely to find.

Weekend plans | Tick off a Melbourne institution with breakfast at Hardware Society, grab a coffee at the city’s first-ever coffee shop Degraves Espresso and go get lost in the graffitied laneways as you make your way to Federation Square. Take the bridge across to the NGV and check out some of the local and international art. Finally head to China Town (via a bottle shop) and enjoy a BYO dim sum feast. Not ready to go home? Head to nearby Section 8, an open-aired bar with local DJs every week.

Richmond

A leafy neighbourhood that prides itself on being, well, kinda close to everything. There are three main strips to explore – Swan Street, Bridge Road and Victoria Street all bringing their own unique vibe of hipster sandwich shops, quirky cafés and bars as well as some of the best Vietnamese food in the city. For sports fans, it’s the closest neighbourhood to the MCG, which means it gets a little loose on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday AND Sunday night in AFL season.

Weekend plans | Pick up a $7 banh mi at T&L bakery, head on a walk along the Yarra river and stop by The Corner Hotel for a pre-game drink or to catch a gig. If you’re in season, follow the coloured scarf-wearing locals and pre-book a ticket to an AFL or cricket game at the MCG.

Fitzroy

Independent boutiques, graffitied laneways, trendy restaurants and bars filled with even trendier Melbournians. Fitzroy is a desirable spot to be for all things fashion, food and nightlife.

Weekend plans | Start with brunch at local favourite Archies, hit up the Saturday vintage market and go to Naked For Satan for a rooftop drink with city views. Bonus points if you end up in the infamous sticky-floored Yah Yahs followed by the kebab shop next door.

Carlton

Gelato shops, streets lined with Italian eateries, espresso bars and the popular café Brunetti’s. Carlton is coined the ‘Little Italy’ of Melbourne, so you’ll want to go with an empty stomach to truly enjoy all there is to offer.

Weekend plans | Hit Lygon Street with pizza on the brain at D.O.C (book ahead), shop hop along the vibrant street and top up the food coma with a Pidapipo gelato scoop. Walk it off with a stroll through Carlton gardens and check out the iconic Royal Exhibition Centre plus all the street dancers, skateboarders and rollerbladers who like to hang out and practice in the square.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Georgie Birch

Jenza Staff

in, Melbourne

Originally from Oxford, our favourite UK import got the Australia bug and never left. Her happy place is the ocean and chasing waterfalls on hikes. Can also be found in Melbourne sipping on (extra) spicy margs with mates.

Follow Georgie on Insta @georgiemaybirch

“Like some of you, I’m a Brit who came to the land Down Under on a working holiday visa.”

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St Kilda Beach at sunset

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Author Georgie tucks in

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A coffee shop in Fitzroy

Brunswick

Expect to see a whole lot of mullets, alternative fashion, ‘old man pubs’ and (in true Melbourne style) a hot pot of different cuisines to enjoy.

Weekend plans | Enjoy cheap n traditional middle eastern platters at A1 bakery, stroll Sydney road for some second-hand steals, pop into one of the huge Mediterranean food stores mainly to marvel at how big the hummus tubs are (no seriously) then head to The Retreat for live music and drinks in the beer garden.

Prahran

And we’re headed south of the river to Prahran, home to Chapel Street, a very¬ long road that’s popular for a night out, shopping, dining and wandering about with a juice in activewear.

Weekend plans | Start things off at foodie Mecca Prahran Market and enjoy some freshly made street eats (plus any snacks for later). Head down to Greville Street for record stores and a vintage browse, then on to Albert Park for a lap around the lake. Thirsty? Try College of Lawn for a drink in the beer garden and an Aussie pub favourite – chicken parma. If you’re after a big one, continue the party at Revolver, a club that only closes for a couple of hours all weekend. Berlin style.

St Kilda

If seeing the sunset over the ocean daily is a must on your Aussie adventure, St Kilda could be the spot for you. There are backpacker bars, hostels and travellers aplenty in this neck of the woods so it’s a great place to start off and meet some mates.

Weekend plans | Grab a Mr Squeeze acai bowl to go and take a walk along the beachfront (have a dip in the sea if it’s warm), get a thrill at Luna Park and head to the pier at 5 pm to spot the penguins coming back after a fishing trip. Grab dinner on Acland Street and round it off with happy hour (or two hours) at Shabby Bar. Then it’s off to the ‘Espy’ aka Hotel Esplanade if the dance floor is calling you.

If you’re thinking you need better neighbours, head to our Work Australia page for more on working Down Under.

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Georgie_Profile_JENZA.png

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Georgie Birch

Jenza Staff

in, Melbourne

Originally from Oxford, our favourite UK import got the Australia bug and never left. Her happy place is the ocean and chasing waterfalls on hikes. Can also be found in Melbourne sipping on (extra) spicy margs with mates.

Follow Georgie on Insta @georgiemaybirch

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