Recently the hubby-bird and I were lucky enough to escape the reality of nappy changes and intense toddler hunger strike negotiations to experience beautiful Melbourne for a long-weekend filled with delicious food, copious drinks and adult conversation.
As two very excited Melbourne virgins, I can honestly say Melbourne stole our hearts.
We stayed at Somerset on Elizabeth which is located brilliantly as a springboard to all that Melbourne has to offer. It is easily within walking distance of many key locations, including Chinatown and Melbourne Central Train Station.
Somerset on Elizabeth is located in a shopaholic’s heartland. Situated only a hundred metres or so from H&M and only a stone’s throw from David Jones and Myer it really offered us a great launching pad for our stay.
The best thing about the Somerset on Elizabeth was the heated spa that soothed our many aches after shopping up a storm each day!
On day one, only minutes after arriving, we stumbled across a brilliant little place featuring true, honest food. Caboose Canteen was a welcome retreat right in the middle of the CBD that offered cold beer, good service and delicious food.
Considering we had been awake since before 5am and had travelled some 800kms, we were ravenous and selected the house speciality ‘Caboose Burger’ and a ‘Frankfurter Hot Dog’.
The hubby-bird is a self-diagnosed connoisseur of hot dogs and was definitely impressed. The hot dog came smothered in corn relish on a deliciously chewy baguette. The Caboose burger was possibly the most fantastic burger I have eaten in my life (not that I have the flair for the dramatic at all!). Consisting of ground wagyu beef, some salad stuff, a tomato chutney and smoked scamorza cheese it was decidedly hearty and unbelievable delicious.
On a recommendation from a very lovely local, we made our way to the top of Collins Street and entered the Paris End of town and ate the most spectacular Mexican. Strange, I know but Mamasitas is simply, brilliant food. An interesting combination of part-taqueira (taco-shop), part tequila bar and part restaurant it is a hive of activity that completely sucked us in.
We were lucky enough to be seated on a window bench overlooking the bustling street below and enjoyed margaritas and Mexican beer. There is not a whole lot of unused space in Mamasitas so be prepared to hear conversations all around you (yes, Robert should definitely stand up to his boss and no, you shouldn’t sleep with your ex-girlfriend’s sister?!). Also they don’t accept reservations for small tables so be prepared to stand in line and wait up to about half an hour to get a seat.
An absolute necessity is to order immediately the Elotes Callejeros (chargrilled corn on the cob). They are smoky, tasty and all round addictive. We also enjoyed quesadillas and tostaditas. After possibly too much tequila (although will not formally admit that) we stumbled out of there with full bellies, big smiles and an ongoing addiction to chargrilled corn. We definitely recommend you visit your Mexican Mama.
The Melbourne Museum is incredibly interesting and informative. The hubby-bird and I are not known for possessing extensive attention spans but it kept us enthralled. We were lucky enough to catch the Aztec exhibition which was a powerful and tragic showcase of a culture that was heavily based on fear and the need to appease the gods. This exhibition is a wonderful collection of treasures that give an insight into some extraordinarily fascinating history. The Aztec Exhibition is only on display until 10 August 2014, so hurry up!
One of the most wonderful things about Melbourne is just how beautiful a place it is. You can spend days just walking and absorbing the culture, the people and the beautiful surroundings. Within a couple of hundred metres you can be taken from the most modern, industrial restaurant to terraces that are old and full of untold stories.
A necessity in Melbourne is to make your way down to Degraves Street and find a seat in one of the beautiful little cafes and watch the world roll by. The smell of delicious coffee lingers in the air and the place is bustling with travellers and locals alike. Street art adorns the walls and the place is overflowing with good food and great conversations.
The hubby-bird also begrudgingly dragged me to the Old Melbourne Gaol. I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect until I actually got there. We partook in a tour of the old City Watch House and it was absolutely hilarious. It is definitely worth a trip! You are taken on a tour that makes you laugh, makes you appreciate the fact that you are not a criminal and makes your certainly glad that you have a nice warm bed at home.
You should also go to the Crown. The casino is an adult’s playground of drinks, gambling and utter entertainment. I highly recommend finding Ivan and playing some blackjack. We had a fantastic evening and even walked out a smidge in front!
If you are interested in a bargain, grab the creditcard and head down to Harbourtown shopping centre. Filled to the brim with outlet stores, you will need an extra set of hands to carry home all your bargains.
H&M opened in Melbourne earlier this year and is an absolute haven for all fashionistas. Offering cheaper on-trend fashionable items that cater for many different tastes you are sure to find something for everyone. Beware though; the place is massive and messy. Plus, there is like a bazillion people in there ALL the time but it is totally worth a visit (well, in my case three visits). Located on the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets it really is my happy place.
David Jones is actually the bees knees and the ants pants as far as department stores in Australia go. Lining both sides of Bourke Street Mall, David Jones offers many brands you simply cannot find elsewhere. There are floors and floors of Bally, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Givenchy and Saint Laurent to absolute drool upon (well, please not literally). We walked out with some new Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger and Prada friends.
Melbourne offers some great designer shopping that you are pushed to find elsewhere, Emporium is your one-stop shop to see, touch and buy beautiful pieces that you will treasure. Located in Lonsdale Street you should high-tail it there for sure.
Overall Melbourne is a wonderful place to visit. Transport is superb and you can easily get from the Airport to the CBD on the skybus and the trams take you nearly everywhere you need to go.
Grab your partner, book a flight and head down south ASAP!
Accommodation: | Somerset on Elizabeth |