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7 Cool Things to do in Melbourne

From scenic drives to top cafes, what to see, do and eat in Melbourne.

The world’s most liveable city, Melbourne boasts activities to suit every traveller. Whether you are an adventurer, foodie, sports fan, want to retreat and relax or experience the diverse and vibrant Australian culture – there is something for you here.

Experience Melbourne’s Iconic Sporting Culture

The ‘sporting capital of the world’ certainly lives up to expectations with a raft of different events, from the iconic Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, to the F1 Grand Prix, football, rugby, aussie rules, the Australian Open tennis grand slam and golf tournaments on some of the world’s best courses and cricket there is something for everyone. The jewel in the crown for Melbourne is certainly the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a spectacular 100,000 capacity stadium that hosts Melbourne’s biggest and best games. If you are travelling between March – September, make sure you check out the national sport – AFL – impresses tourists the world over.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground during the 2010 AFL Grand Final. Photo by Alexander Sheko.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground during the 2010 AFL Grand Final. Photo by Alexander Sheko.

Wine Tasting and Craft Beer

Australia has some of the best wine in the world, and wine regions all over the country, in Melbourne be sure to check out the Yarra Valley. An hour east of the city the Yarra Valley has some great wines that are nestled in a picturesque part of the country that is perfect for a relax and retreat if you want to take a few days out of the city.   Melbourne also has a booming craft beer movement – some really cool microbreweries are down on the Mornington Peninsula and around Red Hill – be sure to check out some of the pale ales that are starting to get international attention. If you can’t get out of the city – The Local Taphouse in St Kilda is the perfect way to sample some of the beers, expert staff and amazing beers, while The Supper Club has a number of Aussie wines on the list in a very upscale bar.

Great Ocean Road

Located 1.5 hours south west of Melbourne the Great Ocean Road is one of the most scenic drives in the world. In the same conversation as Route 66 or Route 1 in the USA this road – it is a sight to behold. Hire a car and take in the breathtaking coastline at your own pace – the 12 Apostles is iconic and a must visit. If you want to take it at a slower pace discover one of the many spa resorts and unwind with a massage and breathtaking view. For the adventurers you can indulge in some surfing, hiking or take in the views of this incredible part of the world from the air and skydive over the beaches.

The Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia - looking west. Photo by Richard Mikalsen.

The Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia – looking west. Photo by Richard Mikalsen.

Breakfast on Chapel St (some of the worlds best coffee)

Melbourne has a thriving coffee culture and Chapel Street is the perfect place to get a feel for the coffee that Melbourne is best known. Only 5 minutes out of the city Chapel St is an institution with hundreds of cafes offering great food and the world’s best coffee. Just off Chapel you will find the well-known Oscar Cooper – start your day off in style and be seen in one of the best café/restaurants in the area. If you come during the morning try their eggs benedict with a cappuccino – it goes down a treat.

Yummy Eggs Benedict at Oscar Cooper.

Yummy Eggs Benedict at Oscar Cooper.

Famous Melbourne Shopping Streets

Shop till you drop or get lost in the labyrinth of arcades and alleys that give this beautiful city its identity. Start at the Paris end of Collins St for the luxury designers and work your way down through to the Bourke St Malls. Make sure you take some time to explore the Royal Arcade, the Walk Arcade and the Block Arcade to name a few of the more secluded shopping hotspots. DeGraves St is a great stop for lunch, while full of tourists it has a uniquely vibrant feel that is what gives Melbourne its own unique identity.

Victorian architecture on Collins Street, Melbourne. Photo by Mary Myla Andamon.

Victorian architecture on Collins Street, Melbourne. Photo by Mary Myla Andamon.

Eat at Melbourne’s best food in Flinders Lane

There are amazing restaurants in Flinders Lane, world class dining awaits those who are prepared to discover this exclusive district in Melbourne, from more casual relaxed restaurants to fine dining cuisine there really is something for everyone. Cuisines from across the world come together in this street that takes on a magical feel of a Saturday night. Try Coda (although you will need to book) for some incredible Vietnamese fusion or Supernormal (bookings recommended) for a twist on Asian influenced dishes.

Watch the chefs from your table with the open kitchen atmosphere in Supernormal.

Watch the chefs from your table with the open kitchen atmosphere in Supernormal.

Evening drinks at Lui Bar

Finish your trip in Melbourne with drinks at Lui Bar – 55 floors above Melbourne. Lui Bar has amazing collection of beers, spirits, wines and cocktails from around the world and is great for a few beers with friends or a romantic evening over a bottle of Dom.  The cocktails on offer are full of taste and reflect the elegance of the bar that is self-described as the epitome of class – a reputation it certainly lives up to. Dress up a little and spend an evening in style overlooking the spectacular city skyline while enjoying a drink to cap off your trip in Melbourne.

About the author: James Deagan is an Aussie marketing consultant who decided to quit a senior role within an advertising agency and get out to see some of the world. He set off with a plan to visit SE Asia, Europe and settle in London to work for a few years while spending weekends travelling, partying and enjoying life over in Europe. A ‘digital nomad’, check out his stories at travellyf.com

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Travels with Darley is a travel TV series broadcast on PBS stations and on digital networks, including the AOL On Network. Host Darley Newman of "Equitrekking" fame joins locals to showcase the top food, culture and adventure attractions in the USA and around the globe.

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