Some vacations are great fun, but at the end you’re ready to go back home. Other trips you’re ready to go home just to pack up you’re things and move there. Or actually, you don’t need anything from your place, you can start new in your adopted city! Melbourne was a ‘let’s pack up and move here’ city for us. Sydney was breathtaking and we definitely could have stayed another few days, but Wolfe and I both had a feeling we would fall in love with Melbourne. It’s metropolitan but laid back. It’s clean, there’s great culture, history, and cuisine.
We stayed a few minutes outside of the Central Business District (CBD as they call it) at The Blackman Hotel in St. Kilda.
I had mixed feelings about this hotel. The pros were the location – a quiet neighborhood right next to the train, so it was very easy to get around. Also we were on the 11th floor and our room was BALLIN. However the artwork was…eccentric? It reminded me of Donnie Darko which I am still afraid of. Also elevators freak me out so getting to and from our room was not my favorite. Any who, the room itself was excellent and that’s really what matters. One of our first stops was the Royal Botanic Gardens – we walked through twice on our visit, it is massive! So big that even on a busy day it still didn’t feel crowded. The rest of the night we took it easy, because we wanted to explore the city the next day.
We walked so much in Sydney that by the time we got to Melbourne, our feet just weren’t having it. Wolfe suggested we take a bus tour. I usually despise this and assume it’s a lazy way of sightseeing, but it turned out to be a stellar idea! The Hop On Hop Off Tour offered a city route and a St. Kilda route, near our hotel. We started with the St. Kilda route, which took us to the beach, the bay and the Docklands. It was a great introduction to the area that we wanted to check out another day. For lunch a few people had recommended Chin Chin, an uber-trendy Asian restaurant. Somehow we managed to snag a table before the lunch rush and the food did not disappoint! We ordered barbequed cauliflower with curry coconut cream, chicken pad thai, and green beans green beans (because the table next to us had them and they looked ridiculously good).
After lunch we hopped back on the bus for the City Route tour. This time is was completely crowded. Not sure if it was the sun, the food coma or what, but we didn’t enjoy it as much as the St. Kilda tour from that morning. We jumped off at Queen Victoria Market, which I had read great things about, but they were closing! Bummer. Then according to my husbands notes I “was extremely thirsty and maniacally ran down the street looking for water.” After the water debacle we headed back to our hotel to rest, had dinner at an Italian restaurant by the Yarra River, and walked along the path for a nice stroll on the riverfront after! We also got gelato because, vacation.
The next morning we opted to get breakfast nearby our hotel. I’d read about The Kettle Black, or seen it on Instagram? It looked adorable and the food sounded delicious and nutritious! There was a huge crowd outside, they were all waiting for a table inside. We were able to sit at a communal table right away – lucky us! What was so great about inside that everyone wanted to wait? Right after we sat down massive construction started about five feet away. We ate our meal with the soothing sounds of a jackhammer the. entire. time. Regardless, my breakfast salad was one of the best meals I’ve eaten in MY LIFE. It had kale, cauliflower, greens, miso, almond hummus, avocado, a poached egg and seeds. The almond hummus, ya’ll. I want it now!!!! This breakfast salad would be pretty easy to recreate actually!
After our loud breakfast, we walked through the botanical gardens and headed to St. Kilda again. We walked along the pier (where there is an adorable penguin colony, but we weren’t there at the right time to spot them), and around the beach until we worked up an appetite. Our bus tour host had mentioned Hotel Esplanade – or The Espy – was a great place to drink, eat, and see live music. This place was the hotel OF MY DREAMS!!! The chandeliers, the tiles, the exposed brick, the plants, the view, the music, the food – it was everything I could ever want! We stayed for a few brews and shared some fish and chips and had a lovely time.
After lunch we walked to Luna Park, which opened in 1912! I’m a chicken when it comes to amusement parks, but they had a tiny wooden rollercoaster that we rode. When we bought our ticket the girl at the booth was like, “really? just the rollercoaster? you know it’s pretty small right?” That night was pretty chill, we were tired after a full day of St. Kilda fun.
Our trip was winding down! Our second to last day we visited the National Gallery of Victoria. My favorite collection was the series of photos of a Visla dressed up as a human. 🙂 This turned into an epic eating day: we snagged a table at Tonka for lunch, a newer upscale Indian restaurant that was a real treat. Look at that fancy scallop! I loved their minimalist decor, too.
After lunch we took a detour to a plant nursery I wanted to check out. Fitzroy Nursery was in a trendy up and coming neighborhood. After a few blocks of Wolfe asking “where are you taking us?????” we finally turned on the main street which had a ton of cute shops and restaurants. The nursery was very cool and had a ton of handmade pots and plant holders which I just loved.
We ended the night at Feast of Merit – again, one of the best meals I’ve had in my life!!!! We walked by this restaurant on our first day when we were wandering around and I was ecstatic to find that the menu featured mediterranean cuisine. I honestly would have eaten everything on the menu if I could. I didn’t take any food pictures because I was busy drinking too much wine. (I paid for it the next day.) The roasted carrots with cheese and candied walnuts was memorable though! The decor was, can you guess? Adorable. Melbourne has a great selection of Alexa-Approved restaurants! Although we covered a lot of ground, there were so many pockets of the city and surrounding neighborhoods that we wanted to check out. I’ll just add them to the list for my next visit. I hope this little recap has inspired you to book a trip down under!