Get the low down on this incredibly vibrant city Down Under! By Rachael De Foe
Perhaps it’s our shared passion for food, erratic weather or love for exploring other cultures… but there’s no doubt that Melbourne and Singapore are made to be soul mates. We know you’re itching to check out this urban treasure, so before you plan your itinerary, keep these top 10 local tips in mind!
1. Melbourne isn’t just about the coffee!
While our coffee baristas are top notch, Melburnians are just as religious about their teas. This city is a prime destination for chai lattes and tea brewing. For those feeling a little more adventurous, take a shot at some of the more exotic flavours – turmeric and matcha lattes are all the rage right now!
2. Kebabs and Souvlakis by the beach!
Planning to drive out for some surf and sand? One local tradition is to head down for a bite at the fish and chip shops by the pier. What you might not expect is how well this Aussie classic pairs with Greek food! Melbourne has one of the largest Greek populations outside of Athens and almost by default, we’ve adopted the souvlaki – the king of wraps – as our honorary go-to meal. Looking for something a little sweeter? Order a deep-fried Mars Bar off the menu – it’s dangerously delicious.
3. Watch a passionate game of AFL
There’s nothing quite so therapeutic as venting your frustrations at a footy match and the average Aussie can often be found doing just that. Victoria is the central state and hub for the Australian Football League, with many of the biggest matches taking place on Melbourne turf. It’s a truly unique experience to be immersed in pure Aussie passion, and you’ll find yourself feeding off the crowd’s buzz in no time!
4. Take the road less travelled on Mount Dandenong
The Dandenong Mountain Ranges have become a tourist staple for high tea and fruit picking, but a less-known reason to visit is the 1000 Steps Trail. For those inclined toward the outdoors, this walk will definitely get your blood pumping. Although locals disagree on whether there are actually 1, 000 steps, just about everyone agrees that the view from the top is truly stunning.
5. Check out an ex-convent turned cultural hub
Abbotsford Convent was once one of Melbourne’s largest church grounds. Today, it’s one of the go-to hubs for arts and culture. You’ll find art exhibits, markets, beautiful gardens, and live music here. An absolute must: a visit to the local favourite, ‘Lentils as Anything’. Run solely on the generosity of its volunteers and patrons, this eatery uses a “pay as you feel” business model to bring good food and vibes to all. The true charm of this locale is that it encourages people from all walks of life to share a meal, through the lure of some top-notch vegetarian food. If you’re looking to get some TLC for the stomach and the heart, you’ll definitely find it here.
6. Melbourne’s streets are art galleries in themselves
Graffiti in Melbourne tends to be more about art than vandalism. Keep an eye out as you walk around the city and you’ll spot some works that are literally off the wall! For those who are new to the scene, check out the Melbourne Street Art Tours, which are run by practicing street artists from the city!
7. Let the city surprise you
An hour’s drive in almost any direction away from Melbourne will take you to a completely unique area with its own quirks and subcultures to explore. A personal favourite spot of mine is Yarraville, which is a stone’s throw away from the CBD but still retains its small-town charm. If you’re heading that way, do check out the vintage Sun Theatre and the Cornershop Café, which just might have the best malt milkshakes to ever grace your taste buds.
8. The Vietnamese cuisine is amazing.
No joke, this tip is totally PHO real! Melbourne’s taste palate is all about diversity and this is probably one of the best examples. Just like how you might travel to California for sushi, you’re going to want to travel to Melbourne for the Vietnamese cuisine. Trek to Springvale, Richmond or Preston for some of the city’s best.
9. Spare a minute for some solid music talent
Many of Melbourne’s up and coming artists have, at some point or another, had a go at busking on the streets. Take some time out of your sightseeing and have a listen to some of the incredible musicians who frequent Bourke Street Mall, Brunswick, Northcote, or any other part of the city for that matter. It’s quite common to see audiences forming large crowds and even setting up picnics around them!
…and most importantly,
10. Stop with the Eggs Benedicts!
Cafes are the heart of Melbourne and locals really do pride themselves on plating up creative and quirky dishes. Chances are that your food vocab won’t be quite up to scratch. Ask your waiters for their favourite dish on the menu! It’s not only a great way to strike up a conversation but the perfect way to acclimatise your taste buds.
Growing up with at least two types of ice cream in the freezer, Rachael De Foe has learnt that some of the best things in life come in pairs. When she’s not loving on all things Singaporean, she’s daydreaming about Melbourne – the only other place she calls home. Besides eating her way across the globe, she hopes to bring world peace by sharing more cat videos with her friends. With a flat white in one hand and a teh tarik in the other, she’s pretty much unstoppable.