By Waheeda Harris
A style-setting city which loves coffee, footie and is hip to the cool trends, Melbourne is where you’ll find the artists hanging out at cafes in the alleyways and discover the latest designer wear at unique ateliers. Fashionistas – this city is for you.
Where to Stay
Located in the up and coming South Yarra neighbourhood, The Olsen is a recently opened Art Series Hotel, showcasing the works of Australian artist John Olsen throughout this boutique accommodation. With a coffee bar in the lobby and a bicycle or Smart Car rental for guests, The Olsen offers modern-styled suites and a sundeck with lap pool. For those wanting a contemporary perch close to the ocean, The Blackman Hotel on St. Kilda Road sits in the heart of this beach neighbourhood, in surroundings influenced by artist Charles Blackman. In-house amenities include a state of the art gym and iPod rental, as well as easy access to the city’s tram system.
What to Do
Visitors should head to Federation Square to visit the Ian Potter Centre, part of the National Gallery of Victoria with 20 galleries showcasing historical to modern art in a variety of visual arts, or the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, with access to Australian films and the ability to make your own short film. Shoppers can wander the well-known CBD’s arcades and laneways, where local designers, artists and galleries showcase the up and coming trends. Make sure to stop at Aesop for locally-made beauty products, Smitten Kitten for some sexy knickers and Fat for trendy Melbourne-created fashion.
Where to Eat
For a mid-morning break to do people-watching, visitors in the downtown will find Flinders Street a good locale for a flat white and snacks at Journal Canteen or Baristas 101. For heartier fare, consider MoVida, with two locations on Hosier Lane, for addictive, tasty Spanish tapas or Tjanabi, offering traditional Aboriginal cuisine. Don’t forget a sweet chocolate treat at Koko Black’s downtown salon. After a day at the beach, St. Kilda Sea Baths offers elegant meals overlooking the sea and Il Fornaio is a laid-back back resto serving up tasty Italian-inspired dinner and drinks.
Images: Header image – Tourism Australia; Hotel – The Olsen Hotel; Confederation Park – Tourism Australia; dining – Tourism Victoria