When Australia comes to mind, one immediately thinks of Sydney (and kangaroos, naturally), but there’s another city to the southwest that’s worth a dedicated visit. Melbourne, capital of the state of Victoria, is the cultural epicenter for art, fashion, sports and food. Historically one of the wealthiest cities in the world following the gold rush in the mid-1800s, it’s developed into a flourishing cosmopolitan metropolis with a swanky urban vibe and cool, under-the-radar finds. Just outside the city is the beautiful countryside of Mornington Peninsula brimming with vineyards, wildlife and rural charm. Ahead, we share our tips on what to see and where to sleep, eat and shop when you visit.
Travel Guide To Melbourne, Australia
Getting there is a trek to say the least. It's a 16-hour flight from Los Angeles and 21 hours from New York City, so investing in excellent seats to travel Down Under is worthwhile. Qantas—Australia's largest airline—offers international business class, which includes its award-winning Skybed, an extremely comfortable cocoon that turns into a flat bed, first lounge access (where you can get spa treatments before boarding), pajamas and exclusively designed amenity kits.
Crown Towers Melbourne
Stacked at the city's Southbank, the five-star Crown Towers is conveniently located along the Yarra River promenade. Each room overlooks the skyline and is wonderfully luxurious yet cozy. Facilities include an indoor pool, tennis court and spa.
National Gallery Of Victoria
Melbourne has a longstanding history with Dior (the city was the first locale where Christian Dior showed his collections outside of Paris), and the storied French house is currently being celebrated in the National Gallery of Victoria's House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture exhibition. The one-of-a-kind experience features the brand's seven designers and includes Christian Dior's original works, John Galliano's jaw-dropping gowns and Miranda Kerr's custom wedding dress. It runs until November 7.
Vue de Monde
On the 55th floor atop the Rialto building in Melbourne's business district, Vue de Monde is a gastronomic darling among locals and critics. Its signature sleek interior, stunning views and of course perfectly plated indulgent courses are uniquely French-inspired and Australian-based.
Cool and eccentric, QT is the spot to grab drinks. Its industrial-glam decor embellished with cheeky art pieces exudes a swanky ambience without being stuffy. Sip craft cocktails on the rooftop.
Melbourne is the fashion capital of Australia, so it's mandatory to get some shopping done while you're here. Head to the Emporium to stock up on a plethora of Australian designers including Camilla & Marc, Dion Lee and Alice McCall.
What Williamsburg is to New York and Silverlake is to Los Angeles, Fitzroy is to Melbourne. Laden with mesmerizing street art, coffee shops (Melbournians are really into their caffeine), under-the-radar bars, outdoor markets and cool local boutiques, this quirky inner-city suburb can take the whole day to explore. Highlights include the Rose Street Market, búl boutique and delicious vegan joint Smith & Daughters.
No trip to Australia is complete without a visit to an animal sanctuary. An hour and a half outside of Melbourne, Healesville is where you can get close to iconic Australian wildlife such as koalas, wombats, platypuses and kangaroos (you can feed them!). Get ready for cuteness overload.
While you're in the countryside, make a stop at Montalto vineyard located in the beautiful rural Mornington Peninsula. Sip wine and enjoy lunch as you admire the gorgeous lush views of the property. Be sure to walk through the sculpture trail.
A modern design gem set on a pristine vineyard in the peninsula, Jackalope is the most talked about hotel right now. The ultra-cool minimalist architecture is adorned with larger-than life art installations. The in-house restaurant Doot Doot Doot makes dining equally bold, complete with a curious tasting menu and a 10,000-lamp ceiling created by Melbourne chandelier designer Jan Flook. And the views are nothing short of spectacular with rooms overlooking the infinity pool deck and vineyard that's magically drenched with the prettiest light you'll ever witness. The sunset view is one for the books.
Peninsula Hot Springs
Give your body the break it needs via natural thermal mineral waters at the Peninsula Hot Springs. With more than 20 pools and baths to choose from, this tranquil escape lets you unwind and bathe at your leisure while immersed in the beautiful natural setting. The hilltop pool blessed with a 360 degree view is a sight to see. Private massages, facials and body treatments are available.