Situated on the banks of the Yarra, Melbourne has an effortless charisma and laid-back appeal that few places in the world can match. Australia’s second largest city is a graceful maze of laneways overflowing with colorful street art, outstanding restaurants and refined boutiques that spill out onto the streets. Friendly locals seem to strike the perfect balance between sophisticated and active. More subtle than its older sister in Sydney, Melbourne is full of surprises and rewards inquisitive travelers with its contagious energy, picturesque scenery and proud Australian heritage. Although the coastal hub has all the advantages of a major city, life moves at your own pace around here–especially as you inch closer to the beach. Any visit to Melbourne is a one-of-a-kind experience that will leave you wondering why you hadn’t come earlier.
Where to Stay
Set on the prestigious Chapel Street, The Olsen Hotel is the latest installment of the popular Art Series Hotels group. The property pays homage to Australian painting titan John Olsen, whose distinctive work adorns the walls of all 224 elegant suites and common areas. It’s here that the atmospheric magic of the revered landscape artist is fused with the lush comforts and amenities of a 5-star hotel property. The silver and champagne palette, as well as the abundance of natural light and fresh air enhance the bright and bold artworks of Olsen, while the premium furnishings are the cherry on top. Thrill seekers should take a dip in the glass-bottomed rooftop pool, which hangs over the street below, while the Norby Spa offers immersive infra-red treatments. From the breathtaking tower sculpture that greets you when you walk into the lobby to the large works that hang in the guest rooms, The Olsen is a mesmerizing artistic experience that will leave you feeling inspired and refreshed. Check out our Luxury Hotel Guide to Melbourne for a complete list of recommendations.
Where to Dine
As Australia’s best-known food personality, anything that serial restauranteur and chef Andrew McConnell will naturally bring a lot of attention. However, his latest signature spot may be his best experiment yet. Cutler & Co. brings a refreshing casual element to the world of fine dining for a perfectly balanced gourmet experience. Located on the ever-so trendy Gertrude Street in Fitzroy, the restaurant is housed in a renovated metal works factory and outfitted with Art Deco motifs. The menu starts with dozens of tasty and refined snacks such as oysters and pikelets with caviar around the bar, before the entrees and mains move onto proteins and fish paired with seasonal veggies and unusual flavors such as dandelion and sorrel. The champagnes and fresh cocktails are equal parts celebratory and seductive. This is one of Melbourne’s most quintessential restaurants for good reason and it really embodies the casual sophistication of the Australian metropolis. Make sure to take a peak through the Restaurant Guide to Melbourne for a complete list of can’t-miss bites.
What to Do
Built around a well-arranged grid system, Melbourne is made up of over 230 laneways that penetrate into the heart of city blocks. The coastal capital is easy to navigate and full of excitement. The Royal Botanic Garden is one of the finest examples of Victorian-era landscaping in the world with a global selection of paintings and rare Australian flora and mini ecosystems on display. Built for the 1880 International Exhibition, the Royal Exhibition Building is another Victorian edifice in Carlton Gardens that showcases the 19th century economic supremacy of Australia. Meanwhile, Federation Square is the beating pulse of Melbourne. It’s the universal place to meet, protest and celebrate among Melburnians and it’s always teeming with life. For your cultural fix, head to any number of theaters and art galleries for which Melbourne is known across Australia, particularly as the weather begins to turn. If you’re looking to dip your toes into a unique Australian experience, you can’t go wrong with any number of athletic events that have been ingrained into this sports-crazed culture. Grand-Slam tennis regularly attracts visitors in droves, and for a truly memorable experience, consider a cricket match, AFL Football or horse racing and get lost in the raucous atmosphere. Check out our Event Guide for the 2019 Formula One Season Launch, which kicks off March 13.
What to Wear
Although the summer has already passed in the southern hemisphere, March onwards is a fantastic time to visit Melbourne. Between roaming the streets and diving into the rich cultural scene, these SLVRLAKE Denim Virginia Mid-Rise Straight-Leg Jeans are the perfect option to take you from day to night against the mild autumn temperatures. They’re cut from blue denim with a comfortable mid-rise waistline and straight leg silhouette to match Melbourne’s signature combination of casual and on-trend. This Isabel Marant Bell Intarsia Cotton and Wool Blend Sweater is puts forth a retro-inspired fit and woven zigzag intarsia for motif for a relaxed and comfortable look. The sweater is ideal for autumn layering, especially as the temperatures drop when the sun goes down. Check out our Style Sheet to Melbourne for a complete guide of what to pack.