I’ve always liked the idea of arriving in a city with nothing planned. No hotel booked, no fixed plan to get to myself into the city, and no idea what I’ll do when I get there. So when lastminute.com.au threw me a challenge to live life spontaneously with a whirlwind getaway to Melbourne using a good old-fashioned Magic 8 Ball, their site and of course all of your recommendations to make my decision for me, I was game!
First things first: FOOD
Melbourne is an absolute mecca for great food. No matter where you are in the city or in the ‘burbs, you won’t have to walk too far to find yourself in line for the ‘flavour of the month’, waiting your turn to earn a seat at the highly coveted table that’s all the rage this week.
For an up-to-date version of whats good in Melbourne right now, I sent out an instagram to ask Melbournites where to go for the best food in town. Luckily I sent this out prior to 6pm, as if I were to get a table anywhere without a wait, I’d need to be seated by 6 o clock sharp, or else you’re looking at a wait of 45 mins – 90 mins for anywhere good.
On day one I rushed over through China town to reach Rice Papr Scrs, currently one of the most coveted little restaurants in town. Luckily they have a few locations, but the CBD being so close was my easiest bet. I won’t even waste your time making menu recommendations as the easiest way to order is to pick 5 dishes from the menu and share with your dining companion (if there are more of you, you’ll need to multiply this accordingly). But oh…. what the heck! Go for the Asian greens, they’re a standout. And don’t skip dessert – “mum I dropped my ice cream” is about as good as it goes by way of finishing a meal on a sweet note.
For lunch the next day I stumbled across Chin Chin, also recommended by a number of people on instagram and boy – were they right! This. Place. Is. Heaven. Again, order everything. Share if you can – but don’t apologise if you can’t. Just order another plate!
For the sweet lovers, I hardly know where to begin. The Melbourne Arcades have some great boutique chocolateries and patisseries – so this is a great place to start. Aside from that, gelato doesn’t get any tastier than at Messina.
Checking In: A Few Last Minute Recommendations
Having stayed in Melbourne many many times before, I’ve had my fair share of good and bad accommodations. Luckily on this trip I managed to snag some bargains, as I was booking last minute and the available room rates were on offer at a bargain price – win!
For my first night I checked in to St Jerome’s, a rooftop camping experience that is great if you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
For my second night I checked in to switch it up, moving over to the Adelphi Hotel which I can strongly recommend for their swanky suites and limitless treats (hello free mini bar)!!!
On the Streets of Melbourne: Where to Wander
A couple of my favourite places I visited on this trip were entirely by chance – stumbling across them as I wandered the streets looking for fun things to do.
First was the Hosier Lane, a graffiti laneway filled with incredible street art and a few cheeky insults at the flocks of tourists who come to see it. There’s much to see here but you’ll have an even better time if you’re lucky enough to see an artist at work – impressive!
I also really loved my visit to the Queen Victoria Markets to pick up some treats for a picnic later in the day. The delicatessens here sell everything from cheese to chocolate and everything in between. Then there’s the fresh fruit and veg market ($1 per punnet strawberries – can you beat it!?) and of course some trinkets if you wish to buy ‘stuff’.
I’m also very fond of China Town in Melbourne as this is a really vibrant part of town, particularly in the evenings. There’s also great food to be found here – you just need to know where to go (read above!)
Hot Air Ballooning over Melbourne
Something I’ve always wanted to do is to fly over the city of Melbourne and get a good glimpse at the skyline (the airport is a fair way out of the city and doesn’t offer the best view once you’re in the air). So in true last minute style, I booked a hot air balloon over the city for the following morning.
It would be cheeky to complain about the 4:00am wake up call, especially given how surreal the experience was… so I’ll skip to the important stuff and say yup, it was so worth it!
Flying Over Melbourne in a Helicopter
Because I was here in Melbourne with the brief to say yes to anything and everything, I couldn’t pass up the chance to go up in the air again, this time in a doors-off helicopter over the city. We were picked up opposite the Crown Casino and before we knew it we were in the air with the doors off, wind in my hair, and I was hanging onto my phone for dear life!
Walking on Water:
Being someone who has a slight (okay, slightly more than slight) fear of the ocean, I wanted to test my limits and do something in the water. Because I was trying to do all new things, I struggled to think of what I could do that I had never done before… but as soon as I saw the flyboarding image on the Last Minute app, I knew this is precisely what I’d book myself in for. For anyone who has been on a segway or hover board before, the sensation is quite similar, only you’re on water and flying up in the sky so be sure to hold your balance as best you can! This activity was a lot of fun and surprisingly, probably my favourite thing I did whilst in Melbourne on this trip.
Picnics in the Park + Meeting you guys!
Saving the best for last… as always! Because I tweeted and instagrammed out to my readers to see what I should get up to in Melbourne, I really wanted to tie in a meetup to have the chance to hang out with you guys whilst I was here in the city, as this is a city I’ve never had the chance to do so before. I was so humbled to meet so many of you and to chat + hang out over (many) snacks I previously splurged on at the Queen Vic Markets! Thank you so much to those who came along and everyone who gave recommendations to make this the best possible visit to the city of Melbourne!
10% off for WOW readers:
WOW Readers can enjoy 10% off their next spontaneous hotel stay! Just visit lastminute.com.au and use the code WANDERLUST on your booking. Valid for bookings on select hotels until 18 February 2016 and for travel until 30 June 2016. T&C here.
Thanks to Last Minute.com.au for making this trip possible and oh so much fun!