A day in Melbourne

If you have just a day in Melbourne, the fox capital of the world, here's what Preeti Varma Lal suggests you do...

A view of Melbourne from Eureka Skydeck

Foxy! I am not foxy. But in Melbourne, I’ll confess I was getting dinky foxy. Not ‘cunning’ foxy. I was looking for foxes. Sounds zany? Isn’t that a perfectly fitting pastime in the fox capital of the world? Melbourne has between 6 and 23 foxes per square kilometre in the urban area. I could not race with the foxes, but in the city which was originally called Batmania (not from John Wayne but from John Batman, one of the city’s founding fathers), where the world’s first feature film (The Story of the Ned Kelly Gang) was made in 1906, where Australia’s first traffic lights were installed in 1912, I was running against the clock. Trying to tamp as much as I could in a dawn to late-night jig in Melbourne. 

• Early morning: The smell of fresh lime melding with the whiff of unsalted butter, kangaroo jerky and boreks, Queen Victoria Market is the best place to begin the day. Established in the late 1860s, it is the largest open-air market in the Southern hemisphere. Walk around and pick your breakfast off the stores or from the cafes inside. Book a market tour; check for discount coupons. The market is closed on Mondays and Wednesdays. 

• Forenoon: Whoosh 297 metres into air at 9 metres per second to the 88th floor of Eureka Skydeck. Forget the panoramic view of the city and Australia’s bright red highest post office nailed on the wall. Get suspended nearly 300 metres in a glass cube that juts out — the only one of its kind in the world. Or, balance The Plank 285 metres into the sky with a digital headset and a brave heart.

A view of Melbourne from Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
A view of Melbourne from Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

The next stop should be the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Australia’s oldest, largest and most-visited art museum. The museum’s Great Hall is home to the largest stained glass ceiling in the world. The glass ceiling measures 51 metres long and 15 metres wide. NGV International right now has a show by MOMA New York, while NGV Australia is famed for its aboriginal art. 

• Lunch: Melbourne is the culinary capital of Australia. It has more than 1,600 cafes and restaurants, with almost 1,000 in the Hoddle Street grid alone. There are 14 Nando’s, 12 McDonald’s, 9 Subways, 7 KFCs, 7 Hungry Jack’s! There are two car washes that are also cafes, and two internet cafes that are java enabled (coffee, not the computer lingo). For a variety of options, there’s Emporium Food Hall where gourmet to streetsy to quick takeaways are available in one handy location. 

• Afternoon: Step out in search of pinks, lilacs, yellows, blues, blacks. Any colour. Think cartoon, lines, scribbles. Doors, windows, walls, trashcans. Anything that can hold colour is painted in the Street Art capital of Australia. With New York and Berlin, Melbourne also ranks as the Top 3 street art destinations in the world. Hosier Lane, AC/DC Lane, Upper West Side, Pregrave Lane are best known for street art. The oldest street art is a Keith Haring mural (1984) in Johnston Street, Collingwood, which is also listed in the Victoria Heritage List.  

• High Tea & a Scent Memory: Lemingtons, pavlovas, scones, strawberry cakes, petit fours beckon from the glass display of Haptoun’s Tea Room in the Block Arcade. Founded in 1892 and dressed in green/gold wallpaper reflected in the largest etched mirror in Victoria, Haptoun’s is the place for high-tea. Expensive but worth it.

A statue of cricketer Dennis Lillee outside Melbourne Cricket Ground
A statue of cricketer Dennis Lillee outside Melbourne Cricket Ground

A floor above, Master Perfumer Emma Leah sits with the whiff of Melbourne bottled in dainty containers. Leah has picked 40 neighbourhoods of the city and created their distinct scent: metal, stone and fried chips and donuts in Flinders Street; jade, silk, cedar chests, incense, jasmine in Chinatown; scented leather in the Paris-end of Collins Street… Leah lets visitors create their own scent memory of Melbourne. 

• Dusk & Dinner: The only giant observation wheel in the Southern Hemisphere, the Melbourne Star is from where the city looks prettiest at dusk. Decked with pink and green LEDs, one can take a Sparkling Flight with beer, wine or cider (1 to 6 pm every day) or book a private cabin. Take a yoga mat and perfect your asana up in the air in Roar Spirit, a Yoga in the Sky session (11.30 am, 2 pm or 4 pm every day). Dinner options are countless. Try Tonka, an Indian restaurant. 

• Nightcap: If music is the food of your love, head to Cherry Bar in AC/DC Lane which describes itself as the ‘most rock n roll cafe in the world’. Or, stand in Bar Americano (Pesgrave Lane) that serves only 1920s drinks: Negronis, Americanos, Brooklyns and Amaro Americanos. You cannot sit here because it is a standing-only bar (not more than 16 at one time!).

Liked the story?

  • 2

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry

Comments:

A day in Melbourne

0 comments

Write the first review for this !