A cycle along the coast to Brighton Beach is a regular expedition of mine. I have fond memories of the seaside, growing up, and the colourful bathing boxes and fresh sea air really remind me of home [England]. No trip to the seaside of mine is complete without some fresh seafood. Elwood Bathers, en route, is a great spot by the sea which, arguably, has the best fish & chips in Melbourne.
Where she takes her own guests when they visit
Into the city. Melbourne, although being a much younger city than London or Paris, I believe, boasts art and theatre which rivals them both. Starting with a walk along Hosier Lane to see the impressive street art, then on to a brunch spot in one of the bustling city laneways is the best way to start a day in this city. I would make my guests have a classic, Melbourne coffee but, be warned: once you’ve tried one here, your coffee at home may never match it.
It’s a rainy day but we want to explore, what we should do
The weather in Melbourne is famous for its unpredictable nature. The saying ‘four seasons in one day’ really does apply here. The National Gallery of Victoria is a spot I would always recommend a visit to on a rainy day however, just down the road from there is the Koorie Heritage Trust – a gallery which focuses on Aborignal artists and promotes, supports and celebrates the Aboriginal culture of South-Eastern Australia.
For science and history buffs and children, try Melbourne Museum. It houses some brilliant exhibitions: a fantastic one which springs to mind showcases indigenous animals of Australia. If you aren’t lucky enough to see a kangaroo in the wild, this could be the next best thing.
Her recommendations for night-time entertainment
Around the corner from our hotel is the Palais Theatre where you can see Australian and international artists and talent, all year round. Chapel Street around a 10-minute walk from us, is a street which is full, as far as the eye can see, of restaurants, including every cuisine you can think of, from Polish to Cambodian, as well as busy bars playing great live Australian music with a great atmosphere, pretty much every night of the week.
Key phrase visitors should learn
“G’day mate”, of course!
The best shopping and souvenirs to buy
Queen Victoria Market! Especially on a Wednesday night as, throughout Summer and now Winter, too, this market is the place to be. With incredibly tasty food trucks, live music and stalls full of interesting and quirky gifts or souvenirs, it really is a feast for your eyes, ears and tummy! As for souvenirs, I think it is important to honour the indigenous people of Australia, and there is a stall with a stunning array of Aboriginal artwork and hand-painted Boomerangs. Melburnians are known for their edgy, hipster fashion sense and Fitzroy is the place to go for vintage shops and quirky boutiques and, for high-end and designer shopping, there is Collins Street, in the city.
A child-friendly thing to do or place to go
In the evening, at dusk, if you walk to the bottom of St Kilda pier, which is just over the road from our hotel, you can see the penguins coming home for the day. They climb up the rocks and waddle into their nests. It is an amazing sight and, I believe, perfect early-evening fun for the family.
Best kept secret or favourite hidden treasure
Melbourne is home to some amazing, hidden bars such as Jungle Boy located on Chapel Street in Windsor. The shop-front is a Boston Sub bar (which actually does great sandwiches) however, pull open the fridge door and you are transported into an amazing Tiki bar with impressive flaming cocktails and great music.
Best way to get to the airport
Taxi or Skybus are both easy options from us which, of course, we can arrange for all guests. We are only 45 minutes from Melbourne Airport.
Best time of the year to visit
With palm trees at our door and a location by the bay, St Kilda naturally comes alive in the Summer. In saying that, our cosy, glass-roofed atrium is a great spot to hide away in winter and enjoy a hot cup of great coffee.
Anything else we should know when visiting
Make sure you’re hungry. A friend of mine claimed, when visiting Melbourne, she ate five meals a day. After all, this is Australia’s culinary capital so get ready to eat some delicious grub!
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All images: Instagram