48-hour itinerary: Cultural heart
Discover Melbourne's cultural heart in two days
Uncover the best of the city at the luxurious Grand Hyatt. Immerse yourself in the local food culture at Gill's Diner, a rustic bistro where Victorian food and wine producers are a highlight of the menu. Back at the hotel, drop in for late-night cocktails at the opulent Spice Market.
Begin the morning like a Parisien with a slow breakfast of eggs Benedict or any number of Gallic classics at The European. Suitably sated, continue the French theme by getting a retail fix at the top of Collins Street where you'll find international boutiques including Hermès, Prada and Gucci. Ready to embrace Melbourne's cultural heart? Head to Flinders Lane, where you'll find outstanding commercial art galleries. Anna Schwartz Gallery shows some of the best contemporary work and Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi represents a wide range of indigenous artists.
Spend a few hours snacking on shared plates of freshly shucked oysters, tuna tartare and more of chef Andrew McConnell's casual fare at Cumulus Inc. Take a slow stroll along the Yarra River to the NGV International and explore one of the best permanent art collections in the country along with a host of changing exhibits.
Descend the steps to Il Solito Posto and enjoy an early Italian dinner. See what’s on at nearby fortyfivedownstairs, a theatre and exhibition space, or at La Mama, a small independent theatre in Carlton. After a show, head to Spring Street and climb the stairs to rooftop bar Siglo and indulge in cocktails, old-world wines and a different kind of theatre.
Have a sumptuous breakfast at the bustling Arcadia then wander back to the Carlton Gardens to explore the Melbourne Museum and the elegant Royal Exhibition building, the site of Australia's first parliament.
Languish in décor inspired by Marie Antoinette and enjoy simple French fare for lunch at Shannon Bennett's Café Vue on St Kilda Road. Take a walk to the Southbank end of Melbourne's arts district to see groundbreaking exhibitions at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art or check out the classical music program at Melbourne Recital Hall.
Share dishes with Asian and European influences in the subterranean restaurant Coda, whose chef Adam D'Sylva is taking Melbourne’s culinary world by storm. If you don't want the night to end, head to the Toff in Town. Sit in booths reminiscent of old rail carriages and sample the extensive wine list or check out what's on in the adjoining bandroom.