48 hours in Melbourne

Two days in Melbourne gives you the chance to scratch the surface and get to know the city.

Day one

Catch Melbourne as it awakens as you float high in a hot air balloon. The following gourmet breakfast ensures you're raring to race into the sports capital. Enjoy a morning with Melbourne Sports Tours, visiting revered sites like Flemington Racecourse and the hallowed turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

If food and wine are more to your taste, come down to land and throw yourself into city laneways, chasing the aroma of freshly extracted coffee and gastronomic goodness to hidden cafes and restaurants. Feast on Thai treats at Chin Chin or elegant, seasonal dishes in the loft-inspired surrounds of Cumulus Inc. Admire colourful street art and duck into small but beautifully curated galleries and workshops to while away the afternoon.

Watch night fall with a riverside sundowner at Arbory. Cross the river for dinner at Fatto, an ideal spot to take in the city lights from across the water. Round out your evening with a leisurely stroll along Southbank, or return to the laneways to venture further into the hyped local bar scene.

Day two

Hire a set of wheels to see Melbourne right. Join a bicycle tour or freestyle to the inner-city neighbourhoods of Fitzroy, Collingwood and Carlton to cruise the hippest streets and multicultural neighbourhoods, as well as the celebrated Queen Victoria Market.

Jump on a tram and chase the sun to cosmopolitan St Kilda, the beachside playground that has attracted artists and musicians since its days as a genteel seaside resort to the storied hedonism of the 1970s.

Join locals exercising along the palm-lined foreshore or set sail on Port Phillip Bay. Roam the cafes, restaurants and bars on Fitzroy Street, and drool in the windows of Acland Street's cake shops, a legacy of the area's Eastern European Jewish community.

Relax with an afternoon drink by the seaside at Captain Baxter. Be tempted by the sunset to shuffle along the foreshore to the Stokehouse, where dining options run the gamut from the breezy beachside kiosk Paper Fish and casual grill restaurant Pontoon, to swanky upstairs dining. Further along the Esplanade, Donovans is the place to go for fine dining with finer views.

Take your night into the early hours of the morning at The Prince of Wales Hotel. Join in the people-watching and lively banter at the anything-goes Prince Public Bar, or head upstairs to catch big-name punk, indie, rock and electronic acts in the legendary Prince Bandroom.

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