72 hours in Melbourne

Meet Melbourne's sensitive side on your three-day tour of Australia's creative capital.

Day one

Start with the art. Australian art takes centre stage at NGV Australia: Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square. Less conventional art is found down city laneways and along the Yarra River. The Hidden Secrets Art & Design Walk guides show off our most concealed installations.

If you prefer the feeling of the wind in your hair to the rarefied air of city galleries, hire on a bike from Melbourne Bike Share or oBike, or join a cycling tour for a two-wheeling tour around town.

Laze around and watch life go by along the Yarra River over a drink and a snack at riverside bars like Arbory and Ponyfish Island.

For dinner, combine the Spanish love of life with Melbourne gastronomy at Movida, then wander the laneways to admire the ever-changing street art. You're sure to find a bar for an introduction to local nightlife.

Day two

Coffee and breakfast are worth queuing for in Melbourne, so join a line. Flit between cafes to compare the city's best.

Head north to Fitzroy, on the city fringe, stopping at the colourful Melbourne Museum for an overview of local history. Proceed to Brunswick Street to browse boutiques, and pop into the Rose Street Artists Market for locally crafted souvenirs.

Lose track of time in Gertrude Street with its above-average quota of culture. Encounter the characters and the combination of outlets and specialty stores on Smith Street. End the afternoon with rooftop drinks at Naked for Satan and linger in Fitzroy to indulge in whatever dinner, drinks and live music take your fancy.

Day three

It's time to venture beyond Melbourne to regional Victoria, where green is the colour of choice and life is more laid-back. The Yarra Valley, an easy drive less than an hour east of the city, is Victoria's hub for food, wine and wildlife.

Wind through rolling hills laced with grape vines to Healesville Sanctuary Wildlife Park to see eye-to-eye with dozy koalas and frolic with bashful platypuses.

The Yarra Valley kick-started Victoria's wine industry and today there are over 70 wineries. For maximum indulgence, let the Australian Wine Tour Company transport you to cellar doors for tastings and chats with winemakers before indulging in a long lunch with a side of art at Tarra Warra Estate, or at celebrated names with vineyard views like De Bortoli, Domaine Chandon and Yering Station.

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