24 hours in Melbourne

Make every moment count on your whistle-stop tour of Melbourne, and be sure to keep a list of places to go when you return.

It's easy to get around Melbourne by foot. Start in the city's heart at Federation Square. Opened in 2002, 'Fed Square' is a public space boasting galleries, restaurants and events as well as the Melbourne Visitor Information Centre.

Armed with a map you're ready to lurch into the hive of laneways and arcades. Uncover hidden boutiques and galleries, acclaimed restaurants and bars adorned with colourful street art. The hardest-to-find highlights are revealed on a Hidden Secrets walking tour.

Follow the aroma of espresso to Cup of Truth, a subterranean hole-in-the-wall serving a brew that justifies Melbourne's reputation as Australia's coffee capital.

Lurking in the laneways are myriad lunch spots with creative menus and well-cooked comfort food. Dart into decidedly literary Journal for a meal, ignoring the usual library commands of silence.

Melbourne's historic trams are an integral part of the landscape, especially the free City Circle Tram with its audio commentary. Complete a loop before wandering over to Southbank, past al fresco eateries and buzzing Crown Entertainment Complex to Eureka Tower. Ascend to Skydeck 88, the 88th floor viewing platform that's the highest in the Southern Hemisphere. Slide out in a glass cube to survey Melbourne and beyond to the verdant Dandenong Ranges and out over Port Phillip Bay.

Descending dusk means dinnertime. Choose from five-star dining experiences to inexpensive options down side streets. A degustation on high at acclaimed Vue de Monde is a triumphant end to your Melbourne fling.

Finish the day with a peek into Melbourne's bar scene. Go where the locals go to find the latest great drinking spot. Arbory is your place for a balmy evening by riverside lights, Section 8 epitomises Melbourne laneway, and Heartbreaker is a haven for dive-bar night owls.

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