Winter long weekend
Celebrate the return of cherished rituals and warm hospitality, when you venture out in Melbourne this winter.
Indulge your appetite for adventure in Melbourne this winter. Welcome back to bookshops, bars and pubs, cosy corners, couches and flickering fireplaces.
Wander undercover, through Victorian arcades. Shop independent boutiques and big brands. Stop at the market for fresh fruits and cheese, and spend an afternoon at a craft brewery for a local beer or gin. Dive into steaming bowls of spicy pho and dumplings after dark, move on to late night cocktails and coffee. Melbourne is ready to welcome you back.
Start your weekend like a local, with a Pellegrini's coffee on Bourke Street, before threading through laneways packed with artworks for some shared seafood dishes at Cumulus Inc. If you prefer something spicy, head to the bustle of MoVida Next Door for Spanish wine and tapas. Cross through Federation Square and over the Yarra river to join the hum of pedestrians taking in city lights and crooning buskers along Southbank Promenade.
Afterwards, grab a quick bite at a late-night diner. Slurp pho until sunrise at Straight Outta Saigon eatery, or find burgers, yakitori and steak sangas 24/7 at Butcher's Diner. Stop in at Bomba's rooftop bar for some music and excellent city views, or pop into Byrdi for native ingredient nibbles and cocktails until late.
Eat your way through Queen Victoria Market. You'll find food halls and market sheds bursting with buyers, sellers and fresh produce, locally made goods and great coffee. Graze your way from stalls to counters at Pickett’s Deli, The American Doughnut Kitchen, and the borek and bratwurst shops.
Slept in? Take it easy with brunch at Manchester Press on Rankins Lane – a cosy café in the city’s heart. Hole up with a coffee and a good read.
Wrap yourself up and take a tram down St Kilda Road to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne's green heart. Take in the city views as you stroll around extensive plant collections, home to black swans, kookaburras, eels and other wildlife.
Back over the river for a post-walk bite at Feast of Merit or Top Paddock, then on into Richmond as the sun goes down, for more top dining options and great pubs. Settle in for a session at The Corner Hotel – or prop yourself by a roaring fire at the Royal Saxon. And roll on to Moon Dog Brewing in Abbotsford for the latest seasonal craft brews.
Spend Saturday night indulging in one or more of Melbourne's phenomenal restaurants or diners. Try spicy dishes from Thai eateries Chin Chin and Dodee Paidang or head to Hawker Hall for Asian style street food stalls. Pop to Embla in the CBD for a wonderful selection of wine, or head toward St Kilda to Matilda 159 Domain, for a laid back meal of seafood and meats cooked over hot coals. Late dinner? Get your fill of barbecued bits at Belle's Hot Chicken, Fancy Hanks or Le Bon Ton.
Jump a tram to nearby neighbourhoods, and explore leafy streets, cafes, bakeries and patisseries, record stores, wine bars and boutiques. Discover Carlton Gardens; Rose St Artist's Market, Gertrude and Brunswick streets in Fitzroy; and Smith Street, Collingwood.
Winter Sundays in Melbourne are for roasts and wine-matched long lunches by a cosy fire. Check blackboards at The Estelle or Marquis of Lorne for warming specials. Sidestep the sidewalk to explore undercover heritage arcades in the CBD.
Head to The Block and Royal arcades for chocolatiers, dress makers and jewellers, then on to St Collins Lane for big brands. Take flyovers connecting Melbourne Central to Emporium and the Bourke St Mall. Cross to Centre Place and Degraves for cafes and Flinders Lane for the best boutiques.
Ease into Sunday evening at a cosy bar with top-notch food. Take your pick of Embla, Bar Tini or Bar Liberty – and join the great debate: is it a bar or a restaurant? With food and wine this good, we're happy to keep searching until we find the answer.