The Best Way to Spend 48 Hours in Melbourne
Melbourne has so much to offer, but if you only have 48 hours to explore, here is an action-packed itinerary guaranteed to show you some of Melbourne’s best sights, hidden gems, and of course the best coffee!
Stroll and shop. Soak up the real Melbourne vibe by simply wandering around its iconic cobblestone laneways and elegant arcades.
Degraves Lane and Centre place is a bustling mecca of restaurants, hole in the wall cafes and unique boutiques. For locally made, quality souvenirs, drop into Clementines or for something a little more unusual, duck underground to Quirky St Clair, for handmade unique jewelry and gifts. Grab a coffee fix on your way out from Cup of Truth – a local secret.
Shops abound as you wander down to the Block Arcade, the spicy smells of Gewurzhaus will entice you in and you’ll find unique chocolates at Chocamama HQ. Grab a Hosier Lane graffiti chocolate bar to savor on your way to Hosier Lane!
Take a quick detour into the Nicholas Building’s Cathedral Arcade vertical arts precinct. Ride the antique lifts to explore art, fashion, and curiosities and you might even get the chance to meet some of the local artists.
Lurking all around the Flinders Lane you’ll find a variety of street art. Hosier Lane, ACDC Lane, and Duckboard Place are famous, but some of the best work is just north of the CBD in Collingwood and Fitzroy. If you are seriously into street art I suggest taking one of the many tours. My favorite is Wayward Wanders, the guides are experts and will show you amazing works including my favorite, it is the largest mural in the Southern Hemisphere by internationally renowned artist Adnate.
Catch the tram to the end of the free tram zone at Lonsdale and walk through the lush and leafy, Carlton gardens, past the stunning architecture of the Royal Exhibition Building.
Head to dinner at the social enterprise restaurant, Charcoal Lane on Gertrude Street. Made famous from the recent visit by Prince Harry and Megan Markel – but deserving of every bit of press. Definitely start with the shared platter, a decadent intro to unusual native foods such as coastal succulents, roasted emu or kangaroo chorizo, beware portions are big!
After dinner, imbibe in one of Fitzroy’s famous cocktail bars The Everleigh. Try to get a seat in the dark and intimate Elk room, where you’ll sink into leather Chesterfield couches surrounded by ancient war memorabilia, or grab a seat at the award-winning Black Pearl named one of 2018 World’s 50 Best Bars.
First things first – coffee. Dukes on Flinders Lane is a local go to, plus the beans are ethically sourced so you can feel good about your fix.
Brunch is Melbourne’s institution so be mindful the hotspots are sure to be busy. The vibe at Hardware Societe is rustic chic with a tasty French and Spanish inspired menu, or make a beeline to the light, airy and very Instagrammable Higher Ground.
Get artsy, sporty or immerse yourself in culture and nature. For art lovers, the NGV is a must do, from its popularly photographed ‘water-wall’ feature to world-class exhibits. If sports are more of your thing, wander down the river to take a tour of the world famous MCG stadium in the Tennis Centre at Melbourne Park. Are you in the mood for culture and nature? Stroll to the Botanic Gardens and take the Indigenous tour to learn about our first nations people while soaking up the amazing sights and smells of the gardens.
After a fun afternoon full of activities you’re sure to have an appetite. Wander up Flinders Lane to Tonka for contemporary Indian, San Telmo for hearty Argentinian or Lucy Lui for upmarket Asian. The contemporary flavors at Tonka make this a meal to remember, make sure to try their twist on Indian street food, the delicious prawn betel leaf and the flavor explosion of the Pani Puri!
Melburnians love to enjoy great nightlife, sashay your way to Cookie’s Rooftop bar or grab a stylish late-night cocktail at one of Melbourne’s hidden dens Eau de Vie, Beneath Driver Lane or Trinket. Order the Aviator at Eau de Vie, served in a delicate crystal glass, it comes with a ‘cloud’ of fairy floss and a tiny paper plane as garnish. The chilled vibe at Beneath Driver Lane always makes me want to sip on a Whiskey Sour, but at Trinket’s luxury surrounds, turn up the glamour and order a classic martini.
Mix it up Melbourne style by hitting Chinatown for yum cha. The Shark Fin Inn is an institution. Or, if you are feeling like a more healthy option, head to the Grain Store where they have fresh, tasty, locally sourced, and lots of hearty vegetarian options. After brunch take to the skies to get one last look of this beautiful city from above. At the Eureka Sky Deck or the Melbourne Star, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the city from the distant mountains to the nearby sea.
Whether you like indulging in world-class dining, art, and shopping, or immersing yourself in sport and nature, Melbourne has it all. Add our famous Aussie hospitality and friendly locals, I guarantee, you’ll fall in love with this exciting, charming and unique city.
Know Before You Go
- Purchase an Opal Card for the best public transportation experience. The Opal Card is valid in Sydney, The Blue Mountains, Central Coast, The Hunter, and the Illawarra.
- Flinders in Melbourne is famous for its street art. Wayward Wanders offers tours throughout the area.
- For walking, the Bondi to Bronte route is one of the best in Sydney. It is only four miles long and moves past cliffs, beaches, and has a beautiful view of the ocean.