Australia's cultural capital may just have had its 'world's most liveable city' crown stolen by Vienna, but there's a reason it has reigned supreme for the last seven years. Famed for its coffee culture, fantastic brunch scene and infectious creative charm, it's a city you can really get under the skin of. Here's our perfect day in the life of a local to give you a taste for what to expect...
Magic Coffee Beans
Kickstart your day on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy with a steaming cup of coffee. As the hipster hub of the city, Brunswick Street is an Aladdin's cave of arty cafes and coffee shops, and each one has its own unique blend with expert knowledge on how it should be served. Insider barista tip: if you're looking for a caffeine knockout, ask for a 'magic', which won't usually be on the menu but is a cup of double ristretto topped up with steamed milk. Any café you stroll into will deliver the caffeinated goods, but for an extra special addition, squeeze your way into Slowpoke Café and try the magic with their home-crushed almond milk - vegan or not, it won't disappoint.
Brunch of Champions
11 o'clock only means one thing in Melbourne: it's brunch time. With your head cleared by ristretto let your stomach join the culinary adventure and check out the city's world famous brunch scene. There are literally thousands of brunch cafes in Melbourne, many with bespoke and cutting edge menu choices. Head to the experimental Industry Beans, tucked away behind the chaos of Brunswick Street, for a weird and wonderful mix of flavours and ingredients that shouldn't work together but just do. Be adventurous with your choices, even for the fussiest of eaters, there really is something for everyone here.
Putting food to one side for a second, let's not forget about Melbourne's equally experimental arts culture. The best way to walk off that generous brunch (let's face it, you had to try the charcoal rubbed avo as well as the beetroot coral) is to take a stroll down to Hosier Lane in the central business district. Renowned for being a legal space for graffiti artists to exercise their talents, this laneway exhibits all the colours of the rainbow and is constantly evolving so there's something different to be admired every day.
After catching the street artists working their magic, jump on the 96 tram headed for St Kilda where you'll find the beautiful coast and some fresh ocean air. At only 40 minutes from the centre of town, St Kilda is one of those rare gems where the coast meets the city buzz, so you can enjoy cosmopolitan bars and restaurants aplenty along with more relaxed coastal vibes. Look in on Matcha Mylkbar, which straddles this dichotomy perfectly with it's entirely vegan take on meat and dairy favourites in an airy minimalist venue right on the ocean.
A trip to St Kilda must also involve a venture into to Luna Park. As a fairground with a difference, enter through the jaws of a two storey clown into a world of roller-coasters and fairground games which throw you up in the air with panoramic views of the Southern Ocean.
Experiencing the multicultural melting pot that is Melbourne would be incomplete without an Asian fusion dining extravaganza. As a true reflection of the culinary exploration Melbourne fosters, head back into the centre of town to any fusion restaurant, or to Chinatown for some real authentic dim sum.
Rooftop Bar Hop
To end the night on a quite literal high (now now) explore the city via one of its many rooftop bar trails. With something new to do in each bar, from outdoor cinemas to high-flying craft breweries, seeing the lights of Melbourne from the air never tasted so good. Try out our favourite rooftop bars tour, where a local expert takes you to four handpicked venues while explaining some little titbits of local history en route.