While we both absolutely loved the centre of Melbourne, some of suburbs we visited we probably even better. Our campsite in Preston was just a short 15 minute walk from the nearest tram stop, and this made exploring the city very straightforward. Although the campsite was considerably more than we have paid elsewhere at $45 (£28.50) per night, it was well worth it for the location and it even had a swimming pool!
By far the coolest area we visited was Fitzroy, home to Melbourne’s creatives. So basically lots of tryhard hipsters with beards, but that was fine with me.
The streets Fitzroy are full of independent cafes and bars, which pretty much all look well worth a visit. Amongst lots of other shops, there is some great vintage clothes stores which we were sure to take a look in. There is also an incredible amount of street art, with many buildings covered, and some alleys entirely filled with it. In many ways the area felt very similar to some areas of London, and it sounds like Melbourne is well on its way to having the astronomical property prices to match!
Brunch is clearly taken very seriously here, and there was so much choice it became almost stressful picking a cafe to go to on Saturday morning. Luckily we made a great choice, and both the food and coffee at Sir Charles was brilliant. I enjoyed the #Hash, while Rachael went for the very fancy $10 (£6.50) granola. We had some more great coffee at Atomica, where we sheltered from a short downpour.
There was some great value places in Fitzroy, and we spent some of both Saturday and Sunday night in the huge Fitzroy Social, where the drinks were cheap and the $2 tacos were even better.
The suburb of Collingwood is just a 15 minute walk from Fitzroy, and seemed to mostly be more of the same. Again the centre was packed with an array of cafes and shop. We spent our Saturday evening at the packed and clearly very popular Stomping Ground beer hall. We sampled 6 of the huge selection of beer and ciders on offer, before heading black to Fitzroy to watch some live music at the Labour In Vain club.
Enticed by the prospect of yet more skyline views, we made the journey to St Kilda, which is to the south of the city centre and home to one of Melbourne’s better beaches. While the city has a lot going for it, this is clearly not a strong point compared to Australia’s other main cities. Of course this is all relative, and it was still nicer than any beach within 3 hours of Coventry!
We walked along the the huge pier and towards the marina, where there were lots of expensive boats on show. Here we were greeted with brilliant views of the city skyline in the distance.
There seemed to be plenty of regeneration going on in St Kilda itself, or probably more accurately gentrification, with lots of the old properties being restored. As with every part of the city we visited there was countless coffee shops, bars, and some bakeries that were very hard to resist. We stopped for some lunch at Trippy Tacos, enjoying the outdoor seating and sunshine, before taking the tram back into town for some more exploring.