North to South: Riding the 96

It runs from Brunswick East in the inner north right through to bayside St Kilda. Explore on the number 96 tram and you’ll see every side of Melbourne.

If you’ve been to Melbourne a few times and are looking for a new way to explore, simply top up your myki card. The number 96 tram runs a 14-kilometre route from hipsterville in Brunswick East, north of the city, down through the city, joins the light rail through Albert Park and finally arrives in St Kilda where it ends at the corner of Acland and Barkly Streets. If you were to go right through from end to end, the journey would be over in about 50 minutes, but jump on and off to eat, shop and explore and fill a whole day. Here are some of our favourite places to stop.

POPE JOAN AT STOP 23 

This brilliant all-day cafe is renowned for its amazing breakfasts, including the breakfast roll with fried egg, bacon and brown sauce, great coffee, and range of Bloody Marys. When winter’s over in September, Pope Joan's kitchen and bar will open at night, too. It’s about 100 metres from the tram stop at 75–79 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East.

MELBOURNE MUSEUM AT STOP 12

Get a hit of history at Melbourne Museum, wander around the neighbouring Carlton Gardens or take in a movie on the massive screen at IMAX Melbourne. There’s plenty to see and do at this popular spot.

BOURKE STREET MALL AT STOP 5

You’ve got all the big-gun retailers, including David Jones, Myer Melbourne and H&M, in one block. If you want even more choice, wander through Myer to Emporium Melbourne, with its designer boutiques and innovative flagship stores from brands like Uniqlo. Need a dumpling fix? New Shanghai on Level 3 has great xiao long bao (pork soup dumplings) and prawn wontons with chilli oil and peanut sauce.

MELBOURNE SPORTS & AQUATIC CENTRE AT STOP 129

Swim indoors or out, zip down the waterslide, splash about in the wave pool and try your technique on the diving boards at MSAC (Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre). There’s also the FlowRider, a static wave of water where you can surf or body board depending on your level of skill.

MONARCH CAKES AT STOP 139

Yes, you can go for a walk along the beach and ride the Coney Island Top Drop at Luna Park when you get to St Kilda, but you haven’t really lived until you’ve enjoyed the decadent Monarch Cakes delights at 103 Acland Street, many of them baked from the same recipes for more than 80 years. Chocolate kooglhoupf, baked cheesecake, sacher torte, lemon tart… Whatever your sweet weakness it’s sure to be here.

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Image credit: Craig Newell