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Melbourne for Shoppers

23 Feb 2018

Ladies, we’ve unashamedly tailored this itinerary to you, but if you’re lucky enough to bring your fella with you, we’ve incorporated a few ideas for the fashion-conscious gentleman as well.

Day One

Leave the car at home and take your seat in the comfort of a V/Line train or coach. Pull into Southern Cross Station and jump on any eastbound tram heading along Collins Street. All trams are free in the Free Tram Zone (Melbourne’s CBD), and when you get off at the Town Hall/Swanston Street tram stop, it’s just a short stroll to the Adelphi Hotel [187 Flinders Lane].

Given the Adelphi’s central location, your options for a late-night drink are practically endless, but you’ve got the chance to combine dinner and a drink at Garden State Hotel [101 Flinders Lane]. But don’t stay up too late – you’re going to need all your energy for tomorrow’s shopping extravaganza!

Day Two

Waking up late in the luxurious sheets of your hotel bed, the first item on the agenda is breakfast. Manchester Press [8 Rankins Lane] is a 15-minute walk from the Adelphi up Elizabeth Street and just off Little Bourke Street. Light-filled and welcoming, it specialises in breakfast and coffee, and the friendly staff are sure to get your day off to the perfect start.

If you’ve come to Melbourne with the goal to shop, shop, then shop some more, your first port of call should be the city’s retail haven, Emporium Melbourne [287 Lonsdale Street]. Open from 10am every day, it is home to the largest Australian designer precinct in the country.

Emporium is more than just a department store or shopping mall, it’s a total retail experience. Premium international designers like Lacoste, Manning Cartell, Pandora, Kate Spade and Ted Baker (just to name a few) line the many levels of the centre, with cutting-edge architecture and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere everywhere you look.

Once you’ve worked your way from ground floor to top, you’ll have no doubt worked up an appetite. Or perhaps you’ll be chasing that mid-morning caffeine hit. Either way, the 30 purveyors of fine food in the level three café court (don’t call it a food court) are sure to satisfy any craving.

For a quick bite, street eat faves like the soft Turkish-style rolls from Earl Canteen or a souvlaki from George Calombaris’ Jimmy Grants are yummy options. If you’re wanting something a bit more exotic, be seduced by the fragrant Vietnamese scents of Pho Nom or embrace a different – and healthier – kind of fish’n’chips at Tank Fish & Chippery. The range on offer is expansive and eclectic; you won’t find a stodgy sandwich or boring McDonald’s anywhere in sight. Outside the café court there are also a number of individual cafés. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, try Chokolait or the Tea Saloon.

If pre-loved finds are more your thing, swap the city for edgy Brunswick and discover some bargains on Sydney Road. The #19 tram up Elizabeth Street will take you in the right direction, and if you alight at stop 20, you’ll end up right outside Vinnies [107 Sydney Road, Brunswick].

From there, walk north along the busy strip, past the cafés and bars, restaurants and pubs until you get to Savers [330 Sydney Road, Brunswick], ground zero for Brunswick cool. Scavengers [349 Sydney Road, Brunswick], across the road, has a more refined collection of vintage and second-hand fashion, while the good folks behind Don Bosco Opportunity Shop [368 Sydney Road, Brunswick] put their profits into the nearby Youth Centre.

If you’re feeling peckish, Brunswick Flour Mill [341 Sydney Road, Brunswick] do great salads and burgers, or on your way back to the city step off Sydney Road for creative café food and a great coffee at Wide Open Road [274 Barkly Street, Brunswick East].

After a morning treading the aisles or the pavement, it’s time to put your feet up, so duck into Curtin House on Swanston Street and climb the stairs to the third floor (sure, you could catch the elevator, but there are a number of quirky distractions on each of the building’s floors that make for great exploring). Once you reach the third floor, it’s time to get your hair done at one of the city’s hottest salons, Human Salon [Level 3, Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street].

For a more rounded pampering experience, Miss Fox [285 Little Collins Street] is an award-winning day spa offering all kinds of cosmetic, therapeutic and grooming services. Treat yourself and finish your first big day in Melbourne feeling fine.

Drop off your new purchases and slip into a fresh outfit before heading out on the town. Wander along Flinders Lane towards Chin Chin [125 Flinders Lane], a Southeast Asian restaurant with shared seating and a convivial atmosphere. It gets busy here and they don’t take reservations (walk-in only), so perhaps arrive early or relax with a drink in their basement bar until your table is ready. If you can’t wait, Fonda [31 Flinders Lane] is a great option for fresh Mexican food and delicious margaritas, and you can book in advance.

For an after-dinner nightcap try Magic Mountain Saloon [62 Little Collins Street]. With a wicked collection of cocktails (and mocktails), you’ll fall in love with the classy downstairs area, or head to the mezzanine above for a more relaxed drink.

Of course, if you’d rather satisfy that sweet tooth, you need look no further than Om Nom Kitchen Dessert Bar [Adelphi Hotel, 187 Flinders Lane], downstairs in the Adelphi Hotel. Revered by Melburnians the city over for its chocolate-laden offerings, it’s quite possibly the most decadent way to finish a day in the city.

Day Three

A new day in Melbourne brings with it a whole new array of shops to visit. Most retailers in the city open their doors from 10am, so that gives plenty of time for breakfast from The Grain Store [517 Flinders Lane]. Choose from options like pink lady apple, buckwheat and ricotta pancakes or wild mushrooms, poached eggs and pecorino for a light and healthy way to start the day.

From there, it’s time to get shopping! The following are just a few examples of the many different local retailers, but all of them are sure to leave you with a smile on your face and a shopping bag under your arm.

Incu [Shop 12, Albert Coates Lane, Q.V Building (enter from Swanston Street, north of Lonsdale Street)] combines international labels like France’s A.P.C. with local talent, and is conveniently placed just off of bustling Swanston Street. Nearby, iconic Australian designer Alannah Hill’s [Melbourne Central Shopping Centre, 218 Lonsdale Street] creations embrace sophistication and elegance.

For something a little different, try funkis [The Strand Melbourne, Shop 12, 250 Elizabeth Street]. Although an Australian design company, funkis embraces a strong Swedish influence and sells a number of renowned Nordic clothing and home wares designers like Marimekko and Iris Hantverk, as well as their own products.

After you’ve dropped your new wares back at your hotel, it’s time to satisfy your indulgent side at the Park Hyatt [1 Parliament Square (off Parliament Place)]. High Tea is served from 2:30pm each day and reservations are strongly recommended (especially on the weekends). Sparkling wine or espresso coffee, oven fresh scones and of course a sumptuous selection of finger sandwiches and pastries will be waiting for you, so reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve been doing today.

After an afternoon grazing on all sorts of deliciousness, you might not feel like a big dinner. Never fear, Melbourne’s got you covered. You can eat as little or as much as you want at Izakaya Den [basement, 114 Russell Street] one of the city’s best Japanese restaurants (and recently listed in the Financial Review’s Top 100 Restaurants in Australia). Please note, bookings for parties of less than five people are not available, so try your luck on the door. If you have to wait for a table, don’t worry – it’s worth it.

Later on, swing by one of, if not the only, African-themed bar in town, Glamp Cocktail Bar [267 Little Collins Street]. With cocktail names like The Plains of Serengeti, Ha-Ha-Hyena Margarita and Maasai Warrior, the fun extends to your tastebuds, and with an indoor safari tent kitted out with cushions and curtains, it makes for a great night out. What’s more, donations from the sale of the African beers on offer go towards not-for-profit organisations YGAP and Women for Women in Africa.

Day Four

If you’re feeling a little rough around the edges this morning, that’s completely understandable; a night on the town in Melbourne will do that to even the wildest of party animals. So take it slow this morning. If you’re heading home today, check out of the Adelphi and leave your luggage with reception (don’t forget to visit the rooftop swimming pool) as you search for a liquid breakfast.

The coffee’s good – damn good – at Dukes Coffee Roasters [247 Flinders Lane], and is more or less on the way to a morning spent in the cool, quiet surrounds of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV International) [180 St Kilda Road]. Spend your last few hours in Melbourne immersing yourself in timeless works of art. With a treasured collection of permanent exhibits, there may even be a special exhibition to see.

From there, collect your bags – including all your new purchases – and make your way back to Southern Cross Station. Your chariot awaits.

getting around

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