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Set the Alarm for Early

26 Nov 2018

The early bird gets to see a different Melbourne. Here, we’ve come up with early-morning activities that show another side of our favourite city.

When you’re on holiday, the temptation is to stay out late, turn off the alarm and get up when your body has replenished the sleep bank. Tuck yourself in early though, rise with the birds and see a Melbourne few locals witness on a regular basis.

It’s one of the city’s favourite destinations for visitors of all ages, but few people realise you can start the day having coffee, fruit and pastries with some of the cute creatures at Melbourne Zoo’s Australian Wildlife Breakfast. You’ll arrive before the rest of the zoo’s guests and spend quality time with some of its favourite residents, the koalas, and their keepers. You can also have your photograph taken with a koala, meet the kangaroos and feed the birds. The breakfasts take place on weekdays.

Unless they have a job that begins as the sun peeks over the horizon, Melburnians tend not to be early risers. It’s worth getting up at dawn, however, to see the city almost completely empty. Walk along the southern side of the Yarra, past the rowing clubs – the athletes training on the water or the runners getting in an early jog are some of the only other people you’ll see – and along the edge of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Back in the city, head to the corner of Exhibition and La Trobe Streets where you’ll find 65 Degrees. You can order ricotta hotcakes or a big brekkie and coffee from 6am during the week.

Looking for a different outlook? Take a sunrise walk along the beach at St Kilda then head to local hangout, the Galleon Cafe. With its mismatched vintage furniture, casual vibe, big portions and 7am start, it’s just the spot to fuel up for the day.

Take to the skies and drift across the city and past its sights – the MCG, Eureka Tower, Albert Park and Port Phillip Bay – with Global Ballooning. You’ll help to get the balloon ready as the birds start their morning song then, as the flame heats the air within, drift high into the sky as the sun begins to rise. For a little extra romance, book the champagne breakfast to have following your morning flight.

If you’ve ever wondered where the fruit and veg you buy in the supermarket comes from, you’ll love the C the Market tour. The Melbourne Market, a 60-hectare site at Epping, is where about 4000 businesses buy and sell wholesale vegetables, fruit and flowers from Monday to Saturday. Normally, members of the public aren’t allowed in, but Jan Claire, who’s been working at the market since 2005 and operating her tour company since 2009, gives an interactive insider’s view of the goings-on. Meet the traders, visit the trading floor and take in all areas of the market. The tours operate when the market is in full swing, so start at 5.45am and finish up when it closes at 7.45. If you’re in to all things floral, special tours of the flower market are held on Saturdays.