24 hours in Melbourne…

So, it’s Saturday morning and you have the weekend in Melbourne. Aside from shopping, the big question is what to do?

I’ve kept the focus of this post pretty much to the city – with an excursion to Fitzroy – but there’s so much more you can do besides…like the Brighton to St Kilda Walk, or a cruise down the river to Williamstown.

Anyways, without further ado, here are my suggestions for 24 hours in magnificent Melbourne…For the eagle eyed among you, the base of this is an old post – updated with new finds.


If you’re staying in the city, you have plenty of choices.

My fave in the city is Cumulus Inc (Spring St end of Flinders Lane), but you need to be prepared to queue. Their crumpets with house-made ricotta and rooftop honey is worth any queue. On a cold morning you can’t go past the porridge – and on a weekend can even be justified adding the optional dram of whisky…millions of Scots can’t be wrong.

Further down Flinders Lane is Journal Café. You enter through the City Library and CAE entrance.

I prefer Journal Canteen (up the stairs in the same building), but it’s closed on the weekend. If you’re there during the week, try it out – it’s very retro chic and their smashed avo with dukkah and feta is fabulous. This time I had the zucchini and corn fritters.

Even further down Flinders Lane – heading towards Spencer St – is Grain Store. Their corn fritters are well worth the walk – and it’s a little bit special.


Of course if you’re in Melbourne for shopping, you’ll probably be in the CBD, or Chapel Street – and you don’t need me to talk to you about that.

If you’re into discount shops you might head over to Bridge St, Richmond (tram 48 from Collins St or 75 from Flinders St), or DFO at Convention Centre. There are also outlet shops at Harbourtown.

Generally speaking though, Miss 19 and I aren’t big shoppers, so we keep to the laneways, the small or single design boutiques, and markets such as Rose St Markets. It’s small enough to be creative and maintain its individuality, yet large enough to be interesting. I’ve written about it here.

Rose Street Markets are located at 60 Rose Street, between Brunswick and Nicholson Street. It’s an easy walk from tram 96 (from Bourke St- use stop 16) or the number 11 from Collins St (stop 17). They’re on every Saturday and Sunday from 11am- 5pm.

For more information, check out this link.

Don’t forget to check out the murals in the carpark across the road, and in the streets around.

I also love a good look through vintage shops. If you’ve read Baby It’s You, you’d know that Emily heads into Fitzroy whenever she wants to do some vintage browsing. Gertrude St is great, but you’ll also find some simply by wandering up Brunswick St once you’ve finished at the markets.

Street Art

It’s everywhere – if you stop and look. I’ve written about it before, but most recently here.

Hungry yet?

By now you could be getting hungry – or thirsty. In any case, it’s 12pm somewhere, so if the day is fine, head up to Naked in the Sky – the rooftop bar attached to Naked For Satan – about halfway up Brunswick St. The views are fantabulous – and there are plenty of craft beers and vodkas on the list. If you’re peckish, grab a tapas or three.

There are plenty of other places in Fitzroy to try, but for me the decision is simple – dumplings. And the best dumplings in the CBD – in my humble opinion…and yes, I’ve tried many – are at Hutong in Market Lane, off Little Bourke St (or Bourke Street) between Russell and Exhibition St.

Try their wontons in chilli sauce and their xiao long bao. The former are perfect with a beer and the latter are close your eyes good.

Still on the Asian theme, Mamas Buoi in the GPO lane is great for lunch – or dinner. It’s Vietnamese, it’s relatively cheap, and it’s very tasty. Try the pho.

A Maroochydore export, Junk, has just landed in Melbourne. You’ll find it off Little Bourke Street right up the top near Spring St – in the laneway around from Longrain. Absolutely worth a visit.

If, however, you’re in the mood for pasta, go straight up Bourke Street to Grossi Cellar Bar. It’s crowded, it’s simple, and it’s good. In the right weather, and the right mood, you can feel as though you’re in a dark, crowded pasta bar in Rome…or perhaps I’m exaggerating… It’s closed on Sundays though…


Of course you are – you’ve done a lot of walking…

Last trip we tried Madame Brussels – and as an experience, you probably should too. Imagine every single cliché you could think of around a garden party or tennis party. Add some more pink, an arbour or three with fake wisteria, a suggestive menu full of punches, even more pink, and some short tennis skirts, and you could be close to imagining Madame Brussels.

Personally, the punches were a tad sweet for me, but this is a fun spot to faff about on a Saturday afternoon. Where is it? You enter through a rather non-descript door on Bourke St- heading up the hill after Exhibition St.

Section 8 is more my scene. Essentially it’s a bar in a container in a carpark. It’s grungy, a little dirty, very edgy, and has palettes and kegs instead of tables and chairs. I’m setting a scene of I Want You Back there, so had to stop and have a drink or two – and a plate of pork scratchings with apple and horseradish mayo.

I also managed some words with a cocktail at Magic Mountain Saloon (Little Collins Street between Exhibition and Spring), and more words with a glass of red and cheddar cheese and piccalilli mustard at The City Wine Shop in Spring Street.


There are so many great places to try – just jump on Trip Advisor.

If you’re after cheap and cheerful, try Fonda. Fonda Mexican. Get it? Fond of Mexican? Oh, don’t worry… Anyways, Fonda Mexican, up the Spring St end of Flinders Lane, is a perfect spot to stop for lunch – or dinner. Try a taco or two, or a quesadilla. Maybe you’re in the mood for some tequila or a frozen margarita? The corn is seriously more-ish and the chips with chipotle mayo are unmissable.

If you have a little more to spend, but still want to keep it casual and vibey, make a booking at Gazi. Gazi, specialising in Greek street food, is part of George Columbaris’ (from Masterchef – in case you’d never heard of him) stable of restaurants. It’s busy, the vibe is electric, the ceiling of terracotta flower pots is trippy, and the food is great.

We ate so much more than we needed to – and it was all good.

What about you? What are your CBD faves? Any cheap and cheerful eating places you can recommend in the city?

Ok, it’s Thursday, so that means sharing our happy. Like the Partridge Family sang C’mon Get Happy! Am I the only sad case old enough to remember that?Feel free to link up a post that reflects what you’re lovin’ about life. All bloggers are welcome! Fashion, food, beauty, business, personal, parenting … whatever … If you’re not a blogger then use the #lovinlife hashtag to tag instagram photos or tweets about the things that are making you smile. You can also click on some of the Lovin’ Life links below and see what else is in the blogosphere. So much to love …

To join in the Lovin’ Life Linky, all you’ve got to do is: Link one post about what you’re currently lovin’ in life. Read two or three posts from other Lovin’ Life Linkers and leave a comment so they know you’ve dropped by. Spread the Lovin’ Life word and feel free to link back.

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Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

23 thoughts

  1. Oh I LOVE Melbourne! I haven’t been there since 2012 so I need to rectify that and when I do I will revisit this post for your tips! There are plenty of places listed here that I was unaware of and haven’t tried! How good are Melbourne alleyway cafe’s – love them!! #TeamLovinLife

  2. We lived in inner West Melbourne up until about 7 years ago and loved it. The City and inner suburbs seem to get more and more vibrant every time you turn around and I love the way Melburnians will sit out on the pavement on the coldest of days – very European.

  3. Oh wow, so much I don’t know about Melbourne. My visit in Feb this year (for the Romance Readers’ thingy) was fleeting and I almost thought about skiving off a session and heading ‘out’ of the hotel but I’m afraid I only ventured as far as the 7/11 across the road for some vanilla diet coke (and bottle shop for some wine).

    I was previously there with my mum, bro, SIL and niece in early 2012 and we did a bit of exploring and it was interesting – on the bus to and from the airport – I did see some familiar sights!

  4. This is just what I need for my next trip to Melbourne. I normally go down there for a sporting event or show and shop until I drop. But you have given me some great alternatives for next time. It looks like you had a fab weekend. 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    1. We had a fabulous weekend. Neither of us are mad shoppers, so we usually allocate half a day to that & the rest to whatever else. We’ve covered lots of miles & explores so many suburbs over the years.

    1. We have a rule when in Melbourne: eat what you want as long as you’re prepared to walk miles in between.

  5. Smashed avo with dukkah and feta sounds delish. I had something similar for breaky the other morning after wondering what the deal is with smashed avo, it was yum, with tomato, feta, herbs and bacon. Have to get back to Melbourne to spend some time! My sis lives in Morwell, so if we go that way we’re usually just passing through from SA.

    1. The key to smashed avo is to small it generously, not smear it miserly…Thanks for dropping by.

  6. Next time you’re in town, let me know, and I’ll meet you at Section 8 for a drink (also one of my favourites), or Madame Brussels, or Hutong, for that matter. I also recommend the breakfast at the European on Spring St, the nasi lemak at Mamak on Lonsdale Street, the 1806 cocktail bar on Exhibition St, and the Supper Club on Spring St for last drinks. Both the Great Hall and the sculpture garden at the NGV also worth visiting and free.

    1. I ove love love the NGV – sadly my 19 year old does not. Sigh. Nasi lemak – you’re talking my language – & 1806 & Supper Club sound great. As an aside, I’ll take you up on the catch up next time I’m in town…

  7. The street art is smashing. And your recommendations for breakfast, lunch and dinner were so well written I could almost taste the food. Maybe someday I will get to Melbourne. If not, I have experienced it well here with you as my guide.

    Going to remember to add #lovinlife to my appropriate Instagram pics

    1. Thanks for dropping by. Melbourne is probably the most European (in feel) of our cities. It has a soul & a culture that’s all it’s own. It’s also my favourite place to escape to. I hope someday you do get over here.

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