Melbourne, Victoria {Part I}

MelbourneJuneLongWeekend2015

Nothing beats a long weekend away, to a place not too far to travel but worth visiting. For us, Melbourne easily fit the description! I have only been once before back in 2006, so was very keen to head back down and check out the amazing city and all it had to offer.

We flew out bright and early on Saturday morning, making sure to squeeze every moment we could out of the weekend by spending most of it down south! I often find that flying early in the morning is so much more peaceful. The airport isn’t as busy, less chance of delays and who doesn’t love a little breakfast before arriving at your gate to board? Plus, with sunrises and clouds like this – it sure makes the 5:15am alarm worthwhile.

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We arrived at 8:35am, which meant we had so much time to explore on our first day. We jumped in a taxi at the airport and headed directly to our hotel. As we were very early, our room wasn’t yet ready but the staff were able to mind our luggage while we headed in to the city for a day of adventure. We stayed at Crown Promenade, one of the three hotels within the Crown complex. The staff were very lovely and were more than happy to check in our luggage and send us a text message once our room was ready.

So we set off, for a day of exploring by walking along the Yarra River, admiring the buildings and how much had changed since we were there last. So many cafes, restaurants and bars were now along the waterfront, with shops and businesses dotted down the river walk too. One of the best ways to really see a city is to just get out on foot and see where you end up! It is one of our favourite ways to find hidden treasures, and once we crossed the river and headed in to the city we stumbled across our first lane way filled with street art.

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Melbourne lane ways are unlike any I have seen before. You could be wandering along with just some garbage bins and rubbish floating around, and then the next you pop your head around a corner to see it a bustling hive of activity with people, street art, bars and restaurants. The city gives a feeling that there is always something new to discover, and you’re left wanting more.

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We had no real plans locked in for our trip, but I had heard of a monthly wine tasting held at Cumulus Inc. which just happened to be on the weekend we were there. Cumulus Inc. opened in 2008 in Melbourne’s famous art and fashion precinct, Flinders Lane.  Celebrating the historic turn of the century rag trade building in which it is located, the space is a busy social hub offering Andrew McConnell’s acclaimed food.

Each month, the team at Cumulus Inc. host a different region wine tasting in the bar area above the restaurant called the City Cellar Door & Wine Market. This weekend they were featuring the beautiful wines of  the Mornington Peninsula, with wines showcased from Allies, Alvani, Garagiste, Moorooduc Estate, Ocean Eight and Taturry. We were very lucky to have one-on-one time with each of the winemakers to talk a little more about their winemaking process and chosen varieties. Having spent so much time in South Australia and the Hunter Valley, it was very refreshing to try some cold climate wines from an unknown to us wine region. If you enjoy a lovely Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, I highly recommend looking into the Mornington Peninsula.

The space, designed by Pascale Gomes-McNabb, is light and classic.  Cumulus Inc. is open throughout the day, seven days a week, whether it be for a coffee, snack, drink or a meal.  Breakfast until 11.30am is done simply; organic muesli or perhaps the Full English, with farmhouse slab bacon and smoked tomato.  Lunch and dinner include dishes designed to share, charcuterie, oysters shucked to order, salads or the whole roast lamb shoulder. During the wine event the kitchen were busy making mountains of delicious pork rolls, so we couldn’t refuse! If you’re in Melbourne on the first weekend of each month, be sure to head down for the City Cellar Door & Wine Market.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the city stopping in for coffee and a drink along the way. People watching has a certain appeal in Melbourne and it was fun to while away the day gazing out onto the streets and river. Slowly we made our way back to the hotel and checked in for the weekend.

Before heading out for dinner, we stopped off at the highest cocktail bar in Melbourne, 28 Skybar Lounge which showcases jaw-dropping views over the city. Complemented by floor to ceiling windows, on a clear day, to the east you can see as far as the Dandenong Ranges, and to the northern, you can look out over the stunning sundeck and waterfall-edge swimming pool. It was so relaxing watching the sunset over the city with a delicious cocktail.

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We wandered the evening admiring the lights and nightlife that Melbourne has to offer. Stopping off for a drink at Abory Bar  located between Melbourne’s heritage listed Flinders Street Station and the world famous Yarra River, at the epicentre of Melbourne’s riverside arts and entertainment precinct. Boasting over one hundred meters of absolute and uninterrupted river frontage, and situated beneath a line of iconic plane trees, Arbory Bar & Eatery caters to a wide variety of tastes and was a great place to take in the view.

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We finished off the night with an amazing charcuterie platter from Terra Rossa a restaurant and bar with a certain stylish ambience.  Located within the historic Swiss House building in the Flinders Lane precinct, the exterior maintains its original rustic condition while the newly renovated interior has been modernised to exude warmth and charm. A perfect end, to our first day in Melbourne! Keep your eye out for the rest of little getaway coming soon with more adventures and places to add to your list for your next visit.

Have you visited Melbourne? What is your favourite place to visit?

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