Melbourne may be Australia’s capital for all things cultural, but this coffee-sipping, bar-hopping, cutting-edge metropolis is also the perfect base from which to explore nature. Sip on local wines at nearby cellar doors and browse bustling boutiques or reach towering forest landscapes within an hour or hit the beach in under half. Melbourne and its surroundings are filled with natural beauty and wildlife – you just need to know where to look.
Since Melbourne is a city that prides itself on its coffee, your first morning should kick off with a cup of the good stuff. Make Core Roasters in the inner-city suburb of Brunswick your first stop, followed by Project281 for a bite to eat. A trendy café tucked down Albert Street serving an excellent breakfast menu, it features standouts like apple crumble French toast or pulled pork eggs benny.
It’s not all about flat whites in Melbourne however. This multifaceted city is also the gateway to some of Victoria’s most beautiful natural wonders. After fuelling up, head east to the Dandenong Ranges, an Aboriginal cultural landscape in the traditional Country of the Wurundjeri People.
An hour’s drive from the city centre, this forested mountain range offers spectacular city vistas over Melbourne and is home to an array of local wildlife, such as lyrebirds, wallabies, wombats and the powerful owl. Walk the trails through the soaring mountain ash trees, lush fern glades and antiquated hilltop villages along the region’s best-loved bushwalk, the famous 1000 steps, or soak up the sights, sounds and smells of the Australian bush at Olinda Falls.
Back in the capital, you’ll find endless places to eat and drink dotted along Melbourne’s laneways, rooftops and basements. Head to Mabu Mabu at Federation Square where First Nations chef Nornie Bero champions Australian native produce using ingredients like kangaroo tails, saltbush fried crocodile and green ants. Finish your evening at the Music Room, inspired by the listening bars of Japan and Europe, where local and international artists spin the bar’s vast curated vinyl collection, and mixologists shake up classy cocktails.
Start your day early by strolling the colourful streets of Brunswick; it’s brimming with second-hand…
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