Melbourne never stops and every week a new hotspot emerges. But, for this resident, it’s the places less-travelled that continue to inspire.
1. Great Outdoors
There are many beautiful areas outside of the CBD to wander, but if you want to crank it up a notch - or 1000 - head to the Dandenong Ranges National Park to embark on the 1000 Steps Kokoda Walk. Set amidst a breathtaking landscape of forest and bushland, this beautifully preserved stairway to the heavens is easily accessible by train from the CBD. If you’re visiting for a weekend, step outside your comfort zone for an hour or so and see another significant aspect of this beautiful state. You can also go cycling through the gorgeous park.
2. After Dark
Melbourne is renowned for its laneways, small bars and undiscovered entertainment venues, but A Secret Place takes it one step further. If watching jazz within a 1950s New York club setting is your thing, then you need to book a table at A Secret Place, a high-end yet affordable night out. Formerly an exclusive members club, it’s now open to the public of a Thursday evening. But here’s the twist: only once your booking is confirmed will you be sent the unknown address for the venue.
3. Fun + Nonsense
This experience is as hysterical as it is exhilarating! The Break Room is a space you can visit with friends - or solo - to break stuff. Literally. And it’s all completely legal! Located in cooler-than-cool Collingwood (where else?) The Break Room allows you to let your aggression, frustration or pent up energy out on the best breakables your money can buy. Strictly one breaker per room, there are finite insurance-inspired guidelines to follow but above and beyond that, you can rest assured this is all good messy fun – without the bill or effort – that goes into the clean up.
4. To-Do Nothing
Pellegrini’s is as much a part of the Melbourne fabric as the MCG. An understated icon, this cornucopia of pasta and perfect coffee has been around since 1954. And the interior hasn’t changed much since either. Pellegrini's is an institution for numerous families in Melbourne, and we have dined here for each of our birthdays (from newborns upwards) for years. There are no menus and no booze, but for the truly lucky/privileged/well-timed diners, sitting at the long shared kitchen table out the back with the huge pots of pasta being stirred inches away is the closest you will come to a truly authentic unparalleled Italian dining experience.
5. Art Icons
There is no denying that the NGV is a must-see whenever in Melbourne, but to get under the skin of the art scene in Melbourne, one must visit Heide Museum of Modern Art. What began as the home of Melbourne couple John and Sunday Reed in 1934 as a meeting place for creatives including artists Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, and Joy Hester is now one of the countries most important – and somewhat undiscovered – cultural icons. Within the 15-acre property sits the couple's original farmhouse, as well as the 1964 David McGlashan, commissioned ‘Gallery To Be Lived In’ which is a modernist masterpiece that must be seen to be believed. Take it all in and finish - or begin your artistic sojourn - with a drink or dining stop at the locations eating spot, Café Vue, by Shannon Bennett.
"We know the mithridatum of despair as drunks, the angry penguins of the night, straddling the cobbles of the square, tying a shoelace by fogged lamplight." Max Harris, Mithridatum of Despair, is the poem that inspired the title of The Angry Penguins journal. Learn more at Heide today in our Making History: Angry Penguins exhibition. We are open 10am - 5pm. Image credit: Christian Capurro. #heidemoma #angrypenguins
6. The Sweetest Sweets
'La Belle Miette' loosely translates to 'beautiful small thing' or 'beautiful crumb.' My daughter's name is Miette so this has become a little secret sanctuary for us. So quaint and chic, it's no surprise La Belle Miette was founded by two fracophiles who have expertly swirled the tradition of French patisserie style through this Collins Street location. Ranked by Condé Naste Traveler as amongst the most delicious macarons in the world and described by The Guardian's Dan Lepard as "better than Paris, best in the world”, you too will get swept away by the smell, decor and delicious Fleur de Sel Caramel!