,

Travel Guide to Melbourne, Australia: Top Things to See and Do in Melbourne

 

With its impressive skyscrapers, quirky street markets and pretty waterfront setting, Melbourne is one of the trendiest cities in Australia, and it’s not hard to see why. I spent two nights solo in Melbourne right at the start of my 6 week Australian adventure and it was the perfect city from which to begin my time Down Under. With plenty of cheap flights from numerous worldwide cities, flying into Melbourne is hassle free and makes getting to Australia super straight forward. Once you’ve touched down at Tullamarine Airport you could easily spend a week wandering around the city or heading a little further afield. However, if, like me, you only have a couple of days to explore, here’s my recommendations of what to see and do and how to maximise your time in Victoria’s biggest city…

 

Check out the Queen Victoria Markets

 

 

Located in North Melbourne, these markets are one of the biggest in Victoria and attract thousands of people each week. With hundreds of stalls and market traders set up, you’ll find everything from souvenirs and ornaments to clothes, shoes and jewellery. Established in the 1860s, they are the largest surviving 19th century markets which continue to trade five days a week and are popular with both locals and tourists alike. I loved wandering around the markets on my first day in Melbourne; they were located just a 5 minute walk from my hostel (YHA Melbourne Metro) and were the perfect place to pick up a bargain before venturing into the city… don’t forget to pop into the meat and fish food courts for delicious snacks, meals and fresh local delicacies.

 

Wander down by the Southbank

 

 

I wasn’t intending on seeing a huge amount on my first day in Melbourne as my jet lag was HORRENDOUS, but somehow I just kept walking and walking until I eventually came to this pretty part of the city which I had no idea even existed! After ending up at Federation Square, the focal point of Melbourne, I crossed underneath one of the cities many bridges and found myself walking alongside the River Yarra. A short stroll took me past all the impressive skyscrapers and right into the heart of the Southbank. This area is very much for the commuters and city workers and the vibe was much less touristy and much more local which I absolutely loved. Understated bars and restaurants were dotted between office buildings and apartment blocks, giving the area a real buzz and an insight into Melbourne life away from the tourist traps.

 

Have lunch at Federation Square

 

 

After hours of walking I found myself desperately hungry and in need of some fast food, so I headed to one of the stalls on the main shopping street in the CBD and grabbed myself a bit of lunch which I devoured whilst doing some serious people watching. Located right at the heart of the city, and exactly opposite the landmark Flinders Street Station, Fed Square is brimming with people at any time of day, but particularly with commuters in the CBD taking breaks or heading to and from work. Home to a couple of convenience stores, museums, bus stops, tourist info stands, public toilets and even free wifi, the Square is the perfect place from which to recharge your batteries for an hour and watch the world go by.

 

Climb the Eureka Skydeck for panoramic city views

 

 

Located in the Southbank, just across from the River Yarra, the Eureka Skydeck is one of Melbourne’s most visited attractions. Standing 297m tall, and officially listed as the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere, this gold plated skyscraper is also home to the world’s first and only ‘Edge Experience’ – a glass cube projecting out from the 88th floor that suspends visitors high above the city for incredible panoramic views over Melbourne’s lively neighbourhoods below.
There aren’t many places you can get a birds eye view, so this place is an absolute must see during your time here. I’d recommend going at dusk so you can see everything in the daytime and then watch the city come alive at night as it starts to light up after the sun sets.

 

Go penguin spotting at St Kilda

 

 

Sadly I didn’t get chance to do this during my time in Melbs, but I’ve heard that the beautiful St Kilda beach is one of the best things to see in the city. Located just a short tram stop (6km) from the CBD, St Kilda is a quirky area brimming with bars, cafes, shops and restaurants as well as plenty of hotels and hostels. The Esplanade hosts Australia’s biggest music festival every February, attracting crowds of 40,000+ to the huge event, which is completely free to enter. In addition, the iconic pier attracts beach lovers whilst the retro Luna Park is great for thrill seekers. The famous penguins (pic above was kindly sent to me by one of my friends!) can be spotted every night of the year on St Kilda beach at the breakwater and the best time to see them is just after sunset. I drove past St Kilda when I left Melbourne to head on my tour of the Great Ocean Road, but I know I’ll be back one day to explore this fantastic part of the city.

 

As you can see, Melbourne is a really diverse city with attractions appealing to everyone. If you’re a foodie and a shopper, the Queen Victoria Markets will be right up your street. Or if you’re more of a sightseer, head to the River Yarra to hit up the Eureka Skydeck for awesome city views. I really loved my time in Melbourne and would definitely go back for a few days if I were to return to Australia in the future. Have you been to Melbourne before? I’d love to know what you thought of it!

 

NB. This post was sponsored by flight company JustFly but, as always, all words, thoughts and opinions are of course my own!

,

I'm Taking the 12 Trips Challenge!

Hey everyone!

So I thought I’d follow on from my recent Bucket List post and share with you some of my upcoming travel adventures for 2016! I’ve been inspired by Monica Stott from The Travel Hack to take the annual 12 trips challenge which, in essence, means taking one trip a month for the next 12 months! The trips could range from exotic weeks away in the Maldives, to short weekend city breaks in Europe or even a little day trip to London here in good ol’ Blighty. With so much to see and do in this beautiful world the choices are endless, and the trips can be as basic or as luxurious as you like!

I’ve decided to take part in the 12 trips challenge as I LOVE visiting new places and I’ve also set myself the task of visiting 25 countries before the age of 25! I’ve ticked off ten so far but I’ve still got a fair few to go! So, without further ado, here is the first part of my 2016 travel plans which showcase some of my 12 trips challenge.. the rest will all fall into place I’m sure I hope!

January

What a show! Literally had goosebumps the WHOLE way through! Incredible. 😱🇬🇧🎭👏

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

I kick-started my 2016 with a day trip to the capital with the fam to see the fantastic Les Miserables in London’s West End. We spent the day shopping on Oxford Street, exploring  Covent Garden and stopping for lunch at Leicester Square. I’m always wanting an excuse to revisit my favourite city so this made the perfect little day trip!

February

My only planned trip for February is the cosmopolitan city of Brighton. Me and my friend are meeting up with one of our besties who moved there last year and we can’t wait to hit the shops, bars and clubs.. oh, and the beach too although it’ll be FREEZING this time of year!

PS. Thanks Sophie for the insta inspo!

March

At the moment March is the ONLY month I haven’t got anything planned for!! Hopefully I can be a little bit spontaneous though and book in a little visit somewhere- I’m thinking a day trip to Bath Spa for some shopping and a ladies lunch? Failing that I could always just go into Oxford for the day.. I mean, I know it’s my home, but it’s SO BEAUTIFUL that it must count as a trip? Right?!

April

April will see me returning to London as I’ve been shortlisted to win BEST TRAVEL BLOG at the UK Blog Awards 2016!! I still can’t believe I’m shortlisted and it hasn’t quite sunk in yet! This will be my first EVER awards ceremony and it promises to be an incredible night in Westminster – I’m totally honoured to be attending and will be so excited to share this journey with you all!

May

Bournemouth is beautiful today! ☀️ #bournemouth #bournemouthbeach

A post shared by H A Y L E Y 🌱 (@h_nyman) on

I’m currently looking at not one but TWO trips for this fun filled month – okay, so I know that’ll break the rules but it will be worth it! I’m hoping to head to Dublin for a little city break during the first bank holiday – Ireland will be another country to tick off my list! And I’m also going down to Bournemouth for my best friends hen do (I’M BRIDESMAID AND IM SO EXCITED!!!)

PS. Thank you Hayley for the insta inspo!

June

🎉👯🌹😘

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

June is my super duper top secret month which I’ve planned but I can’t share any details yet!! I promise that all will be revealed in March in a special post but until then my lips are SEALED!! Oh, and at the start of the month I have TWO weddings to attend to – one in the Cotswolds and the other in Liverpool the very next day! I cannot wait to see my best friend and my cousin get married! I am most definitely feeling the love at the moment! <3

July

July will see me head to the beautiful Scandinavian capital of Stockholm in Sweden for my first EVER bloggers conference! I’m heading to TBEX Europe with some of lovely fellow travel bloggers Sophie, Emma & Victoria and we cannot wait to explore the city, learn more about our industry and of course meet lots of amazing new people! Wait, did somebody say closing party?!

So there’s my travel plans for the first part of 2016 – who knows, things could all change but I’m pretty sure that’s what my diary is going to look like for the next six months! I will of course reveal my secret June plans soon but, until then, I’d love to hear how you’re all going to be taking the 12 trips challenge? Keep me posted!

Love Jess x

,

My 2016 Dream Destinations Bucket List via Ice Lolly #sendmeaway

Hey everyone,

Welcome to February! I can’t believe January is over with already but it also felt like the weeks dragged on FOREVER! I was recently nominated by the lovely Victoria from The Girl on the Move Blog to put together my 2016 Bucket List as part of Icelolly’s Dream Destinations 2016 #sendmeaway campaign. There are sooo many places I want to visit this year, and my list of destinations expands all the time so I’m going to try and whittle this down as much as I can! Here we go, lets get wanderlusting!

Brighton, UK

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBMyX4zATxl/?taken-by=sophiessuitcse

This is my second planned trip of 2016 (I popped to London last weekend) and it’s not as exotic as some other destinations on this list but a little bit closer to home and I thought I’d get some UK representation in here somewhere 😉 Brighton is a city I’ve always wanted to visit but for whatever reason I’ve never had the chance to! My best friend recently moved down that way though so I’m going to take full advantage and head over to Brighton pier during my stay at the end of Feb – I’m so excited!

New York, USA

https://www.instagram.com/p/8OcAq5AGZP/?taken-by=thegirlonthemoveblog

New York, New York – isn’t this place on everyone’s Bucket List?! It’s quite possibly one of the most famous cities on the planet, and with good reason – LOOK AT THAT SKYLINE!! There’s so much to see and do in the Big Apple and I’m just dying to explore it’s dazzling streets and wonderful theatres. Hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to visit New York this year, otherwise it’s going straight back on the 2017 wanderlust wishlist!

Rome, Italy

Experience is the teacher of all things – Caesar. #openymyworld with @gabscanu in Rome 🇮🇹

A post shared by Flight Centre Australia (@flightcentreau) on

When in Rome you should definitely check out all things architectural – the Coliseum is an epic landmark by any scale, and one of the most visited tourist attractions in Europe. Rome has been on my wishlist since I was a little girl – I was brought up as a Catholic and I’m fascinated by religion so it would be incredible to attend a service at the Vatican. I’m not sure if my budget/annual leave/free time will allow me to visit Rome this year but I’m certainly going to try!

Tallinn, Estonia

I thought I'd share another photo of beautiful Tallinn in Estonia – I just can't get over the inherent beauty of the Old Town. The core historic part of town isn't that big and can be easily explored if all you have is a day or so there. But I'd recommend spending a little bit more time and get to know the other parts of town away from the colorful UNESCO side, like the trendy Telliskivi district. Housed in a former secret Soviet-era industrial complex, Telliskivi has been taken over by some of the most creative minds in the country. Home to restaurants, bars, shops, galleries, coffee houses, creative companies and NGOs, the so-called Creative City is by far one of the most cutting edge neighborhoods in the world. It's also just a really fun place to visit, grabbing lunch at the F-Hoone restaurant before window shopping amongst the galleries, feeling inspired along the way. Most cities, even those firmly entrenched in their own historical legacies have something surprising to share. All you have to do is look for it!

A post shared by Matt Long (@landlopers) on

Time for something a little bit different now; for those avid readers out there most of you will know that I specialize in European city breaks – the quirkier the better! Tallinn is somewhere that appeals purely because of its harbourside location, cold temperatures during the winter (I need to see some snow!) and beautiful UNESCO world heritage sites. Tallinn is also suuuperrr cheap and I’d love to make the most of my bank holidays this year so I feel a cheeky weekend stopover in this beautiful city is on the cards!

Riga, Latvia

Like a fairy tale 💫 #openmyworld in Riga, Latvia with @augustaleighphoto

A post shared by Flight Centre Australia (@flightcentreau) on

Riga is another quirky destination on my Bucket List and it’s a trendy, up and coming European city attracting more and more tourists. Boasting a picture perfect Old Town, quaint little streets, beautiful buildings and a multitude of museums, Riga offers something for everyone. Like Tallinn, Riga is also known for being excellent value for money and I’ll be sure to book a little weekend getaway at some point over the next few months!

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Croatia is somewhere I’ve been meaning to visit for a while, and Dubrovnik in particular is on my holiday hit list! I’m forever going to cold destinations on my city breaks (flashback to Iceland 2014!) so I thought I’d mix it up a bit and plump for somewhere a little warmer.. With a cool balance of beaches, city life and plenty of historical landmarks I’d be spoilt for choice in cultural Dubrovnik!

 

So there we have it, that’s my 2016 Bucket List! I’ll be interested to see where I end up this year and I’m so excited to reveal some big news very soon on the blog – I promise not to keep it a secret for too much longer! Thanks again Victoria for the nomination, you can also read her inspiring Bucket List here.

As part of Ice Lolly’s #sendmeaway campaign I’ve also been tasked with nominating three fellow bloggers to share their Dream Destinations Bucket List for 2016. I’d like to nominate Vicky & Chris from Eat Sleep Love Travel, Jess Gibson from The Travelista & Sophie Davis from Sophie’s Suitcase. Looking forward to reading your bucket lists guys!

Where are you heading to this year? Will 2016 be your year of discovery? I’d love to hear your travel plans!

Love Jess x

NB. Thanks to Sophie Davis, Victoria Dovaston, Flight Centre AustraliaMatt Long for the Instagram inspo!