Last Wednesday I celebrated my 20th birthday, that’s right – the big 2-0. To make it official, a ‘girls’ weekend away’ was planned in one of my favourite cities – Melbourne. The following is a short guide I’ve put together for anyone who’s travelling to Melb and is unsure of where to eat, visit or stay, all from my personal account.
After our quick 50 minute flight, my three friends and I finally arrived in the city of dreams at 5.30pm, ready to start the weekend with a bang. We checked into our ‘Short Stay’ apartment, located at 180 City Road, Southbank, which was absolutely perfect, central, modern and spacey (just what four Adelaidean girls needed), and literally only a minutes walk from the Crown Casino. After checking in we headed out for dinner at DOC Pizza E Mozzarella Bar, located in Carlton, around the corner from Lygon St. For the entree, an antipasto spread was served, followed by a pizza each – for me, the San Daniele pizza was the standout, which consisted of thin based dough, napoletano sauce, prosciutto, mozzarella and bocconcini. Now, when I say this is the most authentic Italian food I’ve ever eaten in Australia, I mean it, folks (and I’ve travelled to Italy, it’s pretty much on par). After a very fulfilling meal, we headed to the Crown for drinks, which to our amazement was buzzing with life – a somewhat different atmosphere to quiet ol’ Adelaide.
Up and early today, our first stop was at an all-day breakfast ‘hot-spot’, called Top Paddock to meet some friends who live in Melbourne. The hotcakes were a popular choice, and were served immaculately (it looked as if I had my own garden growing straight from the bowl). I still couldn’t finish it though.. #weak.
From there, we walked (or should I say waddled) to Chapel St., one of my favourite shopping destinations in Melbourne. As soon as we arrived, I informed the girls of my own strategy when shopping on Chapel St., pick a side and walk down, cross over and walk back up, simple and effective. After a good couple of hours, and many shopping bags later, we were back at the apartment getting ready for the night. That night’s dinner was at Criniti’s on Lygon St. (which I soon learnt was little Italy). Starters consisted of potato croquettes in napoletan sauce, stuffed mushrooms and toasted ciabatta, and my main course was cooked veal served with eggplant, napoletan sauce and a side of chips. The food and service was absolutely divine, and although I left with a bulging stomach, we headed straight to that night’s club called Ms Collins for drinks and a dance. Located on Collins St. (ha, clever!), Ms Collins was absolutely packed – if RnB is your pick when it comes to music, you will not be disappointed visiting here, I swear my feet hated me for dancing so much! The age crowd varied here, if I had to guess I would say the majority of patrons were aged in their late twenties to early thirties.
Waking up with a hangover caused a slight delay to our day, as a sleep in was much needed. After going for a coffee run to wake up my three sleeping beauty friends, we were finally on our feet ready to go – go where you ask? To lunch, of course! Today’s cuisine switched from Italian to modern Asian, a restaurant called Chin Chin to be exact, which I had heard many good reviews about. As expected, the food was perfect – fresh and bursting with flavour, giving us enough energy to hit the Bourke St. Mall followed by the Emporium.
I personally couldn’t help myself when walking past Victoria’s Secret, as in Adelaide we don’t have our own store in any of our shopping centres, other than the airport. We even had the courage to hit up H&M, although at one stage we all did lose each other resulting in many panicked phone calls and messages. After our energy levels had dropped, we were on our way to our apartment to get ready for our first Saturday night at Alumbra, another popular Melbourne club. Again, this place was packed and had great music too, but it wasn’t restricted to just RnB. The age dramatically dropped at this club though, as it seemed to mostly consist of people in their early to mid twenties. I have been told that Alumbra on a Sunday afternoon however, is much a older and chilled crowd.
Our last day started with an early check out and stroll down to the Yarra to have breakfast at Cervos, another all day breakfast cafe. After a good two hours of reminiscing, staring out onto the Yarra river and drinking lots of coffee to make up for our lack of sleep, we made our way to the SouthBank DFO. This was another one of my favourite shopping precincts, mainly because of its variety and great sales in just about every store. Before making our way to the airport to come home, we stopped by Little Italy again (yes, Lygon St.) to visit Brunetti. Important note here: if you are making your way to Melbourne, whether it be for a day, weekend or month, you NEED to go to Brunetti’s at least once, their traditional Italian pastries are to die for, just don’t blame me when you return home and can’t find anything as good!
From there, it was time to go back home to little Adelaide. We all agreed our weekend away wouldn’t be our last, and that the memories made in Melbourne would last a lifetime. If you head to Melbourne, whether you’re from Adelaide, Australia or anywhere in the world, check out at least one of the destinations from my mini guide, and let me know your feedback and experiences.
Until next time, Melbourne.