Mefi Sydney/Melbourne: Pimp our itinerary
April 19, 2015 3:16 AM   Subscribe

My sister is coming to visit in 2 days - yay! We'll be spending 14 days in Sydney and 5 in Melbourne, I think I have most things covered but can you see anything I've missed/have hot tips to make her visit supercool? She hasn't been on holiday for years.

I've been living in Sydney about 10 months but have never been to Melbourne before. Sis like yoga and wants to visit a cat cafe in Melbourne, looking for art/food/culture/sights. She'd like to find a pub to watch the F1 in if anyone has any tips on that? We're both teetotal and decently fit but not super sporty. My itinerary for her visit looks like this right now:


Featherdale Wildlife Park - meet the roos and joeys!
Blue mountains tour & jenolan caves
Sydney CBD - Queen Victoria Building, Westfield, Chinatown - lots of excellent sushi/laksa/ramen houses & the huge market, over to Circular Quay and the Opera House
Bondi beach & area
Ferry to Manly beaches (v. pretty, nice to snorkel) & area
Glebe market, Eveleigh Market & Carriageworks
Rozelle markets & french cakes!
Kirribilli General Markets, Paddington Markets
Finder’s Keepers art & craft pop up market is on in April
The Rocks, Museum of Contemporary Art, Harbour Bridge & area
Art Gallery of NSW & feeding the cockatoos in the park, Royal Botanical Gardens
Taronga Zoo?
Newtown: Biggest second hand bookshop in Oz, Great Aunty Three Vietnamese Cafe, Best Gelato in the World 2014 winner Cow & Moon, N2 gelato made with liquid nitrogen, Black Star Bakery for Rose & Watermelon cake, The Pie Tin, Bourke St Bakery
Darlinghurst area for a look around
Luna Park & maybe waterpark if weather good enough?
Surry Hills/Redfern area for food & looking round shops
Find pub to watch F1 in
See acts at the comedy festival


Great Ocean Road Tour, see the 12 Apostles (1 whole day tour)
Phillip Island Penguins Tour (evening) watch the penguins waddling across the beach on their way home
Laneways & Arcades - esp. Royal Arcade/Block Arcade/Hosier Lane
Cat cafe!
Blender Ln Artists market, Rose St Artists market
Ackland st Cake crawl
Lost & Found vintage market
Brunswick - Sydney Rd
Art galleries - federation square, National Gallery Of Victoria, etc
St Kilda Beach
All Day Donuts, Bowery to Williamsburg (jewish - cash only), Tuck Shop Takeaway, Wonderbao
Jinda Thai 3 Ferguson St, Abbotsford, Moroccan Soup Bar - Fitzroy North
Queen Victoria Markets - largest open air market in the southern hemisphere, awesome food

Do you think I have everything covered here or are there things I've missed? I'd like to make this good as it's probably a never-to-be-repeated experience, we leave in 6 months and international travel isn't something my sis really does. We have a mid-range budget, she wants to save money as much as possible but I can spot her for things and will be taking her out to eat and to galleries etc. Thank you in advance for any tips or advice you might have!
posted by everydayanewday to Travel & Transportation around Melbourne, Australia (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There's penguins and rakali at St Kilda beach at dusk, but I'd skip the Victorian markets unless you want to buy food because it's the usual crap.

Keep a close eye on your lunch at Manly. Damn seagulls jumped in my lap and pinched my chips.
posted by b33j at 3:22 AM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Lochard Gorge, which is near the 12 apostles, is better imo. Especially at sunset. Both spots are crazy windy, so go prepared. Pop in to Lorne for lunch? The 12 apostles themselves are...ok. The drive is the thing, really. Another lovely spot is the General Store at Aireys Inlet. It's on the way. Great food, very chilled out vibe, very Melbourne/Victorian.

Rose St market is also ok, the thing in that area would be just hanging out on Brunswick St, Smith St and Gertrude St, I think. Gertrude and Smith are a lot more 'cool' than Brunswick these days, but Brunswick has been around for longer and so has more there. Depends what you prefer.

Really what I'd mostly do in Melbourne would be eat...

There are also some lovely wineries and winery/restaurants in the Yarra Valley and on the Mornington Peninsula. Stones at Meletos, for example. I would do that rather than the Lost and Found market or Sydney Rd...those places are quite cool I guess but not spectacular. Melbourne is kind of a lifestyle place, I think, rather than a tourist place. But the Yarra Valley can be beautiful and the Portsea pub or the hot springs on the peninsula would get my vote over seeing quite so many arcadey-vintagey things, just cause I think they're cute but not event-worthy when you have only a short time. Up to you of course.

It will probably be quite cold at the penguins, fyi. I mean, compared to what one might expect. I always underestimate that, for some reason!

The Grampians are another reasonably popular spot. If your friend is a film buff the Macedon Ranges is the location of Picnic at Hanging Rock. And there are some great places to eat in Kyneton, which is very cute. Have fun!

I have no idea what a cat cafe is, btw, just in case you're assuming that this is a thing that everyone in Melbourne knows about!
posted by jojobobo at 3:54 AM on April 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you are looking for restaurant suggestions, The Age's Cheap Eats and Good Food guides are pretty reliable sources of information. Broadsheet is good for telling you the latest hipster spot (perhaps these things exist in Sydney too), though it is not good for reviewing purposes.
posted by jojobobo at 3:55 AM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone for your suggestions! If anyone wants to visit the cat cafe in Melbourne, here is the website
posted by everydayanewday at 4:04 AM on April 19, 2015

I've nothing else specific to recommend, but I wanted to say don't overplan Melbourne. Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island are both day trips, at minimum, so you're really working with 3 days for all the other stuff, and you'll want to leave some time for just walking around/hopping on trams and getting off whenever you see something cool, which is half the fun of visiting Melbourne.

Also: this might be heresy, but I think the Queen Vic market is overrated and not actually all that pleasant to visit these days. I probably wouldn't do more than pop in for a quick look and a bag of hot jam donuts. YMMV if you're big market fans but it is very noisy and you will be struggling through a sea of people to actually get to anything good.
posted by lwb at 4:24 AM on April 19, 2015 [4 favorites]

If you're doing the Great Ocean Rd, consider taking the inland route one way - the bit through the Otways is very lovely.

IMHO, the Acland St cake shops are a bit faded. You could do a Carlisle St/ Glen Eira/ Glenhuntly Rd bakery tour on the way to Tuck Shop instead - Glicks, Lichtenstein, Firebrand, Frank's, Aviv, Olia.
posted by hawthorne at 6:16 AM on April 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

You can hike from "the spit" to Manly and take the ferry back! It's a lovely hike/walk. Google will get you directions; it was also covered in a NYTimes travel article.

What are you looking for in a pub? Quiet or Rowdy or Busy? Cheap or Nice?
There's one around Darlinghurst/Redfern that does good woodfired pizza. The one in Summer Hill is pretty quiet/family friendly, clean, has very good food, and several TV screens (and board games, trivia, a pool table). Not sure what they're showing though.
posted by jrobin276 at 4:41 PM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

About the only thing St. Kilda Beach has going for it is proximity to the city. It's got a great view of the skyline, but in terms of other features, it's unexciting. No need to make it part of the itinerary, really, if you're looking to avoid overplanning. I'd say if you want to do St Kilda, go in the evening for a walk on the waterfront.
posted by EvaDestruction at 12:33 AM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

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