A quick first time visit to Melbourne
July 5, 2019 6:52 AM   Subscribe

I have a work trip scheduled to Melbourne, and decided to take a few extra days (maybe up to a week) at the end of July to spend a little time being a tourist before the work starts.

I normally would have done more research, and even asked this question here earlier, but a family emergency has been taking up a lot of my mental headspace, and will continue to do so for the next week. But I figure I need to actually start some basic planning, like finding a decent but not too expensive hotel before I switch to the hotel paid for by work (no word on what that one is yet). Also, besides seeing the 12 Apostles, I don't have much of an idea about what I'd like to do. I contemplated flying to Tasmania for a quick few days, but that may be more planning than my brain can handle at the moment.

Things I like: sitting in a coffee shop watching people go by, walking around fun neighborhoods, cheap wonderful food, weird artsy souvenirs, the ocean, finding a plus-size women's shop that has interesting clothing. I'm also one of those weirdos who likes wandering through strange grocery stores. I buy cards and other paper stuff, because MetaCardClub!

I don't care about clubs or bars (although I occasionally will have a beer, it's just not important to me) or nightlife in particular.

Any thoughts, travelers of Metafilter and residents of Melbourne? I have read the recently posted question and taken notes, but since I'm not in the city for as long, and am not interested in cocktails or wine, I figured I'd ask anyway.
posted by PussKillian to Travel & Transportation around Melbourne, Australia (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: besides seeing the 12 Apostles
Don't bother. There are only 7 left (there were never 12) and it's a 4-5hr drive each way from Melbourne. You could fly to Launceston and drive to Hobart in that time. If you like critters, you can catch public transport from the CBD to the wonderful Healsville Sanctuary north east of the city, or enjoy the delights of Melbourne Zoo, just a short tram ride from the CBD.

Melbourne straddles a river near a big flat bay, so there's very little ocean unless you are willing to drive for a few hours.

Stay around the city - the CBD, St Kilda, Fitzroy, Carlton, Collingwood, Richmond, etc. Lots of coffee shops, interesting neighbourhoods, cheap food etc. Don't miss the alley ways of the CBD itself. Lots of funky cafes and shops.

The museum is also fun - home to the oldest surviving first generation electronic computer (it's huge!) and lots of other interesting things.
posted by Thella at 3:25 PM on July 5, 2019

Best answer: I personally think that an overnight trip down the Great Ocean Road would be worth it, especially if you’re not from a coastal area! It’s winter here, and you’ll see a different side of Australia than you would in summer (or if you were going to, say, Brisbane).

Drive down to Warnambool in one slow, leisurely day, drive back the next day (maybe even inland if you like cute/weird little towns).

Walk around Fitzroy, Brunswick, Collingwood. Cafes are everywhere and they are (basically) all good. Have a flat white (like a latte without foam) and people watch. If you’re in the city, go to Patricia and people watch (no seating available, it’s a stand-only cafe)

Melbourne (and Australia in general) sadly doesn’t have an abundance of plus-size women’s clothes, but Mutual Muse, a neat second-hand shop, has a good size range and consciously stocks extended sizes when they find them.

Have fun! I moved to Melbourne from North America a decade ago and it is so different in a million subtle ways. I’m glad you’re taking a few extra days to discover it.
posted by third word on a random page at 4:12 PM on July 5, 2019

Best answer: Seconding that the great ocean road is worth it, but don't think of it as the 12 apostles specifically. By themselves they aren't worth it, as a whole the road is stunning.

Others have addressed localities and cafes. For different grocery stores you could try Mediterranean Wholesalers in Brunswick, the Asian grocers of Richmond, Preston, Sunshine, Box Hill or anywhere else, Casa Iberica in Fitzroy, a huge range of things in Footscray and really just take the train to any of those places and wander around, plenty of places to eat and less stereotypically Australian Anglo people. Not necessarily a normal tourist thing to do, but so what. Of them I'd probably single out Footscray.
posted by deadwax at 6:14 PM on July 5, 2019

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