How to spend a weekend in Melbourne

I have a confession to make.

I was in Melbourne for four weeks and the first two weekends I did absolutely nothing! It was post a two week holiday and my final exams were coming up fast so I went into panic mode and sat in my room trying to study.

The panic subsided a bit when I bargained that I still had three months before exams and I was half way across the world, thus unlikely to be returning anytime soon.

The main trigger factor for me to get off my bum and go see Melbourne was when my consultant asked me what I had done on the weekend. Since I had consistently being saying “nothing much” the last few times she asked, I felt I couldn’t bring myself to say it again. So I lied. I said I went to Phillip Island to watch the penguins, thinking that seemed like a normal tourist thing to do.

My heart stopped when she responded “Oh really?! What day did you go??”.

*OMG were the penguins not on everyday – I thought to myself?

“Umm Sunday” I hazarded. 

“Oh I was on Phillip Island on Sunday! I must have just missed you, it was packed”.

Yes I actually lied about having and life and nearly getting caught doing it! At that point I decided I need to race around Melbourne seeing everything there was to see for my final two weeks.  In fairness, I managed to recover my stride and see quite a bit so here are my recommendations for weekend activities!

1)   Eat and shop your way around the city

This city is famous for both! Start your day with brunch, you can try somewhere cool like Dip In Cafe where they serve brunch in a bread bowl then wander around the CBD.

The Emporium is the biggest mall in CBD with all the main Australian designers and department stores. If you are looking for more boutique clothes then head to Fitzroy – Melbourne’s most artsy suburb and another fantastic place to find good food.

For dinner there are endless choices such as the Asian fusion – Chin Chin or Rice Paper Scizzors, or you can head to little Italy area for some excellent pasta / Pizza. Footscray is famous for its ethnic food, in particular the Ethiopian joints there come highly recommended.

2)   Look up what’s on in Melbourne and book a ticket

Melbourne is a haven for art, music, and theatre, with countless events on every month. I went with a friend to a haute couture exhibition by Viktor and Rolf at the National Gallery of Victory. It was fascinating to see the pieces, each item of clothing seemed far more at home in the art museum than on a human body.

In a clever plot twist there was a section that allowed you to try your hand at making collars and hats with Viktor and Rolf's signature ruffled style. Unknowingly to us this gallery was a honey pot for all of Melbourne’s wannabe artists / designers who took to the DIY section with gusto. Our poor paper collar and space style hat were rather dismal compared to some of the guests creations, a reminder to stick to the day job!

3)   Go to a sporting event

THE event of all events happened to be on when I was in town – the Australian Open. Yes I am a little biased as  I’m a big tennis fan. I was more than a little delighted at getting the chance to go and watch Federer on Rod Laver.

I’ve been lucky enough to go to Wimbledon a number of times so it was great fun comparing the two, and sorry to my English readers but I have to say the Australians win in terms of food and beverage facilities. There was just endless choice of tasty treats from all over the world as opposed to the classic options of fish and chips or chicken and chips that they offer at Wimbledon.

Even if Tennis is not your thing there is plenty of other sports on offer. The cricket stadium is the largest in the world and there are regular fixtures on.

4)   Go to Brighton Beach

The little huts are totally insta-worthy and if you are feeling energetic you can walk up to Half Moon Bay which offers stunning views. Brighton is also home of the rainbow latte for all you hipster coffee fans. 

5)   Go to St. Kilda

Melbourne doesn't have the same beach culture as Sydney but if you are in need of your beach fix right inside the city then St. Kilda is the place to go. If you are a fan of beach volleyball check out Republica which organises fun tournaments on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays starting from 6pm.

6)   Tour the great ocean road

 This is an absolute must when you are in Melbourne! Due to time limitations I went on a one day tour - a very long one day tour - down to the 12 apostles and back. If you have more time I would highly recommend taking a few days and renting a car as there are plenty of beautiful beaches and views to check out on the way. Not to mention a koala or two!

7)   Of course, last but not least, go to Phillip Island – and by go I mean actually go rather than just saying you went.

After nearly being caught out on my lie about Phillip Island it became first on my list of places to go. Paraic and I decided to be adventurous by making our own way there instead of taking an organised tour. A swell idea until we realised that public transport to the Island stops after dusk and the penguin display only finishes at 9pm! 

Our mini adventure consisted of taking a train and then a boat over to the Island. When we got off we walked right into the middle of a food festival complete with rock and roll band. After a little picnic we jumped in a taxi to the Penguins where the taxi driver informed us that all the hotels on the Island would be full that night as it was a public holiday and the middle of summer. Thankfully we managed to convince a Japanese tour bus to give us a ride back to Melbourne late that night!



  1. Aww that story made me laugh, bless!! Your (actual) time at Phillip Island sounds really lovely, and I love that you had a picnic there too!

  2. That's a funny story about Phillip Island but sounds like it was a great motivator! I love the look of Brighton Beach and also the Viktor & Rolf exhibition

    1. I loved the Viktor and Rolf exhibition, had never been to one like it!

  3. Your photos are so beautiful - looks like you had a lovely weekend!

    The Leach Life |

  4. Your opening few paragraphs really made me laugh out loud...that's the kind of pickle I would have got myself into lol!! It sounds like you more than made up for it afterwards though :)

  5. beautiful photos

  6. Thanks for the tips!


    1. No worries :) Thanks for stopping by!

  7. HAHAHA!!! that bread bowl egg breakfast looks so good!