The Historic sights in Marvellous Melbourne
For a city in a relatively new country Melbourne is stacked full with a great deal of history. The grand looking streets in the centre of Melbourne belie the style of the pioneers that designed and built them. European visitors will recognise a lot from home in much of the architectural style in public buildings in particular.
Melbourne was built on the foundations of money made in the gold rush on Victoria when it was first settled by Europeans. Prospectors began their lives there in temporary wooden houses and tents on the fields around the bay and ended up with the grandeur that you see today. Ponder the wonder of Marvellous Melbourne and indulge in a day 5 stop tour to explore the stories of some of the founding fathers of Melbourne in a day.
Have cake for breakfast at Hopetoun tea rooms
It sounds decadent but i can assure you that early morning is the best time of day to go, as from 11 onwards there is almost always a queue out the door to get in! Hopetoun tea rooms was founded by Lady Hopetoun in 1891 to continue the then newly established tradition of Afternoon Tea. It’s worth a visit just to peek at their window display which is always beautiful and packed with an array of sumptuous cakes in a rainbow of pretty colours.
Captain Cook’s escapades in the Pacific are charted in great detail at his childhood home Cook’s Cottage which was taken apart brick by brick in 1934 and shipped to Melbourne from Yorkshire by Sir Russell Grimwade. It was hand built by his parents in 1755, so it’s the oldest building in Australia technically! Grab your tickets from the visitor centre just opposite, which is fully equipped with fabulous coffee (where isn’t in Melbourne?!) and await your welcome from the staff dressed in full Captain Cook style costume. It’s beautifully formed but super small which gives you time to squeeze in the next spot too.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
Officially consecrated in 1897 St Patrick’s Cathedral is a sanctuary of calm in the North of Melbourne’s CBD. Make sure you check mass times before you go to make sure the time/activity suits you for having a mooch round or attending mass.
Royal Exhibition building
This one needs to be booked in advance as only a certain amount of people are allowed into the building at a time. Call ahead to make sure that there are no events on that day as well, as the building is still very much used as it was originally intended to host trade shows, fairs and various events all throughout the year. Guided tours normally start at 2pm each day and are well worth it, it’s the only way you can access on a non event day and you will learn all about the history of the building and the decor from their knowledgable staff. It’s a beautiful building and rare to still be used for a role similar to it’s intended purpose.
Queen Victoria Night Market
If you’re feeling tired head back through Carlton and jump on a tram to make the quick swoop back into the CBD to my favourite Wednesday night haunt Queen Victoria night market
Try and get there as close to 5pm as you can if you want any chance of sitting down to eat as it gets rammed very quickly. It’s as popular for Melburnians wanting a lazy midweek dinner as it is for backpackers and tourists wanting (relatively) cheap eats.
This place is a veritable feast for the senses. It’s packed full of all sorts of food lovingly made by passionate foodies from all corners of the globe. From Indian curries, Italian mozzarella smoked over a raging fire, to Aussie Kangaroo burgers and freshly steamed Asian bao there is something to suit all palettes. You can wash it all down with drinks from the bar or my personal favourite Running Bull Sangria who will always serve you a pint of the good stuff with a beaming smile.
There are a growing array of sweet treats if you have room after dinner too, the Pavolva team do a roaring trade and could barely make them quick enough for demand the last time i was there. Hungarian apple strudel can normally be found at the back if you are really going for it and the waffle club treats are quite spectacular.
On summer nights you will find live music in a few spots around the market, from reggae, jazz and rock to old the old school charm of the guys at Bella Ciao banda Italiana the choices are pretty varied so float around until your ears catch something that they like. Then sit back and relax!
Here’s a handy map so you can keep your bearings!