Inspiration Destinations Australia Gimlet & Glamour: 48 Hours in Melbourne  

Gimlet & Glamour: 48 Hours in Melbourne  

The Melbourne skyline at sunset, with a boat in the Yarra Valley - Luxury Escapes

Want to play visitor in your hometown for the weekend? Our guide to the city will have you stepping between A+ coffee shops, cosy wine bars, and bustling markets in no time.  

Australia’s capital for all things creativity, cuisine, and culture – Melbourne’s famous city grid offers so much enticement that it’s hard to know where to start. Fit in with the cool crowd as you enjoy a tipple at a glitzy wine bar, bop to international DJs at a hole-in-the-wall music venue, and admire the sparkling stained-glass windows of the country’s biggest art gallery. You have two days to spend exploring Melbourne like a keen tourist; here’s how to make the most of it in Victoria’s city that never sleeps. 

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Afternoon: check in to your city stay  

Crown Metropol Melbourne, a hotel to stay in during 48 hours in Melbourne - Luxury Escapes
Crown Metropol Melbourne.

Check-in for your stay at Pullman Melbourne City Centre – Little Bourke Street’s swankiest stay among the city’s busiest streets, Crown Metropol Melbourne with its sky-high pool, or the new Dorsett Melbourne, a luxurious city oasis just steps from Southern Cross Station.

Wander your way through the city and find yourself exploring the wonders of Carlton Gardens, even snap a photo in front of the famous fountain. Catch an IMAX show, wander through the Melbourne Museum, or sit in the park and take in the energy of the city.  

Evening: a wine and dine evening

As the sun sets, grab a spot at the glorious Gimlet – the city’s answer for upmarket French cuisine. Tucked within a 1920s era landmark building along Russell Street, sip eponymous gin-soaked cocktails and savour the chef’s seasonal menu featuring a revolving list of favourites from raw scallops with kombu to rich chocolate tortes. Local favourite Italian at Grossi Florentino, cutting-edge Asian fusion at Chin Chin, and the made-to-share menu at Hazel are all just around the corner if classic French isn’t your vibe. 

If you’re looking for late-night excitement, on your way back to your city stay, catch the 96 tram to Parliament House to enjoy a nightcap overlooking Spring Street’s impressive architecture and gardens at the Euro-inspired rooftop bar, Siglo (next door to the recently refreshed Le Meridien Melbourne). 


Morning: sit down to a proper Melbourne brunch 

There’s nothing quite like a great Melbourne brunch – this is, after all, the home of the (self-professed) best coffee in the world. Higher Ground takes everything Melburnians love about a good breaky and elevates it (literally) over six levels. The all-day menu includes the iconic ricotta hotcake with seasonal berries and edible flowers and a delicate spanner crab benedict, creating an event out of this typically laid-back morning meal. Coffee is by Six Senses.  

Afternoon: choose your creative or sporty adventure 

After brunch, let your feet take you up Bourke Street towards Swanston Street and then make a right headed to Princes Bridge. Make a small detour on the way to admire street art along the likes of Hozier Lane, emerging into Flinders Street. Cross the bridge and turn right towards Southgate to jump aboard a one-hour scenic river cruise and see the city from a watery point of view. Two route options take you either towards Docklands or upriver towards Royal Botanic Gardens and Melbourne Park. 

Alternatively, stay on dry land and continue straight to spend the afternoon at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), taking in the impressive permanent and revolving collection of installations, works, and hands-on experiences like live drawing sessions. Admire the stained-glass windows of the Great Hall before refreshing with a treat in the quaint Tea Room.  

Art not your jam? Turn left before crossing Princes Bridge to walk along Birrarung Marr in the direction of the mighty Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for an afternoon of sporting prowess. Cheer alongside passionate supporters at afternoon AFL game or cricket match – not forgetting to pair your viewing with a hot pie slathered in tomato sauce. The National Sports Museum, also located at the MCG, is another option if the afternoon’s match doesn’t take your fancy. 

Evening: underground eats to sleek beats 

Start the night with cocktails and canapes at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins before seeking out one of city’s most exciting dining destinations: Soi 38. Tucked away in an above-ground car park, the line that snakes out from inside the garage and along Bourke Street is a dead giveaway of Soi 38’s local cult status. Join the fast-moving line to experience jovial vibes and beyond-tasty Asian bites for yourself. Think braised duck noodles, tom yum soup, and Soi 38’s signature boat noodle dish – all ordered by filling out the paper menu on your table and then washed down with Thai beer, iced coffee or sweet Thai milk tea. 

After dinner, head back out onto the street and down to Lonsdale Street’s coolest multi-use restaurant-to-bar-to-music venue – HER. Start with a charred pineapple margarita at HER Rooftop as you soak up views of the city and finish with a dance in the cosy Music Room, where local and international DJs spin for an intimate crowd ‘til late. 


Morning: wake and bake(ery) 

A trip to Melbourne simply isn’t complete without a Lune Croissanterie experience. Add some sweetness to your Sunday AM with a coffee and croissant, from a traditional plain or pain au chocolate to one of the monthly specials, like a cheese and Vegemite escargot, at Lune’s CBD location on Russell Street. Don’t mind the crowd; it’s an experience worth lining up for.  

Afternoon: meet for a market meander  

After checking out, finish your Melbourne stay by finding the perfect keepsakes and trinkets at one of the state’s best markets. The iconic Queen Victoria Market provides a variety of local produce, bespoke apparel and handcrafted goods sure to catch your eye on your way home. 

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For more Melbourne inspiration, read From “Brr!” to Brilliant: Our Melbourne Winter Guide

About Ruby Staley
From exploring the world to kicking back with a good book, Ruby loves doing it solo. A passionate Euro enthusiast, catch her dreaming about Amsterdam or slurping down pasta a la vodka in moments between scribbling down her thoughts.

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