As Australia’s cultural and culinary capital, the city offers a wealth of experiences for the luxury traveller. An ever-evolving landscape of fine dining, exclusive exhibitions and incredible experiences ensure no visit is ever the same – and keeps even the most discerning of art, culture and gastronomy aficionados on their toes.
Here’s our pick of the top things to do in Melbourne for fans of the finer things.
Embark on an epicurean discovery
Melbourne’s dining scene is world class: a bounty of visionary chef-hatted fare, laneway cocktail artistry and copious avocado brunches – served with a side of its famous coffee, of course. To put it plainly, average just doesn’t cut the mustard here, so your tastebuds are in for a good time.
A roster of favourites like Flower Drum, Attica and Lûmé offer decadent degustation and tantalising tasting menus, with exciting newcomers bursting onto the scene every week. One such newcomer is Farmer’s Daughters by Peruvian chef Alejandro Saravia (of the laneway restaurant Pastuso). An ode to the produce of Gippsland, Farmer’s Daughters offers three tiers of heaven for lovers of food and wine: a ground-floor deli selling seasonal Gippsland produce, a second-floor restaurant and a greenhouse-inspired rooftop bar, where you can wash down dinner with creative cocktails muddled with native herbs.
Looking for truly unforgettable luxury? Ascend to the heady heights of the Rialto Tower’s 55th floor to Vue de monde, a Melbourne fine-dining institution. Indulge in innovative cuisine crafted with native Australian ingredients, while the glittering lights of the city extend before you.
Fall in love with theatre all over again
Is there anything more magical than getting dressed up and spending a night in one of Melbourne’s beautiful heritage-listed theatres? As (arguably) Australia’s cultural capital, the city enjoys a steady lineup of world-class productions, with a theatre scene that is set to heat up this winter after a lockdown lull.
Back with a bang is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the internationally acclaimed, award-winning two-part play bringing the magic of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world to the stage. A continuation of the story of Harry Potter, the show revisits the books’ protagonist post-childhood – and he discovers adulting is no easy feat. Limelight magazine described the production as 'a magical piece of storytelling that holds you spellbound from start to finish'.
Set to bring a whole lot of glitz and glamour to the Regent Theatre is the upcoming Moulin Rouge! The Musical, a stage adaption based on the opulent 2001 film by Baz Luhrmann. Opening in August, the show is a musical mash-up extravaganza, with a heady mix of lavish sets and smouldering romance. It’s set to be spectacular, spectacular!
Whip up a bespoke creation with a masterclass
The trend for bespoke experiences doesn’t show any sign of abating – and there are plenty of these to be found in the streets and laneways of Melbourne.
Take the ultimate souvenir home with a bespoke fragrance crafted exclusively to your taste, by you. The likes of Perfume Playground and Fleurage invite you to create your own custom blend using concentrated oils, whether your olfactory signature is floral, fruity or spicy.
Melbourne is famed for its ‘secret’ laneway bars, so where better to learn the art of cocktail-making? Once you’ve located its hidden door, step inside the whisky room of the 1920s-inspired Eau de Vie for a masterclass with its uber-cool bartenders, who’ll dip into the bar’s extensive library of spirits and whiskies to whip up signature recipes. Make notes – you’ll want to recreate these babies at home.
Venture off the beaten track on a private guided tour
Private tours offer the chance to get off the beaten track and enjoy the day at your own pace.
Lovers of art and wine will delight in Oceania Tours & Safaris’ private day tour of the Mornington Peninsula. The experience begins with a visit to Gordon Glass Blowing Studio, where you’ll witness a live glass-blowing demonstration. Onwards to Pt Leo Estate – home to an outdoor art gallery of more than 60 Australian and international sculptures – and the hot art-hotel Jackalope, where you’ll be wined and dined at its signature restaurant, Rare Hare. One more tipple for the road at cellar-door-come-sculpture-park Montalto and your Melbourne art initiation is complete.
Another favourite is Vinetrekker’s Yarra Valley wine and food tour, which includes private tastings with four premium producers – the perfect introduction to this popular cool-climate wine region just an hour from Melbourne’s CBD.
Both tours are bookable through Luxury Escapes Experiences.
Float away with a luxurious spa experience
A spa day is the ultimate indulgence, promising that feeling of post-holiday serenity even if you haven’t travelled more than a few kilometres.
The multi-award-winning Miss Fox offers a boutique spa experience in the heart of the city. Its holistic menu features everything from aromatherapy and massage to skin and beauty treatments, crystal healing and life coaching.
Looking for classic five-star hotel spa elegance? Look no further than The Langham Melbourne’s Chuan Spa, which provides bespoke treatments inspired by oriental traditions, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Australian-made products.
An exciting new addition to the Chadstone shopping and leisure complex is Holism Retreat, the perfect remedy to a day’s intensive shopping. An oasis within Hotel Chadstone – MGallery by Sofitel, this luxe spa promises physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation.
Looking for more Melbourne inspiration? Check out 48 Delicious Hours in the CBD.