Out-of-towner tips

Make the most of your trip to Melbourne and Victoria

Melbourne comes into its own in wintertime. Embrace a fleecy jacket, don a beanie and flit across glistening streets for the next hole-in-the-wall bar, the new Broadsheet-recommended eatery, the MCG, a gig or an art opening.

EAT AND DRINK

Formidable bars, restaurants and eateries blanket the city—a true food epicentre is impossible to pinpoint. RISING’s celebratory focus on food is born from the lavish menu at our doorstep. In Midtown, we’re redefining what eating can be via our concept-driven banquets like The Dinner Party, Tjanabi, and Late Night Yum Cha, and each district has its own curated food and drinks offering for you to experience the best of Melbourne.

Outside of the festival program, there is even more on offer. Melbourne’s Chinatown is the Western world’s oldest continuous Chinese settlement and home to dozens and dozens of restaurants for those with a dumpling craving. If you’re checking out Golden Square, you could have a drink down the laneway next door at Ferdydurke or Section 8 next door, and then head to the Supper Inn for dinner.

Throughout the city, there are loads of local favourites, old and new. In the city, check out Collins and Bourke Street between Swanston and Exhibition Streets—Andrew McConnell’s Gimlet at Cavendish House, for example, is on the corner of Russell and Collins Streets—or Lt Bourke Street west of Elizabeth Street. And for drinks, Curtain House (home to Rooftop Bar and Cookie and Goldilocks Bar on Swanston, Little Lon Distillery’s 20-seat bar for gin cocktails on Lonsdale, and Pinchy’s Co on Bourke Street.

And for a few others to explore outside the CBD, there’s:

WHERE TO STAY IN THE CITY

To be smack-bang in the middle of city and a walkable distance to many of RISING’s events, we recommend checking into one of these hotels:

More ideas? There're plenty more where they came from.

JUST A TRAM OR TRAIN RIDE AWAY

Venture out of the CBD to Melbourne’s inner-city neighbourhoods, each of which have their own distinct personalities, café, bar and restaurant culture, and shops stocked with local independent designers’ wares.

Fitzroy and Collingwood are the north-side homeland you’ve probably already heard about—they’re famous for their food, fashion, galleries, studios, dive bars and delectable dinners strung along and in between Brunswick, Smith, Gertrude and Johnston Streets.

In Carlton, Melbourne’s ‘Little Italy’, there’s the world’s best bookshop Readings and indie film beacon Cinema Nova, and numerous bars and restaurants.

A train ride away, are Yarraville and Footscray. Yarraville has a manicured, country town vibe with top class eateries—try ChiBao Dumplings, Wee Jeanie and NAVI—and the old timey Sun Theatre, an institution for cinema fans. Footscray’s major drawcard is its wide variety of delicious and authentic cuisines, courtesy of the neighbourhood’s large migrant population from all over the world. Enjoy Chinese, Vietnamese, Malay, Filipino, North African and European eats. Check out Roti Road, Chibog, Karlayisi, Café Lalibela, Rudimentary, and Mr West.

DAY TRIPS

In only an hour’s drive out of Melbourne, you can find yourself entirely removed from city life and in the bush, beach, rainforest or farming heartland of Victoria. On either the Bellarine or Mornington Peninsula you can take in spectacular coastal drives (winter’s the perfect time for moody beach view vibes), meet koalas, echidnas or wombats, and taste vino from internationally recognised wineries.

Golden beaches, art galleries, hedge mazes, geothermal springs, and boutique wineries, breweries and distilleries nested alongside innovative restaurants and local produce stores. Sounds like a good way to wind down after festival fun to us.

A few places to add to your list are Laura at Pt Leo Estate, Ten Minutes by Tractor, Montalto, Jackalope - Doot Doot Doot and Rare Hare, and St Andrews Beach Brewery. And if you're after an activity, check out Peninsula Hot Springs, the sculpture park at Pt Leo Estate, Ashcombe Maze and Arthurs Seat.

For coastal vibes with still a touch of city, Geelong and the Bellarine are home to coastal villages and the lively waterfront city, Geelong. Industrial spaces are transformed breweries, museums, Mill Markets and eateries. The Bellarine is home to some of the world’s most famous surf beaches, like Bells Beach, al fresco dining, just-caught seafood, boutique wineries and wildlife experiences on Port Phillip Bay.

Prefer rolling hills and expansive plains to the ocean, this idyllic region is home to Australia’s largest concentration of natural mineral springs. With day spas and well-being centres, award-winning restaurants serving local food and wine, and sleepy villages to explore, it’s a good spot for indulgence, relaxation and rejuvenation.

Discover more restaurants, bars, accommodation, things to do and day trips with Visit Victoria.

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