Melbourne travel guide and things to do: How to have a perfect three-day break in the city

Melbourne, with all of its bars, restaurants, art, culture and laneways, is back.

Despite all the chaos and confusion of the past few years, there's never been a better time to head to Melbourne.

But the one abiding problem with our second biggest city (which is on track to surpass Sydney in size in the next few years) is that its inhabitants tend to think Sydneysiders don't like it. For those who love culture and style, food and wine, sport and nightlife, the reality couldn't be further from the truth.

Melbourne's CBD is by far the best and most engaging in the country. But just like Sydney's, it is suffering from a dramatic change in work patterns, the legacy of crippling lockdowns and an ongoing lack of international and, to an extent, interstate visitors, thanks to COVID.

Yet despite its many travails, Melbourne still offers many wonders and attractions, some new and surprising to Sydneysiders. But with so much choice, where to begin?

Luckily, the Traveller team has done the planning for you. We dispatched five writers on five diverse, two-night, three-day Melbourne city breaks, each themed differently to suit a wide spectrum of interests.

As you will see, each action-packed itinerary illustrates the sheer scope of experiences that a still marvellous Melbourne offers, from culture to sport, from luxury to gastronomy. Get out there and get into it. We certainly did and we loved every minute.

THE CULTURE VULTURE CITY BREAK

By Anthony Dennis

DAY ONE

3pm

The arty, 113-room Lancemore Crossley Hotel (lancemore.com.au), is your base for the next 48 stimulating hours. At the Spring Street end of Little Bourke Street, It's in the midst of everything and everywhere you'll need. Check out the funky rooftop terrace and bar which each Thursday night screens free outdoor movies for houseguests.

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5pm

Moulin Rouge

Photo: Michelle Grace Hunder

You have two tickets to Moulin Rouge (moulinrougemusical.com), the multiple Tony award-winning Broadway Australian musical, based on Baz Luhrmann's eponymous hit movie. Go Italian, not French, with an al fresco table at Cellar Bar (florentino.com.au), conveniently near to the hotel and part of the wonderfully theatrical Grossi Florentino which dates to the late roaring 20s.

6pm

Finish off your tiramisu and hot foot it straight to Collins Street for the 6.30pm Moulin Rouge performance at the splendid 2145-seat Regent Theatre (marrinergroup.com.au). With every audience member wearing a mask you could be forgiven for thinking you've crashed a tribute night for Phantom of The Opera tragics. But, by Moulin Rouge's rousing finale, you'll have witnessed a sensational and magnificently-mounted piece of popular entertainment.

9.30pm

Head back to Little Bourke for a nightcap at Punch Lane (punchlane.com.au), the classic Melbourne wine bar virtually next door to the Lancemore. Alternatively, try Punch Lane's new, nearby spinoff, Juliet (julietmelbourne.com.au).

DAY TWO

8.30am

Crossley Street (really a lane) between Little Bourke and Bourke Streets has specialist shops and boutiques and is home to a couple of notable restaurants, namely Gingerboy (gingerboy.com.au) and Becco (becco.com.au). At the Bourke Street end is Pellegrini's (no website) which opened in 1954. More than an espresso bar, it's a Melbourne cultural institution and, sadly, a shrine of sorts following the 2018 murder of its much-loved owner Sisto Malaspina. Pause at the moving table and chairs memorial to him on the footpath outside.

9.30am

Wander down Little Bourke Street for a visit to the easily overlooked but more than worthwhile Museum of Chinese-Australia History (chinesemuseum.com.au), with tickets $11 for adults and $9 for children, along with a self-guided Chinatown architectural walk. Several of the buildings, including one designed by Walter Burley Griffin, (which, sadly has a facade buried beneath signage) bear plaques detailing their fascinating history.

11.45am

Peking duck pancake straight into Market Lane for an express Shanghainese dumpling lunch at the CBD branch of HuTong (hutong.com.au) with its snug, lantern-laden, exposed brick interior.

1pm

Melbourne's Koorie Heritage Trust.

Melbourne's Koorie Heritage Trust. Photo: Peter Bennetts

Head to Federation Square (fedsquare.com) for a one-hour Indigenous walking tour by the Koorie Heritage Trust (koorieheritagetrust.com.au). These rewarding tours run each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with your knowledgeable guide escorting you to the Yarra-side Birrarung Marr (river of mists) park where you'll learn about the history of the Kulin Nation and its peoples.

3pm

One of the world"s most venerated fashion designers somehow managed to survive World War II allegations of Nazi fraternisaton and anti-Semitism. But Gabrielle Chanel Fashion Manifesto, on until Anzac Day at NGV International (ngv.vic.gov.au), is all about frocks not fascism. Chanel's beautifully preserved and displayed material masterpieces (including the original little black dresses) powerfully convey the designer's genius and vision.

7.30pm

After some R&R, perhaps over a G&T back at the Lancemore, keep the Moulin Rouge vibe and Chanel chic alive on the corner of Russell Street and Flinders Lane, with dinner at Gimlet at Cavendish House (gimlet.melbourne), the kind of chic cocktail bar-cum-diner that only Melbourne can execute with Parisian panache.

DAY THREE

9am

Breakfast at the hotel or at the hip hole-in-the-wall Traveller Coffee (sevenseeds.com.au) in Crossley Street which specialises in bagels, open from 7am Monday to Friday.

10am

Kick on to ACMI (acmi.net.au), or the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, at Federation Square. Then check out the amazing "RISING: A Miracle Constantly Repeated" (rising.melbourne). The latter is an opportunity to experience, on a grand scale, the startling and at times disturbing works of visual artist, Patricia Piccinini, as well a chance to tour the show's venue, the vast, otherwise disused ballroom space of the 1854 Flinders Street Station. Then head to Melbourne Museum (museumsvictoria.com.au) up the road at Carlton Gardens and Old Melbourne Gaol (oldmelbournegaol.com.au), site of Ned Kelly's execution, in Russell Street.

THE LUXURY AND INDULGENCE CITY BREAK

By JANE REDDY

DAY 1

2pm

tra4-luxcrown
Image supplied by Crown Resorts for Crown Towers Melbourne review in Traveller
CTM Premier Suite Living Room

The premier club suite at Crown Towers.

After checking in, take the secret lift reserved for suite and villa guests at Crown Towers (crownhotels.com.au). Follow the chandeliered hallways to your opulent premier club suite (rooms from $339 a night with the premier club suite $795 a night). This is more an apartment than a suite (one guest stayed for 12 months), so lounge about and soak it all up in the separate living area with panoramic windows and the winding Yarra below. Wicked.

3pm

Wrap yourself in the plush in-room Crown gown before heading to the spa sanctum of private pool, lounge area and steam room. A skin caviar facial (really) won't turn back time but will leave any face feeling plumped. Re-enter the world with a stop at the indoor but airy 25-metre pool dotted with oversized loungers and cabanas.

5pm

Hungry? You'll want to be. Hard as it to (temporarily) leave Crown's own gastronomic galaxy, the progressive dinner of the '70s goes next level with Hidden Secrets Tours (hiddensecretstours.com). Bounce from well-regarded restaurants including Supernormal (supernormal.net.au) for twice-cooked duck bao to Emilia (emiliamelbourne.com.au) for gnocco fritto, pillows of deep-fried dough topped with prosciutto, to steak from the Argentinian fire pit at Palermo (palermo.melbourne). Dishes are served alongside premium wines. In between courses your host, Fiona Sweetman, guides you through the laneways and brings Australia's best CBD to life.

DAY 2

4am

No, that time is not a misprint, so you will need to have set your alarm for a sunrise float in a hot air balloon - in one of the few cities in the world that allows it - with Global Ballooning (globalballooning.com.au). Guided by the wind and pilot Kiff Saunders, you'll take in the big picture from the MCG to the early morning rowers on the Yarra.

11.30am

From Crown, make your way across the Yarra over historic Queens Bridge for brunch at institution Hardware Societe in Katherine Place (hardwaresociete.com) for a lobster and prawn benedict, among other house favourites. Born in Melbourne, this remarkable cafe brand also has branches in Paris and, most recently Barcelona.

2pm

Walk off brunch or make the most of the free tram zone and head to Vault (nationaltrust.org.au), a designer vintage clothing boutique in the Block Arcade filled with racks of clothing, shoes and jewellery from the likes of Yves Saint Laurent to Oscar De la Renta.

5pm

Back at your Crown basecamp, sink into a leather booth and see off the day with sparkling wine and a Turkish mezze plate at Crown's Crystal Club. Access to the serene space with an art deco touch is included in your Crown Towers suite stay.

7pm

Just steps from the Crown lobby, be prepared for a staff greeting of "Irrashai'' as you enter the Southbank restaurant of the Nobu (noburestaurants.com) global empire, which now even includes Nobu-brand hotels. Let the Nobu crew serve you stalwart dishes such as yellowtail sashimi, leaving you to enjoy the theatre of the open kitchen.

DAY 3

9am

After a Crystal Club coffee and breakfast at Crown, check out of the hotel, pack your bathers and take the Number 86 from Bourke Street (or just Uber it) to Collingwood (Smith Street, the main drag, was last year named one of the world's coolest street) for your appointment at Sense of Self Bathhouse (sos-senseofself.com). Meditate in the mineral pool or Finnish sauna or stretch out on the loungers with a good book at the day spa.

12pm

Wander up to Smith Street for a bento box and lunchtime treat of yuzu (Japanese citrus) margarita at Wabi Sabi Salon (wabisabisalon.com.au) before a visit to Happy Valley (happyvalleyshop.com) led by Chris Crouch, the former owner of iconic Tramway Hotel in Fitzroy North and Polyester Records.

2pm

jan29cover
Metascent perfumery Collingwood
For one-time use in Traveller print and online

End your stay with the ultimate indulgence, your signature scent at bespoke perfumery Metascent (metascent.com) at Collingwood. Master perfumer Huynh Hai leads you on a two-hour olfactory, sometimes memory-inducing journey, to produce your one-off bottle to take.

THE SPORTING CAPITAL CITY BREAK

BY JIM DARBY

DAY ONE

2pm

Shoot into the 59-room boutique-style Hotel Lindrum (hotellindrum.com.au), with rooms from $230, on the top left-hand pocket of Flinders Street (that is, the Richmond end) with its cosy bar and big billiards table (see below). Venerable Australian world champion Walter Lindrum gazes down from a photo as it was here that his family once had a billiards centre. The big bay windows of the Lindrum's deluxe rooms frame a view of the precinct at the heart of the known sporting universe

2.30pm

Image supplied by <matthewl@mcc.org.au> for use in Traveller
(handout photo, no syndication)
Australian Sports Museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground MCG
jan29cover

Stroll the 15 minutes from the Lindrum to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (mcg.org.au) and its Australian Sports Museum (australiansportsmuseum.org.au) with displays of sports of all sorts. (Tickets cost $30 for adults and $15 for children). Slip on a smart wristband that connects the wearer to interactive displays - face up to a virtual Shane Warne and check your achievements online later.

3.30pm

You can combine your visit of the museum with a tour of the G itself. Volunteer guides lead a tour through the members' pavilion and its collection of sporting art and memorabilia, downstairs to the cricketers' practice nets, past the dining room (where both teams and the umpires eat together, fancy that) and out to the ground itself (it's $40 for combined museum and MCG tour and $15 for kids).

6pm

After a short recovery session at the Lindrum, take the tram outside the hotel to Richmond, first to the London Tavern Hotel (londontavernhotel.com) for a suitably sporting drink in its shady beer garden and then onto New Quarter (newquarter.hanoihannah.com.au) for Vietnamese with the vibe including delicious charred squid or a banh mi that's a finger-sandwich filled with whipped pate and other delights.

DAY TWO

8.30am

Breakfast over croissant and coffee from nearby Vacation (vacationcoffee.com.au), on the corner of Flinders and Exhibition streets - motto: "specialty coffee that will take you away", perhaps after a morning walk or run beside the Yarra or in the many surrounding parks (melbourne.vic.gov.au).

11am

Hire an electric boat (goboat.com.au), from $199 for two hours, heading down river to Docklands or upriver past Olympic Park. It ain't jet-boating but you'll pass rowers young and old, amateur and elite, dipping their oars into the Yarra. For a more active river outing check Kayak Melbourne (kayakmelbourne.com.au) with tours from $82.

1pm

Go Boat's dock is just by the pedestrian bridge that has been creatively colonised by Ponyfish Island (ponyfishisland.com.au), a hip restaurant and bar cleverly wrapped around the pylons. Stop there for lunch and coffee or drinks later in the day. Head back to the Lindrum for a well-earned break, punctuated, perhaps, by a game on the in-house billiard table, the original specimen from the building's billiard days (private lessons are available with a coach as part of a special accommodation package).

5.30pm

Take a pre-game dinner, drinks and tactics-talk on the rooftop at the Duke of Wellington (dukeofwellington.com.au), just down Flinders Street from the Lindrum, with old world sporty servings of sausage rolls, chicken kiev balls and calamari.

7pm

Like tonight's Big Bash Twenty20 match, sport at the MCG is always a thrill - be it cricket or AFL - and nearby are also games of football, rugby, AFLW and, of course, the Australian Open. The next big event at the G is Australia v Sri Lanka in a day-night one-day cricket match (cricket.com.au) with tickets starting from $30 for adults and $23 for kids for the February 20 match.

DAY THREE

9.30am

After breakfast and check-out at the Lindrum meet your guide from Melbourne Sports Tours (melbournesportstours.com.au), from $169 per person, for a wander around the vast adjacent sports precinct. Visit Australia's oldest rowing club, dating to 1859, the 1956 Olympic swimming pool (now Collingwood Football Club headquarters) and Melbourne Park, home of one of only four grand slams of tennis in the world. Melbourne Park show courts can be hired (tennisworld.net.au), complete with Melbourne logos, as seen on TV. Skip the MCG and museum section of the tour and head back to the city along a shady avenue of oak trees planted by the British Olympic Team in 1956 as a thanks and tribute to Australia's first Olympic city.

THE BREEZY BAYSIDE CITY BREAK

BY JUSTIN MENEGUZZI

DAY ONE

2pm

The stalwart Prince Hotel (theprince.com.au), with rooms from $189 per night, has been a pillar of St Kilda since the 19th century, at different times serving as a military headquarter, hotbed of musical talent and the centre of Melbourne's flourishing rainbow community. Today, this completely restored and rejuvenated art deco gem – perched near the edge of St Kilda Beach – makes an ideal hip and style hub for exploring this famed neighbourhood.

6pm

Nab a spot on the sunny terrace at The Esplanade Hotel (hotelesplanade.com.au), located on the eponymous bayside thoroughfare and affectionately known as "The Espy" to adoring locals. Graze on lobster rolls, parmigiana and fried calamari while listening to live music.

7.30pm

Head upstairs to the Espy's restaurant, Mya Tiger (hotelesplanade.com.au/mya-tiger), to find a treasure trove of Cantonese dishes. Trust the sticky, caramel-glazed pork belly and duck fried rice but not so much the fortune cookies.

9pm

Stay out late and sample the nightlife surrounding The Prince and, in fact, the hotel itself. St Luja (stluja.com.au) slings cocktails till the wee hours, while craft beer nerds will froth over Freddie Wimpoles' (freddiewimpoles.com) eclectic tap selection. Closer to home, in the basement of The Prince Hotel, is Little Prince Wine (theprince.com.au/little-prince-wine) and its collection of 4000 drops.

DAY TWO

8am

supb.com.au). At a cost $99 per person or $170 for two, you'll head out to the breakwater to see penguins waking for the day against a backdrop of stunning plus city skyline views.

11am

Grab a coffee at Black Box Café and Bar (theatreworks.org.au) in Acland Street, en route to Linden New Art (www.lindenarts.org). Entry is free to this contemporary Acland Street art gallery housed inside a 150-year-old Victorian mansion.

Noon

The Village Belle Hotel's (villagebelle.com.au) airy and fern-filled atrium, over in Barkly Street, an easy 15 or so minute walk away, is the place to nosh on burgers, pizzas and steaks while watching the bustle on Acland Street across the road.

1pm

Get your steps up even more by heading over Jacka Boulevard, which is another 15 minutes stroll away from the Village Bella, and lounge on one of Beachcomber Café's (beachcombercafe.com.au) colourful beach chairs as you wiggle the sand between your toes. Take a dip between drinks.

7pm

Mosey on down the boardwalk to Paper Fish, the casual takeaway kiosk on Jacka Boulevard, adjoining one of Australia's top seafood restaurants, Stokehouse (stokehouse.com.au), and enjoy dinner on the beach.

9pm

Toast the last night of your three day staycation with a Bloody Mary oyster shot at the recently opened Blu Oyster Co (bluoyster.com.au) on Fitzroy Street, conveniently close to The Prince.

DAY THREE

9am

After check out at The Prince, you'll find that the ornate architecture, farmer's market vibe and European sensibility at Fitzrovia's (fitzrovia.com.au) makes it a special spot for brekky. On, as the name suggests, Fitzroy Street, it's a short walk up from your digs.

10am

Stop in at the Victorian Pride Centre (pridecentre.org.au), located on Fitzroy Street and with free entry, admire its stunning beehive-inspired atrium and discover St Kilda's rich LGBTIQ+ history.

12pm

Lunch at Rafael's, five or so minutes from Prince and set inside the newly and impressively refurbished European Hotel (theeuropeanhotelstkilda.com.au), is a gastronomical trip to the shores of southern Europe, all under the watchful eyes of a contemporary collection of Mona Lisa artworks.

THE FOOD AND WINE TRAGIC'S CITY BREAK

BY TIM RICHARDS

DAY ONE

2pm

AFR Life & Leisure. Writer: Paul Best Story: Q vs W. Which Melbourne hotel is the coolest Caption: W Hotel Melbourne . Photo: Supplied

The new and hip W Melbourne (pictured above, marriott.com) on Flinders Lane, a foodie destination is an ideal base from which to explore Melbourne's food scene. Before hitting the streets, mix a drink in your "Wonderful" king guest room, which costs from $401 a night, at the personal bar stocked with local craft spirits such as Patient Wolf gin or Boatrocker vodka or simply let the bartender do the work at the 14th floor pool bar Wet.

5pm

On Wednesday nights the venerable Queen Victoria Market shows off its bohemian side at the Summer Night Market (qvm.com.au). Take a free tram there to enjoy live music, shopping, and diverse cuisines including paella, fondue, Polish dumplings, Cypriot souvlaki, and African barbecue.

7.30pm

Walk from the market to Panda Hot Pot (pandahotpot.com.au), which is decked out with gold paint, intricately carved screens, and an enormous Chinese dragon. Seated before heated tureens of chilli soup, order sides (including fish balls, prawn dumplings, rice cakes, and pork and coriander meatballs) and cook them in the bubbling broth, before dunking them in a tasty dipping sauce of your own creation.

DAY TWO

8.30am

Take a leisurely breakfast in the W's Lollo restaurant, and watch trams pass below as you dine. The standout menu items at Lollo, where Adam D'Sylva of Coda fame is culinary director, include limoncello and sweet ricotta toast, crab egg benedict, and quinoa and black rice porridge.

10am

Step across to nearby Flinders Lane to the Immigration Museum (museumsvictoria.com) within the grand former Customs House. Its exhibits will fill you in on the multicultural cross-currents that have profoundly shaped the city's lively food scene.

Noon

Head to Federation Square by free tram or on foot for lunch at the extraordinary Esso (mabumabu.com.au), which serves a contemporary take on Torres Strait Islander cuisine. Delicious dishes include tamarind chilli pipis, saltbush and pepperberry fried crocodile, and paperbark baby snapper; along with quirky tinned meat and pickled karkalla croquettes. Cocktails are just as interesting, involving native yam vodka, Davidson plum sloe gin, and even green ants!

4pm

A leisurely walk through the CBD's arcades and laneways will lead you to dessert outlet Scoopy (scoopy.com.au) in atmospheric Guildford Lane. The specialty of the house is bingsu, a South Korean dish made of flash-frozen flavoured milk flakes, to which are added toppings such as flavour bubbles and condensed milk.

7pm

Back at the hotel, following your breakfast experience at Lollo, which digs deep into Melbourne's vibrant multicultural heritage for its culinary inspiration, enjoy what it has to offer for dinner in a dining room that gleams with moody lighting. Choose from dishes such as grilled Fremantle octopus, asparagus and ricotta tortellini, and a guest favourite: duck lasagne. After dinner, step along Market Street to a spiral staircase which descends to the W's remarkable subterranean bar, Curious, with its intricate and striking ceiling of timber beams which adds to the bolthole boozer effect. The inventive cocktail list includes "You're So Melbourne" (a twist on the Boulevardier) and Smoke on the Runway, a bubble-topped drink that pops with a burst of apple and lemongrass smoke.

DAY THREE

10am

After breakfast and check-out at the hotel, head back to the iconic Queen Victoria Market to join its Ultimate Foodie Tour (qvm.com.au/tours), available on Fridays and Saturdays. This rambling walk involves many tasty samples – including trout, oysters, olives, dolmades, cheese, chocolate, and gelati – but you can also absorb the social history of the market where many families have worked for decades

1pm

Stroll to Lonsdale Street and its newest multi-level dining complex, HER (her.melbourne), a 15-minute walk from the markets. Enjoy lunch and a glass of wine at the ground-level French-inspired café-bar, or drop into third-floor eatery BKK for a bite of Bangkok-style barbecue. Mark the end of your staycation by taking the lift to the rooftop bar with its enviable sweeping view of the Melbourne CBD and all its culinary riches.

THE ROCK N ROLL CITY BREAK

By Paul Chai

DAY ONE

2pm

Behold the arty entrance to Ink Hotel (inkhotels.com) in Southbank, a veritable gallery of graffiti murals, including Big Bird portraits and paintings of old cassette tapes.

5pm

Head to the Australian Music Vault in the Arts Centre Melbourne (artscentremelbourne.com.au) on St Kilda Road which has a rotating roster of music artefacts and is currently focusing on Aussie hip hop. See a poster for the Hilltop Hoods' classic album The Hard Road, Bliss n Esso's custom trainers and Illy's gold record for Papercuts.

6pm

Next door to the Vault is The Barre (artscentremelbourne.com.au), a curvaceous drinking spot where beers are turned up to 11 with pints overshadowed by the 630 millilitre glass steins.

7pm

Plunge into the CBD for dinner at Miznon (miznonaustralia.com) in buzzy Hardware Lane. The aim here is to stuff as many Mediterranean flavours as you can into a pita.

8pm

From one basement to another, and just around the corner from Miznon, grab a table at Paris Cat Jazz Club (pariscat.com.au), surrounded by velvet drapes, ornate gold-rimmed mirrors and photos of jazz greats.

10.30pm

Heartbreaker
Jan29CoverHandout image supplied by Visit Victoria for use in Traveller
cr: Visit Victoria (handout photo, no syndication)

Heartbreaker. Photo: Julian Kingma

Belly up to the padded bar in a sea of red neon, tatts and Black Sabbath at Heartbreaker (heartbreakerbar.com.au), a late-night rock 'n' toll stalwart on Russell Street. Out back is Connie's pizza by the slice.

11.30pm

Hotfoot it to the top end of Bourke Street to Angel Music Bar (angelmelbourne.com), for years an after-party hub and with a recent reno having seen the sound system built into the sleek bar.

DAY TWO

10.30am

After a suitably late start, order a quick coffee at Protagonist (artscentremelbourne.com.au), an outdoor coffee spot sandwiched between the NGV and the Arts Centre, with an electronic art installation of birds. Wander into the city, via a pilgrimage to AC/DC Lane, near Exhibition and Flinders Streets, with murals dedicated to the late Malcolm Young.

12pm

Inside the Melbourne Central (melbournecentral.com.au) shopping centre, Axil Coffee Roasters (axilcoffee.com.au) may not actually take its name from the Guns 'N' Roses lead singer, but the thick cut prawn toast topped with a fried egg, pickle salad and herb rocks, as does the indie lunchtime soundtrack.

12.30pm

Take off on a vinyl adventure by thumbing through the city's record stores. Start at Rocksteady Records (rocksteadyrecords.com.au) on the first floor of the Art Deco Mitchell House on Lonsdale. Then delve into The Basement Discs (basementdiscs.com.au) in Block Arcade, off Collins Street, that offers retro fashion, CDs and a Vinyl Cave. Finally, Wax Museum Records (waxmuseumrecords.com) is a store and label in the subterranean Campbell Arcade, below Flinders Street opposite the station.

4pm

HER (her.melbourne) is a new multi-storey bar in Lonsdale Street from the Arbory (arbory.com.au) team. It greets you with a colourful ground floor mural by Eleanor Louise Butt and a wall of curated female artists. But it's the HER listening bar that will draw music fans. Designed to resemble the inside of a speaker with acres of American walnut, perforated walls and 3000 LPs, the bar hosts touring DJs. Open from 4pm-3am.

5pm

Recline in a sun lounge on the patches of faux lawn at the Fed Live stage (fedsquare.com) in Federation Square. See acts like Ella Sweeney, a Melbourne singer-songwriter whose coming-of-age tales are full of melancholy, mistakes and the odd mullet.

6.30pm

Friday Nights at the NGV (ngv.vic.gov.au) have a resident DJ playing tunes while you sip Pommery by Pond(er), a pink pool surrounding Henry Moore's Draped Seated Woman, who looks like she's lounging poolside. Walk back through Federation Square at around 8.45 and can catch Fed Live headliners like Hiatus Kaiyote.

9pm

Drop into The Toff (thetoff.com.au) to catch an act stageside. You might stumble into something like The Full Hour (@thefullhour) a madcap talk show format with house band, moustachioed host and a barista that culminates in a risqué burlesque act consisting of butter, a popcorn-making helmet and a condom full of salt. Melbourne nightlife is healing.

DAY THREE

10am

Check out of the hotel and join the queue at Lune Croissanterie (lunecroissanterie.com), the rock star baker with a cult following, on Russell Street near to the corner of Flinders Lane though enter from Collins Street, in the CBD.

11am

It may be a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll, but it feels even higher still in Melbourne Skydeck's (melbourneskydeck.com.au) 88 storeys above the city. And with a new VR experience, it gives you virtual front row seats to the MCG, rowing on the Yarra and a helicopter ride complete with scents.

The writers travelled with assistance from Visit Victoria, see visitvictoria.com.au

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