Australia: Melbourne

We know some of you have been waiting for the next blog post. We’re so grateful for your excitement over our travel experiences and your desire to not miss a post! Our experience at the farm took some time to process and we spent so much time moving after we left Tasmania that we needed some time to land before devoting more time to the blog. Thanks for sticking with us despite the lack of updates!

After making the decision to leave the farm earlier than we anticipated, we found out just how expensive Australia really is! Paying for a week of accommodation, food, and activities in Melbourne was something we had not anticipated. However, despite the hit to the budget, we’re so immensely thankful we had this week to relax and enjoy our time with some of our favourite people. During our short time at the farm, we developed a unique bond with Kim, Adam and Molly. When we arrived in Melbourne and all went to our separate accommodations, we were surprised by how sad this felt for us; we had become so accustomed to always having this community around us and we don’t know what we would’ve done without this transition week before the five of us went our separate ways!

Of the places we visited in Australia, Melbourne was by far our favourite! A big part of our enjoyment was certainly the company we got to keep. Molly is a bad-ass babe who’s full of endlessly charming stories (from burlesque to butter cows). Adam is kind and well spoken, with southern charm and a take no shit attitude to boot. Kim is sassy and hilarious, in addition to being the source of all our crude Aussie slang (thanks to her, we know the definition of “rooted” and “map of Tassie”, as well as the phrase “I’m so hungry I could eat the arse out of a low flying duck”). We hope if you visit Melbourne, it’s with people you like as much as we like these three, but even if you go alone, it’s still 100% a place worth visiting!

So, what did we love about the city itself? Well, Melbourne is a city after our own hearts; they take coffee and brunch very seriously! We highly recommend spending some time here if you’re making the trip to Australia and we can tell you that, in our experience, these are some great places to include in your itinerary!

Food

Hochi Mama

This Vietnamese restaurant has a menu that makes it incredibly easy to order for those with food sensitivities. They do state on their menu that they can’t guarantee no cross contamination, so if your allergy is severe, be aware of that. The place was buzzing! We went for a late dinner at 8pm and it was packed! Once we got our food, we found out why. Wow! Every dish we tried met and exceeded our expectations! We recommend going for their dinner for two option that includes 2 small plates, 2 large plates, and a side for $65!

http://www.hcmkitchen.com.au/

DOC Pizza & Mozzarella Bar

This place was an absolute gem!! A pizza bar where EVERYTHING is from Italy, from the owners & wait staff, right down to the soap. Before going, we saw one negative review complaining of rude waitstaff. From our experience, we can say, they’re not rude, they’re just Italian and we found their demeanour to be absolutely charming.

The pizza was so good that every bite was devoured and their gluten free crust practically had Erin drooling on the table. Again, be warned they do specify that they can’t guarantee no cross contamination, so if your allergy is severe, we are, truly, so very sorry for your loss!

http://docgroup.net/

Pidapipó

We stopped at this place 2 or 3 times during our stay and still think of it every time we stop for gelato or ice cream. They serve a variety of quality, artisanal gelato. And seriously guys, the Nutella fountain! Life changing. Stop in, get Nutella on your gelato and thank us later.

https://pidapipo.com/

Lux Foundry

We went here for brunch. They have a huge patio, delicious food, and their presentation was a work of art! They also have a decent selection of gluten free options, including gluten free bread for an additional charge.

https://www.luxfoundry.com.au/

Foxtrot Charlie

This is the first place we went after our overnight ferry to Melbourne. It was the first meal we had in weeks that didn’t have pork in it, and it was our introduction to the Melbourne brunch and coffee culture. They have gluten free bread available for an additional fee and the Baked Eggs in Tomato Sugo with Soft Gnudi is a dish we will be trying to recreate when we get home!

http://www.foxtrotcharlie.com.au/

D’Lish Fish

We wish we would’ve stopped here more than once during our time in Melbourne. It was actually the first proper meal we had in Melbourne, prior to boarding our ferry to Tasmania. They do gluten free fish and chips in a designated gluten free fryer. The fish is fresh and the portions are huge! They have a few different options for the type of fish you can get battered and fried up including “flake”, also known as gummy shark.

http://www.dlishfish.com.au/

Drink

Proud Mary

During our time in Melbourne, we enjoyed an abundance of incredible coffee, to the point that this is the only shop we feel compelled to explicitly recommend. If you’re serious about your coffee or if you want to go full on coffee snob, this is the place for you! There are very few places where we have witnessed this level of passion for coffee. If you’re interested, the employees will chat with you about the subtle flavour differences of the various roasts to help you find that perfect cup of joe.

https://www.proudmarycoffee.com.au/pages/dining

Other Coffee Recommendations

The neighbourhoods we explored most were Brunswick West, where we stayed (highly recommend), and the CBD. Thus, this is primarily where we stumbled upon the plethora of coffee shops we frequented for our daily dose of caffeine. Not once were we disappointed, so pick a place that looks good and try it out! If you decide to frequent the familiar Starbucks while visiting this city, the locals may judge you a little…and so will we.

Inner North Brewing Company

You’ll find this gem of a small batch brewery hidden away from the busy streets.  It offers a lot of variety and a very inviting atmosphere, with booth seating in an open warehouse to give you a great view of the brewing equipment. The staff was very helpful with recommendations and information about the 12 different beer available. The WTFPA – 5.5% was delightfully hoppy and the Belgian IPA – 6.1% OZ-hopped IPA & Belgian yeast will produce a crisp tropical fruit storm in your mouth.

http://www.innernorthbrewing.com.au/

The Foreigner Brewing Company

Secretly placed in what seems like a giant storage locker, this place was a little difficult to find. It was a very micro-brewery, with only 3 beer on tap.  This place had a truly unique and cozy atmosphere; they also had excellent music playing in the background! The Silent Hunter – 4.6% Czech style Pilsner offered a solid taste, reflecting the brewers’ heritage.

https://m.facebook.com/foreignerbrewing/

Temple Brewing Company

This was the most established of the Breweries we visited. It boasted a large seating area indoors and nice front patio to soak up the sun while enjoying some brews. The staff was very helpful with recommendations and the beer flight was presented with a leaflet of information on the beer. The Okinawa Sour – 4% was citrus filled, zesty and wonderfully refreshing; it’s made with Shikuwasa fruit that’s been imported from Japan. Papa Supertime IPA – 7% packs a wicked hoppy punch and would be a favourite for any hop-head.

http://templebrewing.com.au/

Things to do

We spent all our money on food and drink #priorities, so these activities are free or nearly free and totally worth checking out! You’re welcome.

I’m Free Walking Tour

We recommend doing this early in your stay. Along with giving you a bit of history about the city, the guides will point out some attractions, some other free activities, as well as giving you suggestions based on their favourite places in their city.

https://www.imfree.com.au/melbourne/

Arcades and Alleyways

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In the heart of the CBD is an extensive network of alleyways, some that contain beautiful graffiti art, some that contain rows of cute little shops. Our noteworthy laneways include Degraves Street, AC/DC Lane, Hoiser Lane, Croft Alley, and Duckboard Place.

Spend a day wandering through the alleyways and you’re sure to stumble upon the 19th century shopping arcades; The Block Arcade was our favourite and featured a stunning tea room that was unfortunately outside our budget.

Pass-the-Hat Comedy Show

Every Monday, Spleen Bar hosts a free entry comedy night. At the end of the night you’ll be asked to contribute what you felt the show was worth, or what you can afford. Pretty sure the bar was last updated in the 70s and some of the jokes were over our heads since we don’t know Australian politics. However, we laughed until our faces and bellies hurt just the same.

http://www.comedyatspleen.com/

Queen Victoria Market

This massive market is open 5 days a week and is worth visiting at least once. Stop by the info centre and grab a map if you’re looking for something specific, otherwise, you can spend the afternoon getting lost among the wide variety of stalls. If you get hungry while you’re here, don’t bother with the food court…go into the deli section and grab a selection of goodies (cheeses, deli meats, breads, spreads,etc.) then find a place to sit and share a “picnic” style lunch.

Queen of Spades Board Game Cafe

We love board games! There was nothing that made this one stand out over other ones we’ve been to. It was a really fun way to spend a few hours though!! They have a wide selection of games, including a whole upstairs space, it’ll cost you $5 to play as many games as you like for as long as you like, and they have happy hour with beer on special in the late afternoon (4-6 maybe, but don’t quote us on that).

https://www.queenofspadesbar.com/

Shrine of Remembrance and Royal Botanic Gardens

We grouped these two together because they are right next to each other. The Shrine of Remembrance is a war memorial. They hold a brief service of remembrance every 30 minutes, which we found quite moving, along with a few permanent exhibitions and sometimes a temporary, featured exhibition. Even if you don’t go in for the war history, the building itself and the park around it are worth seeing. The Botanic Gardens are expansive and beautiful and a great way to spend a warm, sunny afternoon.

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