Jessica Ward

Ahh Melbourne. The culture capital of Australia. Saturated in amazing coffee shops, bars, art exhibitions and sporting events. There literally is something for everyone.

The city has been laid it really well in blocks (much better than Sydney’s maze..) and has easy to navigate public transport. With the free tram in the CBD, it’s easy to get from one end of the city to the other, without much effort. If arriving from the airport, the easiest way to get into the CBD or Southbank, would be using the Skybus, which has multiples stops on both routes and tickets can either be bought at the airport, online or on the bus itself for less than $20 each way.

melbourne laneways

Due to the layout of the city, it is full of tiny laneways and that's where the fun begins. In these lanes, you will be surrounded by cafes, boutique shops and quirky bars. Everything in Melbourne is a little different and mysterious and it's not a city where you are likely to be bored. So as long as you have a sense of curiosity, you will have the time of your life.

One of my favourite bars is on top of an Indian restaurant and once you are upstairs, the venue is transformed into this amazing treehouse with little offshoots of rooms. Melbourne is full of inconspicuous places like this, you just have to know somebody that knows about them, as you definitely won't find it just by walking down the street. Another great rooftop bar is called Naked in the Sky, located in Brunswick St, Fitzroy and has views of North Melbourne and the CBD. If you would prefer something close to the ground, located on the Yarra River are a few floating bars which are pretty cool and the place to be on a warm afternoon.

melbourne city

If you are staying for a few days, I would recommend starting off at the Queen Victoria Markets. While they have some cute and random stalls selling souvenirs and art, it’s really all about the food. Stocked with fresh fruits, cheeses, pastries, meat and vegetables, you can buy something delicious from an extensive range of cuisines. The cheeses and fruits are a big drawcard for me but there really would be something for everyone. If the weather is nice, go in the morning and pick some food for lunch and then eat it in Carlton Gardens. It’s about a 15 minute walk and one of my favourite places to visit. From here, it is easy to make your way to Fitzroy and Brunswick St. In this neighbourhood, you will find an array of alternative and crafty shops, cafes and bars. It’s a really fun place to be and it’s easy to wander around for a few hours.


If seeing some art and being a little cultured is your type of thing, don’t look past the National Art Gallery of Victoria, with free entry and continuous amazing exhibits, this could easily be a highlight of our trip. Their current exhibit, the Triennial, is so weird and wonderful that I went twice. It does get busy, especially on the weekend, so try and go either in the morning or towards the end of the day. As the gallery is located on the other side of the Yarra River, on Southbank, this would be a good place to stop for some lunch, a sneaky drink on one of their floating bars, or you can walk a little further down past the casino and visit the DFO, which is Melbourne’s popular shopping centre where you can pick up some serious bargains.

melbourne art

St Kilda is also a great place to visit down in South Melbourne. It’s more of a beachy, laidback suburb (home to the popular St Kilda beach) but still with lots of great cafes and even better happy hour. Like Sydney, there is a Luna Park which would be great for the kids. Not too far away is Brighton, which is the home of those iconic beach huts that you always see in photos.

If more retail therapy is what you need, you have Chapel Street which is well known for all their designer brands, both local and international, as well as vintage and second hand items. This street is so big that it spans across Windsor to Prahran, towards South Yarra. In the CBD, you have Bourke St Mall and Melbourne Central, which have all your popular retails stores. While in the CBD, Hosier Lane is something that cannot be missed. Covered in street art and murals, this colourful laneway is forever changing and not a day goes by where it looks the same.

melbourne graffiti

Everyone’s Melbourne experience is always different, purely because there is so much to see and uncover and the city is so diverse that it manages to keep everyone happy! Go and visit for a few days and find out for yourself!


Jessica Ward is a commercial travel photographer and writer based in Newcastle, Australia. She has spent many months exploring the world and is always eager to embark on overseas trips. Jessica documents all of her adventures on Instagram @jesswardphoto and on her website Jessica Ward Photography. 

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the Policy Documents available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.