Almost exactly a year later we’re back in Melbourne, this time for my last international trip before the baby comes and to spend time with Justin’s family and friends. It has been an amazing trip! We didn’t need to pack in all of the “Melbourne highlights” so instead got to revisit and enjoy some of our favorites.
The ultimate babymoon cottage in Hepburn Springs
We spent the last few days of our trip getting out of the city and booked “the most romantic Airbnb in Australia.” This clifftop cottage in Hepburn Springs (near Dalyesford) is about 1.5 hours north of Melbourne and is absolute perfection. Hepburn Springs is known as “spa country” and although we did book ourselves into a couples massage one morning (such a splurge!) once we saw the house we never wanted to leave.
Floor to ceiling window overlooking lush greenery with an outdoor daybed, indoor window bench for reading, fireplace, jet tub, a massage chair (for my sore calves) and even an old school video game machine (we played a fair bit of Puzzle Bobble — what’s more romantic than that?).
If you are near Melbourne and have a few days to relax, get out of town and treat yourself to total relaxation.
Had to spend more time with the kangaroos
Last year when we were in Melbourne, we spent a few days in the Grampians (read more about it here) and stopped in the town of Ballarat to visit the Ballarat Wildlife Park where we got to feed free-roaming kangaroos. It was the most incredible experience and so worth the detour to go back again this year. These kangaroos were so gentle and loving. It was the best afternoon!
It was pretty special seeing mama kangaroos with their little joeys hanging out of their pouches.
Seriously, how can get you get enough of this?
The food and coffee are still outstanding
When you sit down at a cafe in Melbourne, they don’t ask you if you’d like anything to drink, they ask, “Can I get you a coffee?” The answer is almost always yes (at least in our case) and we’ve been indulging in the most delectable lattes ever. It’s not only the beans (although that makes a big difference), but how baristas pull the shots, steam and pour the milk that has these drinks completely devoid of any bitterness you’d often taste from espresso in the US and instead are creamy cups of heaven.
We couldn’t help but revisit a few of our favorite restaurants during this visit. We had to go back for the chef’s tasting menu at Tipo OO — the most incredible, indulgent Italian menu in the CBD. Every course was superb.
Of course, brunch at Top Paddock in Richmond (that’s cream on the hot cake, not an egg…oh yeah!)
And brunch at Proud Mary in Collingwood with our friend, Maria.
More Asian street food than you could ever eat at Queen Victoria Night Market
And ice cream at Messina with our dear friends who came back for a visit from New Zealand (dark picture but couldn’t leave out some of the best, most uniquely flavored ice cream in the world)!
We also discovered a few new favorites — hard to keep them just to ourselves. One of our first brunches of the trip was at Plain Sailing in Elwood. This was the true Melburnian breakfast filled with a million fresh ingredients, lots of herbs, beet(root) and of course, smashed avo.
Justin’s brother and fiance introduced us to an amazing brunch spot called Millstone in Malvern. Honeycomb waffles with ricotta and more smashed avo for me — this time with halloumi cheese and a bread that was more seeds than bread. Yum!
And an amazing final brunch our last day at Pillar of Salt in Richmond. It was quite an Instagram-worthy meal and Justin’s hotcakes were outstanding (that is a matcha white chocolate sauce on the side). Amazing last meal!
If/when you come to Melbourne
- Do brunch. It is what people do here. And at some point get a latte and some kind of dished with smashed avo — and by the way, a latte is always only 8 oz and served in a glass cup (mind blown!) — do this and then you’ll be a true Melburnian.
- Spend an afternoon wandering the laneways of the CBD. The graffiti on the brick walls, cafes tucked into little corners and business workers in well-tailored clothing is something to see. Cap that off with a drink at a bar down by the water. Arbory Afloat (yes on the water) was one of our favorites this time and just popped up for the season.
- Spend time by the water. We didn’t include pictures of it, but Melbourne is right on the ocean making a big backwards “c” around Port Phillip Bay. The beaches and water are beautiful so walking by the water near St. Kilda or anywhere North or South of there is awesome. You can even get a picture next to the famous Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes.
- And if you can’t leave Australia without an up-close and personal experience with some kangaroos (or koalas, Tasmanian devils or tortoises), go to the Ballarat Wildlife Park.
- Looking for more food recommendations? Check out highlights from our full food journey last year. And if you’re in town the first weekend in November, you must get dressed up and get yourself tickets to the Spring Racing Carnival (horse racing) — it’s a must in Australia! Check out our experience there.