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Melbourne Guide: A time traveler’s tale to the Victorian Era

victorian fountain in front of royal museum in melbourne

Imagine yourself jetting off into unknown territory. Instead of the usual plane ride to your destination, you’ve decided to take the old Tardis for a spin. You’re the doctor in this story.

And in a moment’s notice, you’ve found yourself in 2017.

In Melbourne, Australia.

You take a careful step outside of your beloved home, and absorb your surroundings.

But wait.

This can’t be right.

You know you entered the dates for 2017. Not 1847.

As you look around the city’s architecture, trams, and carriages, you can’t help but be a little confused where you’re at.

Well, see, the thing is…Melbourne has always exuded the vibrance of an old era while mixing a bit of modern inventions. Doted as Australia’s cultural hub and the world’s most liveable city, it’s really no wonder why many foreigners leave themselves awestruck by Melbourne’s beauty and uniqueness. Myself included.

melbourne city hall wrapped in a giant ribbon for christmas 2014

Admiring Melbourne’s CBD and remnants of an old era

Landing in Melbourne for Christmas with the family back in 2014, I admired how offices looked like homes. How the entire CBD (Central Business District) was rich with colour, art, and tons of interesting people.

If you’ve ever wondered about going on a trip to Australia, I highly recommend booking a flight to Melbourne. You’ll have jazz music at one side of the street with someone playing reggae at the next. The laneways are covered with a burst of colours and enthusiastic street art. And believe me, Melbourne’s street art is one of a kind.

Yet, CBD is also occupied by hanging lanterns, coffee shops, and brunch places that are inspired by the Old England. Maybe it’s because of the English’s strong influence down under. Either way, you can see it on how they talk, interact, and take their coffee.

I personally recommend staying at a nearby suburb for more ideas about their culture and lower prices. However, the CBD does not disappoint. It’s probably the liveliest place you’ll be at in Victoria as University students flock here after classes and interesting antique shops keep popping up.

lots of cake and pastries for brunch can be found in Melbourne's City Business District or CBD

Where to brunch when you miss Old England

Brunching in dear Melbourne is like an art form. I recommend getting there by 10 as to avoid the lines and still make way for a fresh cup of coffee beforehand. Since I’m overly biased with their pastries, I’ve decided to narrow down popular brunch places in terms of Old-England inspired decor.

1. The Hardware Societe

“rustic-chic with warm vibes”

Address: 120 Hardware St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

2. Cumulus Inc.

“high-ceilinged cafe in an old ragged building”

Address: 45 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

3. Auctions Rooms

“rustic cafe with inventive brunch food”

Address: 103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne VIC 3051, Australia

4. The European

“Laid back dining room with Bentwood chairs”

Address: Address: 161 Spring St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

5. Kinfolk

“Homey cafe with electric decor”

Address: 673 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

girl with pixie cut looking back at the state library of victoria during summer

Make Victoria’s State Library your home base

Side note: There I am with short hair!!!

Actually, the only reason why I’m making a separate section for the library is because…well, it’s probably one of my favourite libraries (I’ve ever been in) in the world!

The State Library is located inside the CBD, right in front of RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) and spot on the centre of so many coffee shops, trams, and gardens.

Once you’ve gotten over the initial fear of the library’s majestic doors, you’ll be greeted with thousands of books, an art gallery, and even a Wii section inside! SO MANY people love staying here just to read or hang out. If you ask me, it’s probably my favourite building of all Victoria.

Anyhow, the reason why I’m suggesting you make it your home base is because of its easy access to many restaurants and shops in CBD.

One of the probably coolest things you can do near Swanson Street:

Which is the State Library’s street, just sayin’

Watch a movie and grab a drink at the rooftop cinema

If you love classics and indie movies alike, you’ll fall in love with the rooftop cinema at Swanson St., on top of the Curtin house. The cinema runs every day from 11am until 1am.

Hang around the Queen Victoria market for some great finds

For fresh food, seafood, and all kinds of food, you can head on over to the Queen Victoria market. This gives you a great idea for what Melburnians love to shop for and what you can bring home with you.

Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant

If you’re interested in watching a show with dinner and drinks, Dracula’s is a great place to start. You’ll be entertained by dancers and maybe Dracula himself. byeeee

two people walking past the regent theatre in melbourne with king kong playing

Getting a total feel of the culture and deciding whether you love Melbourne

Probably the main reason why I enjoyed my stay at Melbourne so much was because I got to hang out with my cousins who grew up there. And so, they really know the ins and outs of the city (with accompanying suburbs!) while also showing me some of the tourist-y places.

Beyond the amazing food and coffee, you’ll also feel extremely welcomed by the people. Although they obviously don’t dress like the Old English, you’ll be amazed by their love of history and their own city.

In terms of architecture, you’ll find modern designs to be quite lacking as they’re better with Victorian-inspired ones. As I mentioned during the first part of this post, offices look like houses while even their McDonald’s would look similar to an old brick house.

Aussies are also very supportive of their own homegrown products which is easily displayed in their art galleries, antique/furniture shops, and their brunch places.

In particular, aside from the Victorian architecture, Aussies living in Melbourne are very fond of vintage finds. I could probably think of 5 vintage clothing shops I’ve entered (at the top of my head) during my entire stay here! This is where I was introduced to Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Hendrix too. If you’re into vintage and retro finds, look no further than Melbourne’s CBD. Or well, you can look at the suburbs too!

Aside from all this, Melbourne is a very relaxing city. You won’t feel rushed even while you’re in the CBD and you most definitely, will feel like you just hopped off your Tardis and made it to 1847 instead of 2017.

beautiful sky line of melbourne CBD from st. kilda's pier during a sunny day in summer

Over to you! What are your thoughts about Melbourne’s CBD?

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