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Eat

Did you know?

Melbourne has been voted as having the world’s best coffee and the world’s best pizza!

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One city,
many continents
in cuisine

Hover on the images on the right for exclusive culinary insights and tips from American Express.

Eat your way through “Little Vietnam”info-marker

Eat your way through “Little Vietnam”

Visit Victoria Street in Richmond to try its legendary pho.

Tips to Take you Further #1

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Tips to Take you Further #1

To ride public transport in Melbourne you’ll need a Myki card, available from train stations and newsagents. If, however, you’re only planning to travel within the CBD, there’s no need to buy a card – tram travel is free in this area. That’s right, you can ride Melbourne’s most iconic form of transport all day and night without paying a cent. Even in the outer suburbs, where you’ll have to pay, trams are the best way to get around.

Sip pisco sours in the CBDmap-marker

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Sip pisco sours in the CBD

Try classic Peruvian cuisine, washed down with a few pisco sours, at Harley House and Pastuso.

Enjoy a serving of global flavoursinfo-marker

Enjoy a serving of global flavours

Get your fill in the dumpling dens of Chinatown, which dates back to the gold rush days.

Taste the world in Melbourne
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Australia’s most multi-cultural city offers the chance to feel as if you’re travelling without ever leaving our shores, and by far the easiest way to do that is with a plate of good food. This is a city whose residents hail from more than 180 different countries, and much of that diversity is reflected on the menus at the cafes, restaurants and bars across Melbourne. These authentic foreign outlets range from hatted fine-diners to hole-in-the-wall local favourites – the only thing many of them have in common is cuisine that will transport you to another part of the world.

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Tips to Take you Further #2

One of the key attractions in Melbourne is the city’s food scene, and there are a few iconic cafes and restaurants that should form part of any itinerary. For coffee, grab a flat white at Hardware Societe, one of Melbourne’s best cafes. For dinner, check out Flower Drum. And don’t miss cocktails at Eau de Vie to round off the perfect day.

Begin in Footscray, a character-filled suburb that is home not just to many of Melbourne’s best Vietnamese restaurants, but also a slice of Africa, in the form of a small family-run eatery called Dinknesh Lucy. It’s here you’ll be able to dine on some legit Ethiopian food, incredibly tasty – though little known – dishes like spiced chicken stews, fried vegetables and chickpea purees, all served over classic “injera” bread. Injera is something of a love-hate dish, a slightly sour, bubbly pancake that’s used by Ethiopians as much as an eating utensil as a foodstuff: tear a piece off, use it to scoop up some meat and sauce, and then shovel the whole thing down. It’s like you’re in Addis Ababa.

 

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Relax

Did you know?

The National Gallery of Victoria, (NGV) is Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited art museum.

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Cultural
discoveries

Hover on the images on the right for exclusive cultural insights and tips from American Express.

Explore the Melbourne Museuminfo-marker

Explore the Melbourne Museum

Be immersed in Australia’s natural and cultural history.

Tips to Take you Further #3

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Tips to Take you Further #3

Though Melbourne’s beach culture is undoubtedly overshadowed by a few of the world-famous spots in Sydney, there are some beautiful stretches of sand to relax on in the southern capital. St Kilda is the most famous of these, with its long promenade, but there’s also Brighton Beach, Elwood, and Sorrento, down the end of the Mornington Peninsula, to enjoy on a warm day.

Exercise the mind and bodymap-marker

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Exercise the mind and body

Start the morning with a Tai Chi class at Federation Square.

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See the oldest building in the country

The beautiful, heritage-listed Fitzroy Gardens is home to Cooks’ Cottage, which was built in 1755 and is the oldest building in Australia.

Take time for the finer things
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Melbourne’s international experiences don’t begin and end at the dinner table (though in this gastronomically obsessed city you could be excused for thinking it). This is a place where a myriad of exotic cultural rituals abound, some that are often hidden in plain sight.

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Tips to Take you Further #4

No matter what the weather looks like when you step outside in Melbourne, it’s a good idea to take an umbrella. The old saying about “four seasons in one day” is only a mild exaggeration – even the smallest swing in wind direction can bring the drizzle on, although it will inevitably disappear 10 minutes later. And then reappear in the afternoon.

Take the Japanese Bath House, an establishment on the industrial backstreets of Collingwood that really does do what it says on the box. Anyone who has experienced onsen culture in Japan will immediately recognise what is going on here, from the removal of your shoes at the door to the time you sink into a tub of steaming, mineral-rich water. This is in a typically Melbourne location, though if you ignore the view out the window you could easily be anywhere in Tokyo or Osaka.

The experience is as traditionally Japanese as it gets. Bathers walk into the changing room, disrobe, grab a small towel and head into the shower room. Once the soaping and scrubbing has been taken care of, there’s the choice of a big hot tub to soak in, or a steam room to sweat out all of your toxins. Upstairs, meanwhile, there’s the chance to have a shiatsu massage, or simply sit and contemplate life over a cup of Japanese tea. It’s relaxation, Japan style.

Of course the Japanese aren’t the only ones to offer such a hands-on experience. At True Thai  in the CBD, visitors can indulge in a traditional Thai massage, a vigorous rub that will leave you glowing. And there are free tai chi classes at Federation Square every Tuesday morning – the perfect wait to attain spiritual and physical peace while on holiday. At least, for an hour or so.

Melbourne, in fact, offers many opportunities to attain inner harmony. In the outer suburb of Narre Warren, set on a lush acreage, there’s Yun Yang Temple, a Chinese-style Buddhist retreat that casual visitors are welcome to attend. The temple is open to the public on Sundays, which is a perfect time to wander its extensive 32 acres of parklands and gardens, or relax in the Tea House by the lotus pond, or explore the temple’s main shrine and meditation hall.

Those who prefer their brushes with culture to be more visual than spiritual could choose to spend an afternoon in Fo Guang Yuan, an institution dedicated to Eastern philosophy. There’s plenty to look at to while away a few hours in this CBD gallery, from paintings and sculptures to calligraphy, embroidery and pottery.

The Melbourne Museum, meanwhile, offers guided tours of the Royal Exhibition Building, an iconic part of Melbourne that has hosted a huge array of cultural showcases over the last 130 years, as well as being a cultural relic in its own right.

You can cap the day off like you were in London by simply lying in the sun in Fitzroy Gardens, a beautiful English-style park just near the CBD. It’s so English, in fact, that the only giveaway you’re not all the way in Blighty might be that shining orb in the sky.

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Get Active

Did you know?

The Melbourne Cricket ground is one of the best stadiums in the world, it’s design was inspired by the colosseum in Rome.

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Experience
the city while
working up
a sweat

Hover on the images on the right for insights about exclusive activities and tips from American Express.

Play petanque at St Kildainfo-marker

Play petanque at St Kilda

Join a social petanque, or "boules", game on Friday nights at The St Kilda Petanque Club.

Tips to Take you Further #5

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Tips to Take you Further #5

You need a team. If you hope to engage any Melbourne resident in meaningful conversation, you have to support an AFL club. Or at least claim to. The team you choose really doesn’t matter, as it’s sure to cause disagreement regardless. The main thing is that you show interest in this city-wide obsession, and are prepared to listen to others as they indulge in it.

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Dance the night away

Learn salsa, samba, reggaeton and bachata at Melbourne Latin Dance in Richmond.

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Crank up the heat

Sweat it out at one of Melbourne’s many bikram yoga classes.

Do as the locals do
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There are plenty of foreign attractions, experiences and even cultural rituals that travellers find overseas and wish they could bring home with them. That cozy bar in Paris. That steakhouse in Argentina. That carpet store in Turkey. Even that hot spring in Iceland would be a nice thing to have at your disposal on a day-to-day basis.

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Tips to Take you Further #6

“Laneway culture” is a huge part of the Melbourne scene, and it’s worth knowing your laneways before you arrive. Hosier Lane in the CBD is tourist-friendly and covered in street art. Centre Place is a hugely popular hub of restaurants and cafes. AC/DC Lane, named after the band, is home to rock club Cherry Bar. And Meyers Place not only has some of the city’s best restaurants, but some great rooftop bars.  

Unfortunately, these things usually aren’t possible. That bar won’t feel the same back in your home town. Those carpets can’t be transported. That hot spring isn’t going anywhere.

But there’s good news. There’s one foreign ritual that can be transported, one you can experience back home, and it’s something every Melburnian old or new will immediately appreciate: recreation. Recreation travels. Exercise rituals travel. You can bring these things home with you, especially in this sports-mad southern city.

To begin with, do as the Parisians do, and the Dutch, and the Danish, and hire a bike to get around and see the city. As with many European hubs, Melbourne is relatively flat and bike-friendly, meaning you’ll be able to cover plenty of its main attractions in a few days on a pushie. To harness some pedal power, either rent a bike and get out there on your own, or take a guided tour of the city with Freddy’s Bike Tours. The company offers several themed tours, including evening food excursions that allow hungry explorers to both take on the calories and work them off at the same time.

Once you’re getting on a roll, it’s time to indulge in another cultural exercise: this time, something with a little more heat. Yoga has been practiced in India for centuries, and its popularity has well and truly spread to Melbourne. While bikram – yoga practiced in 40-degree heat – can be a little extreme for some, at One Hot Yoga in South Yarra, try “hot yoga”, a strength session done in a milder 37 degrees.

There’s heat, too, at Melbourne Latin Dance, though perhaps of a different kind. Here you can take a class in either salsa dancing – straight from Colombia – or the samba, that most energetic of dances from Rio de Janeiro. Though this is undoubtedly a cultural experience, as well as a solid workout, most people are there for the pure enjoyment of it all, of learning a few steps, listening to some great music, and twirling around the dancefloor for a few hours. There’s more, too, to Melbourne’s cultural and recreational offerings. The St Kilda Petanque Club puts on social petanque gatherings every Friday night, small celebrations of a game – also known as bocce or boules – that’s popular across Europe, as well as much of South-East Asia. Casual guests are always welcome to roll up and play. Though you may not be great at petanque, you’ll undoubtedly be able to master the barbecue at the end of the game.

Melbourne even has croquet clubs, such as the Royal Croquet Club at Birrarung Marr, where visitors can indulge in this most English of pastimes. Drink a little Pimms and lemonade at the garden-themed rooftop bar Madame Brussels  afterwards, and you’ve had the authentic experience.

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Tips to take you further

Earn points that take you further with American Express Membership Rewards.

spacer image

Tips to Take you Further # 1

To ride public transport in Melbourne you’ll need a Myki card, available from train stations and newsagents. If, however, you’re only planning to travel within the CBD, there’s no need to buy a card – tram travel is free in this area. That’s right, you can ride Melbourne’s most iconic form of transport all day and night without paying a cent. Even in the outer suburbs, where you’ll have to pay, trams are the best way to get around.

spacer image

Tips to Take you Further # 2

One of the key attractions in Melbourne is the city’s food scene, and there are a few iconic cafes and restaurants that should form part of any itinerary. For coffee, grab a flat white at Hardware Societe, one of Melbourne’s best cafes. For dinner, check out Flower Drum. And don’t miss cocktails at Eau de Vie to round off the perfect day.

spacer image

Tips to Take you Further # 3

Though Melbourne’s beach culture is undoubtedly overshadowed by a few of the world-famous spots in Sydney, there are some beautiful stretches of sand to relax on in the southern capital. St Kilda is the most famous of these, with its long promenade, but there’s also Brighton Beach, Elwood, and Sorrento, down the end of the Mornington Peninsula, to enjoy on a warm day.

spacer image

Tips to Take you Further # 4

No matter what the weather looks like when you step outside in Melbourne, it’s a good idea to take an umbrella. The old saying about “four seasons in one day” is only a mild exaggeration – even the smallest swing in wind direction can bring the drizzle on, although it will inevitably disappear 10 minutes later. And then reappear in the afternoon.

spacer image

Tips to Take you Further # 5

You need a team. If you hope to engage any Melbourne resident in meaningful conversation, you have to support an AFL club. Or at least claim to. The team you choose really doesn’t matter, as it’s sure to cause disagreement regardless. The main thing is that you show interest in this city-wide obsession, and are prepared to listen to others as they indulge in it.

spacer image

Tips to Take you Further # 6

“Laneway culture” is a huge part of the Melbourne scene, and it’s worth knowing your laneways before you arrive. Hosier Lane in the CBD is tourist-friendly and covered in street art. Centre Place is a hugely popular hub of restaurants and cafes. AC/DC Lane, named after the band, is home to rock club Cherry Bar. And Meyers Place not only has some of the city’s best restaurants, but some great rooftop bars.  

spacer image

Tips to Take you Further # 7

No matter your travel style, American Express has a rewards card packed with benefits designed for you. They even have cards with no annual fee where you can earn points on all your purchases and turn them into so many different rewards – from flights to hotel rooms and much more. With a rewards card from American Express you can get to where you want to go sooner.

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