It’s easier than ever for clients to experience Melbourne.
Air Canada offers year-round Vancouver-Melbourne service on Boeing 787 Dreamliners, with lie-flat seat suites, known as Executive Pods, in International Business Class, plus comfortable seating with plenty of amenities in Premium Economy and Economy Class.
Here’s a look at some of the best ways to see this iconic Australian destination, from natural wonders to shop ‘til you drop opportunities. There are even top picks for Melbourne’s famous coffee culture.
GREAT OCEAN ROAD: A MUST-DO FOR MELBOURNE VISITORS
A beautiful city in its own right, Melbourne is also the gateway to several of Australia’s iconic experiences, including a spectacular coastal drive to see the 12 Apostles on Great Ocean Road.
Just two hours from the heart of Melbourne, with dual lane highway conditions for most of the journey and excellent signposting (there are train and ferry options too), the Great Ocean Road takes travellers from Torquay to Nelson on the South Australian border, all while offering up some of the most impressive coastal scenery in Australia.
The Great Ocean Road is a must-do for everyone who comes to Melbourne, whether they’re a first-time visitor or a return traveller. Here are a few tips for planning that perfect drive …
Discover the Great Ocean Road
As the Rip Curl Pro descends on Bells Beach, plan your trip to make the most of the Great Ocean Road that surrounds the surf break. It’s here that the world’s top ranked surfers carve up the waves every spring for the annual Rip Curl Pro surfing competition. Bells Beach is the epicentre of Australia’s surf culture. Adventurous travellers can surf the west coast of Victoria at beaches in the Great Ocean Road region, from the famed breaks of the Surf Coast to the wild waves beyond Discovery Bay.
The 12 Apostles
The towering limestone stacks known as the 12 Apostles are one of the most recognizable sights in Australia. Visitors will see them in all their splendor as they travel the Great Ocean Road.
While driving a stretch of the Great Ocean Road itself is a rite of passage, there’s also plenty of opportunity to park the car and set off on the Great Ocean Walk for the most up-close experience of the famous coastal scenery, including not just the iconic 12 Apostles but irresistible beaches and lush rainforest too.
The Great Ocean Road is dotted with tiny resort towns, welcoming hamlets and larger regional centres that all have their own distinct personalities.
Be sure to stop off as often as possible along the way to discover laid back surf culture, rich maritime history, fine food and wine, sophisticated seaside lifestyles and rugged shipwreck tales.
Wherever a pit-stop happens visitors are guaranteed astonishing scenery and lasting memories, with highlights including Lorne, Torquay and Geelong.
The natural beauty of the Great Ocean Road is matched only by the fine food and wine visitors will find along the way, with the delectable regional produce a true local hero. Local favourites include Chef Dan Hunter’s Brae and Chris’ Beacon Point Restaurant, where the sumptuous food does its best to rival the outstanding views of the water.
The Bellarine Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road region have long been a haven for Victorian wine-makers. Why settle for one or two, when you can take a vinous tour across the entire region? Visitors can take a few days to discover the many varietals on offer at vineyards including Jack Rabbit, Scotchman’s Hill and Pt Leo Estate.
MELBOURNE IS A SHOPPER’S DREAM DESTINATION
So much to see, so much to buy. Melbourne is a shopper’s dream destination, famous for its artisan-crafted jewellery, art and fashion. The hubs for all of these creative endeavors take visitors to some of the city’s most stylish neighbourhoods. Melbourne is also a top spot for music lovers.
Clients making their way to Melbourne via Air Canada’s year-round Boeing 787 Dreamliner service out of Vancouver should be sure to make a checklist of these must-see districts …
Fitzroy for jewellery
A little-known fact about Melbourne is that it is one of the top four jewellery centres of the world, in terms of jewellery makers. And Fitzroy is where many of them live and work. Marion Marshall Studios specializes in chunky gold and silversmithing with precious and semi-precious stones. Studio Ingot sells artist-made jewellery as well as offering custom-made commissions. The delicate and beautiful designs of Love Hate are available for purchase at maker Geneine Honey’s Fitzroy workshop and store. Many other local jewellery designers can be found at Fitzroy’s Rose Street Market every weekend.
St Kilda for art
From the well-established Linden New Art gallery, Jackman Gallery, Brightspace and the artist collective, studio and gallery space Studio 106 – there’s no questioning St Kilda’s affinity with and appeal to artists. Its bayside aspect provides inspiration for many well-known artists, past and present, including the late Mirka Mora, who had a profound effect on Australia’s art scene through her drawings, paintings, sculpture and mosaics. Mora and her husband also owned and operated several cafes in Melbourne including Tolarno on Fitzroy Street in St Kilda, where visitors today can enjoy good food, classic drinks and an opportunity to see Mirka Mora originals. Meanwhile the long-running Sunday St Kilda Esplanade Market offers local makers and artist a platform to sell their works. Visitors can also get a deep dive into the precinct’s arty history on a guided art walk visiting studios, galleries and meeting the artists with St Kilda Art Tours.
Armadale for fashion
Elegant High Street Armadale has become synonymous with Melbourne fashion designers. Names along the hip strip include Scanlon Theodore, Thurley, búl, Lisa Barron and Megan Park. New brands entering the competitive Melbourne scene tend to flock to the fashion-forward precinct as well, including Rebecca Vallance, who originally hails from Melbourne, who opened her new flagship boutique in Armadale. Other top finds include chic shoes for men and women from Bared Footwear and L’Eclisse, the latest designer threads for little ones at Balloon for Kids and on-trend athletic gear at Nimble Activewear. And Duzenman creates beautiful hand-crafted leather bags, pouches, clutches and accessories at its atelier, with the option to add personalized embellishments and monogramming.
Brunswick for music
Known as one of the world’s most musical cities, Melbourne dominates the annual top songwriter postcode rankings, with edgy Brunswick making a name for itself as the top district in Australia for songwriters. The large Inner north precinct also has more than its fair share of music venues and the thoroughfares of Lygon Street and Sydney Road are packed with dedicated venues such as The Spotted Mallard, The Retreat Hotel, The B.east and Howler. There are plenty of smaller venues too, including cafes, pubs and bars that offer everything from jazz to pop and good old rock ‘n roll any night of the week.
MELBOURNE’S COFFEE CULTURE
Hip and stylish Melbourne is a trendsetter, not just in Australia but around the world. The city’s cultural cachet extends from fashion, to design – with a multitude of colourful, eye-popping murals adorning its alleys – to fine dining. And then there’s the coffee. Yes, even coffee culture in Melbourne is a high art, with locals and visitors alike enjoying some of the best blends in the world.
There are plenty of chic cafés all over the city where travellers can while away the hours with their new favourite brew. Top picks include Market Lane Coffee, Sensory Lab (where the ‘Steadfast Espresso Blend’ includes notes of jam and milk chocolate), Top Paddock and Higher Ground.
Melburnians love their coffee and visitors do too – but what to make of all the coffee culture terminology?
Some of the most popular orders are well-known, like the latte (made with espresso and lots of steamed milk), the cappuccino (stronger than a latte), a short black (with an espresso shot) and a long black (with a double-shot of espresso). And a Melbourne flat white has become a globally recognized coffee order.
But what about the other types of order? In the evolving coffee scene that is Melbourne, it can be confusing for visitors and locals alike to keep up with the latest coffee trends and terms. Clients can approach the cafe with confidence by brushing up on these popular orders …
Cortado – Similar to a latte, but less foamy, and less quantity, usually served in a small glass. It consists of espresso mixed with a roughly equal amount of warm milk.
Macchiato – Sometimes called espresso macchiato, is an espresso coffee drink with a small amount of milk, usually foamed.
Ristretto – Traditionally a short shot of espresso coffee made with the normal amount of ground coffee but extracted with about half the amount of water in the same amount of time by using a finer grind. This produces a more concentrated shot of coffee per volume.
Piccolo – Somewhere between a cafe latte, macchiato and cortado, the piccolo is a single espresso shot topped up with milk in a 90ml glass. Bascially, more coffee, less milk. A piccolo can be found at Piccolo Me and Piccolo Espresso and Wine Bar.
A Magic – A piccolo latte made with double Ristretto. Both the Piccolo and the Magic arguably originated in Melbourne and most baristas worth their weight in coffee beans will happily serve one up. Magic coffee can be found in Magic, St Ali in the south and Auction Rooms in the north.
Bulletproof Coffee (or butter coffee) – One for the paleos. Coffee, with butter, and claimed to have health benefits including increased energy and focus. It will most likely be found in cafés specializing in health food. In Melbourne this includes Fitzroy’s FitIn, Flinders Lane’s Seedling and Patch café in Richmond.
With a café culture like Melbourne’s – cafés can come and go with regularity, but there are some that stand the test of time.
And the good news is, in Melbourne, it’s harder to find a bad coffee than a good coffee.