Cruise ships are increasingly the transport of choice for visitors to Melbourne. The sector is experiencing significant growth with a record 99 ships scheduled to call into Victoria’s ports during the 2016/17 cruise season, including inaugural visits by Seabourn Encore, Maasdam, Emerald Princess, Norwegian Star, Azamara Journey, and Sirena.
Cruise passengers who dock at Port Melbourne are just five kilometres from the city centre, where they can easily access some of the best experiences the city has to offer. Here’s how visitors with a day-long stopover, can capture the essence of the city in just 12 hours:
9am: Fuel up for the busy day ahead with a hearty breakfast at Higher Ground or, in Richmond, just outside the city centre, at Gypsy and Musquito. Both restaurants have native ingredients deliciously woven into their breakfast menus, giving visitors the chance to truly experience a taste of Australia.
11am: Explore Melbourne’s labyrinth of laneways, including Degraves Street, Flinders Lane and Little Collins Street, to discover everything from international designer wares, to locally designed threads and homewares. Grab a $5 gourmet baguette to go from one of the hole-in-the-wall cafes at Centre Place and head to Federation Square to hire one of the blue Melbourne Bike Share bikes for just a few dollars.
12.30pm: Explore the city by bike: Melbourne Bike Share provides information on a range of self-guided touring routes that cover food, art, design and retail.
2.30pm: Revive and refuel at one of Melbourne’s 2000+ cafes. Melbourne continues to enjoy a long and eventful love affair with coffee, with many of the city’s best cafes tucked down laneways, squeezed into tiny holes-in-the-wall, shipping containers and train underpasses. To feed locals’ obsession for the perfect drop, 30 tonnes of coffee beans are imported through the Port of Melbourne every day, enough to make three million cups daily in a city of 4.5 million people.
3pm: Go on a shopping spree in Australian’s fashion capital. Have a styling session at Emporium (or Melbourne Central) or for the fellas, get groomed at Captains of Industry where a barber sits alongside a cafe, bootmaker and jeweller.
6pm: Grab dinner at one of the city’s restaurants popular with the locals – dining early will help secure a table at one of these ‘no reservation’ eateries, where the queues have been known to snake down neighbouring laneways: Chin Chin, Cumulus, Movida Next Door, Mamasita.
8pm: Sneak in a cheeky cocktail at a bar that only the locals know about. Hidden down street art covered laneways, accessed through an unmarked door or up a rickety staircase, these bars will cap off the day with a truly Melbourne experience: Eau de Vie, Goldilocks, Glamp Cocktail Bar, Union Electric, Bar Americano.