10 Interesting Things to Do and Eat in MELBOURNE, AustraliaTuesday, August 18, 2015
Rated the World's most livable city in 2015, Melbourne is a destination you have to visit at least once in your lifetime. Or twice... thrice maybe?
I couldn't help but to gasp in awe at the GORGEOUS streetscape of Melbourne. Every residential house has got their own personality, the architectural design of the buildings are clean and sleek, lots of beautiful open spaces, and the churches so magnificent you wouldn't be able to resist not taking a photo with them:
Yes, Melbourne is a city where that 16GB photo memory card would not be enough because EVERYWHERE IS JUST TOO BEAUTIFUL. You can easily snap a few thousand photos in this most livable city. Melbourne - the city where you will find tons of great food, a lively music and arts scene and lots of picturesque landscapes.
Get your cameras and that 64GB photo memory card ready as you follow Evilbean's guide to the Top 10 Interesting Things to Do, Eat and Buy in Melbourne.
#1. Eat Doughnuts, Grocery Shop and Spot a Nice Ass at Queen Victoria Market
Not going to Queen Victoria Market (QVM) on your Melbourne trip is like going back to your ex: You will regret it.
Listed as one of the MUST-GO in every Melbourne travel guide, QVM is the southern hemispheres largest open-air market. The market is best known for its huge variety of fresh produce, as well as a range of uniquely Australian items and souvenirs that is said to be cheaper, as long as you have level 1000 bargaining skills.
Believed to be Melbourne's first food truck, American Doughnut Kitchen has been serving piping hot jam doughnuts since 1950. Make this your first stop at QVM!
These jam-filled doughnuts are HEAVENLY when eaten during winter. Served to you piping hot, relish in the moment as the warm raspbery jam slithers and spreads itself on your tongue while you chew on the soft, fluffy dough. YOU GOTTA HUNT FOR THIS.
American Doughnut Kitchen
Queen Street, Queen Victoria Market
(Outside "I" shed)
Tues: 6:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Thurs: 6:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Fri: 6:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sat: 5:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sun: 6:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Closed on Mondays and Wednesdays
After grabbing a bag of doughnuts to munch on, continue on to their fresh produce section and spot some of the unique local fruits and vegetables on sale.
"WHY WOULD YOU CHOP OFF THE HEAD OF A PINEAPPLE? WHY?"
Here comes the fun part: Try to spot a nice butt by heading to the Poultry and Game Section.
"ARE YOU A PERVERT EVILBEAN? Why are you asking us to look for butts at QVM?"
Are you ready to see that nice ass?
THERE YOU GO. One of the perkiest and smoothest butt you will see in QVM. We had a good laugh when the store seller smacked the butt while making his way out from the store!
At the Deli Hall, look out for Market Lane Coffee (Shop 73-76). Not only will you be served by young, handsome baristas:
You will also have one of the top coffees in Melbourne.
Rated highly on Yelp, their coffee beans are known to be served in many of the cafes in Melbourne. Their latte was smooth and had nice notes of chocolate. At $4.50 a cup, I thought this was relatively cheaper than the coffee in Singapore, where a latte can cost up to $6.
Here's a tip if you are planning to visit QVM: Go on a weekend.
Not only will you find more clothing and souvenirs stores during the weekend, you will also be able to catch street performances and buskers right outside the market. This is the only time where you will be able to experience the vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere of QVM!
QVM is a slice of Melbourne life. If your travel philosophy is to experience local cultures, QVM is one of the best places where you will see various local communities gathering to shop, eat, play and work.
Quoting from weekendnotes.com: Queen Victoria Market "has helped build a vibrant and multicultural city by offering fresh and often cheap seasonal produce, alongside the smiles, laughter, hopes and dreams of Melbourne. She is my kitchen, my supermarket and my delicious slice of Melbourne."
Do not miss out QVM!
"Queen Victoria Market Opening/Market Hours"
Do take note that the market is also closed on Good Friday, Anzac Day, Melbourne Cup Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.
2. Have a Mini Photoshoot at the Scenic Yarra Valley
If you are an avid photographer, or if you have been yearning to change that profile picture of yours on Facebook, you will love the picturesque views Yarra Valley has to offer.
If I were to guess the origins of the phrase "a breath of fresh air", Yarra Valley would be one of my guesses. The air here is clean and fresh, and the marshmallow clouds look especially delicious on photos.
After snapping photos to your heart's content, head into the wineries here and quench your thirst with FREE wine tastings!
Beautiful landscapes, huge open spaces, fresh air and free wine - IS THIS HEAVEN ON EARTH?
Head into the Restaurant & Bar at Yering Station next for a chance to catch DOUBLE RAINBOWS!
Melbourne is famous for its unpredictable weather. You can literally experience "four seasons in a day" if you head there during winter, as it can be hot and sunny one moment and cold and rainy the next minute.
However, precisely because of this erratic weather, there is a higher chance you would be able to spot RAINBOWS!
The Restaurant & Bar at Yering Station is a spectacular stone and glass building that provides expansive views of the Yarra Ranges. You would literally need inhalers in here because the view is BREATHTAKING.
ESPECIALLY WHEN RAINBOWS APPEAR.
But what is truly interesting and magical is the occurrence of DOUBLE RAINBOWS!
ALL OF US WERE SCREAMING AND SQUEALING when we saw that beautiful double rainbow!
The only thing lacking here is an unicorn and our magical time in here would be complete.
Besides the wonderful view of nature, this restaurant serves one of the most eye-pleasing desserts I have ever seen.
Malt Parfait, Milk Chocolate, Salted Caramel and Peanuts ($17)
ABSOLUTELY in love with Melbourne's scenic landscape. Enjoying this beautifully plated malt parfait, milk chocolate, salted caramel and peanuts with an equally beautiful boundless field of green omg 😩💙, am I in Melheaven ? (Sorry limited wifi here, will reply comments when I get unlimited wifi!) #3point5evilbeans #traevilbean #yeringstation
After feasting your eyes with the sights of nature and the exquisite plating of their desserts, head to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery nearby for a chocolate feast.
4. Eat Unlimited Chocolates.. FOR FREE!
If you have already spent all your money, do not fret. Here's a place for you to set up a camping tent - Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. This chocolate factory offers visitors FREE TASTINGS of their hand crafted chocolates. AND THEY WERE DELICIOUS.
The Evilbean is gonna be real honest with you. The chocolate was so good, he actually helped himself to at least 5-6 spoonfuls of those decadent dark chocolate chips. AND NO, those friendly staff at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery did not even give him any judging looks.
If not for the fear of those chocolates melting en-route, I would have probably lugged a few cartons of these delicious chocolates home.
Real Iced Chocolate ($6)
Get a cup of iced chocolate or any other drinks from them and sit at their al-fresco area. The iced chocolate will soothe your body while the incredible view outside will soothe your soul. I mean, just look at that wonderfully-captured photo with the iced chocolate basking in the glorious sun. This photo should be in National Geographic.
"1 Metre Chocolate Bar Fights!"
You can also partake in (chocolate) sword fights in here with your friends with their awesome 1 Metre Chocolate Bars. Just.. be gentle?
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery
35 Old Healesville Rd,
Yarra Glen VIC 3775, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9730 2777
Daily: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
The colourful bathhouses in Brighton beach is one of the tourist icons in Melbourne. Not going to Brighton Beach on your trip in Melbourne is like going back to your ex: You will regret it. (Oh wait, did I use this joke already?)
Originally used as ladies’ changing sheds in the 1800s, the bath houses in Brighton beach are now iconic postcards imagery for Melbourne tourism. This backdrop is also a standard profile photo for anyone who had just visited Melbourne.
Recently sold at $276,000 for bathing box no. 6, these bathing boxes are a pricing mystery to many, which is essentially a shed with no running water or electricity. The "owners", or licensees as they call it, cannot even sleep in or use their bathing boxes as accommodation. "WHAT?!"
However, these houses sure do make for some lovely photos.
There are the usual poses that you can do, like just standing in front of the beach house looking cool, or mimicking the poses painted on some of the houses:
But how about something special? How about making a time-lapse gif?
You will need 2 things:
1. A phone that has the timelapse function
2. A willing partner that is kind (stupid) enough to film and run the entire distance for you
You will remember very fondly and vividly on that time where you ran the entire distance of 92 bath houses just to make this gif. It's totally worth all that running, trust me.
Just in case you were wondering how these beach boxes look like from the inside, here's a rare photo of the interior of no. 76A:
Getting to Brighton Beach:
By train: A train from the city will take around 20 minutes on the Sandringham line. Catch it from Flinders Street Station to Brighton Beach Railway Station and take the scenic 500-metre stroll down to the bathing boxes.
By car: Driving from the city to Brighton takes around 20 minutes depending on the traffic condition. There is council parking close to the beach once you get there.
By bus: Catch the 216 or 219 bus from Melbourne CBD.
6. Fill up your Memory Card at Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road (GOR) is a 243 kilometres stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia, and is widely acknowledged as one of the most amazing coastal drives in the world.
"Just look at that view!"
We planned for a 3 days 2 nights stay in GOR, and the experience that I had during those 3 days was out of this world. Accustomed to seeing tall concrete buildings and cars everywhere, the large open spaces and human-scaled buildings in the towns along GOR were a refreshing change.
This is a roadtrip that urban dwellers like you and I have to take. GOR offers a chance for us to experience the laid-back culture, to see for ourselves the wonders of nature, and it is a place where time seems to slow down and everything seems so beautiful. (Except for moments when you REALLY NEED THAT SPEEDY 4G WIFI)
Here's a few photos of one of the world's most scenic coastal drives:
Waterfalls & Forests:
Gorgeous Morning Sunrise:
And of course, the famous Twelve Apostles (although there are only eight apostles left):
There's a gorgeous lookout that is built here at the Twelve Apostles. If you have been wanting to change that one year old profile photo of yours, this is where you can take some of the best photos with those towering limestone stacks. My latest Facebook cover photo was taken from here as well!
Loch and Gorge:
"London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.." You must have heard of this nursery rhyme before. Well, at GOR, you can witness one of the London Bridge that fell and collapsed. It's quite fascinating, to see that imaginary object that you have been singing along, appear to you in real life.
Until 1990, the stack was a complete double-span natural bridge. However, the span closer to the shoreline collapsed unexpectedly on 15 January 1990, leaving two tourists stranded on the outer span. YES, THE LONDON BRIDGE REALLY FELL.
Mr Darrington, one of the two survivors of that collapse, re-visited the site for the first time in 2013 as part of a documentary filmed by National Geographic. You can read more about his interesting recount of that fateful day here.
Beaches so perfect it's almost unreal:
Evilbean's Tips to enjoy GOR even better:
1. Get a premium Spotify account and download some of those 'Roadtrip Playlists' offline. Wind down your windows, play those music and enjoy the sun and the vast open spaces.
2. There are some travel guides that suggest a day trip tour of GOR, but I would not recommend it. There are so many things which you can do along this coastal road, a day tour would not suffice and justify the beauty you would be able to enjoy. You should at least plan for 2 days, and if possible, stay one night at one of the many seaside villages/hotels/hostels for a totally unique experience!
I stayed over at Apollo Bay Eco YHA Hostel on one of the nights and it was AWESOME.
The hostel was very cozy and the common lounges had a very homely feel. The ambience here at midnight and at the break of dawn is simply... it's almost as if I am living in another dimension.
If you like rock stacks, surf beaches, resort towns, scenery, rainforests and waterfalls, Great Ocean Road is a MUST-GO on your trip to Melbourne!
And while you are at GOR, you HAVE to stop at Queenscliff for this fish bar that was recently voted for having one of the BEST Fish & Chips in Geelong.
"Look at their Wall of Fame!"
I love the concept of this fish bar, from having a trident in its name to a sweet Poseidon figure standing atop the bar counter. Sorry, Greek gods nerd here.
We spent at least 10 minutes standing in front of the menu, pondering on what to eat.
"How hard could it be to order a damn plate of Fish & Chips, Evilbean?"
Well, if you thought it was easy, you can throw all your perceptions out of the window BECAUSE THE CHOICES HERE ARE JUST STAGGERING.
After what seemed like an eternity, we finally decided on a few fillet types:
The Gummy Shark is the staples in Fish & Chips shop in Melbourne, known for its firm, white meat.
What I really liked about the fish was that they were not greasy at all, probably due to the olive oil that they used. The batter that covered the fillet was grilled just right, giving it a nice crispness. The fact that we devoured these right after they served it to us was also why it tasted so fresh and delicious.
"The 'chips' of the Fish & Chips"
Unlike what I was used to in Singapore, you have to order the 'chips'. Otherwise, you would just end up with the fish fillet. They have chips in 3 sizes, small (1 person), medium (2 people) and large (4 people+) at $2, $4 and $6 respectively. They are very generous with their portions, so you can actually order a small for 2 people to share. The chips are thick and fried to a delicious golden colour, and goes very well with their sweet chilli mayo.
The staffs are also very friendly. Not only did they give us extra portions, they also gave us discounts, which was very unexpected, given that we are tourists. These small little gestures made us felt very warm and fuzzy, a respite from the freezing weather outside. Thank you for making us feel welcomed, people of Trident Fish Bar!
Also, while you are here, you should explore their ice-cream box for this Connoisseur Ice-Cream, which is Australia's first premium ice-cream offering. They were pretty good!
[Interesting Find of the Day] Often compared with Magnum Ice-Cream, Connoisseur Ice-Cream is Australia's first premium ice-cream offering. And this flavour caught my eye instantly when I first peered into the ice-cream box in their convenient stores - Honey Pistachio! You can almost taste the sweet flavours on your tongue! This was such a delicious thrill to eat in the cold weather! #4evilbeans #traevilbean #Melbourne #connoisseur #icecream
Trident Fish Bar
4 Gellibrand St
Queenscliff VIC 3225, Australia
Tel: +61 3 5258 2334
Daily: 11:30 AM - 8:30 PM
8. Try out Kangaroo Meat
Be warned, because this is probably gonna be the WEIRDEST thing you have read today.
For most of you that do not know me, I am Joey, nice to meet you!
And, as you probably know, a baby Kangaroo is called a Joey as well.
So, here's a "Joey-ception" of me (Joey) and a mini Joey:
Annnnnnnnnnnnd... here's a photo of Joey eating Joey after he had just met a Joey.
Am I considered as a carnivore now?
Kangaroo Loin with Smoked Tomato, Shallot and Mountain Pepper ($39)
I had my first Kangaroo meat at a charming little cafe at La Bimba, which was just a few minutes walk down the Apollo Bay Eco YHA Hostel. They served this kangaroo loin with Smoked Tomato, Shallot and Mountain Pepper, all of which are strong in flavour, presumably to mask the strong gamey taste of kangaroo meat. The meat was very lean, with almost no fats at all. Despite the initial heavy smoked flavours, there is still that gamey taste (which I loved) as you chew down the relatively tender meat.
Due to the gamey taste, kangaroo meat will not be everyone's taste for that reason. Also, kangaroo meat is still considered a novelty meat in Australia, alongside crocodile and emu. Most Australians still feel squeamish about eating their national animal, which is also one of the animals on their Coat of Arms:
As a self-proclaimed food adventurer who has tried various exotic food like mealworms, silkworms and live octopus, I told myself that I had to try kangaroo meat, despite how "carnivorous" I might look. If you are intrepid like the Evilbean, this is another interesting item to eat while on your travels in Melbourne.
La Bimba @ Apollo Bay
125 Great Ocean Rd,
Apollo Bay VIC 3233, Australia
Tel: +61 3 5237 7411
Daily: 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM, 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM
9. Of Banoffee Pie and Chocolate Lollipops - Sliti Chocolate
I have never heard of Banoffee Pies before this trip. It was by chance that we decided to visit this cafe at Port Fairy, and this was where I first know about the existence of this magical pie.
We were in Port Fairy on a Tuesday. By 4 PM in the late afternoon, the town was already eerily deserted. FOUR FREAKING PM and almost every shops were closed. Can you imagine the type of blissful life the residents of Port Fairy lead in here?
Thankfully, this cafe was still opened for business.
I must say that we were incredibly blessed to not only had the chance to sit in this cafe, but also had the last slice of that Banoffee Pie:
Banoffee Pie ($5)
HOLY GOD OF DESSERTS. Look at this sinful piece of pie that contains bananas, caramel, cream and toffee on those crumbled biscuits base. I AM SALIVATING JUST BY LOOKING AT THIS. How come no one is selling these slices of heaven in Singapore?!?! This was so good, I am willing to sell my soul just to have myself stuck in that infinite time loop of me having this.
If you are a dessert lover and hadn't heard of Banoffee Pies before, man, you gotta make a stop at Port Fairy and have this pretty little pie.
Hot Chocolate (Lollipop)
This chocolate lollipop is so 'instagram-worthy', it would be a shame not to order this for the sake of Instagram. Besides it being aesthetically-pleasing to your Instagram followers, it is also a pretty good cup of hot chocolate that physically pleases your shivering body in the cold winter.
So incredibly glad that we stumbled upon this gem.
Slitti Chocolate and Coffee @ Port Fairy
10 Bank St,
Port Fairy VIC 3284, Australia
Tel: +61 3 5568 3222
Opening Hours as above image.
One of the MUST-DO for myself when I travel overseas is to grocery shop at the supermarkets. I love pushing my shopping trolley aisle by aisle, looking through items (mostly food-related) neatly arranged on those shelves, all of them shouting "BUY ME, BUY ME!" as you pass by them.
It is a place where I can understand the local (eating) culture, and also a place where you experience that buzz of excitement when you find something so unique and different.
Here are some of the interesting snacks I managed to hunt down at Woolsworth:
Tobasco Chocolate (?!?!)
[Interesting Find of the Day] At the end of each day, the Evilbean shall post an interesting thing/food/snack he discovers during his Melbourne+Sydney Instagram Travelogue ! Found this rare Tabasco+Chocolate combination at their supermarket, would you dare to try this? I BOUGHT ONE TO TRY FOR BREAKFAST TOMORROW. Yeah... 🌚 #chocolatechilli #traevilbean #Melbourne
Red Rock Deli - Hunter Valley Roast Chicken, Lemon & Thyme
Smother your MIL with Chocolates
Cadbury Chocolate Bar with Vegemite
[Interesting Find of the Day] One of the iconic Australian food product is Vegemite (they spam this on almost everything they eat), which for most Singaporeans, is a very acquired taste. Well, they have now added Vegemite into CADBURY CHOCOLATE . We were surprised. It was actually pretty good! If you are an adventurous soul, try it the next time you come across this! #3point5evilbeans #traevilbean #Melbourne #vegemite
Skittles Milk Shake
Kettle - Sweet Chilli & Sour Cream Chunky
I love my chips thick and chunky. And Kettle has got the perfect texture with those thicker cuts and extra crunchiness. I bought like 5 packets of these in total!
Haribo Sweet & Sour Gummy Bears
These has gotta be the cutest and most delicious gummies EVER. These gummy bears come in a pair, hand-in-hand, with one of the bear sweet and another of the bear sour. SO ADDICTIVE OMG. Why don't they sell this version in my country WHY?
Uncle Tobys - Le Snack Crackers with Cheese Dip
Instant cheese dips? TAKE ALL MY MONEY UNCLE TOBYS!
Cadbury Special Edition Cherry Ripe Chocolate Bar
Oooohh a special edition chocolate on HALF PRICE?!
Violet Crumble Honeycomb Chocolate Bars
Okay this has gotta be one of the tastiest honeycomb chocolate bars I have ever eaten. The honeycomb was light, the chocolate was not too sweet, and the whole combination clicks better than Prince William and Kate Middleton.
This was so good, I lugged at least 10 bars of these goodies home:
"Nicely stacked in my fridge"
If you are into grocery shopping and hunting snacks, follow me on my Instagram (@Evilbean) as I would be heading to Bangkok next in November 2015!
I hope this guide has served you well in your itinerary planning of Melbourne. Remember, shops/departmental stores/shopping malls close as early as 3:00 PM in Melbourne, so it will definitely help if you start your day early to maximise your time there. 5:00 AM would be perfect. I AM NOT KIDDING, because trust me when I say you would have nothing to do by 7:00 PM, except to eat.
Even if you are not intending to travel to Melbourne anytime soon, I hope this list has provided you a glimpse of the World's Most Livable City and stirred your interest in this wonderful city. Add this guide to that 'Travel bookmark' of yours and who knows, you might need this 10 Interesting Things to Do and Eat in Melbourne list faster than you would know it.
Stay tuned to this blog for my "Interesting things to do and eat - Sydney Edition" soon!