If you’re jumping the ditch to Melbourne any time soon, here are five things to do – besides shopping and taking in iconic sporting fixtures.
Melbourne's best laneway bars
No visit to Melbourne should be completed without a refresher at one of the city's hidden laneway bars. But knowing which ones to imbibe at can be tricky. Try Eau de Vie, a small jazz-infused speakeasy at 1 Malthouse Lane, or Ferdydurke above Section 8 and known for its cocktail list, live music and Vietnamese food at 1 and 2, 239 Lonsdale Street.
Melbourne's funky seaside suburb used to be just for those with a penchant for the eclectic. But today its art scene is the place to be seen. Any time of the year events are on from music festivals to film festivals, farmers markets, craft markets, museums and the 100-year old Luna Park. But when the sun is smiling head to Ben and Jerry's new outdoor cinema, hire a bean bag and enjoy a picnic and a movie under the stars.
Blowing Melbourne's best kept secret out in the open, if you're looking for a great place with a vibe, head to the quaintly named Gertrude Street. This Fitzroy Street used to be a place to avoid and Brunswick was where you'd want to be seen sipping a flat white. But since 2009 the cool cats head to Gertrude - the new home of groovy cafes, fashion outlets, tapas bars, restaurants, galleries, art supplies and book stores.
See a show
Melbourne is home to several theatres ranging from classical Broadway to comedy and art house experimental productions. Head to the magnificent Princess Theatre to see the Jersey Boys back by popular demand from January 10, or see Legally Blonde the Musical which will open in May 2013. King Kong the Musical opens at The Regent Theatre in June and Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones will be performing a five-week season of Driving Miss Daisy at the Comedy Theatre in April.
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Hot air ballooning
There are few cities in the world that you can quietly float over in a hot air balloon, but Melbourne is one of them. Set your alarm for a pre-sunrise wake up call to soar high above the sleeping city as the sun comes up, then land an hour later for a champagne breakfast at the Hilton on the Park and a memory card full of amazing photos.