A Week In Melbourne

I had been hoping to visit Melbourne for ages. One reason for the desire must be stemmed from the fact that in Singapore, especially if you’re in the creative or fashion industry, you inevitably have at least 5 or even 10 friends who once studied in Melbourne before (read: RMIT). Everyone who’s been to Melbourne praises the city in the same way, it’s bustling, vibrant mix of culture and the music scene there is amazing, just think of all the small/big festivals. Basically if you are a lover of good coffee, good food, good bars, good vintage shopping and good weather, it’s The Place to be at.

The city of Melbourne is on the South-East side of Australia, about 8 hours flight from Singapore. The seasons are completely opposite from most parts of the world, Spring and Summer are around September till March each year.

I visited the city during the recent holiday season for about a week, staying at Phillip Island (a small town with nice beaches down south) and then the CBD and St Kilda. The entire city has so much to explore and so much to offer, basically one week is not enough. You need to comb the lanes, poke your head into every hidden shop or corner and go around and follow where the crowd is. One recommendation I had from a friend “in melbourne, just follow the music”.

Coming from fast paced and high density cities like Singapore and Hong Kong, Australia is a change in landscape. The people are extremely laid-back and open with everything. Most interesting part is I actually speak too fast and do things too fast there. In Australia, it’s better to take things easy and slow.

For shopping-wise, I love the small homegrown independent labels like Nique, Plane, Zoologie!, Vanishing Elephant, Bul and multi-label shops like Incu, Someday, Design A Space, Pet Shop Girls and FAT. The locals are actually very supportive of the independent labels, so much that most of the designers don’t need to expand overseas. For vintage shopping, I combed through Smith Street and Chapel street for much of it, loads and loads of markets and stores there selling antiques and second hand items. I also love the DFO (outlet mall below the Hilton Hotel at South Wharf) and GPO at Swanston Street which houses some good brands like Gorman and Willow, and also Acne if you wanna check that out too.

Curtin House at Swanston Street is another must-go, 6 levels of bar, bookstores, shopping and the famous rooftop cinema which plays old and new films everyday. For bazaars and markets, check out the People’s Market at Stanley Street, Camberwell Sunday Market (note: it closes early at noon) and the family-friendly one at Abbotsford Convent.

Getting around Melbourne is pretty easy with a Myki card and all the trams. I am one of those typical tourist who enjoyed walking everywhere anywhere though. Coffee in Melbourne is too good, even a random coffee place or coffee truck can offer some top notch quality brew.

Enjoy my photos from the trip here: