Taking a trip down Melbourne lanes

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By Kylie Mitchell-Smith

Melbourne has endured the longest consecutive lockdown across the globe, with a total of 52 weeks its basically lost a whole year of life.

We venture south to welcome back and show our support to the city renowned for culture, this time we explore a new gentrified end of town.

Spencer St adjacent to one of the city’s major train stations, has reinvented itself as a destination and with new hotel and restaurants opening it’s quickly becoming the place to stay, play and eat.

Ideally located next to the Docklands precinct, Marvel Stadium and Southbank, Spencer Street is the perfect place to base yourself for a weekend of wandering the hidden bars and laneways of Melbourne.

Classic hotels such as The Savoy have adorned this end of town for some time, but with contemporary new kids on the block like the W Hotel, Ink Hotel and the recently opened Movenpick (chocolate) Hotel the region is a hive of activity.

We choose to stay at the Movenpick Hotel opposite Spencer Street Station, the mere mention of a chocolate happy hour and we’re hooked. The hotel is tastefully decorated with soft mint hues, symmetrical black and white walls, parquetry floors, high ceilings and decadent furnishings.

There’s an inside, outside pool that draws inspiration from the laneway buildings and trams below that scoot past dinging their iconic bells. The rooms are bright and spacious with impeccable touches throughout. An affordable option, Movenpick suits the whole family and with a complimentary chocolate hour daily, we find it hard to leave the lobby bar.

Alas Melbourne is all about exploring the plethora of shops, bars, and restaurants. A short stroll across the bridge to Southbank we dine at the world renowned Nobu Japanese eatery, located riverside in the Crown Casino complex. Captivated by dishes like Black Cod Miso and Lobster Tempura with Tamari Honey, the menu is threaded with fresh, regional flavours.

We wander back across the river on the recently opened pedestrian bridge that connects South Bank to the CBD, complete with festoon lighting and illuminated sculptures- city life is back.

We catch Patricia Piccinini’s exhibition that has tastefully popped up in the stunning disused ballroom located above Flinders Street station. In typical Melbourne style the derelict building compliments the ethereal, life size artworks that Melbourne based Piccinini is revered for.

Time for a nightcap, the balmy summer weather leads us down Hosier Lane, widely known as Graffiti Lane, where we spot a Banksy along the way.

The Spanish Tapas bar Movida and Movida Next Door are hidden amongst the graffiti, step inside and there’s a hive of activity that goes well into the night. The colourful venues offer an array of authentic tapas to complement the extensive European wine list.

Waking up at Movenpick to an Asian inspired breakfast by Borneo Chef Esca Khoo, we devour our fresh nasi goreng and take a tram to Richmond to scour the array of factory outlets the suburb is known for.

A visit to Melbourne town is not complete without a mid-morning espresso and pastry at the iconic Pelligrinis Espresso Bar. There has always been a European flavour to this city, inspired by the early Italian migration, from fashion designers to shoe shiners to pasta makers.

A weekender well spent in Melbourne and it’s time to head to the airport, but there’s one more stop on our 48-hour itinerary and its conveniently located adjacent to the airport. Urban Surf has taken up residency at Tullamarine and is one of Australia’s first human made wave parks.

We watch endless waves and impressive barrels from the finest seat in the house, Three Blue Ducks (hailing from Bronte and Byron Bay.) The Ducks have popped up beachside with their signature regional flavours, craft beers and natural wines.

Melbourne, the city where sport and art go seamlessly together, has a lot to offer from new precincts popping up to old favourites opening back up.

Follow Kylie on her blog – Travellingsenorita.com.au

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