The Perfect Girls' Weekend in Melbourne
For a girls weekend away that starts and ends on a high, Melbourne has it all: from hot air ballooning, 55th floor dining and rooftop cocktails, to high tea and luxury spas.
A hot air balloon ride at dawn is arguably the best way to start any weekend, let alone a weekend away with a group of besties. The city looks serene from so high above, and the good times start to roll before the sun has even come up. Global Ballooning concludes the morning’s adventure with a champagne breakfast at Pullman on the Park, to ensure the high keeps on going once back on solid ground.
Breakfast finishes just as the city’s boutiques are opening their doors, so the next stop is Melbourne’s laneways. Here, shoppers will find a range of designer boutiques, many born in Melbourne. Limedrop, Leonard St, Life with Bird, Nevenka and Alpha 60 are all within a stone’s throw of each other on (and off) Flinders Lane. Nearby, Design a Space showcases the best of the city’s emerging talent, while accessories fiends will find new treasures at Christine. High fashion from international designers is on offer at Marais and Assin or for a more local edit, Green with Envy is an excellent option. Those in search of a real wow-factor can head to Madame Virtue at Crossley Street, where exclusive pieces are just the beginning.
The spree continues at shopping mecca Emporium Melbourne, home to the largest number of Australian labels under one roof. Just across the footbridge, Melbourne Central has recently welcomed 22 new stores including Melbourne’s own búl and will open 11 more in time for Christmas.
Because shopping is thirsty work, a (high) tea break around now will be much-needed. Conveniently located within Emporium, The Tea Salon serves a selection of tea, scones and delicacies, and for those still lost among the laneways, the old world charm of Hopetoun Tea Rooms in one of Melbourne’s famous historic arcades will certainly satisfy. Traditionalists will enjoy the opulent selection on offer at Hotel Windsor, and for tea with a twist, Madame Brussels offers Prosecco or Pimms in a vintage inspired rooftop garden.
After a non-stop morning, the afternoon will no doubt call for a rest, and there is no better way to rejuvenate than at one of the city’s award winning spas. The ever-elegant Miss Fox is renowned for its elevated level of luxury and is complete with its own champagne and martini bar. ISIKA Day Spa is a peaceful, private retreat at Crown Metropol, and nearby at Crown Towers’, Crown Spa is a haven for pampering and relaxation. Just outside the city, Body Freedom is housed in an 1850’s refurbished hosiery mill in South Melbourne and further south, Aurora is the go-to spa in St Kilda’s Prince Hotel.
Pre dinner drinks can be enjoyed at one of a number of rooftop bars, such as Rooftop, Goldilocks or Siglo, then hungry tummies can seek satisfaction at any number of city restaurants. Some of the best options include Andrew McConnell’s Asian-inspired Supernormal, the city’s new favourite Italian Tipo 00, the tucked-away Japanese Kappo, ever-popular Chin Chin, modern Indian at Tonka, the much-loved Chinese restaurant Lee Ho Fook and the city’s newest steak house Entrecote. Or for something out of the ordinary, girls can indulge in a cocktail degustation at Eau de Vie or enjoy a cooking class with Melbourne Food Experiences. The night continues with drinks at Boilermaker House, Union Electric, Magic Mountain Saloon and Bond Melbourne.
Finally, it’s time to hit the hay, and there is many a-comfortable bed in Melbourne. Ovolo Laneways‘ Penthouse Suite is a (dream) home away that sleeps four people, with two bathrooms and an outdoor terrace with spa and city views. Girls can make their fairytale dream come true with a night at The Hotel Windsor‘s Royal Suite. Designed in keeping with Victorian grandeur and elegance, it houses a dining room, drawing room, guest powder room, master bedroom and marble bathroom with a deep clawfoot bath. Art aficionados can choose from one of the city’s fourArt Series Hotels, and girls with an adventurous spirit can sleep beneath the stars glamping style, at St Jeromes – The Hotel.
Sunday morning calls for the best coffee in town, and visitors are spoilt for choice with the likes of Brother Baba Budan, Dukes Coffee Roasters and The Little Mule. For a helping hand, girls can learn all about the caffeine scene with Melbourne Coffee Tours, Hidden Secrets’ Cafe Culture Tour or Walk Melbourne’s Coffee Lover’s Walk.
The daytime dining scene is also huge in Melbourne and there are plenty of spots for a Sunday brunch. In the city, Cumulus Inc offers a selection of tasty options, while on the city’s outskirts, Top Paddock, Proud Mary, Kettle Black and Auction Rooms are sterling choices.
Fitzory’s Rose Street Market is a must when visiting on the weekend, and girls will find arts and crafts of all descriptions here. Around the corner, Brunswick Street is home to a selection of boutiques and cafes, and nearby Smith Street and Gertrude Street serve up yet more tantalising options for shopping, drinking and dining. Melbourne designers, Megan Park and Obus are must-visits, as is Lupa, where everything is made in Melbourne.
Girls can cheers to a good weekend at any one of a number of bars in the area include award winning The Everleigh with its 1920s prohibition vibe, Fitzroy favourite Black Pearl, Bad Frankie’s that showcases local spirits, and possibly the city’s best rooftop bar Naked in The Sky.
Not only does a good girl’s weekend start on a high, it needs to end on one too, and it doesn’t get much higher than the 55th floor at the Rialto Building, where Shannon Bennett’s Vue de Monde degustation menu offers a wow factor to rival the view. To savour the experience, ladies can arrive early for a thirst quencher at the adjacent Lui Bar.
'Girls' Weekend' thanks to our friends at Visit Victoria.