Dubbed Australia’s most stylish city, Melbourne is known to lure interstate visitors with its hip laneway bars, trendy shopping hubs and state-of-the-art sporting stadiums. But for those wanting to escape the high rises and experience the city’s famed diversity, a little trip to sea-side St Kilda will be worth your while.
Stroll the fashionable streets, get your thrills on a roller coaster with a view of the sea, dine at a hated restaurant, and throw back some cold ales before watching a show - all within walking distance of your hotel.
Kick things off by checking-in to The Prince on Acland Street. This boutique hotel behind the Prince of Wales combines a classic art deco exterior with 40 stylishly designed studio apartments. The mix of artwork, textural rugs and light-filled rooms creates a warmth that contrasts beautifully with the restrained vibe of the hotel. The Prince drips with style and is a relaxing base to explore the St Kilda’s surrounds.
Take a moment to freshen up and then head next door for breakfast or lunch at Il Fornaio. This café-cum-bakery is stripped back and casual but they brew up a mean cup of coffee alongside heavenly pastries. The service is top-grade so it’s no surprise the joint is popular with trendy types and tables fill up quickly.
From there it’s a short walk down the Esplanade to the iconic laughing face of Luna Park. Opening in 1912, Luna Park is the oldest, still operational amusement park in the world and one of Melbourne’s top attractions.
The park overlooks Port Phillip Bay and combines retro rides such as the famous rickety old wooden roller coaster Great Scenic Railway with new attractions such as the aptly named Coney Island Top Drop. Don’t be surprised if you lose a few hours at Luna Park ride-hopping as you work up an appetite for dinner.
There are plenty of dining options in St Kilda, but The Newmarket Hotel is definitely the current hot ticket. A public house offering a range of interesting beers, wines and cocktails with a South American inspired menu - think soft shell crab tacos and barbecue meats with chimichurri sauce and you’ll be right to start licking your lips. Settle in for the night or grab a quick bite before heading out.
Once you’ve had your fill migrate to the Moorish-themed The Palais Theatre. Located on the foreshore, this former cinema converted to Australia’s largest theatre and hosts almost 3,000 seats. Showcasing an eclectic array of entertainment from film and comedy to rock and ballet, The Palais is a cultural experience both inside and out.
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