Take a sip of integral Melbourne history in Lygon Street, Carlton, the birthplace of the city’s famous café culture.
The arrival of Melbourne’s first espresso machine at one of Lygon Street’s Italian-owned cafés in the 1950s was a defining moment. These days ‘Little Italy’ is crammed with double-storey Victorian terraces featuring endless cafes and restaurants serving steaming bowls of pasta, espresso and delicious gelati. Old favourites like Tiamo and University Café are as warm and welcoming as they are traditionally tasty.
Further down Lygon Street you’ll find bookshops, galleries and plenty of shops selling the latest European and Australian fashions. The crowd here is mixed, from students at nearby Melbourne University to the literary set buying up big at Readings bookstore and older Italian men just watching the world go by.
For a taste of Melbourne’s history, take a walk through Carlton Gardens and the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building and on into the Melbourne Museum, which houses everything from dinosaur bones and Melbourne Cup hero Phar Lap to artefacts from Victoria’s Aboriginal past. It also features touring exhibitions and the spectacular IMAX movie experience. Further on is the Melbourne Zoo with its Butterfly House and Asian village.
Take some time to explore the Melbourne General Cemetery, final resting place of some larger than life Australians including Burke and Wills, Eureka Stockade activist Peter Lalor and one-time Prime Minister Robert Menzies.
Head to Carlton on tram numbers 1 or 22 heading north from Swanston Street.