If you’ve never had a girls’ weekend in Melbourne, are you even an Aussie girl? No matter where you’re from, a short break with your girlfriends is a great way to experience all this city has to offer while spending some quality time together. It’s the perfect plan for your hen weekend, a major birthday or just a much-needed kids-free girls’ trip.
When you’re on a short break it’s important to plan your activities, so you don’t waste precious minutes of your weekend by faffing about deciding what to do. So read on for ideas, book your Melbourne hotel and then get planning!
#1 Brunch like a badass
The Journeyman café on iconic Chapel Street is a hipster and somewhat healthy way to get your avocado toast fix in trendy warehouse-like surroundings; the food, atmosphere and attentive service are worth the wait, but if the queues get too much for you, just head back down C-Street towards Prahran to enjoy brunch paleo-style at Palate. For a far more indulgent (read: calorific) option, in a convenient location for a day’s shopping (see below), try Chocolait in the Emporium. Or if you’re really in the mood to celebrate, push the boat out with a Champagne brunch at the Conservatory breakfast brasserie, level 1 Crown Towers, for an unforgettable Sunday morning.
#2 Shop til you drop
As mentioned above, the Emporium is a high-end mall where you’ll find the big names of Australian and international fashion: a great place to browse, window-shop and people-watch even if you don’t end up coming away with arms full of bags.
But to get the true Melbourne shopping experience you’ll want to get out of the malls: this city is awash with designers, small boutiques and adorable arcades, so head to Degraves Street to hunt for unusual finds and unique gifts.
Other places to check out include the Bourke Street Market, Crown, Chadstone and the Queen Victoria Market.
#3 High tea
Fancy a sophisticated break from all that retail therapy? Practise sticking out your little finger when you hold your teacup, because Melbourne features ample opportunities for you and your girls to experience tea, finger food and gossip (gossip not provided). The Hopetoun Tea Rooms are the stuff of legend, but if you prefer your high tea with booze (and who could blame you?) then head for a glass of rosé at vintage-inspired Madame Brussels on Bourke Street, which is both perfectly located for a shopping break and one of Melbourne’s many hot rooftop spots.
#4 Raise the roof(top bar)
Between a hard day’s shopping, eating and a night of dinner and dancing, what better way for you and your squad to watch the sun go down than looking out over the city with a drink in hand? If you like your drinks with a view and a relaxed rooftop vibe, Melbourne has plenty of choice. Check out Curtin House’s rooftop bar for rooftop movies during the summer and views, booze and burgers all year round. (If you and your girls fancy an off-season chick flick, try Village Gold Class at Crown.) Give Goldilocks on Swanston Street a try, too – it’s a fairytale-inspired way to get your drink on in magical surroundings. Meanwhile, the Lui Bar is the very highest in the city and serves espresso martinis to dream of.
#5 Corking cocktails
Want to carry on drinking? That’s the spirit – after all, no unforgettable story starts with someone eating a salad. Check out the cocktail menu – or just share a bottle of champagne – at Yuki’s Snack Bar. Make some new friends at the long, communal bar at Left Bank. Fall From Grace is a fun experience too – it’s one of a few hidden bars in Melbourne, accessible through a secret door!
#6 Fab food
Melbourne has some fantastic eateries: whatever your taste, budget and favourite cuisine, you and your girlfriends will experience a dinner in this city that you’ll never forget! Unmissable meals include the lobster brioche buns at Supernormal, beef rendang at Hawker Hall, a parma at Cotta, South Asian food at Masala Grill, and just about anything at Rockpool if you’re lucky enough to be able to get a table.
I don’t know about you, but there comes a moment during every big weekend in the city when I hit the wall. I can drink no more champagne or cocktails; I can eat no more cheese; I just need a quiet half hour to recharge. If that happens to you on your weekend in Melbourne, what you need is coffee – and you’re in luck. You can sip flat whites to your heart’s content in Brother Baba Budan or any one of a number of coffee joints – but take it up a notch by booking on to one of the handful of different coffee-themed tours the city has to offer.
#8 This is spa-time
No girls’ weekend is complete without a spa, let’s face it – and here, as ever, Melbourne comes through. There’s something to suit just about every price range but don’t rule out the posher venues even if you’re on a budget – Groupon is your friend. Check out Daylesford for a day spa or Spring Beauty & Therapy for a shorter sesh.
#9 You are the dancing queen
When it comes to dancing the night away, your options really depend what you’re into. The Elephant & Wheelbarrow, a pub in central Melbourne, is a great no-fuss night out with live music; but whether it’s a bar, nightclub or, er, converted motorcycle workshop, you’ll find the right combination of drinks and tunes for you and your pals to let your hair down.
#10 Mix it up
In conclusion, Melbourne has everything you need for a standard weekend with the girls – right? Well, if you’d prefer something a little more unexpected, take your pick. Head to Phillip Island to hang out with fairy penguins. Take in a millinery workshop. Book a hot air balloon ride. Just about anything is possible – but whatever you choose, you’re in for a weekend you’ll never forget.