Madelin Tomelty

For quintessential cosmopolitan Melbourne, there’s no looking past the Collins Street Precinct

For a number of years during my 20s, my girlfriends and I would spend two weekends a year in Melbourne, choosing to spend our hard-earned cash from our casual university jobs on experiencing the Victorian capital. These were always fun-filled, exciting weekends. We loved the change of scenery, we loved the novelty of the trams, we loved the change of climate, and we loved that we could experience a major Australian city that felt nothing at all like Sydney, where we lived, with only a 50-minute flight.

Those trips were of the sort you can easily imagine a group of mid-20s women taking – we stayed in Prahran, went dancing at Electric Ladyland, shopped on Chapel Street and checked out St Kilda… briefly, until we remembered no Sydneysider goes to Melbourne for the beach.

These days, my trips to Melbourne take a different tone, and a few months ago I found myself back in the city for an entirely different sort of weekender: a luxurious girls’ weekend with my mum. This time, we weren’t going to leave the CBD – more specifically, we weren’t going to leave the Collins Street precinct. We were going to walk everywhere, taking in the area’s historic architecture and visiting the precinct’s best dining, spa and retail offerings – in other words, the kind of holiday I can definitely get down with.

The Collins Street Precinct stretches from Parliament House in the east to Docklands in the west. It’s considered Melbourne’s most desirable neighbourhood and its most prestigious business address, and this is something I felt as soon as I arrived. Taking an observation-paced amble, I admired beautiful old buildings juxtaposed against a slew of shiny and new designer shops, five star hotels and the city’s famous arcades. I felt like I was in a European city… without the 30 hours of flying and the jetlag.

If that doesn’t already constitute a successful weekend away, I don’t know what does, so here’s how I recommend spending 48 hours in Melbourne’s CBD. Don’t forget your walking shoes.

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