Melbourne is the cultural heart of Australia. And for a country with not much history to speak of (compared with Europe), that makes it without a doubt the most interesting city in Australia to visit. It also means it’s crawling with hipsters.
You have to love them or hate them, hipsters.
And I have to admit, I kind of love them.
Ironic hats and all.
|One of the most hipster moments of my life – with Ally and Adam in New Zealand|
We had the pleasure of being hosted in Melbourne by Ally, the green-voting Damien Rice-loving vegetarian who I instantly fell in friendlove with on the Busabout Ottoman Trek. She hates the term hipster, but she fits it so effortlessly it’s like it was created for her (minus the snobby side). She has flawless taste in music and second-hand clothing, and her Grandma is one of her best friends. Plus, she moonlights as one of those unpaid tour leaders showing travelling bohemians all the coolest places in her hometown.
So, who better to show us the indie side of Melbourne? This is the top five – so you can retrace our doc marten footsteps:
1. Drink mulled wine at Section 8
A shipping container on Tattersalls Lane where you can drink mulled wine surrounded by lanterns. What could be more Melbourne?
2. Find a killer piece of street art down a nondescript alleyway
Melbourne wants to be a street art capital. And it’s starting to pull it off. Don’t be content just walking down the tourist-friendly graffiti alleyways near Flinders Street station (cool though they are), walk a bit further afield and you’ll be amazed at the scale and beauty of some of the imaginative designs. If you’re the planning type, there are websites where you can work out where the best pieces are. But I’m not going to link to them because a true hipster would befriend a local to find the best street art. Or better still – follow a stray cat and get lost.
3. Go meatless at Lord of the Fries
Ok so, full disclosure, Lord of the Fries is a deep-fried Melbourne institution, with its main location at the bottom of Elizabeth Street. It isn’t nearly underground or hidden enough to be considered indie. But what puts Lord of the Fries on this list is that everything is vegetarian. From the gravy on the (delicious) Canadian fries, to the hamburger patties to the hot dogs. On Friday nights, the drunk hipsters flock.
4. Visit the Heide
Melbourne is spoiled for choice when it comes to art galleries. Ally’s pick of the bunch is the Heide Museum of Modern Art. 20 minutes from the CBD, with gorgeous grounds and well curated exhibitions featuring a wide range of Australian artists, this was a great place to spend an afternoon.
5. Pay what you want at Lentil as Anything
Abbotsford Convent is an unusually menacing building for a young city like Melbourne. It’s instantly fascinating. Enter the grounds and it just gets better. Lentil as Anything, one of a few resident restaurants, is one of those bohemian restaurants everyone’s heard of but few have tried. There’s an absolutely delicious vegetarian buffet, and payment is by donation. It’s a woefully unprofitable business model, but one which makes Lentil as Anything a delightful place to visit. Almost a sanctuary from the consumerism-fueled rat race outside. Of all Ally’s amazing indie recommendations in Melbourne, this was comfortably my favourite.
|When your pose is way too dramatic to look hipster suave, fake it with a black and white filter
(Ally and I mucking around on the grounds of the Abbotsford convent)