Although the historic heart of Melbourne is north of the Yarra River, there is still much to discover on the south side of Melbourne. There are plenty of quaint, boutique hotels to discover; even if you are not staying there, they often have exceptional restaurants that offer the best of Australian produce from the local area.
A prime example is Coppersmith Hotel in the area. They offered one of the most pillowy scallops I've had in recent memory and like most of Melbourne, extremely vegetarian-friendly with an exciting vegetarian Scotch egg that uses quail eggs, mushroom duxelle, charred asparagus, and pesto.
A short walk away is the world famous South Melbourne Market, Victoria's equivalent of London's Borough Market. Oysters, donuts, French pastries are all in abundance here to ensure there is something for everyone. They also have stalls that focus on health, beauty, home, and living.
Their restaurants have an eclectic mix of cuisines and we found Köy to be particularly enjoyable with their home-style cooking which was gleaned from their mother. Make sure to order their gozleme and enjoy the market life strolling by.
Many people have said there is no such thing as a bad coffee shop in Melbourne and in South Melbourne they have some of the very best including the likes of ST. ALi and Clement. However, just be prepared to answer plenty of questions before your coffee is served as they like to create your ideal coffee preference with military precision.
Melburnians do love the great outdoors and there is plenty of that in South Melbourne with Albert Park dominating a large swathe of the area with dog walking, jogging, cycling, sailing, and rowing being all popular activities.
There is also the Melbourne sports and aquatic centre, where you can enjoy a whole range of sporting activities from swimming to basketball to badminton. And let's not forget, if you visit in March, the whole area is transformed for the Australian Formula 1™ Grand Prix.
Close by, you can explore the ornate Victorian shopfronts on Bridport Street and Victoria Avenue with their selection of independent shops and you have one of the best bookstores in the city in the form of Avenue bookstore. You can shop for independent produce, watch art-house performances and outdoor cinema in the summer at Gasworks.
The Royal Botanic Gardens
Although not strictly in the South Melbourne district, still south of the Yarra, the Royal Botanic Gardens offers some of the most splendid floral arrangements you will see anywhere in the world.
It extends across 36 hectares and you can breathe in some of the freshest air in the city here and they play a vital role in maintaining biodiversity and conservation of important flora. They often have guided walks such as Aboriginal heritage walks and also festivals and exhibitions that are suitable for all ages.
On the other end of the spectrum and situated on the south bank of the Yarra river is Crown Melbourne, which is a casino and resort complex that offers more than just a place for hotel guests to stay and people who like to have a flutter.
There is a myriad of restaurants that cater for all tastes and budgets from casual to premium restaurants like Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. They often host the best live concerts and theatres in the southern hemisphere.
Even if you don't want to splash out your Australian dollars here, just strolling along the south bank is one of the most relaxing experiences you will encounter in this wonderful city.
Next time you visit this ultra-hip city, make sure you plan to take a wander south of the Yarra river.
This guest post was written by Baldwin Ho.