How does the perfect day in Australia’s buzzing city of Melbourne begin?
It starts huddled around a table in Manchester Press. A Melbourne coffee institution hidden down Rankins Lane where a latte, flat white or expresso is made with the same level of care as open heart surgery.
It’s here that STA’s two Insiders and two Outsiders meet for the first time.
Their hosts? Our Insiders, musician Clare Younis who grew up on the Great Ocean Road and now lives in the funky Melbourne precinct of Fitzroy, and videographer and weekend adventurer Andrew Northover from of Victoria’s Gippsland region.
Clare and Andrew will be taking the Outsiders on a behind-the-scenes tour of Melbourne and the state of Victoria over the next week.
After a compulsory two rounds of coffee, it’s time to get lost in Melbourne’s incredible labyrinth of laneways with Melbourne Street Art Tours.
Melbourne is regarded as one of the most prominent street art scenes in the world and it’s the city’s urban landscape that harvested the culture. You see, according to guide Chris, Melbourne’s hidden lanes and alleyways (of which there are more than 200) provide the idea canvas – they’re hidden enough for discreet painting but also right in the city centre.
Chris took the group through laneway after laneway to showcase the intense variety of work on Melbourne’s urban landscape, from fraying paste-ups that have evolved with the weather, to stencil works, sculptural installations and traditional spray painting.
Outsider Adam’s first impression: “Melbourne is a very diverse city. I like the back streets, you experience so much more of Melbourne’s culture in the laneways and alleys. I really like the fact that street art is embraced here. In most city’s it’s illegal, in Melbourne artists are free to express themselves on the city’s canvas of walls, footbaths and more. My favourite Melbourne street artist was Mimby Jones Robinson – she uses such vibrant colours, really striking pieces.”
Over lunch, the group had a chance to experience some of Melbourne’s seriously amazing food and unique architecture at the same time at Krimper Café. Located in Guildford Lane and owned by Melbourne architect Mun Soon, the café was converted from a 100-year-old furniture factory to a modern café through clever design that tells the history of the converted warehouse.
Mun Soon told the group about his love for the city’s architecture: “Because Melbourne is a relatively new country, we have relatively liberal thinking in our design. One of the most unique things about Melbourne is that people make things of all spaces, but also pay homage to the history of each space. Here at Krimper, all timber used for tables is from the original building.”
This was Outsider Hanne’s favourite part of the day: “Melbourne’s food has been amazing. But I really like the city’s architecture with its contrast of old buildings and new side by side, it’s really interesting.“
Insider Clare led the group to Federation Square, riding the city’s free trams and checking out the stunning State Library of Victoria on the way – the perfect place for people watching according to Clare and home to Ned Kelly’s armour (Ned Kelly was Australia’s most famous criminal). After visiting the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) it was time to get down onto the Yarra River banks and watch the sunset on the grass at Birrarung Marr, an inner city park.
“My favourite part of the day was just after shooting sunset and sitting in the grass around Birrarung Marr chatting with Hannes and Adam,” said Insider Andrew. “It’s been amazing hanging out with two professionals of the industry.”
And the perfect day deserves the perfect end – ice-cold beers and burgers on a warm summer evening at Rooftop Bar. Sitting on the seventh floor of creative Curtin House Rooftop Bar has incredible views over Melbourne and a pumping atmosphere to match.
“What a fantastic day,” said Insider Claire. “It’s been amazing meeting the group and taking them through my city. As an artist, I loved the street art tour and sharing our unique artistic culture with Adam and Hannes. I can’t wait to show them Fitzroy tomorrow, which is where I live. This is going to be an incredible trip.”
Next stop Fitzroy: Day two: Is Fitzroy Australia’s funkiest town?