JOIN ME IN AN INTERVIEW WITH LORELLE CATALANO FROM MELBOURNE, VICTORIA !
Lorelle is a mum of two, a passionate traveller, a local writer and a foodie enthusiast. She lives down under in beautiful Melbourne, Australia. She feels Melbourne is one of the best cities in the world. She loves its diversity, multiculturalism and the funky, fresh contemporary vibe. Her blog A Mindful Traveler is a personal memoir of her life’s magical journey. Please join her and her family on their travel adventures. Learn something along the way, maybe reminisce or simply find inspiration for your next holiday destination.
Would you advise tourists to visit Melbourne during chilly winter months?
Melbourne’s winter months of June, July and August are considered off peak. With
temperamental Melbourne weather where you can easily experience four seasons in
one day, winter can be a great option to travel to Melbourne. Not only are fares and
accommodation more affordable, Melbourne is a great city to explore despite the
weather. There are still plenty of sights to see and places to visit even in the chilly
weather. Galleries, markets, awesome hidden bars and cafes are just waiting to be
Our peak summer periods can be quite busy with most schools on holiday for six
weeks over Christmas. The Australian Open in January also draws large crowds.
What are the different modes of transport available from airport to city?
With future plans for a rail connection from the airport to the city, Melbourne’s only
mode of public transport from the airport is bus. The bus options include Skybus
(located at Terminal 4), local and regional buses. Please check the Public Transport
Victoria website for more information.
Depending on your budget and time restraints the quickest but most expensive mode to the city center would be a taxi.
Melbourne taxi fares vary according to off peak, overnight and peak periods.
The day rate (09:00 – 16:59) flag fall is $4.20 with a distance rate of $1.62 per km.
Prices will increase from periods of 17:00 – 08.59, and peak periods of 22:00 – 03:59
on Friday and Saturday. There are also additional charges of an airport rank fee of
$2.70 and an airport booking fee of $3.00.
Which is the best area to stay in Melbourne for easy access to tourist sites without putting a dent in one’s budget?
Staying anywhere within Melbourne CBD will provide easy access to sites and attractions around Melbourne with the #35 – City Circle (Free Tourist Tram).
The Crown Casino district has a plethora of shops and eateries, though the accommodation here is upmarket. Around the iconic Flinders Street Station, there are some affordable accommodation options, such as The Rendezvous Hotel and Travelodge Hotel Melbourne. Neighboring suburbs, such as the Italian district of Carlton offer great cafes and shopping with an affordable choice of alternative accommodation to the city.
Can you suggest some popular restaurants, cafes and bars in Melbourne?
If you love Asian flavours then make sure to check out Hochi Mama, a popular, trendy restaurant in one of Melbourne’s prominent laneways. Hochi Mama has a great sharing menu, with affordable prices and generous servings.
11 Liverpool St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9078 2285
Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar, right in the heart of the city, is one of Melbourne’s acknowledged family run coffee houses. Stop by here for an affordable yet traditional café and authentic Italian food.
Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar
66 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9662 1885
The Asian Beer Café, is a bustling bar located on the top level of shopping and entertainment hub, Melbourne Central. With views of the neighbouring State Library
from the balcony, this energetic bar delivers daily specials of alcoholic jugs and cocktails too.
Asian Beer Café
Level 3 Melbourne Central
211 La Trobe St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9825 8989
Which are the top 3 places in Melbourne, which tourists generally overlook but
should be visited?
Queen Victoria Market – For 140 years, the Queen Victoria Market has delivered
fresh and gourmet produce to the heart of Melbourne.
Great for souvenirs as well, delight your foodie desires here at the Queen Vic.
Despite the wait, make sure to try the hot jam doughnuts from the resident food
trucks. As all markets, hours do vary and there are special Night Market activities in
Summer. Address: Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000
ACMI Federation Square – Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) is one of
Melbourne’s hidden gems. ACMI house both temporary and permanent exhibitions,
as well as cinema screening. Experience a sensory overload with multimedia and
interactive exhibitions and shows. “Screen Worlds” is a free permanent exhibition of
film, television, video games and virtual reality throughout time. Recently we had the
pleasure to attend the world premier of the interactive Alice in Wonderland exhibition.
Address: Federation Square, Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Lygon Street, Carlton – Ciao a tutti… calling lovers of all things Italian. This iconic
shopping strip with origins from the early Italian migrants has a multitude of Italian
cafes and restaurants. Enjoy a gelato in the park, or simply people watch while
sipping your café latte from the outdoor alfresco chairs dining options. A must visit in
Lygon Street is the original award-winning Brunetti Café. Since 1985, this family run
business upholds its reputation of one of the best pasticceria’s in Melbourne.
Address: 380 Lygon St, Carlton VIC 3053
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Melbourne?
There are many day trip destinations to choose from all within an easy access from Melbourne. From the beautiful winery region of the Yarra Valley to the nature loving Phillip Island, home to our adorable fairy penguins. But for me I absolutely love visiting the historic country town of Daylesford or the gorgeous Mornington Peninsula for a day trip.
Daylesford is a mineral springs area with lots to see and do. Markets, day spas,
great cafes and restaurants, lavender farms, antique shopping and even a chocolate
factory! Daylesford is an easy hour and a half drive from Melbourne. Daylesford
Wine Tours have some great packages available.
The Mornington Peninsula is another easy destination to reach from Melbourne. In
less than an hour you can be soaking up that beach atmosphere, enjoying the local
wines and fresh produce, experiencing the invigorating hot springs, horseback riding
or swimming with the dolphins. Amongst this are the many trendy cafes and fine
dining restaurants, one of my favorites being the traditional French restaurant, Le
Bouchon in Balnarring. Melbourne Boutique Tours provide tours to the Mornington Peninsula and other popular Melbourne attractions.
Do you recommend any walking tours or travel photography tours to the visitors?
Free Walking Tours Melbourne
Address: 328 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 0405 515 654
Melbourne Street Art Tours
Address: The District Docklands, 20 Wharf St, Docklands VIC 3008
Phone: (03) 9328 5556
Which shows do you recommend to music, dance and drama lovers visiting Melbourne?
Melbourne is quite spoilt for choice when it comes to entertainment. We host many local and international artists which play at Rod Laver Arena (where the tennis is held every January for the Australian Open) and Marvel Stadium (another super stadium used for events and our much-loved local sport Aussie Rules, football). Theatre and musical lovers can appreciate Broadway shows at the glamorous Regent Theatre, the historic Her Majesty’s Theatre or the gorgeous Princess Theatre. In addition to these are many other venues, such as the Comedy Theatre, State Theatre and the Forum Theatre just to name a few. With many festivals and performances available there is always a show to catch in Melbourne.
Which is the best place to visit in Melbourne for art lovers?
For art lovers, the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) is the place to visit. Other than
the main feature exhibit, entry to the Gallery is free. The NGV house some beautiful
pieces of Indigenous art by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. There are
concerts in the gardens over summer and separate areas and activities for children.
The innovative Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square is another place to spark that
inner artist within. Divided by the famous Yarra River, they are within close walking
distance from one another.
Alternatively, you can always wander the streets of the city and stumble across those hidden laneways and arcades which showcase some of the finest street art in the world. These unique expressions of art portray important messages through their vibrant colour and design. Learn about the artists and techniques used in the
Melbourne Street Art Tours.
Which is the favorite sport of Melbourne?
AFL (Australian Football League) is Melbourne’s favorite sport. For more than a
century and a half, Aussie Rules Football has been adored and fans are quite
passionate about their teams, supporting the 18 clubs intensely at the multiple
stadiums across the city.
Melbourne is also home to the biggest stadium in Australia and the Southern
Hemisphere. The MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) with over 100 thousand seats
hosts the football, cricket in the summer months, and concerts. The “G” as
Melbournian’s call it, is also the home to the National Sports Museum.
Where to get the best exchange rates in Melbourne?
Most banks and agency rates will be on par with one another. When we travel, I personally use Travelex. There are offices in the city as well as surrounding suburbs. https://www.travelex.com.au/
How safe is Melbourne? What time does the city sleeps?
Generally speaking, Melbourne is a safe city to visit. Like any other city, you should
take caution when travelling and pay attention to pickpockets, especially around the
The city is lively midweek and even more energetic on Friday or Saturday nights.
Late night shopping is only available Thursdays and Fridays till 9pm.
Do you want to give any helpful tip to the visitors coming to Melbourne?
Like visiting any new city, make sure you have done your research in relation to the
important topics as weather, local transport, customs, currency etc. You will find
Melbourne an accessible city with easy WIFI spots, and most eateries catering for
vegan, vegetarians and allergy sufferers.
Melbourne is renowned for brunch with the majority of cafes serving an all-day
breakfast menu. Make sure to enjoy your brunch with that all-important cup of coffee,
a daily ritual for most Melbournians.
Also, if time allows, make sure to take a day trip to one of the many interesting and
unique neighboring regions. With picturesque coastlines and awe inspiring in
country, there is so much more to explore within Melbourne than just it’s vibrant city.
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It certainly sounds like a great place to live. So much on offer, and still you have your own neighbourhood and a quiet life if you want it. 🙂 🙂
Wonderful showcase of my home city by Lorelle. Melbourne has so much to offer in every season and it’s covered comprehensively here.
Lorelle is a wonderful blogger! I’ve been following her posts for quite some time. Great showcase of Melbourne. 🙂 Thank you. Debbie