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So you have just touched down in Melbourne or Sydney, now what? This is your guide to the places you should be making a beeline for after arriving in these cities. From the best coffee shops, attractions, shopping precincts, art galleries and beaches, this list will help you decide which city to visit first.
Melbourne: Any caffeine drinking Australian will tell you that Melbourne baristas are the best in the business, and although there are hundreds of cafés serving quality coffee, one of the most popular is Market Lane in South Yarra, which has been brewing seasonal, single origin coffee since 2009.
Sydney: From the guys who brought you Coffee Alchemy comes an inner-city café located in the Strand Arcade. Gumption serves single origin coffee and lattes, and you can even take a bag of beans home.
Melbourne: With views of the Yarra River, Southgate is Melbourne’s restaurant, shopping, and entertainment precinct. Home to some of the best restaurants and hotels in the city, as well as Crown Casino and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Southgate is a bustling area both during the day and at night.
Sydney: On the western outskirts of Sydney lies the city’s most popular entertainment precinct, Darling Harbour, which features Sydney’s Entertainment Centre, the Australian National Maritime Museum, Star Casino, Sydney Aquarium as well as a number of other attractions, restaurants and hotels.
Melbourne: Located adjacent to one another, Flinders Street Station and Swanston Street Federation Square offer contrasting views of Melbourne. Flinders Street Station is of French Renaissance style, while across Swanston Street Federation Square is a 21st-century example of deconstructivist design.
Sydney: Two of the most iconic structures in the world are situated in Sydney and are must-sees for anyone visiting the city. The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House are both set on the picturesque harbour and together provide one of the most architecturally beautiful views in Australia.
Melbourne: Take a step back in time inside the oldest surviving arcade in Australia, Royal Arcade, and discover unique shops and cafés. Located nearby is the heritage Block Arcade featuring Hopetoun Tea Rooms and Melbourne’s Golden Mile heritage walk.
Sydney: Housing designer labels including Alex Perry and Manning Cartel, the restored Victorian-style Strand Arcade is located at Pitt Street Mall and George Street. Also located on George Street is the Queen Victoria Building, featuring underground arcades, a mechanical Royal Clock, and four shopping floors.
Melbourne: When it opened in 2006, Eureka Tower was the tallest residential building in the world; however, you don’t have to live there to enjoy the views. Skydeck on the 88th floor offers 360-degree views, and brave visitors can step out into a glass cube known as The Edge, which suspends you 300 metres above the ground.
Sydney: The tallest structure in Sydney is the 309-metre Sydney Tower, which opened in 1981. Accessible through Pitt Street Mall, visitors can take the elevator up to the observation deck known as the Sydney Tower Eye and enjoy the 360-degree view of the city.
Sydney Tower Eye, 100 Market St, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, +61 1800 258 693
Melbourne: Take the tram six kilometres south-east of Melbourne to St Kilda and take a stroll down the 700-metre shoreline and watch as cruise ships, including the Spirit of Tasmania, sail in and out. Watersports including windsurfing, jetskiing and sailing are popular here.
Sydney: Just seven kilometres east of Sydney, Bondi Beach attracts tens of thousands of people each year. The scenic one kilometre stretch of sand has featured on television shows including Bondi Rescue, Bondi Vet and Modern Family.
Melbourne: Established in 1861, the National Gallery of Victoria is home to 73,000 works of art including Tom Roberts‘ Shearing the Rams, as well as work from Cézanne, Picasso and Rembrandt and Indigenous artists. NGV also features a spectacular stained-glass roof.
NGV, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, +61 3 8620 2222
Sydney: The Art Gallery of New South Wales was established in 1874 and features Australian, European and Asian artwork, including pieces from artists such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Monet and Van Gogh.
Art Gallery NSW, Art Gallery Rd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, +61 2 9225 1700