Richmond and Abbotsford lie to the east of the city, and for both food and clothing the combination of quality and price here is hard to beat. Further out is a stretch of parkland that follows the winding path of the Yarra River.
Bridge Road, Richmond
Bridge Road is Richmond’s main artery, and between Hoddle and Church streets it is a shopper’s heaven. Many a tour bus pulls up here, with shoppers pouring into the designer-clothing stores and factory outlets. In the next block, between Church and Burnley streets, is a strip of reasonably priced restaurants offering various cuisines. Swan Street, south of Bridge Road, is another good spot for wining and dining, and features the Corner Hotel, staging local bands.
Victoria Street, Abbotsford
Victoria Street, north of Bridge Road, is a living, breathing piece of Vietnam. From Hoddle Street to Church Street it overflows with Asian grocery stores and Vietnamese restaurants, where the focus is on authentic food, fast.
Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
A footy or cricket match at the MCG (or the ‘G’ as it is locally called) would have to be one of Melbourne’s top experiences. But if you visit in the off-season or simply can’t get enough sport in your system, then you can take a tour on non-event days, 10am–3pm, from Gate 3 in the Olympic Stand. Tour prices can include entry to the MCG’s interactive National Sports Museum. Some of the 3500 artefacts include swimmer Ian Thorpe’s swimsuit, the inaugural Brownlow Medal, legendary cricketer Sir Don Bradman’s baggy green cap and Bart Cummings’ 12 Melbourne Cups. Visitors can also try out their own sporting skills in the ‘Game On’ room. Brunton Ave, Richmond; open 10am–5pm daily; (03) 9657 8879.
Fitzroy Gardens, bounded by Albert, Clarendon and Lansdowne streets and Wellington Parade, are one of a handful of public gardens surrounding the CBD, but the only one that can boast Cooks’ Cottage, a fairy tree and a model Tudor village. Cook’s Cottage: (03) 9419 4677; open 9am–5pm daily.
Yarra Bend Park
Yarra Bend Park is a bushland sanctuary that feels far, far away from the city even though it is, in fact, just a few minutes’ drive from it. It features walking tracks and a golf course, and boat-hire facilities at the historic Studley Park Boathouse. Go boating on the river, then dock for a spot of Devonshire tea. Off Studley Park Rd, Kew; (03) 9853 1828; boathouse and kiosk open 9am–5pm daily.