Water Views and Shopping Secrets: An Expert Guide to Melbourne

Les Clefs d'Or treasurer Rhett Constantine shares his favourites places in the city.

What is your favourite waterfront restaurant in Melbourne?
Donovans! Located on the St Kilda beachfront offering guests a memorable dining experience in Melbourne. With a bayside view, beautiful Mediterranean-inspired food and a relaxed atmosphere, Donovans is where you will feel at home.

In a city known for brunches, what is your top pick?
Getting down to business, The Grain Store in Flinders Lane is a Melbourne institution when it comes to brunch. Executive chef Ingo Meissner (of ST. ALi and Fitzrovia) offers the best seasonal produce with Australian and European influences.   

Where is the best place for a picnic near the city?
Near the Ornamental Lake in Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens you'll get sweeping views. It's also home to Punting on the Lake (half-hour guided punt tours around the gardens via its waterways). Don’t forget to visit one of Melbourne’s local fresh food markets to get those picnic delights.

Where do you go to catch live music?
Bird’s Basemant in Melbourne CBD presents shows five nights per week. The program includes artists across a range of jazz styles, as well as soul, funk, R&B, rock, blues, Latin and has an Italian-style menu.

Do you have a top secret shopping spot?
Don’t miss your last chance to visit Campbell Arcade—an underground shopping centre beneath Flinders Street Station—as it may be partially demolished to make way for the new Metro Tunnel. Home to an eclectic set of stores since the end of World War II, the arcade also houses some of the best espresso you’ll find. 

Kirsty Sier
About the author

Editor of WhereTraveller Australia (Sydney and Melbourne).