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Eight reasons to not hate Melbourne

(Good) street art is just one of the attractions you’ll observe, even on a whirlwind trip to Melbourne.

WHAT is there not to like about the city that many people say they love to hate?

Since the dawn of state-by-state civilisation, some Aussies have had a penchant for hating on the southern city tagged Mel-boring to some.

The more I go to Melbourne — usually for work — I seem to discover something more to love about it each time.

No, I haven been administered Melbourne kool-aid by my ole pal Eddie Maguire or any of the Melbourne ‘Housewives’. It’s just the last times few times I have been there I’ve been able to take some time to discover it in a relaxed way.

During the very busy and buzzy time, during the Australian Grand Prix, I was loaned, get this, a super-duper Mercedes to buzz around in, and as I traversed the streets in it and also by foot or tram, it got me thinking about the things that make Melbourne rock.

Hello Hot Wheels, thanks to the Mercedes folk

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Here goes . . . .

The tram system.

Yup. Seemingly trivial and innocuous — OK, and not exactly the above designer car — trams are a positively functional and perfect way to get around the grid-like streets that make up the CBD. (Although I think I may owe the tram peeps a dollar or two as I jumped on and went one stop without handing over my moolah. My bad.)

An E Class tram turns into Spencer Street in Melbourne's CBD. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

An E Class tram turns into Spencer Street in Melbourne's CBD. Picture: Jake NowakowskiSource:News Corp Australia

•The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix:

We all know that dastardly ‘other’ big city, (my home town of Sydney) has made various attempts to steal the F1 from Melbourne, but to be honest, it still seems right at home in Melbourne. And when you are fortunate enough to meet the man who went on to win this year’s GP (hellooooo Lewis Hamilton). I mean, what isn’t there to like about the Festival of Fast Cars when you have an encounter like that?

Where else but at the Melbourne Grand Prix could you ‘bump’ into Lewis Hamilton

Where else but at the Melbourne Grand Prix could you ‘bump’ into Lewis HamiltonSource:Supplied

The Melbourne Cup ... and doesn’t Melbourne know how to do great marquee.

Compared to other major horse racing carnivals around the country, the Spring Racing Carnival at Flemington, from the end of October through to early November still rocks. Seriously, whether you are into fillies or not, the whole city gets into the spirit and the bucks it brings into the Victorian economy — from P & O ships cruising down especially for it, to retailers who go gangbusters with their hat and fashion sales — it really is the best time to be in Melbourne.

International DJ David Guetta in the Mumm Marquee in the Birdcage at Flemington Racecourse for the 2015 Emirates Melbourne Cup.

International DJ David Guetta in the Mumm Marquee in the Birdcage at Flemington Racecourse for the 2015 Emirates Melbourne Cup.Source:News Corp Australia

•The Best Coffee:

One of the best finds is the un signposted St. Ali in South Melbourne and while there are a hundreds, no doubt thousands of great coffee places, this one encapsulates what the Melbourne coffee scene is all about. Understated, cool and just, well, a great place to chill and drink the stuff that so many crave. Just a shame I’m not a big caffeine queen.

The coffee at St. Ali is SOOO good, this pumping cafe doesn’t even need street signage

The coffee at St. Ali is SOOO good, this pumping cafe doesn’t even need street signageSource:Supplied

The Laneway and CBD bar culture

I mean, the bar and restaurant culture just goes without saying. There’s heaps of restaurants that make up best restaurants in the country lists and many are found in Crown, thanks to the likes of Neil Perry with Rockpool Bar and Grill, Spice Temple and Rosetta; Guillaume Brahimi’s Bistro Guillaume, Nobu, Silks and The Atlantic. And they don’t even scratch the surface of the hundreds more dotted throughout the city and Melbourne suburbs.

Brilliant inner-city bar called duNord gives a whole new twist on Nordic-inspired bar food and cocktails

Brilliant inner-city bar called duNord gives a whole new twist on Nordic-inspired bar food and cocktailsSource:Supplied

Just a little red and few heavenly pre-dinner BBQ prawns from Degraves Street 3000 in a CBD laneway.

Just a little red and few heavenly pre-dinner BBQ prawns from Degraves Street 3000 in a CBD laneway.Source:Supplied

Street art.

Sure, there are street scribblings and there is street art.

And some of the best and highly regarded examples can be found in Melbourne. Sure, you either love it or loathe it, but some of the pieces are just brilliant, my favourite street-art spotting place is Hosier and Rutledge Lane. Basically, it is an entire lane, also full of bars and muncheries, where each piece needs quite some time for the magnitude of the work to sink it. Love it.

Hosier Lane is definitely worth a visit

Hosier Lane is definitely worth a visitSource:Supplied

•The Yarra River.

A walk along it and you see lots of what Melbourne has to offer. And on a brilliant day a walk along the banks will have you seeing everything from rowing regattas to visitors and holiday-maker’s taking a river ‘cruise’ while they have drinks or dine on what has become a river that sightseers want to see as opposed to something that once many peeps wanted to avoid.

A mere bridge walk takes you from the Southbank side to the CBD side of the city

A mere bridge walk takes you from the Southbank side to the CBD side of the citySource:Supplied

•The city doesn’t go to sleep at midnight.

Seriously, you can go and get a meal at midnight; have a drink at a bar at 1am and not be in fear of being locked out (or locked in for that matter) like many New South Welsh-people fear each time they go out. There’s just a real ease in the way all of these bars operate and is a real reminder of how Europe operates when it comes to dining and drinking. It’s just a pleasure to be able to do it, whether in a laneway or on the street.

Laneway after laneway: it’s a bar, restaurant and cafe feast, seven days a week.

Laneway after laneway: it’s a bar, restaurant and cafe feast, seven days a week.Source:Supplied

A few more things to note are that because you CAN get four seasons in one day it actually means you can wear clothes. And by that I mean serious winter clothes that make you feel like you have really dressed ‘up’.

One of my favourite wardrobe pieces - the humble coat - gets a huge run in Melbourne and it is not put on as an afterthought, like it is in other major cities - but as a real style and seasonal essential.

And speaking of clothes, Collins Street is still an absolute joy to walk down (that feeling of being in a mini Paris still rings true) and added to that, the Melbourne Fashion Festival or Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) has proven itself as the country’s pre-eminent public consumer fashion event. Yes, Melbourne gives good frock.

Melboure is the spiritual home of Myer and VAMFF is considered best consumer fashion festival in the country. Picture: Tim Carrafa

Melboure is the spiritual home of Myer and VAMFF is considered best consumer fashion festival in the country. Picture: Tim CarrafaSource:News Corp Australia

•And what about the National Gallery of Victoria?

I mean, where to start?

Only an Ai WeiWei design on a Mercedes (who sponsored the Warhol exhibit) would be the centre of attention at the entrance to the National Gallery of Victoria

Only an Ai WeiWei design on a Mercedes (who sponsored the Warhol exhibit) would be the centre of attention at the entrance to the National Gallery of VictoriaSource:Supplied

While the current Andy Warhol and Ai WeiWei is drawing to a close, the blockbusters this year will be a major exhibit of David Hockney, arguably Britain’s greatest living artist. The show, created by the NGV in collaboration with Hockney’s studio, will feature more than 700 artworks from the past decade of Hockney’s career, many never seen in Australia before.

A part of the Andy Warhol & Ai WeiWei exhibit which closes this weekend

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There is also an NGV-developed exhibition of the renowned avant-garde fashion designers Viktor & Rolf, featuring 35 haute couture pieces from their archives and international museum collections plus a selection of their ‘dolls’ — replicas of antique dolls dressed in the designers’ most iconic looks.

As well, the most comprehensive survey of one of Australia’s greatest living artists, John Olsen — now nearly in his seventh decade of practice — will trace his full career from his first exhibition in 1955 to his more recent work. Good, huh?

And what about sport?

A number of good reasons right here why Melbourne loves footy: this year’s AFL Club Captains group pic at Etihad Stadium (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

A number of good reasons right here why Melbourne loves footy: this year’s AFL Club Captains group pic at Etihad Stadium (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)Source:Supplied

Well, we know Melbourne loves its sport and boy, does it know how to put on a show when it comes to AFL. Basically, everyone, yes everyone has a ‘team’.

Even if you’re not into AFL, somewhere deep inside you there has to be an allegiance to A team. And that is a great thing.

Passionate? Yes, Melburnians and Victorians all around are exactly that about their AFL, so be prepared to have ‘a side’ when you do venture down there.

Sure, there are a million other things to see and do in Melbs, but if you’ve ever wondered whether a trip to Melbourne is worth it ... I’d say it’s well worth the ride.

Aside from some pretty diverse work trips down south Melissa Hoyer was most recently a guest of Mercedes for her latest Melbourne adventure.

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