What is more Melbourne than coffee, beach huts and sport?
Nothing (except maybe a spot of boutique shopping)!
Although J and I head to Melbourne more than four times a year for work and to visit family, we still like to indulge in a few typically 'Melbourne' days.
We base ourselves just out of the city in the up-and-coming suburb of North Melbourne. Its vibe is ecclectic (to say the least) but with that of course comes, amazing cafes, brunch spots and most importantly, coffee!
One of our tried and tested favourites is The Auction Rooms on Errol Street. The industrial restoration of the original building is light and airy, while the menu is focused on free range and seasonal produce.
Tip: try the house-made banana and walnut loaf with espresso mascarpone and coffee crumb. Impossible to be disappointed.
However, it was time to try something different. The newly opened, Saluministi perfectly fit that bill.
I have always thought that when an establishment specialises in one thing, whether it be gelato, organic juices or fresh seafood, they usually do it well. Saluministi definitely proved me right.
Tucked behind the main street in North Melbourne on a little cobbled alley, was an unassuming garage front. Stepping in, out of the sunshine, we were welcomed by large share tables, pendant lighting, a vertical garden and salami hung on the walls. The front counter was filled with old-school Italian fare where you can also pick up some Bialetti coffeware.
The menu is small and focused on panini filled with homemade salami and porchetta (which you can also buy to take home).
We had the pancetta, egg and provolone panini and it was absolutely delicious, as was our coffee.
Next on the Melbourne 'to-do' list were the beach huts at Brighton.
The beauty of the clear blue sky backdrop for these vibrant and uniquely painted huts was undeniable.
J managed to perfectly demonstrate their magic with his levitating act.
Many are used to house boats and equipment, while others are simply enjoyed as a perfect deck for views over the water and the city skyline.
So saught after, these huts are now selling for up to $300 000.
Although it wasn't the warmest day when we visited, we still got our toes wet.
If you have time, exploring the exclusive suburb of Brighton is also a fun way to waste away the afternoon.
We drove a little further along the coast, towards the Mornington Peninsula. Down the side streets, we caught glimpses of the ocean. So, going where the wind blew us, we picked a narrow little street that brought us closer to the sound of the lapping waves.
The ocean was crystal clear and the storm rolling in turned it a bright turquoise.
It was perfectly serene and polar opposite to our morning in the bustling urban cafe scene.
Rustic beach huts, perhaps even a little unkempt were scattered over the shoreline. We will be back another day, hopefully to soak up some sun.
With one thing left on our list of Melbourne experiences, it was time to hit Rod Laver Arena for some much anticipated tennis action. Reminiscing about my childhood summers conjures memories of swimming all day, slurping on Sunnyboy iceblocks and being enthralled for hours by the tennis that played for four weeks straight on our TV. So, being in the thick of the excitement for the Australian Open has always been a treat.
This year we were exceptionally lucky to witness the style and finesse of Federer, Angelique Kerber demolish one of her 4th round rivals, Victoria Azarenka fly around the court and an epic 4 hour, 5 set battle between Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka.
Watching these incredible athletes battle it out on the court, in the peak of the Australian summer, I had nothing but respect and admiration for their sportsmanship.
We finished the warm evening sipping Jacobs Creek wine out of tennis ball cups in the buzzing beer garden. Could it get any more Australian?