Fun-loving yet sophisticated. "Melbourne reminds me of London," says Sydney-based designer Camilla Franks, who attributes the different vibe to the city's slightly cooler weather and inland location.
Where to stay
Try the charming Lyall Hotel, located just a short walk from Chapel Street. With 40 Zen-like suites, this boutique property feels more like a chic apartment than a hotel.
Where to shop
For an insider's take on the shopping scene, sign up for Fiona Sweetman's Lanes and Arcades Tour to discover hidden boutiques in Melbourne's CBD. Check out the tiny Anna Fiori shoe shop, as well as Alice Euphemia and Design a Space, both of which specialize in Aussie lines like Mad Cortes and Shona. Alannah Hill's flamboyant boutique is a must-see. Hill is known for her romantic dresses. "She's the most flamboyantly girlie person you'll ever meet,” says Sweetman.
For a boho day out, head to the seaside suburb of St Kilda. After trolling for Tibetan gongs and retro dresses, indulge in a slice of plum cake at the Monarch Cake Shop.
Where to dine and dance
• Rockpool Bar & Grill
Neil Perry is Australia's Emeril Lagasse: a star chef with devoted groupies.
Inventive dishes like Wood-Roasted Leader Prawns with Chorizo Sausage, Manzanilla Pickled Chilies, Almonds and Garlic Butter complement a long, long list of Aussie, Old World and rare wines.
After shopping or clubbing, refuel with Pesto Bruschetta at this 24-hour Italian cafe on Chapel Street.
• The Vineyard Restaurant & Bar
"Oh, my God, it's so full on a Friday night, you can hardly get near it," says Sweetman of this St Kilda club.
• Bar Secrets Melbourne
"You can't find most of the bars in Melbourne," says Sweetman. "Even the locals can't find them." As a result, Bar Secrets Melbourne - a pack of cards describing the latest night-spots- is invaluable.
Check out our Travel guide for Sydney, Australia!