A guide to Melbourne: planning your 2023 Australian Grand Prix weekend

Plan your Australian Grand Prix weekend

Melburnians will be bracing themselves as hordes of F1 fans answer the call of Albert Park and descend upon the city for the 2023 Australian Grand Prix. The third race of the season promises unrivalled adrenaline-pumping excitement at the circuit: navigating crowds, ducking out of the way of selfies, braving beer queues – and, of course, the racing itself.

With everyone flocking to Melbourne for their fix of fast-paced action and celebratory sparkling wineshowers (we’ll miss Danny Ric’s shoey), booking all aspects of your stay – from accommodation to restaurants – in advance is crucial.

Sure, you’re not jetting in from Monaco, but don’t let your relative proximity lull you into complacence. If you’ve waited long enough for drivers to be posting pictures cuddling up with koalas – you’re too late.

Hotels in Melbourne: where to stay during the Australian Grand Prix

Boutique hotels in Melbourne: Adelphi Hotel

Adelphi Hotel is one of Melbourne's best boutique hotels

Swapping cookie-cutter contemporary for design-led decadence, Adelphi promises a five-star stay doused in modern art and eccentric furnishings. There are only 34 rooms here, so booking early is a must and, once you see the iconic rooftop pool (cantilevered and glass-bottomed, with a view of Flinders Lane below), you’ll understand the appeal.

📍 187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Luxury accommodation in Melbourne: Crown Promenade

Contemporary finishes with a luxury flair abound, while your room’s floor-to-ceiling windows bathe you in natural light by day and a twinkling city glow by night. Your comfort is guaranteed here – a perfect conclusion to sunny days spent circuit-side – as is a good cup of joe to start your day, courtesy of the in-house espresso bar in the lobby.

📍 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank

Family-friendly hotels in Melbourne: Laneways by Ovolo

If you’re inducting your kids into the world of F1 and are looking for a family-friendly spot to hole up for the weekend, then Laneways by Ovolo has you covered. This colourful address dials up the fun with its quirky design and has several family-sized rooms to choose from. Cots and extra beds are available too – but it’s the loot bag of kid-approved treats that really seals the deal.

📍 19 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Budget-friendly accommodation in Melbourne: Cosmopolitan Hotel

A stone’s throw from the Albert Park Circuit and a short walk from St Kilda beach, the Cosmopolitan Hotel is the ideal wallet-friendly base for the Grand Prix weekend. This address may be no-frills, but it certainly doesn’t compromise on comfort or amenities (there’s aircon and your morning coffee is sorted). There are no in-house dining options here, but with foodie Melbourne on your doorstep, there’s no shortage of restaurants to refuel at.

📍 6 Carlisle Street, St Kilda

Restaurants in Melbourne: where to eat during the Australian Grand Prix

Restaurant with a view: Vue de monde

Chef Shannon Bennett’s restaurant has been a beacon on Melbourne’s culinary map for more than 20 years. Fine dine to a backdrop of 360-degree views from Docklands all the way to the Dandenongs – unmatched vistas that are the ideal complement to the ever-revolving, proudly Australian (and sustainably led) tasting menu.

📍 55 Rialto Towers, 525 Collins Street, Melbourne

Best CBD spot: Chin Chin

Chin Chin restaurant in Melbourne

It’s undoubtedly one of the CBD’s most popular eateries and, unless you come early, you’ll be queuing alongside other enthusiastic patrons hoping to secure a table at this sought-after spot. Chin Chin’s menu is casual southeast Asian, its bold flavours are served with a side of socialising while a DJ spins tunes in the background.

📍 125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Fine dining in Melbourne: Attica

Chef Ben Shewry’s three-hatted restaurant in Ripponlea made its mark on the global culinary map with exceptional dishes made using native ingredients – think salted-red kangaroo and bunya nuts. To fully experience this moody hued restaurant, the extended tasting menu with wine pairing is the way to go.

📍 74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea

For our comprehensive guide to fine dining restaurants in Melbourne, click here.

Casual dining: Grill

The casual counterpart of the upstairs (and upscale) Grossi Florentino, Grill’s Josper-grilled steaks are cooked to perfection – and, with an open kitchen, you can watch it happen live. It may not have the white tablecloth flair of its sister restaurant, but the focus on premium ingredients and time-honoured Tuscan culinary traditions remains the same.

📍 80 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Bars in Melbourne: where to have a drink during the Australian Grand Prix

Themed bar: Nick & Nora’s Melbourne

Considered the place to pop a bottle of bubbles, this post-prohibition-era-themed bar touts an undeniably glamorous experience. Dress up and make your way to the art deco-inspired spot where velvet-lined furnishings set a plush tone for an evening spent washing down caviar and charcuterie with French Champagne (or a bespoke cocktail).

📍 80 Collins Street via 11 Benson Walk, Melbourne

Bar with a view: Rooftop Bar

It’s an undisputed fact that drinks taste better when paired with a rooftop setting (and accompanying views) – something that fans of aptly named Rooftop Bar will no doubt attest to. A combination of house cocktails and bar staples (local and imported wines, liquors, and beers) keep the thirst at bay, while CBD views – best enjoyed at sunset – make the experience a memorable one. The best part? This spot thrums late into the night.

📍 Level 7 Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Immersive bar experience: HER

What’s better than a design-led Parisian-inspired cocktail bar? A multi-storey, wheelchair accessible, music-meets-drinks-meets-dining venue in the heart of the CBD, obviously. There’s (quite literally) something for everyone here. Hungry? BKK, the venue’s Thai BBQ will answer your call. Prefer your drinks with a view? Head on up to HER Rooftop for a fruity cocktail served with a side of city vistas. The intimate Music Room shouldn’t be missed either, with vinyl sets spun all night long.

📍 270 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Things to do in Melbourne: sight-seeing during the Australian Grand Prix

Visit the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)

Sports may be the weekend’s overarching theme, but a trip to the NGV can be a welcome segue into the city’s rich arts and cultural scene. An ever-revolving lineup of exhibitions keep things current, while the gallery’s extensive collection of contemporary and classic artworks – spotlighting Australian, indigenous, and international talent – is well worth a trawl.

📍 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Explore the city’s street art and graffiti scene

Melbourne’s world-renowned graffiti scene is so popular that there’s even a dedicated street art walk charting a path through its most vibrant laneways. Notable local and international artists make the city’s paint-splashed streets their muse and, with the artworks ever-changing (in true graffiti style), you can visit year after year and always see something new.

The must-see streets that should top your list include Hosier Lane, Duckboard Place, Caledonian Lane, AC/DC Lane, Flinders Lane, and Union Lane.

Take a day trip to the nearby Yarra Valley wineries

Victoria is one of the country’s oldest wine regions and Yarra Valley – just an hour away from Melbourne – is the jewel in its winemaking crown, renowned for its cool-climate varieties (think chardonnays, pinot noirs, and cabernet sauvignons). You’ll be well hydrated with more than 70 wineries to sample your way through, and an array of top-notch restaurants in the area will keep you fuelled on your wine-tasting journey.

For a comprehensive guide to our top 16 Victoria wineries, click here.

Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Offering some much-needed respite from the hours upon hours of droning engines and cheering crowds, the Royal Botanic Gardens is a 170-year-old inner-city sanctuary. Activities abound here and, whether you’re heading out for a lazy (you’ll have your own chauffeur) punt on the lake, learning about the region’s rich cultural history on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk, or exploring the gardens in your own time, be sure to end with decadent high tea for two at Jardin Tan.

📍 Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne

With Westpac Concierge, you have a host of on-the-ground experts at your disposal who’ll help plan all aspects of your race weekend trip – from dining reservations and a comfy bed to sleep off your sunstroke to insider advice on how to avoid the worst of the F1 fan crowds. 

Jessica Littlewood

After obtaining a degree in criminology and discovering that she was not, in fact, cut out for a life of investigating crime, Jess turned her hand to writing. Fast-forward a few years of navigating the tumultuous waters of freelance writing, and today she’s a content marketing specialist with a specific focus on travel, dining, and lifestyle. When not composing pieces about food and far-flung places, she writes about the music industry, another of her passions.

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