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Funky Fitzroy - Melbourne city living at its best.

When visiting a city, it is difficult to decide what area to stay in, for the majority of us, we look for a good hotel and go from there. However, usually the main gaggle of hotels are in the city centre, and although this gives good access to all the tourist stops, it may not always be the most vibrant and exciting place to stay. City centre accommodation in my view on my travels, is not the best experience, despite being the easiest, so choosing a suburb close to the city and the sights becomes important, however, do your research first to ensure you pick an area that will have all of your needs.
On coming to Melbourne, I chose to stay in Fitzroy. Right decision. It did not disappoint. There are good connections via the Sky bus, from the airport, to South Cross Station on the west side of the CBD ("Central Business District"). From there, you can then catch the free tourist tram, that does a circuit of the CBD area and you can hop off at the bottom of Nicholson Street in Fitzroy.
The main focus of Fitzroy is the cafe culture filled Brunswick Street. On my first trawl up Brunswick, I felt that i might be the one people looked at, as I was not tattooed, nor did I have any piercings and I was not wearing cool trendy vintage clothing, however for as many of those interesting characters that you see, there are just as many 'normal' residents. One thing that does strike you straight away, is that it does not feel a tourist spot, which for me is exactly what I loved about Fitzroy. A place to sit and soak up the atmosphere and feel like one of the locals.
There are so many cafe's to choose from to sit and watch the world go by for a few hours. Most have outdoor seating on the street. A few of my favourites are Atomica, and Madame Sousou. In fact a lovely way to spend a few hours is cafe hopping from one to another, book in hand and sitting outside or at a window to watch life pass you by on the street. People are also incredibly friendly in Fitzroy, so If like me, you are sitting on your own in a cafe, it won't be long before someone says hello to you. Once night time hits, again, Brunswick street remains alive and caters for all needs from intimate dining, sophisticated cocktail bars, or real ale pubs. Little Creatures Dining Hall is a large aircraft hanger of a pub, but clearly a hit with the locals as always packed full. Try the australian brewed Little Creatures Pale Ale. Just further up the street is the funky Black Cat bar for a quieter funk filled evening in its lounge laid back atmosphere.
You can not stroll through Fitzroy without noticing the street art and graffiti that adornes nearly every street corner and spare wall. Make sure you have your camera with you. As well as the street art there are a few independent art galleries on Brunswick and nearby. Of course there are also hundreds of boutique and vintage shops to browse through.
If you are visiting in the heat of summer and wish to cool off, then a visit to Fitzroy pool is a must on a particularly hot day. Just walk to the top of Brunswick and turn left and you can't miss it. The 50 metre length outdoor pool is spit into various different lanes to cater for everyone's needs. There is a teared seating area, where the beautiful and fabulous lie all day long on a hot day. Don't let the bronzed bodies put you off though as most are there to enjoy the sun and swim. There is also Live music on Sundays, a sauna and steam room, kids pool and grassy area to relax on.
The other great thing about Fitzroy is its proximity to other local suburbs and that it is walking distance from the city. To the east of fitzroy and a short walk away is the suburb of Collingwood and essentially the two merge into each other. The main focus of Collingwood is Gertrude Street and Smith Street. Again there are great places to eat drink and shop, too many to mention. To the south of Collingwood and over the other side of Victoria Parade, is Fitzroy Gardens, a quiet paradise in the middle of the city. In the park is the famous Cooks Cottage being the cottage of Captain James Cook the famous British explorer. The cottage was originally constructed in North Yorkshire, England but was sold in 1933 and transferred to Melbourne and rebuilt! To the west of Fitzroy and crossing through Carlton Gardens, where the Melbourne Museum is, you will arrive in Lygon Street in Carlton, otherwise known as Little Italy.
What I found when staying in Fitzroy is that I was not compelled to leave, however of course, it is a short walk to the main city, and all the sights there are to see, and not much further a walk to the River Yarra and across into the Botanical Gardens. If you are feeling that you want a bit of beach action, then simply hop on the tram on Brunswick Street and ride over to St Kilda, and experience the beach vibe, visit Luna Park and spot penguins on the pier. Ackland Street in St Kilda is famous for fabulous cake shops, so a coffee and cake is in order.
So remember to investigate when visiting a city and be daring and stay somewhere a bit out of the ordinary!
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Check out the Brooklyn Arts Hotel in Fitzroy www.brooklynartshotel.com.au a quirky country manor house in the middle of vibrant Fitzroy and seconds from Gertrude Street.

fitzroyWhen arriving in a new city its a good plan to research where is the most exciting and vibrant suburb.  To stay in the city centre, despite giving good access to tourist attractions, is not always the place to be. On coming to Melbourne, I chose to stay in Fitzroy. Right decision. It did not disappoint.

There are good connections via the Sky bus, from the airport, to South Cross Station on the west side of the CBD ("Central Business District"). From there, you can catch the free tourist tram, that does a circuit of the CBD area and hop off at the bottom of Nicholson Street in Fitzroy.

tramThe main focus of Fitzroy is the cafe culture which fills Brunswick Street. On my first trawl up Brunswick, I felt conscious that I stood out, as I was not tattooed, nor did I have any piercings and I was not wearing cool trendy vintage clothing, however once you look past those interesting characters then you see there are just as many 'normal' residents. One thing that does strike you straight away, is that it does not feel like a tourist spot, which for me is exactly what I loved about Fitzroy. It's a place to sit and soak up the atmosphere and feel like one of the locals.

There are so many cafe's to choose from to watch the world go by for a few hours. Most have outdoor seating on the street. My favourites are Atomica and Madame Sousou. A lovely way to pass the time is to cafe hop from one to another, book in hand and sit outside or at a window to watch life pass you by on the street. People are also incredibly friendly in Fitzroy that it won't be long before someone says hello to you.

Once night time hits, Brunswick Street remains alive and caters for all needs from intimate dining, sophisticated cocktail bars, or real ale pubs. Little Creatures Dining Hall is a large aircraft hanger of a pub, graffittibut clearly a hit with the locals as it's always packed full. Try the Australian brewed Little Creatures Pale Ale. Further along the street is the hip Black Cat bar for a quieter funk-filled evening in its laid-back lounge atmosphere.

Its hard to stroll through Fitzroy without noticing the street art and graffiti that adornes nearly every street corner and spare wall. Make sure you have your camera with you. There are a few independent art galleries in the area as well as hundreds of boutique and vintage shops to browse through.

If you are visiting in the heat of summer and wish to cool off, then a visit to Fitzroy pool is a must. Just walk to the top of Brunswick and turn left and you can't miss it. The 50 metre outdoor pool is spit into various different lanes to cater for everyone's needs. There is a tiered seating area, where the beautiful and fabulous and bronzed lie all day long on a hot day. Try not to feel intimidated, you are all there to enjoy a swim in the sunshine. There is also live music on Sundays, a sauna and steam room, kids pool and grassy area to relax on.

Fitzroy is well located for its proximity to other suburbs and it is walking distance to the city.

To the east of Fitzroy and a short walk away is the suburb of Collingwood and essentially the two merge into each other. The main focus of Collingwood is Gertrude Street and Smith Street. Again there are great places to eat drink and shop, too many to mention. To the south of Collingwood and over the other side of Victoria Parade, is Fitzroy Gardens, a quiet paradise in the middle of the city. In the park is the famous Cook's Cottage which belonged to Captain James Cook, the famous British explorer. The cottage was originally constructed in North Yorkshire, England, but was sold in 1933 and transferred to Melbourne and rebuilt!

cakesTo the west of Fitzroy and crossing through Carlton Gardens, where the Melbourne Museum is, you will arrive in Lygon Street in Carlton, otherwise known as Little Italy.  It was not much further a walk to the River Yarra and across into the Botanical Gardens. But the hardest thing is getting to the motivation to leave Fitzroy at all.

If you are feeling that you want a bit of beach action, then simply hop on the tram on Brunswick Street and ride over to St Kilda, stkildaand experience the beach vibe; visit Luna Park and spot penguins on the pier. Acland Street in St Kilda is famous for fabulous cake shops, so a coffee and cake are in order.

Remember to be daring and stay somewhere a bit out of the ordinary! QuirkyAccom can help. Check out the Brooklyn Arts Hotel in Fitzroy - a quirky country manor house in the middle of vibrant Fitzroy and just seconds away from Gertrude Street.