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Novotel Melbourne on Collins Hotel Review

Novotel Melbourne on Collins via

On our recent visit to Melbourne, we stayed at the Novotel Melbourne on Collins. It was our first time in the city with Cheese, and we since our plans for the long weekend were hitting up museums and galleries, we wanted to stay somewhere central, family-friendly and comfortable. The Novotel Melbourne happily ticked those boxes for us, and we really enjoyed our stay.


The Novotel on Collins has a superb location if you want to be right in the centre Melbourne. Located on trendy Collins Street, it’s very close to the art gallery, museums, Botanic Gardens, the MCG, Federation Square, the theatres and shopping. The location was absolutely perfect.

Novotel Melbourne on Collins via

We chose a room with two double beds and it was the perfect size for our family of three. The hotel very thoughtfully provided us with a large crib incase we needed it. The room had a great little nook in the wall where the crib fit in perfectly.

Novotel Melbourne on Collins via

Our room was larger than I’d expected, with plenty of space and a massive desk which we used for putting all of our computers and Cheese’s toys on.

Novotel Melbourne on Collins via

The room also featured a large modern bathroom, free in-room wifi, an LCD flat-screen TV, a mini bar/fridge and tea and coffee making facilities. Our room overlooked the glass atrium of the currently-being-renovated Collins Lane fashion and retail centre.

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I found our room to be extremely clean and neat, with bright, fresh paint on the walls and spotless linens. The bathroom was similarly spotless with plenty of big fluffy towels.

We were on floor 7, which is the same level as the gym and pool. We probably experienced a bit more foot traffic as a result, but not much.

Novotel Melbourne on Collins via

Our booking included breakfast, so each morning we dined at the Lane Cafe on Level 6 – the same floor as reception. Breakfast was a tremendous buffet affair, with all manner of fruits, cereals, hot food and pastries on offer.

Novotel Melbourne on Collins via

The egg station, where you could order eggs in any manner you liked, and the fresh juicer machine were popular, as was the “Popcakes” machine with the kids – a fab little machine that you can use to make your own pancakes with the push of a button.

Novotel Melbourne on Collins via

While we didn’t order room service, I did notice that the Novotel Melbourne on Collins has a large menu to choose from, including food that kids will actually eat like toasted sandwiches, pizza, hamburger, fish and chips and spaghetti bolognaise at reasonable prices. The kids’ meals ranged from $9 to $12 which is pretty standard for most restaurants.

We found the staff at the Novotel Melbourne to be extremely friendly and welcoming. They made quite the fuss over Cheese, enjoyed (or seemed to enjoy!) chatting with her at breakfast, and really made us feel like valued guests. We saw a lot of other families with kids of all ages in the hotel, so it seems that we were not the only ones who thought that the Novotel was an ideal hotel to stay in with a family.

Novotel Melbourne on Collins via

In the lobby, right near the check in desks and concierge, was the most fantastic electronic games table. The table had four different age options, so preschoolers through to adults could enjoy games tailored to their age group. The table proved very useful at times when a wait was in order – what a fun idea to place it in the lobby to keep kids (large and small!) entertained.

Novotel Melbourne on Collins via

Please note that the hotel is currently experiencing renovations out the front and underneath. St. Collins Lane, underneath the hotel, and the entire front of the Novotel, are being renovated to become a premiere shopping destination that I imagine will be a fantastic draw for future hotel guests.

We didn’t mind the scaffolding, and were only woken once out of three mornings with building works at 8am in the morning. I had a look on the site and saw that the works are scheduled from 7am – 7pm, Monday to Friday and from 7am – 3pm Saturday. The only noise we heard was at 8am on the Saturday. Monday morning, not a peep! The development was due for completion at the end of first quarter (which is now) and I don’t have an update on when the new completion date is. Other that this one loud morning, we had an excellent stay at the hotel, and really, renovations can’t be helped. I imagine this one will be worth the pain when the new centre underneath opens up.

The photos below were all taken within a 15 minute radius walk of the hotel. As you can see, it’s incredibly central.

Melbourne Yarra River Melbourne Yarra River Melbourne Flinder's Station Melbourne Street Art Melbourne Tram Melbourne Melbourne Tram Melbourne

Novotel Melbourne on Collins
270 Collins Street Melbourne, VIC Australia 3000
Tel: +61 396675800

We received a media rate when we stayed at the hotel, which means we received a small discount off our room price. We were not required to write a review or share our experience in any way. All opinions are our own.

Melbourne: The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden

Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden Melbourne via

A tip off from a friend led us to seek out the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden, in the heart of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden Melbourne via

The Royal Botanic Gardens are a gorgeous place to visit in their own right – set over 38 hectares, the gardens are an oasis of peace in the busy centre of Melbourne.

Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden Melbourne via

The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden was opened in 2004, designed to encourage children to get their hands dirty and express themselves through play. The gardens are carefully planned to allow children to run free and wild within a contained environment. The gardens are gated so kids can’t escape, which also means you can really let them explore without worrying that they will do a runner when you lose sight of them for a moment!

Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden Melbourne via

Children enter the garden and embark on a journey through a jungle, a bamboo forest, a kitchen garden and creek bed. There are mazes, rocks to climb, characters to meet and an ancient Grandmother tree to explore. A wide variety of plants are set around the garden to give kids the opportunity to discover the delights of nature in their play, and to spark curiosity in the world around them.

Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden Melbourne via

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The gardens have a clean bathroom right outside the gate, and a cafe a few metres away.

The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden
Royal Botanic Gardens,

Birdwood Ave, Melbourne
Hours: 10am-sunset Wed-Sun (closed during term time on Mon & Tue). 10am-sunset 7 days a week during Victorian State School holidays and all public holidays.
Get directions

Looking for more things to din in Melbourne with kids? This list of free things to do will help you holiday without breaking the budget.

Melbourne Weekend

We had booked a weekend in Melbourne to watch the Australian Open looong before we knew about this New York business. It ended up falling on Alec’s last weekend in Australia, so it seemed to be a good way to see him out with a bang.

Sweltering in the tennis. Don’t be fooled, the clothes are for sun protection. It was boiling.

We also spent a day wandering around St Kilda and the CBD, just hanging out.

St Kilda boardwalk.

Luna Park!

The Victoria Art Gallery. Thumper!

We had such a lovely weekend – the perfect way (bar a weekend at the beach!) to spend our last weekend together for a while. Next time we meet, it will be in New York, baby!

Birthday in Melbourne: Day 3

My birthday fell on day 3 of our Melbourne trip. We had a sleep in, breakfast in the hotel, and then sauntered off to the Tim Burton Exhibition.  I’ve always admired his films, so seeing his artwork on loan from personal collections was quite amazing. I found it entertaining picturing him as an animator for Disney, seeing as his personal style is quite the opposite.

I felt most inspired seeing the exhibition, as Tim Burton has clearly worked extremely hard to get to where he is. For every success he has had, he’s had more than double the amount of projects go nowhere. His passion and skill have taken him to where he is, also his tenacity. It reminded me to be stronger and not give up on my dreams.

Hello giant blow-up scary person.

“Nananananananana BATMAN!”

My favourite quote of the day, overheard in the exhibition: “Did he do Shrek?” Lol.

After the exhibition we wandered around some more on the river banks until the sun went down.

The Yarra.

Very scenic.

As CBD as it gets.

Pretty bridge makes for nice photos.


It’s my birthday and I’ll pose if I want to.

And make my husband pose too!

Another graffiti wall.

Outside the ACMI building – such a cool design.

I lurve you blob!


We didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye, lol.

Run, husband!

Blobs make for handy seats too.

And then SHE said …

After much wandering, we had dinner at the very funky Fifteen. I love Jamie Oliver, so was keen to try his restaurant.

The restaurant was excellent. Stylish, great vibe, fabulous service. The food was really great, interesting recipes rather than the stock standard type, particularly for the veggo options.

What is down the stairs?!

Happy birthday to me! (This may have started out as “happy birrhday” …)

Another year older …

One more pose for the road. Happy, well-fed and slightly tipsy.

Even the restaurant had graffiti art …

I’m on a tram!

Back at the hotel – Alec and the frog, together at last.

I wore out my husband …

Thanks so much for the fantastic weekend away Alec 🙂 xox

31st Birthday in Melbourne: Day 2

Day 2 kicked off with brunch at Di Bella in north Melbourne with an old friend, Dana, and her bf Karl, an ex-intern at Google and who joined our netball team while she was in Sydney. Dana moved back to Melbourne after her internship ended and is moving to Seattle in the near-ish future to join Google there, where I’m sure she will take the Seattle netball team to new heights of victory.

I enjoyed the breakfast at Di Bella immensely, even more so because we were introduced to Dana and Karl’s brunch technique of ordering food, then eating cake while the breakfast was being cooked. Breakfast of champions. Amazing.

Pear and chocolate danish. Divine.

Netball yay 🙂

After brunch (and an unscheduled drive to the bus depo in Footscray to pick up the wallet Alec left on the airport bus – PS Sunshine street is NOT sunny people) Alec and I walked around Melbourne and ate more food.

I’d like a purse THIS big.

I love how Melbourne has random sculptures scattered around it. Like the giant purse. Or the men waiting for a tram.

Like CityRail in Sydney, trams can take a while to arrive. This poor fellow has been waiting a looooong time.

I practice my tram-waiting face while waiting for the tram, of course.

Melbourne also has a lot of graffiti art. I enjoyed the little alleys with oh-so-cool cafes, jam-packed with trendy Melbourne-ites, and covered with bright designs.

Even the dumpsters got the art treatment.

The husband loves a good alley.

The wife loves a good Tiffany store 😉

Lindt gets arty.

Birthday tulips! Thanks husband!

Melbourne Central shot tower in the middle of a shopping centre. So cool.

More graffiti.

Dinner at Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar for home-cooked, simple, Italian food. 

After dinner it was off to Mary Poppins at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Alec was fabulous and booked us great seats with a package that included wine and a goody bag (ooooh more gifts!).

“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag!”

The show was fantastic. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so it surpassed any expectations I might have had. I adored Mary Poppins the movie when I was growing up, so the musical brought back lovely memories. The singing, dancing and set were all fabulous.

31st Birthday in Melbourne: Day 1

For my birthday this year, Alec took me to Melbourne. We were blessed with lovely weather. A full three days of sunshine, wheee! We stayed at The Olsen, a fabulous new hotel in South Yarra, decorated with the artwork of John Olsen.

I love this – I did take one home with me!

Stylish room with artwork by Olsen.

Morning light – hitting the shops.

We had a lazy Saturday morning before wandering down Chapel St to grab some brunch and shop. Fun for me, perhaps less fun for Alec.

Feed me!


It was then off to the Melbourne Museum to see Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition

Who knew Melbourne would be so sunny!

The exhibition was great. It contained a lot of artefacts that had been recovered from the wreck as well as telling many personal stories of people who survived and perished. It also had sobering facts about the sheer number of people who died.

“I’m the king of the world!”

Snack time at Koko Black.

Nom nom.

One more coffee for the road.

Heating from the inside out. Brr Melbourne is cold.

Tasty pudding.

Mousse martini. Looks amazing. Made me feel ill afterwards.

Walking through Melbourne in the fading light.

Hip hop dancers in Federation Square.

Dinner – a local Thai joint.

Yay, we’re in Melbourne!

Easter 2009 – Great Ocean Road, Day 4

Last day! We drove to Port Fairy for breakfast to start the day. Port Fairy is a cute little historic town with an unsavory whaling past. Nowadays it’s a tourist stop on the Great Ocean Road. The town has some gorgeous old buildings and lovely cafes. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast and took a stroll around the waterfront – around an island area that used to be home to an Aboriginal tribe.

We cut cross country to get back to the airport, stopping along the way at Tower Hill, an area that was formed by a volcano. We went on several bush walks along the crater rim and saw wild animals like emus and more koalas.

Sadly it was then time to head back to make our plane at Avalon. We had one last stop in Geelong to watch the sunset, then it was back home to rainy Sydney …

Easter 2009 – Great Ocean Road, Day 3

After breakfast we head off to Cape Otway Lightstation for scones and tea, plus a stunning view of the coast.

We then head on up the coast to Port Campbell National Park, where the Twelve Apostles are.

Along the way we stopped at the majestic Gibson Steps and then at the Twelve Apostles look out. The Twelve Aposltes were very beautiful, but after seeing so many photos they weren’t as impressive as the rest of the rock formations I knew nothing about.

I really loved Loch Ard Gorge (below), named after a clipper ship that ran aground nearby in 1878. We also stopped by the London Arch (formerly London Bridge until it collapsed while people were on it).

We drove out of the park until we reached our destination for the evening, Warrnambool. Nothing much to report here – it’s a great place to stop during whale season, but that’s about it. The whales have their babies right off shore, so it would be great to pass by again at the right time.

Easter 2009 – Great Ocean Road, Day 2

Today we planned a day of nature. We drove the long way to Otway Fly, a walk through the national park that includes a boardwalk through the trees. There were lots of people there unfortunately, which ruined the ambiance somewhat, but it was still a majestic walk through the treetops, looking at some amazingly tall trees and huge ferns.

Our next stop was Triplet Falls, a bush walk that wound past three waterfalls.
We had hoped to visit another waterfall after this, and drove there quickly as the sun was starting to sink in the sky. We figured we had about 30 mins until the sun set, so dashed through the bush trying to find the waterfall before the sun completely set and we were left in the dark in the bush. It was a little like being in a movie where the main characters do something completely stupid, like run into the bush at sunset with no phones, torches or supplies and then get eaten by rodents of unusual size … after about 15 minutes of running through the bush and still not finding the waterfall, we admitted defeat and quickly returned to the car – just in time to get back to the road before dark completely fell.
Dinner was at one of Apollo Bay’s most highly recommended venues, Buff’s Bistro, an Italian / contemporary Australian little place that was booked out solid the whole time we were there. The food was delish, the staff friendly and the wine they served was local and matched well to the meals. Yum!

Easter 2009 – Great Ocean Road, Day 1

For our first Easter weekend for just the two of us, we decided to drive the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. We flew down to Avalon Airport after work on Thursday night and spent Good Friday checking out Geelong (what’s with the weird peg people?) and then driving along the coast.

We had a quick stop at Torquay, then drove on to Bells Beach, where the Rip Curl Surf Pro was being held. We stopped off for a while and watched the grommet competition that was being run at the time. Next stop was Anglesea for lunch and a play on the beach, followed by a stop off at Airley Inlet lighthouse, which was used in the TV series “Round The Twist”.

It was then a windy drive to out evening accommodation in Apollo Bay. The road hugs the coast line so the whole drive is amazingly picturesque. Somewhere along one of the endless stretches of road we saw a few people had pulled their cars over and we standing around pointing their cameras into the bush. Being the stickybeak I am and always after a good photo, I pulled over also, and found that they were photographing koalas in the wild – right by the side of the road!

The koalas were sooo cute. Sleepy, grumpy little people. and they were really close to is – so close I could have reached our and given one a little pat if I didn’t think it might have gouged my eyes out for waking it from its eucalyptus-induced coma.

We spent tonight and the following night at a cute little BnB called Captain’s On The Bay – highly recommend.

Oh hai! Don’t disturb my nomming!