What $500 Buys in Melbourne

Bruce Hutchison

Our spending guide to Melbourne, Australia.

After nearly a decade, Melbourne beat Vancouver for the top spot in The Economist’s livability ranking, based on culture, environment and stability—as well as all the trendy new shops in the Prahran area and the spectacular Vue de Monde restaurant.

Tickets for eight to Fred Williams’s “Infinite Horizons” exhibition (through July 22)—the first comprehensive retrospective of the Australian painter’s landscapes and portraits in more than 25 years—at the National Gallery of Victoria, as well as eight copies of the accompanying book. ngv.vic.gov.au.

A day trip for six to the Yarra Valley Cider & Ale Trail, with stops at winery Giverny Estate, for its new kiwi cider, and at Coldstream Brewery’s microbrewery, for a tour, tasting and dinner. experienceyarravalley.com.au.

A four-course meal for two, with wine, at Vue de Monde—on the 55th floor of the Rialto skyscraper—the flagship restaurant of chef Shannon Bennett’s sustainable dining empire; he uses no gas or open flames to cook his signature dishes, like kangaroo served with beetroot and chocolate. vuedemonde.com.au.

A pair of black Italian suede lace-up pumps, designed by Habbot Studios, at Horse With No Name. The equine-themed boutique, which opened a new shop earlier this year in the trendy Prahran inner suburb, is stocked with exclusive creations by local designers. hwnn.com.au.

Two nights in a studio suite at The Blackman, a 209-room hotel overlooking Albert Park; it opened in 2010 with more than 800 abstract, dream-like prints from Australian painter Charles Blackman. artserieshotels.com.au.

As of March 22, 1 Australian dollar = $1.05.

Compiled by Erin Schumaker and Jamie Wiebe