The best secret gardens in Melbourne
If you've seen everything there is to see at the Royal Botanic Gardens, it might be time to stop and smell the flowers at these unsung gardens around Melbourne. Here you'll find gardens devoted to Australian natives, fancy ferns and some not-so-ubiquitous plants like cacti, rhododendrons, tulips and lotuses – perfect for when you need some green in your life. Want more green? These 10 national parks are within driving distance of Melbourne and here's our guide to getting your nature fix in the CBD.
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Amex Eats: Salt and pepper squid in Melbourne
Deep fried squid, calamari, salt and pepper squid – whatever you want to call it and whichever way you want to fry it – it comes up on every other menu in Melbourne. From pubs to fine diners, Italian institutions to the local fish and chip shop, we scooted around the city to see who's frying up the cephalopods in the most interesting of ways, and letting you pay for your salty fried treat using your American Express.
Head to the Duke of Wellington for happy hour tasting platters
Every day (so that includes weekends) Melbourne's oldest licensed pub the Duke of Wellington is putting on $18 Happy Hour Tasting Plates from 4 to 6pm. Punters can order up $7.50 wine, beer or basics or imbibe with $10 cocktails. Now, this CBD pub is also offering up share plates to complement your bargain drinks. You can snack on crisp salt and pepper calamari; dips with sourdough; lasagne croquettes with mushroom ketchup; and charcoal fried prawn sliders packed with wasabi slaw, pickled seaweed and kewpie mayo, all for just $18. Probably the biggest clincher is the Duke's stellar location, minutes from Fed Square and all the action on Flinders Street. Their minimalist public bar is ringed by comfortable green banquettes, so you can kick back with mates, enjoy happy hour drinks and catch up on any night of the week. Find out more about the Duke of Wellington.
Enjoy boozy ice cream at the Exchange
To see out that last of the long summer days, Port Melbourne's Exchange Hotel is doing adults-only ice creams and sorbets, with house made wine and spirits infused frosty treats available every day of the week. The flavours change weekly so you may get a scoop of gin and cucumber sorbet, Aperol sorbet with blood orange or an espresso martini ice cream served in a house-made chocolate bowl. On Saturdays, head chef Fraser Stark is flipping mini burgers, so you can also snap up a cider and slider special, with $20 jugs of cider and four sliders for just $15 (from noon until 5pm). Also on any given day you can order up a rosé spritz for just $6 from 4-7pm. There's only a few weeks left of balmy days, so head into the Port Melbourne pub to send off the summer in style. Find out more about the Exchange Hotel.