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One City, Five Hours: Melbourne

Whizzing through OZ

Author Claire Davie Illustration Oliver Jeffers

1 Begin with a quick dash through the Melbourne Zoo (Elliot Ave.; www.zoo.org.au/melbournezoo), smack in the middle of the spectacular Royal Park. Catch a glimpse of some native Australian marsupials, then make like a kangaroo and hop away. ( 0:45 )

2 Stop at The Queen Victoria Market (Queen St. at Victoria St.; www.qvm.com.au), the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, to pick up a cork hat and sample the famous jam doughnuts at the American Doughnut Kitchen, a mobile carb factory that’s been churning out piping-hot jam-filled pastries for more than 50 years. ( 1:05 )

3 Wipe your mouth and walk two blocks to La Trobe Street to catch the historic City Circle Tram. (There’s one every 12 minutes, and the ride is free.) Admire the 19th century architecture as you rattle past the handsome Princess Theatre, Parliament House and Old Treasury Building, three of the grandest structures in the land down under. ( 1:35 )

4 Jump off the tram at Victoria Street and dash into Carlton Gardens (Victoria St. at Rathdowne St.), a beloved World Heritage Site known for countless European and Australian trees. Look closely and you may spot a tawny frogmouth, the best-loved and best-named bird in Melbourne. ( 1:50 )

5 Hop back on the tram, head to Federation Square and pop into The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia (Russell St. at Flinders St.; www.ngv.vic.gov.au). Zip through the Indigenous Collection, which houses striking leather and textile works of Aboriginal art, some dating back as far as 20,000 years. On your way out, check the time on the floral clock in the Queen Victoria Gardens across the street. It’s getting late. ( 2:30 )

6 Curtin House (252 Swanston St.), once home to the Communist Party of Australia, is now a six-level vertical mall filled with bars, fashion boutiques and an open-air cinema. Steal a glance at the city below from the Rooftop Cinema before working your way down to specialist bookstore Metropolis, where you hunt for anything by Patrick White, the only Aussie ever to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. ( 3:30 )

7 It’s time to eat, so you head down to the hot new underground restaurant Izakaya Den (114 Russell St.; www.izakayaden.com.au) for the sensational tuna tataki. Japan might be 4,500 miles away, but at this popular sushi and Sapporo joint, it seems just around the corner. ( 4:30 )

8 Sprint over to the National Sports Museum (Brunton Ave. in Yarra Park; www.nsm.org.au). After trying to wrap your head around cricket and Australian rules football, you swing by the “Game On” exhibit, the museum’s “hands-, feet- and bottoms-on” area, to try the games out yourself. As you emerge, you’re thankful for the long flight, and long nap, ahead of you. ( 5:00 )

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