Melbourne, Victoria

For our final X3 adventure, we headed for the city of Melbourne and more importantly, the Australian Open. During the Open the city is packed with tennis fans, piling in from across the globe, so as you can imagine, the city’s transport system can get pretty hectic. However, the thing I love about Melbourne is how compact it is and when you are in a car, you can quickly get from one side to the other, if you know the right routes. What’s more, sat high above the road in the comfort of the new X3’s plush leather interior, city navigating has never seemed so easy.

Although the tournament brings a lot of exposure to the city, it is without doubt a cultural juggernaut, with a reputation for creativity and diversity. So with just 24 hours at our disposal we kicked the iDrive navigation into gear and headed out to explore the city.

Starting the day on an empty stomach is never an option, so an early breakfast was in order. We headed for the renowned, Operator 25, in the heart of the city. Narrow streets and slim parking spaces go hand-in-hand with urban areas but luckily the X3’s combo of parking sensors and cameras made little fuss of the Melbourne side streets. 

If you’re looking for a brunch with a little creativity, Operator 25 is where it’s at. Set in a heritage-listed, original telephone exchange, the decor is industrial and minimalistic but with bright artwork that connects you with the history of the space. The coffee is great but the food is even better. Just reading the ingredients gets your mouthwatering, like the Matcha Waffles with saffron poached stone fruits, white chocolate sauce, seasonal fresh berries and green tea ice cream or the Citrus Cured Salmon with tapioca, polenta croquettes, yuzu compressed cucumber, wasabi mayonnaise, pickled beetroot, fresh tomatoes and poached egg.

We took the long route back to the car through the Botanic Gardens and along the Yarra River, taking in the scenery and cityscape. It’s an amazing sight to see, with skyscrapers towering over locals running and rowing along the peaceful river. We could have happily brought a picnic with us and watched the world go by but we decided to take the X3 and head for one of the famous graffiti areas around Flinders Street. It’s refreshing to see a city recognise street art for what it is and in doing so it has become home to some truly incredible pieces of art. You can easily spend hours walking the maze of back streets, getting lost amongst it all.

Once you’re done with the street art, there’s so many options for food. Thankfully, Flinders Lane is home to one of my favourite restaurants. When I first visited Melbourne, everyone told me I needed to go here and sample it for myself and the hype was worth believing. Chin Chin is a fusion of Australian and South East Asian influences, huge flavours and a healthy kick of spice when requested. We ordered the Kingfish Sashimi, Miang of Spanner Crab and the incredible Twice Cooked Beef Short Rib, leaving nothing to waste and thoroughly satisfied.

As the night comes in the city’s rooftops come alive and provide the perfect backdrop for a late night tipple; once you’ve put the X3 to bed. There’s something for everyone here, with a diverse range of bars, from the Hitachi train carriages atop Easey’s Collingwood perch or the Corner Hotel, for those late night live music sessions. We settled in at Rooftop Bar, drinking Pisco Sours and celebrating another fine day of X3 adventuring.