She’s the Logie-winning actor, writer, producer and podcaster you’ve seen and loved in The Sapphires, Love Child, Top End Wedding and, most recently, The Dry. While Miranda Tapsell was born and raised in the Northern Territory, she now calls Melbourne home. “I fell in love with a comedy writer, James, and followed him to Melbourne, the traditional lands of the Kulin nation,” she explains. “Now that I’ve married this comedy writer, I have no choice but to ‘tolerate’ the harsh winters and become addicted to coffee.” And it turns out Melbourne’s not a bad place to be. Here Tapsell shares her favourite local haunts, scattered across the city but mainly north of the river. Follow her recommendations for a fun-filled weekend of theatre, dog parks and socially conscious dining.
“OK so this isn’t cheap and cheerful, but I love the atmosphere of Hanoi Hannah Firebird. The food reminds me so much of the kind of authentic street food I had on my honeymoon in Northern Vietnam. It’s definitely a place to treat yourself, but I love that it didn’t have the airs and graces of other restaurants. I feel out of place when I’m somewhere that feels too exclusive.”
223 High St, Prahran
Must-do food experience
“You absolutely have to try the food at social enterprise restaurant Charcoal Lane in Fitzroy. All the food is seasonal and made with traditional herbs and spices. Young Aboriginal chefs cook the food for you as part of their training.”
136 Gertrude St, Fitzroy 3065
For arts addicts
All the theatres!
“The great thing about Melbourne is that Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre and The Arts Centre are all located in Southbank in the city , so it’s easy to catch both a matinee and a night show. Then there’s La Mama and Red Stitch, which are pretty great independent theatres, so it’s worth catching a show there too – especially if it’s cold and wet!”
Best dog park
“As a new dog mum, I take this job very seriously. Brando, our puppy is learning to play with his new friends at the park. There are lots of dog-friendly parks around but one of my favourites is DeChene Reserve in Coburg. It looks a lot like a park you’d see somewhere in London, like a place that Jane Austen would have her characters talk in.”
93 Urquhart St, Coburg 3058
“This store in Collingwood is my go-to place for birthday gifts – especially if I’m worried I could get something the person will hate. I always end up grabbing a book because I love their selection so much – but they also have records, accessories and homewares. Very hipster. Very Melbourne.”
294 Smith St, Collingwood 3066
How to get there
Fly into Melbourne from all major Australian airports. Check border and quarantine restrictions before travelling.
What to pack“Layer! Layer! Layer!” says Tapsell. “When I first moved here I had no idea how to keep warm. During winter, wear a (not thermal) singlet, shirt and a jumper. You never know how warm it gets inside. Don’t bring out the puffy jacket until June. Work your way up to it, otherwise you won’t acclimatise.”