Melbourne is a city that loves to eat, and one of its penchants is high tea. There are opportunities to indulge all over the city.
Some places toe the traditional line, with plump scones topped with sticky jams and silky creams served alongside neatly trimmed finger sandwiches. The presentation features fine china and tiered plates.
Others offer their own take on the concept, with everything from circus-themed teas to slightly less formal buffet-style teas that include chocolate fountains.
Best classic high tea in Melbourne from RedBalloon
Serving high tea for more than 130 years, the Hotel Windsor’s three-tiered tea service features delights like scones, ribbon sandwiches of smoked salmon, cheeses and avocado, and sweet treats prepared by a pastry chef – all paired with a sparkling wine on arrival.
Location: Hotel Windsor, Melbourne CBD
Includes: Hotel Windsor’s famous scones, savoury items, ribbon sandwiches, sweet desserts, tea and coffee and sparkling wine.
The tea is served in Wedgewood cups at The Langham. Plus, in case you’re in any doubt about which type of tea to fill your cup with, there’s a tea sommelier on hand to help you decide. Edible treats, meanwhile, include traditional sandwich triangles, scones and pastries.
Tea time: 2:30pm
Address: 1 Southgate Avenue, Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria 3006
High tea is served up buffet style at Sofi’s Lounge. A banqueting-style table is laid out with savouries and sweet treats for the occasion. The menu is contemporary. As well as the likes of finger sandwiches, you’ll find items like warm croque monsieurs on offer. The real talking point here, though, has to be the chocolate fountains.
Tea time: Saturday and Sunday 14:30pm-5pm
Address: 25 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Park Hyatt’s tiered afternoon tea is served alongside views of Trilogy Gardens. The menu is traditional. You can expect to sink your teeth into bite-sized sandwiches, with fillings like smoked salmon, plump scones, and fresh petit desserts such as mini profiteroles and macaroons.
Tea time: 2:30pm-5pm
Address: 1 Parliament Square, off Parliament Place, Melbourne, Victoria 3000
The Windsor has been serving high tea to customers since 1883. However, its menu is pretty contemporary. You can count on sandwiches with unusual fillings like egg mayo with capers and curry butter, and sweet options like coconut yuzu. The hotel doesn’t meddle with the scone recipes, though. These are made the traditional way and served with slicks of homemade jam and blobs of cream.
Tea time: 12pm-2pm
Address: 111 Spring Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000
The high tea menu morphs with the seasons at The Westin. In winter, for example, you can expect seasonal produce like butternut squash and blackberries to appear in the recipes. Throughout the year, the hotel also offers a range of teas with a twist, like the High Cheese offering that comes with three tiers of cheeses and cheese scones.
Tea time: 11am-4pm
Address: 205 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Melbourne Zoo offers a tropical take on high tea. It’s served in the Rainforest Room where the ceiling to floor windows look out over the Tamarin monkey habitat. While the setting is a little unconventional, the menu is traditional. Expect scones, cloggy with jam and cream, and a selection of finger sandwiches, cakes and pastries, served on a tiered tray.
You get more than sandwiches and scones at high tea at The Waiting Room, inside Crown Towers. The menu changes depending on the season, but you can expect things like savoury pastry with a lobster thermidor filling and smoked salmon and herb crepe roulades to crop up, alongside sweets like sticky profiteroles and gooey eclairs.
High tea at Melbourne Botanic Gardens is served against the backdrop of the Ornamental Lake. The menu is traditional with a few surprises thrown in, such as warm goats’ cheese and Roma tomato tarts and hot mini beef rolls. To extend the experience, you can book a punt ride on the lake before your tea.
Tea time: Daily 11am-1pm and 1pm-3pm
Address: Gate A, Cnr Alexandra Ave & Anderson St, Royal Botanic Gardens, South Yarra, Victoria 3141
Hopetoun Tea Rooms first opened its doors in 1892, and its setting hasn’t changed much since. When you take high tea here you’ll be dining beneath vintage chandeliers and by antique panelled walls. The menu is as traditional as the setting, featuring the likes of fist-sized scones, smoked salmon sandwiches and a selection of petit fours.
Tea time: 10am-2:30pm
Address: 282 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Phone number: (03) 9650 2777
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Alex Keshen is the global travel publisher at Finder and has been living, breathing and, of course, writing about all things travel for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada and has appeared in Travel Weekly and the Huffington Post. A master of maximising her annual leave and finding the best bargains around, she can’t remember the last time her backpack weighed more than 10kg and is happy to share her tips and tricks to help you travel better.
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