It is going to be very difficult to sum up what Melbourne has to offer in a few simple and concise paragraphs, it almost feels like trying to fit a watermelon into your pocket.
Melbourne is a city I have heard people talk about time and time again and with it’s impressive credentials - Voted most liveable city in the world 6 years in a row I was extremely curious and eager to find out what all the commotion was about.
Numerous times in the past I had been told that Melbourne is very different to the likes of Sydney and you are either a ‘Melbourne fan’ or a ‘Sydney fan’…on the 24th November I landed in Melbourne ready to find out which tribe I belonged to.
Here is what I got up whilst trying to sass out this city!
When I was doing my online research trying to find accommodation for our stay, it quickly became apart that Hostels in the city are not very cheap. There are some which are cheaper than others, but the average price for a private room (which is what I was after) is around $70 per night.
Somewhere I had been highly recommended by a few people was Space Hotel. A highbred between a hostel and a hotel, offering a range of fancy amenities in a cool and quirky central location (Average nightly rate for a double room with shared bathroom $134). I did not stay there myself, but from what friends tell me it sounds like a pretty great place.
We opted for (finally) trying AirBnB…for the first time ever!
It was easy enough to book through the website, you have to pay in advance and are able to communicate with the host via the contact details provided. You can filter your search to find rooms only or whole apartments and can set different criteria depending on your priorities.
The place we chose was an apartment in St Kilda, it was spacious, had a good location near the metro stop and free WIFI. With a sofa, TV, kitchen and hot shower we felt like we were at home for the first time in a very long time!
EXPLORING THE CITY
From St Kilda we were able to get into the CBD by tram in around 20 minutes. Once in the CBD you enter a Free Tram Zone (see below for further details). The best way of getting around once you are in the centre of the City is using your own two legs…that way you burn off 1% of all the calories you will undoubtedly be consuming during your stay and you get to get lost - which is always the best part of exploring.
Admiring the street art
Melbourne feels like one giant art museum. Every other street you will come across beautifully crafted pieces of art metaphorically hanging on the walls in the form of graffiti. Unless you have been living under a rock (like me to be fair), you should have heard of Hosier Lane. The most popular colourful & artsy street which houses some spectacular Graffiti Art. Other streets which offer similar visual vibes are Union Street, Degraves Street, Centre Place amongst others. Whether you are into art or not, it is worth paying at least some of these streets a visit - they will blow you away and best of all they are FREE to visit! Plus.....need I mention the amazing ‘ selfie backdrop’ opportunities?
Getting cultured in the Museums
If culture is what you are after there are plenty of Museums in Melbourne, take your pick from some of the most popular ones such as the Melbourne Museum, the Chinese Museum, the Immigration Museum...to name a few .
People watching in the parks
Go for a stroll in one of the parks or grab a picnic and enjoy lounging on the green grass and people watching (come on we all do it! I mainly dog watch, whilst daydreaming I had my own adorable puppy). I came across a nice park just outside the Melbourne Museum complete with a beautiful fountain and some great architecture.
Sea Siding in St Kilda
Good weather? Why not head to the Sea side! The St Kilda area is right by the beach, with shops, bars, restaurants and a Luna Park there is something there for everyone - Especially on a hot sunny day :)
There are various highstreet & designer shops in the CBD, I even had to do some shopping myself. I say ‘had to’ because it was a lot colder in Melbourne than anticipated and with my backpack only containing summer clothes and a sporty pink jacket (you can’t miss it, it is literally in most of my pictures) I needed something warm to wear to a restaurant or bar that didn’t scream ‘I AM ABACKPACKER’….don’t worry though girls, it wasn’t a trip to Chanel for me this time (ha ha not that it ever is!), just good old H&M.
This really is the place to be if you are on a mission to spend your money. A whole street with additional side streets lined with shops and eateries for those 'mid spending breaks'. There are all kinds of options, from second hand vintage shops to high-street brands and designers boutiques.
Queen Victoria Market
This place is so much fun! Head here to buy cheap souvenirs and all other bits & bobs you would find at a market, but most of all come here to buy FOOD. From fruit and veg, to cheese, cured meats, fish and whatever else your heart desires. Your cravings will be satisfied in great style by Queen V.
Melbourne is famous for it’s food trucks and pop-up restaurants. You will come across them as you explore the city, the good ones usually have people lining up to grab their grub. If you are serious about your food, you can also have a look online to see what is going to be where on this website.
You will be spoilt for choice on what and where to eat in the city. Anything you may fancy will be available somewhere in Melbourne. I personally get overwhelmed when I have too many options, because I get major FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to food. So 9/10 times I will spend all my time trying to research what the reviews are saying online, whilst quickly building up an appetite which turns into ‘hanger’ , resulting in me walking into the nearest restaurant because I Must.Eat.Now.…Thankfully, wherever you turn in Melbourne there is a delicious meal waiting for you so don’t be too picky, the likelihood is you will enjoy it.
As I stood in front of the display at the Hopetoun Tea Room, longing and dribbling like a child outside a candy store, I was heartbroken that the long line to get in and a prior commitment meant I couldn’t get myself a piece or even a crumb of the cake action..but I did take these pictures to make your mouths water too!
Queen Victoria Market
On one of the days we headed to the Market and after walking around and building up an appetite we stocked up on fresh produce like cheese, baguettes, butter, prosciutto, peaches and cherries. It was a feast, one which I enjoyed very much and would recommend you try!
SECRET & ROOFTOP BARS
Boston Sub/ Jungle Boy
There are a few secret bars in London, but I had never been to one before. I did some research to figure out where to find some of these hidden gems around the city and as we were walking around chapel street decided to go to Jungle Boy. A tropical little bar, hidden at the back of a sandwich shop. In order to get in, you simply walk into the sandwich shop (which is fully functional and open for business) and go through their fridge door, into the hidden bar.
I felt like such a child walking into the sandwich shop and sheepishly asking "is the back open?" trying desperately to look cool and nonchalant - I don’t think I pulled off looking cool at all but hey! I got my delicious cocktails in the secret bar, I am happy.
This place is great, from the outside it looks like an old disheveled building, but on the inside it is made up of 7 floors of various trendy shops and restaurants. One of which is Meza Verde (pictured above) with a rooftop bar right above it.
The rooftop bars are not only a great place to get drinks and mingle but also a good way to get views of the Melbourne skyline without having to pay to go up the Eureka Tower.
OTHER THINGS I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE DONE
Althought we did a lot during our stay, there are a few things I would have liked to have also squeezed in such as:
- Visit the Eureka Tower - The highest public vantage point in the southern hemisphere.
- Go to Lui Bar - on the 55th floor of the Rialto building, it is praised for having amazing views, amazing cocktails and Live Jazz on a Sunday evening.
- Brighton Beach - as cliche as it may be I too wanted to have a cool picture with the colourful beach huts in the background (bhee bhee - that's me turning into a sheep).
HELPFUL TIPS & THINGS TO KNOW
- To get around Melbourne via Tram you will need a Myki card. It costs $6 to purchase the card the first time, the card can then be loaded up with credit as and when you need it. The card can be bought from 7/11 stores and ticketing offices, you can find information here.
- There is a Free Tourist Tram in the CBD, you can hop and off as you please but be warned - it does take a long tome to get round, it might actually be quicker to walk!
- The easiest (and cheapest) way to get to and from Melbourne Tullmarine Airport is using the Skybus shuttle service. The bus Service is frequent (approximately every 30 minutes) making it an easy option if you don't want to pay for a taxi or uber. Tickets can be purchased at the Airport or on board the bus and cost $19 one way.
So there you have it guys! My guide to the wonderful city of Melbourne.
It is important to keep in mind that sometimes when you travel there just aren’t enough hours in the day or money in your pocket to see or do everything you want...but that’s ok! what you can’t do will serve as a great excuse to come back again in the future!