After living and working in Sydney for almost four months, it’s fair to say we got a little settled! It was an easy life: we both had decent jobs, a great group of friends and it was summer and we lived on the beach! After realising that we had to leave or we never would, it was time to try the city we had most anticipated. Talking to friends Melbourne seemed to be a love/hate kind of place so we gave it a month to see for ourselves. In summary we absolutely loved it! Unlike Sydney it didn’t have a lot going for it: we had no friends, winter was coming and although Steph did, I couldn’t get a job. Even when people ask me now it’s hard to explain exactly why I consider it my favourite city for living! Granted if you came as just a tourist, it’s not as glamorous as Sydney and there’s not really much to do in comparison; but to live there is a whole different story. To my English friends, the best way to describe it is like one big East London mixed with Brighton cocktail (fitting as the number one thing to do in this city is drink!) Melbourne is a series of quirky alleyways adorned with street art and filled with authentic cafes, adorable restaurants, trendy underground bars and vintage shops. If you don’t stray from the main traffic ridden streets into the bustling laneways then you haven’t discovered the heart of Melbourne. I can’t even begin to tell you how good the shopping, eating and drinking is! If I was to make a life in Australia, I’d make sure it was in Melbourne, especially while I’m young. Unfortunately the job situation wasn’t all that great for a traveller and the best attempt at work I got was with a clipboard in a shopping centre signing people up to charities. I got fired after just three days and no pay. It’s a rite of passage as a traveller and despite being one of the lowest points of my life, I guess I’m grateful. Note to self: never again! The advantage of being unemployed was spending all my Sydney savings exploring the many cafes and bars that the city had to offer, and still I didn’t even make a dent on the list that I wanted to visit.
Steph and I spent our time living in a rather nice hostel (Flinders Backpackers) right in the middle of the city, which was ideal for exploring! It only took us a day to discover Southbank and I believe after going for a stroll down there, I texted Steph to get her to meet me for drink, declaring my love for our new home! I believe it’s a fairly new development right on the river with beautiful scenes both day and night. It’s primarily filled with nice restaurants that are out of the backpacker budget, but a bit further down there are some really lovely bars where we treated ourselves to a cocktail or two. There’s also a pretty cool bar that’s in the middle of the river where we spent a few chilly evenings with a bottle of wine under a heater.
If we were staying in Melbourne for longer, we’d definitely pick Fitzroy as our home. This is true hipster Shoreditch. It’s full of amazing vintage shops and boutiques, vegan/gluten free cafes and a whole array of nightlife spots. Guarantee this is where we end up on a night out as it was home to our favourite rooftop bar – Naked for Satan.
The Bondi of Melbourne. The beach is nothing special in comparison to the other amazing beaches this country has to offer (doesn’t help that it’s no longer summer) but this town still has that beachy, holiday vibe. In keeping with everywhere else, it’s just full of cafes, restaurants and bars and is home to some cute little penguins that come out at sunset to the backdrop of the marina and city skyline. It also near here that the main strip of nightlife is and a very famous bar that you can party in from Thursday night to Sunday without going home.
Just like Brighton in the UK, it’s full of tourists getting the obligatory shots of the uniquely painted beach huts. Again, visiting a beach when it’s not summer is not letting it really show off what it has to offer but we spent a nice hour or so walking down the beach before heading to a pub to warm up with craft beer and pizza.
Melbourne has definitely stole my heart!