I lived in Melbourne for six months, and in that short time, it became one of my favorite places on earth. Melbourne is enveloped by a European charm that breathes a different life into it than other cities in Australia. I quickly fell in love with the little cafés tucked away in alleyways, its wild festivals and the multicultural atmosphere. So, come with me. Let’s explore some of my favorite place that make Melbourne a fantastic city to visit.
Photo by Charlie Hindhaugh
Every Wednesday evening, from November through late March, Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market transforms into a multicultural celebration bursting with international live music, food, and cheap drinks – well, cheap by Melbourne standards. The night market is a great place to hang out with your friends, take your significant other out for a night, try international dishes that you’ve always been curious about or just leisurely stroll and look at all the things for sale. I only had a chance to visit a couple of times, but each time made for a fantastic night and these evenings are now some of my fondest memories of this grand city.
Photo by Michael Sale
In all my travels, I’ve never seen a festival quite like White Night. The city’s central business district (CBD) is transformed into a vibrant array of bright lights, vivid colors, and strange exhibits. Projections shoot across the night sky covering entire buildings in cartoonish art that makes you feel as if you accidentally wandered into Roger Rabbit’s Toontown. The Yara River is lit up with optical illusions, while its fountains shoot wildly into the air. Enthusiastic locals cover their bodies in paint or colorful costumes and dance through the crowds carrying boom boxes. It is as if they are trying to lure people to join them!
Photo by BrunoBrunan
Melbourne has a coffee culture that rivals the likes of Paris. In fact, it is known as the coffee capital of Australia, and many of the locals say it is the best coffee in the world. Being a massive coffee addict, I do not disagree. The city is full of cafés and coffee houses tucked away in narrow cobblestone streets and graffiti-filled alleyways. The smell of espresso and scrumptious delicacies fill the air. The sights and sounds are quite stimulating as well: intimate couples whispering over a meal, groups of friends laughing while they share brunch, and businessmen and women out for a lunch meeting. Somehow these small hidden gems are always busy.
Photo by Roberts Birze
One thing Melbourne has no shortage of is rooftop bars. My personal favorites are those located a little outside the CBD. They give you the best view of the city’s skyline and what better way to gaze at this beautiful city than while sipping a glass of sangria or a crisp white Australian wine. Yes, the drinks are a little pricier on the roof, but it is a small price to pay to enjoy such a gorgeous view.
The Great Ocean Road
Photo by Karen Clarke Ng
Smell the salty ocean, feel the wind against your face, see amazing views as you enjoy a 7-hour drive that winds through some of the most spectacular terrain in Australia. Gorgeous ocean views, hiking trails through the lush rainforest, striking waterfalls and quaint little beach towns that are perfect for lunch and a cheeky pint are just a few of my personal favorites along the way. Melbourne is an ideal place to set out on the Great Ocean Road. You’ll find yourself jumping out of the car as often as you can to marvel at the views and to get one more amazing photo for the day. However, the best site to see lies at the end of your journey, the world-renowned 12 Apostles. These large, tan rock formations climb straight out of the ocean floor into the skyline; their jagged shapes and colorful layers tell their story. The Great Ocean Road is not only one of the best coastal drives in Australia, but in the world.
Life is good in Melbourne
Photo by Jes
Melbourne goes at its own pace and has a completely different vibe than the rest of Australia. The city is welcoming, friendly and seems to change every day. It is a city that is quite an adventure in itself and is always ready to be explored. There are always new things to see, hidden gems to discover and new friends to meet. Sit back and enjoy; life is good in Melbourne.