Let's travel to Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne or Mel-bn, as how Aussies like to pronounce it in a laidback way, is located in Southern Australia. Be prepared to throw away the stereotyped hot Australian golden beaches and how people surf to work imagination and embrace this hippy modern city, which got heaps of personalities!
Interesting and Useful Facts
- Based on 2016 Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s ranking of 140 top world cities, Melbourne has been crowned to be the world’s most liveable cities for six consecutives year based on its healthcare, education, stability, culture, environment and infrastructure
- Best time to visit: December to February (summer). Melbourne does get cold, so make sure to pack a light cardigan for chilly summer evenings and thick jacket for winter.
- A lot of places are BYOB (bring your own booze) and tipping is not required at bars/restaurants.
- Australians absolutely love to shorten EVERYTHING in life so I have compiled a small list of slangs and vocabularies to help you speak Aussie style.
- Straya: Australia
- How you going?: How are you/how’s it going?
- You reckon?: Do you think so?
- Arvo: Afternoon
- Footy: Australian rugby (super popular in Australia)
- McDonald’s: Macca’s (Store signs are literally displayed as Macca’s)
- Thongs: flip flops
- Breaky: breakfast
- Mozzie: mosquito
- Ta: thank you
- Boot: car trunk
- Rock up: show up to something (i.e., an event)
- Hire: rent
- Jumper: sweater
- French fries: chips
- Ketchup: tomato sauce
- Melbourne CBD (Central Business District) is quite tiny so walking could be your main form of transportation.
- Trams: The city actually offers free tram system, which goes around the CBD to help tourists get around the city much easier. Go to Melbourne Central station and get a map to know which tram line is free or just ask any locals. If you are going from North Melbourne to South Melbourne (for example, Fitzroy to Windsor or St. Kilda), you will have to go through the CBD and change trams.
- Local Specialties
- When in Australia or Melbourne, you must try Vegitmite, Australia’s most famous food spread. Vegitmite is Australian version of Marmite (UK) and if you haven’t tried any of them before, the taste could be quite unique and strong. But I mean…if you are in Australia, you might as well give it a try!
- Kangaroo burger: I know this sounds HORRIBLE and it is! From what locals told me, kangaroo’s large population has caused severe damages to farms, so the Australian Government actually has regulations in place to eliminate over populated kangaroos. That being said, please do not catch random kangaroos you encounter.
What to do
- Royal Botanic Gardens (A MUST). If you go in the summer, make sure to catch an outdoor movie. You can purchase tickets online here. They have bean chairs you can rent and you can also bring your own wine/food. Just pack a picnic blanket and enjoy a movie in the middle of the city!
- Around the Botanic Gardens is a running trail called “the Tan” – Girls, if you fancy to see/meet some handsome footy players, go for a run/walk you sure wont be disappointed.
- Shrine of Remembrance is a historic monument and museum, which was built to honour all Australians who had served in war. You could climb to the top and the view of the city from up there is amazing.
- Hippy cafes and street arts: they are everywhere in the city. Save yourself a day and wear comfy shoes to get lost in the city.
- Queen Victoria Market
- If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy small road trips:
- 2-3days: Hire a car/campervan and hit up the Great Ocean Road to see the world’s famous 12 Apostles. On the way to the 12 Apostles, you will pass by Bells Beach and you can surf there as well (for advanced surfers only).
- 1-2 days: Wilsons Promontory National Park for hiking and camping. You can see many kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and emues in the park. Be careful when driving there and watch out for those animals. Avoid driving there/back in the dark.
- A day trip:
- Wine lovers - Go up north to Yarra Valley to do some wine tasting or Dandenong Ranges to do some hiking
- Hot spring lovers – rent a car and drive south of Victoria to visit Peninsula Hot Springs.
- Melbourne is super diverse so they have all different kind of cuisines for really authentic tastes. The cheapest option especially if you are travelling on a budget is to go to Chinatown and get dumplings. Lots of locals do that after a night out!
- Many restaurants on Brunswick and Smith Streets in Fitzroy and Chapel Street in Windsor.
- Vegetarian restaurants:
- The Veggie Bar
- Lentil as Anything which is by donation.
- Brunch: Tall Timber Café on commercial road. Almost all cafes in Melbourne don’t take reservations so make sure to go early.
Where to shop
- CBD – The Emporium and Melbourne Central for well-known brands
- Fitzroy – for hippy stores on Brunswick and Smith streets (one of my favourite places to go in Melbourne – must go!)
Where to go out
- Cool/rooftops bars:
- Madame Brussel (59 Bourke Street)
- Naked for Satan (285 Brunswick Street)
- The Carlton (193 Bourke Street)
- Section 8 (27-29 Tattersalls Lane in CBD)
- Asian Beer Café in Melbourne Central (211 La Trobe Street)
- Ponyfish Island (Yarra River in South Bank)
- Secret bars:
- Boston Sub (96 Chapel Streets) - seems like a normal fish and chips shop but it has an amazing outdoor jungle garden bar behind the “fridge” ;)
- Hasti Bala (third floor) at The Carlton in CBD
List by: Iris Hsu
Based in Toronto, Iris is an adventurous and spontaneous girl who has big heart and passion for travelling and yoga. She has travelled to 25+ countries and has done several backpacking trips on her own. She worked, lived and backpacked in Australia and South East Asia for a year and can’t wait to share all the good stuff with you all! Instagram: @iirishsu