Posted on June 23 2015
Inspired by travel blogs across the internet, this month Team MSM will each tell you about a travel destination they have been to or stayed in and loved.
First up, we have Melbourne, Australia. A hub of history, art, music and culture, this city in Victoria is dipped in character. The Central Business District (CBD) buzzes with activity yet it only takes one turn into an alleyway to discover the cutest little cafe you never noticed before, or one glance towards a building to get immersed in rich history. The central business district is full of music with innumerable buskers at every intersection playing music, singing or even beat boxing! What makes Melbourne so unique is the fact that it blends the past, present and future into one delightful concoction. If you're planning on visiting Melbourne sometime soon or just want to look at what it has to offer, read up on what you absolutely must not miss out in the City of Graffiti, Art, Culture and absolute bliss.
The first time I visited Melbourne was in the summer of 2006. I spent 4 days there with my family, after having been in Sydney for a few days. In comparison to Sydney, Melbourne felt like it's duller first cousin. Little did I know how drastically my opinion of it would change over the course of time. I visited again in 2011 and then moved there in 2013 to pursue higher tertiary education. Sydney's duller first cousin had transformed itself into a magnificient, classy, intellectually inspiring, cultural hot pot of a city. That's the thing about Melbourne - at first glance it appears to be just another city, but the deeper you delve the more secrets it unfolds.Needless to say, it is my favourite city in the world.
Scroll on to read an ex-Melbournian's tourist guide to Melbourne.
Best time of the year to visit:
Melbourne is located on the southern most tip of Victoria, Australia, and is known for having four weathers in a day! It could be sunny as Philadelphia one minute and hailing the next. Having said that, the best time to visit Melbourne would be either March-April or September-December. Even then, make sure you carry layers of clothing and an umbrella on you.
How to get there:
Lots of international airlines (including Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Thai Airways, Etihad Airways, Qantas, Air India) fly to Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport. The Airport is 40 minutes away from the CBD and has easy shuttle, bus or even taxi transfers. A taxi ride from the Airport to the CBD will cost you approximately $50 AUD. The airport transfer Skybus leaves the Airport every 15 mins and gets you to Southern Cross Station in the CBD for $18 one way.
(A tourist favourite is a horse pulled buggy ride through the city. This was spotted on an early winter morning on Elizabeth Street, Melbourne City.)
Where to stay:
I highly recommend that you stay in the Central Business District. The CBD has a lot to offer for both tourists and travellers plus is very well connected to all the places you'd want to visit in and around Melbourne.
Depending on your budget, here are a few options:
If you're travelling solo or with a couple of friends, stay in a backpacker hostel! Not only will it be hella cheap, you will also meet lots of young people from different parts of the world. Make sure you're okay with sharing rooms and bathrooms with 4+ people if you're looking to stay at a backpackers. We recommend United Backpackers located very close to centrally located Flinder's Street Station.
- Serviced apartments
A serviced apartment works really well if you're travelling with your parents. It is cheaper than a hotel plus you have a small kitchenette in which you can cook your meals. A few good ones are Quest Apartments, Oak Hotels and Jasper Melbourne.
- Super Luxe
Melbourne has lot of luxury hotels you can stay at. Check out Grand Hyatt, Crown Tower, The Langham Hotel or The Hotel Windsor.
Things to do
- Walk around the Central Business District- specially Bourke Street, Swanston Street, Elizabeth Street and Flinders Street to get the ultimate feel of the city. While on Bourke Street make sure you visit Union Lane – a muralled laneaway that makes for the most amazing pictures!
(Bustling Bourke Street Mall is a shopper's paradise) (Union Lane - street graffiti hot spot)
- Go up on a hot air balloon at Yarra Valley for picturesque views of Victoria (Yarra Valley is also famous for its wine tasting tours - do take one if you're a wine n cheese kinda person)
- Drive down The Great Ocean Road and to see the twelve apostles (the helicopter ride to the apostles is AMAZING)
- Take a tram to the Queen Victoria Market , grab a coffee at the Market Lane Cafe, you won't regret it!
- If you're a cricket fan make sure you take a tour of the epic Melbourne Cricket Ground (fondly known as the MCG)
- Hire a bicycle and discover the cute bathing boxes on Brighton Beach.
- Go up the tallest tower in the Southern hemisphere- The Eureka Skydeck for picturesque 360 degree views of Melbourne.
- Eat the best Italian food in the world at Lygon Street. (Grab desserts at Brunetti on Lygon Street where you'll be spoilt for choice)
Fun Facts about Melbourne :
- Melbourne was originally called “Batmania”. How cool is that!
- Melbourne has the highest number of restaurants and cafes per number of people than any other city in the world! Also, Melbournians are extremely picky about their coffee. Rightly so!
- Melbourne has been ranked the most livable city in the world a number of times. (Also, one of the most expensive cities to live in)
- Aussie slang for the day: Tomato ketchup is called DeadHorse in most Melbourne bars and bistros. Why, you ask? No freaking idea!
Have you been to Melbourne before? Tell me what your favourite thing is about the city. If you haven't, go now! A wise person once said, if not now then when?