In 2018, I decided to give living in one place a try. Through a few last minute change of plans, and my brother already being there, that place ended up being Melbourne, Australia.
As it turns out, I wasn’t ready to stop travelling, and my year in Melbourne was cut short, as I took off bound for the Oaxacan coastlines of Mexico. But the city of Melbourne will always hold a special place in my heart, and it’s a city I feel has so much to offer, and much for me to go back and explore again, and again, and again.
Here’s a quick love-note-list of reasons I love Melbourne ❤️
If you’re from Australia or New Zealand, you will already be well familiar with the distinctly antipodean version of coffee – the humble flat white. And, truth be told, if I had been arriving in Melbourne from my home country of New Zealand, this wouldn’t have excited me in the same way.
But, I had not been to New Zealand in a while, and had spent years travelling around Asia and Europe, far from my beloved coffee, and arriving back somewhere that makes these so well was super exciting. I was delighted.
A flat white is like a latte, but with more milk. It’s kind of difficult to describe, but trust me, it’s better.
If you’ve never tried one (or you’ve only tried them outside of NZ and Aus, which doesn’t count) Melbourne is an excellent place to start. It’s practically a sin to butcher a flat white here, so you can get an excellent drink just about anywhere you try.
Long Summer Evenings
Melbourne puts on a stunner of a summers evening, with temperatures (and sunlight) soaring until the late hours. At the peak of summer, it can be hot and sunny until almost 9pm, and gorgeous average highs hovering around 28 Celcius (and soaring up into the 40s from time to time!)
The months I lived in Melbourne were all summer months, so my opinion is a bit bias! Previous trips into the city throughout other times of the year have proven Melbourne is not immune from gross winter weather, either. But the summer evenings are just so lovely it makes up for it.
Yarraville is an inner suburb to the West of the city centre, and it’s pretty fabulous – not just because it’s where I found my apartment and based myself (also that!), but because it is full of trendy cafes, leafy parks, and is off the well-trodden tourist trail of the city – whilst still being only a couple of quick train stops from the heart of very Central Melbourne.
Timeout Magazine even declared it the 5th coolest neighbourhood in the world!
It’s a beautiful neighbourhood to wander about on a sunny day, and has a strong sense of community for such a small, central neighbourhood. And for its size, the variety of excellent restaurants and cafes is impressive. The art deco Sun Theatre is a great spot to watch a film in a gorgeous, traditionally restored & maintained 1930’s theatre, and one of my favourite brunch spots in all of Melbourne is here: Dad and Dave’s Cafe
Craft beer + Rooftop bars
Love craft beer? Melbourne’s got you covered. I did not, in fact, love craft beers. At best, I liked them from time to time. But Melbourne changed that for me, and introduced me to a whole new world of delicious drinks. There’s no shortage of trendy craft breweries to discover, and maybe if you’re like me your whole attitude towards beer might shift!
But that’s not even the best part of the Melbourne beer scene, nope – the coolest part is just how many rooftop bars there are tucked away in the city. So many unsuspecting doorways leading up narrow stairs to super cool rooftop bars with awesome views. They are honest just about everywhere, and I continued to be surprised
Melbourne Street Art
The Melbourne Train Stations
I grew up in a city without trains, so funky train stations and railway travel through the heart of a city will always be a novelty for me. But some of the train stations in Melbourne are simply charming.
My favourites were the Yarraville station, for something that felt like stepping back in time to a tiny little rural station (yet mere stops from the heart of downtown) and Flinders Street Station for being so gorgeous and magnificent, in exactly the opposite way from Yarraville!
The Greek Precinct
Many people don’t realise that Melbourne is the city with the largest Greek population, outside of Greece. In fact, I hadn’t known this either until I read Afternoons in Ithaka. But it’s true!
Greece is a country I am rather enamoured with, and one that will always mean a lot to me. So it was wonderful to find that Melbourne city has a busting Greek precinct full of typical Greek restaurants, where I could catch up on all my favourite Greek foods and goods. They even have a website that provides more information about this little central city gem.
Cafe Culture + Food
Melbourne has good food running through its veins, and it would be impossible to provide a list of the best cafes here because there are just so many (but here’s one of many lists, if you need one!) but safe to say, my inner foodie was in love. It’s an especially great place to go out and find brunch
Melbourne currently has the largest urban tram network operating in the world, which is pretty impressive. For me, getting around by tram feels like a rare public transport treasure and reminds me of some other very cool cities, such as San Fransisco and Lisbon. Exploring the many different tram stops (over 1700 of them!) is something I rather love about Melbourne.
Fitzroy is another of my favourite Central Melbourne suburbs, a hub of trendy cafes, galleries and bookstores with a famously bohemian vibe. It’s also where you’ll find my favourite little perfumery, Lore Perfumery.
The Yarra River
The majestic Yarra river flows through the heart of downtown Melbourne, and is an iconic feature of any cityscape snap. The beautiful river is important for locals, tourists, and even holds spiritual significance for Aboriginal communities. It’s a pleasure to wander the banks, and explore the city along the Yarra.