I have been calling Melbourne home for more than 5 years now, and I have to say that it is an amazing city to live in. Even though the climate is not the best compared to the rest of Australia (Melbourne being called the city of “the four seasons in one day” due to his unpredictable weather) this city has qualities that make up for it! So let me guide you through the 10 things I love about Melbourne!
Melbourne is home for people of approximately 200 countries, which means the food diversity is amazing. If you venture on Lygon St, you will find proper Italian food, while Chinatown displays the best of Asian cooking. Melbourne also offers some great pub meals which are generally good value for money or amazing cafés where you will be able to eat the perfect avocado on toast. Some of my favourites are “Tall timber” in Prahran and “Top Paddock” in Richmond.
One thing I miss the most about Melbourne when I go overseas (or everywhere else in Australia) is a good coffee. It is THE city with a proper coffee culture, where you can ask for pretty much anything (let’s say a strong soy cappuccino or a hot skinny piccolo). Your drink will be made by a barista, who is highly skilled and will be able to make latte art – for your next Instagram picture.
The busy atmosphere
You will never be bored in Melbourne! There are lots of festivals happening all year round: a few examples are Moomba, Melbourne comedy festival, Melbourne food and wine festival, not to mention sportive events like the Australian tennis Open, the Formula 1 Grand Prix, or the famous Melbourne Cup carnival. One of my favourite is the white night when the city’s iconic buildings light up and street performances are happening everywhere.
Melbourne is the only city in Australia where trams are still running. They will take you everywhere from the city to outer suburbs (and the opposite, of course). And guess what? You can even board the tram for free if you stay inside the CBD. Going a bit further, trains are reliable (and trust me, this is a BIG difference with Paris). Even if you use public transport at night, there are always two policemen at the train station where you get off, ensuring that everybody is ok. And, knock on wood, I always felt safe in Melbourne, even when working at night and having to walk home. As a woman, this is priceless.
Locals are easy going
What surprised me when I first came to Australia was the behaviour of locals, who are quite easy going and open. If you stop someone in the street and ask for help, they will be more than happy to guide you. Most of the Melbournians are proud of their city, so if you meet locals they will give you the best advice. Their way of greeting someone is by saying “Hi, how are you?” (“how ya goin” with the proper Aussie accent). Last but not least, their favourite sentence is “no worries mate”, showing their laid-back spirit.
The street art
If you wander through the city, you can admire street art in numerous alley and building. The most famous are probably AC/DC Lane and Hosier Lane, where you will find a lot of tourists taking photos. If you do not feel like wandering around and searching for it, the city of Melbourne is even offering a “street art walk” map that you can find online.
The parks and gardens
There are numerous parks and gardens around Melbourne, including the beautiful Royal botanic garden, where you can have a picnic, a sunbath, or a nap – the choice is yours. Another way to spend a day out is by using one of the barbecues along the Yarra River to cook your lunch. And at night, walking through Flagstaff or Treasury Gardens, you will be able to see some cute possums climbing around the trees.
The beaches nearby
Ok, the beaches near the city are not the most beautiful; however it is still nice to think that you can enjoy a day out in St Kilda just from a short tram journey. From there, you can even walk to Brighton and the famous bath boxes. If you are willing to drive or take a train further, Chelsea beach is amazing.
During summer, there is dozen of rooftop bars where to enjoy a cocktail. Some of my favourites are Naked in the sky in Fitzroy, where you can take a look at the city skyline, and the Imperial Hotel on Bourke Street, with a nice view of the parliament house. Something a bit more fancy would probably be the Emerson in Prahran. And if you like a movie under the star, the Curtin House in the CBD is offering cinemas sessions during summer.
If you like food as much as me, you can be sure to find fresh and delicious produce all around Melbourne. My weekly shopping session is at the Prahran Market, where I always find amazing vegetables, cheese, varieties of dips and bread (my favourite). Another great place is the South Melbourne Market, and the most famous one is of course the Queen Victoria Market, with some amazing stand of food on the go. They are organizing a summer and winter market night on Wednesdays as well, with live music and a lot of food stands from all around the world.
Melbourne has been ranked the world’s most liveable city seven years in a row, from 2011 to 2017. Even though we lost our title (we are now second after Vienna) I still think that this is a great place, and there are many things to be proud of. If you have already visited it, tell me what you think of it. For others, I hope this list of 10 things I love about Melbourne would make you want to come and enjoy this city!