As I first revealed in this post back in September, the second stop of our Asia/Australia trip after Singapore (which you can read about here) would be Melbourne.
I visited Australia for the first time back in 2014 and did the typical touristy east coast route from Cairns down to Sydney. I really regretted not extending this trip to Melbourne at the time as practically everybody I met along the way told me how Melbourne was the best city to go to in Oz and how I would really be missing out by not going there.
Ever since this 2014 trip, it had been on my bucket list. Then, as soon as the notion of this next lot of travels was first discussed by my sister and I and Australia was mentioned, I just knew I had to throw Melbourne into the mix.
At the end of September, almost two years on from my first time in Oz, my dream of being able to visit Melbourne became a reality.
These are the reasons why Melbourne is my favourite city in Oz and truly kicks Sydney's behind:
1) The city looks and feels amazing.
Yes, Sydney has a couple of nice skyscrapers and is pretty to an extent - but have you SEEN the Melbourne skyline?! It's INSANE.
I think I find the city prettier because it has the river cutting directly through the centre, which means that there's skyscrapers overlooking it either side. If you sit out on the river behind CBD's Flinders Station, you have the perfect view of Southbank; and if you sit out on the river at the edge of Southbank, you have the perfect view of the rest of the CBD. It's so lovely and charming down there with shops, bars and buskers aplenty. Then you've got the beauty of the Royal Botanic Gardens only a stone's throw away.
The city also generally feels like aspects of places you've visited before; it's so homely. When I first walked through it's streets, I think I described it as a cross between Chicago, Auckland, Wellington and Charlotte. IT'S JUST AWESOME, okay?!
2) The mix of people.
Everyone who's been to Sydney CBD knows how rude the people can be there. It's quite common for a person to knock into you on the streets of Sydney and not even apologise for it.
Don't get me wrong, it's certainly not everybody. We met some lovely Sydneians. However, there's a lot of people constantly rushing around the pavements (a bit like London) and it often feels overcrowded.
Melbourne is super chilled in comparison. No one seems to be in a rush anywhere (even the business people dressed in suits) and if someone accidentally knocks into you, you get an instant apology.
Also the people we came across in Melbourne were so sweet, they were generally interested in us; like the Baristas we bought our coffee from in the morning who wanted to know what we were doing travelling-wise and the Shop Assistant that helped us buy gifts for our loved ones (or should I say OURSELVES, you know how it is) who wanted to know our life stories.
The Melbourne locals are so friendly, probably because the citizens are made up of people from all around the world. Out of all the places in Australia, Melbourne is the most popular to emigrate to (must be because Melbourne has been voted the number one city to live in out of all the cities in the world)! I can totally see it now.
3) It has cool suburbs.
From alternative Fitzroy to the hipster feel of St Kilda, Melbourne has some pretty cool suburbs surrounding its CBD.
We visited St. Kilda during an overcast day which probably wasn't the greatest idea for beach photos. Usually the sand is super golden, not slushy and rained on like we experienced. However, this little town still oozes charm, even in the crap weather and is a backpacker favourite for the beach, shops and nightlife.
The shops I'm talking about in particular are the cake shops. There's a whole row of them where you can find every cake variety imaginable - a must do (or should I say MUST EAT) if you're ever in the area. We had chocolate fudge cake and it was to DIE for.
Furthermore, there's Luna Park in St Kilda which is one of the oldest theme parks in Australia. We didn't go in, but it's just fun to have your photo taken in front of the entrance as it has quite a circus-themed look to it!
4) The night life is better.
Okay so I've only been on one night out in Melbourne and one night out in Sydney during our trip, but Melbourne won HANDS DOWN.
It must be something to do with friendly folks in the city and prettier surroundings, right?! ACTUALLY NO, it was because the bars we went to had an awesome atmosphere (Asian Beer Cafe and Melbourne Central, if any nosy parkers want to know)!
We were drank more in Melbourne. (Oops.)
5) The Great Ocean Road and the Apostles are a couple of hours drive away.
For those who haven't heard of the Great Ocean Road, it's exactly what it says on the tin: a road at the coast running alongside the ocean... AND IT'S GREAT!
There's a lot of beaches on the way that you can stop off and look at, as well as gorgeous generic scenery looking out to sea.
Next to the Great Ocean Road, on the edge of Port Campbell National Park, are the Twelve Apostles - the famous limestone rocks in the middle of the ocean that have slowly detached from nearby cliffs over time (although don't try to count twelve because there are, in fact, only seven remaining). BIT MISLEADING, to say the least!
Regardless, the SEVEN Apostles are definitely a sight to behold and have vastly become one of the most popular tourist hotspots in Melbourne. For me, they were up there with the Grand Canyon as one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.
We did a full day tour from Melbourne's CBD which included other stops as well as the Apostles, such as Loch Ard Gorge and the adorable beach town of Port Campbell. It was one of the best days of our trip and I'd highly recommend this tour to anyone!
6) It is cheaper.
Australia is more expensive than England in general, but Sydney is on a whole other level. I found that the local food and drink was cheaper in Melbourne, particularly in the food courts, and don't get me started on the accommodation! For a week in Melbourne's CBD, our accommodation was literally half the price of a week in Sydney's CBD. You read that right, kids - HALF THE PRICE!
You know what?! I could go on and on and on about this city... It has great shopping, one of the best public transportation systems I've ever experienced, a nice marina, etc! On the whole Melbourne, I FREAKIN' LOVED YOU!
My sister and I have both said that we could see ourselves living there. It really does feel like a home away from home (which is ironic as it's so far from home)!
We were super sad to leave after our week was up but, hey, maybe we'll be back someday!
Next stop: Shitney. (Just kidding Syds, I love you too!)
(Have you ever been to Melbourne? What did you think? Katie-xo)
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