If there’s one thing I learned in our short time here, it’s that people don’t go to Melbourne for the sights, they go for the culture. And when the culture is full of great food, nightlife, happy people and beautiful weather, can you really complain?
We flew in Friday from Adelaide and upon arriving to our Airbnb our hosts almost immediately handed us drinks. Brian and Crystal insisted on having a good chat with us over drinks and snacks, and couldn’t have been more helpful giving us an orientation of the city! Expats from Canada, they made sure we had a solid plan for where to go and what to see while we were here.
So with that, we grabbed our cameras and hit the street. And if you ever get the chance, here’s a few things we did and loved.
1. Walk the City
Surprisingly enough Melbourne’s a pretty walkable city! It might be a long walk, but if you have the time to explore on foot I highly recommend it. There’s a lot going on and I think you understand a city much better by seeing more than just the tourist stops.
2. See an AFL Game
If you have the chance to see an Australian football (or footy) game while you’re there, take it. An odd cross between rugby and soccer, I can honestly say it was one of the best sports games I’ve ever seen. Not because it was a close game but because the people there were so passionate about it. Granted it was the finals, but I’ve never seen anything like it. And unlike American football it was actually pretty easy to follow.
So good on ya, Straya. Let’s bring this one back to the states.
3. Go to a Festival
As part of the relentlessly cool culture, Melbourne is packed with events and festivals all year long. The Saturday we were there just happened to be the Big Vegan Market, so naturally we had to go. And it was packed. I mean I’ve been to a few similar events in the states but never seen a turnout like this. Just people everywhere, vegan and not, experiencing what the vendors had to offer and learning more about the lifestyle.
So whenever you’re there, do yourself a favor and research what’s going on. You never know what you’ll find!
4. Take the Free Trams
Another great thing about the city is that within the city center, trams are free and they’ll take you pretty much wherever you need to go. Just beware the free tram limit, because we took it out to the botanical garden and ended up walking an hour back because we didn’t want to pay $15 for the metro card and ticket.
5. Experience the Nightlife
After the AFL game we knew we had to see what all the hype was about, so we looked up a few bars and just started walking. Sure enough, five or ten minutes in we heard some of our favorite songs blaring from a rooftop bar across the street and made a beeline for it. And honestly, it was perfect. All the music we loved in a great atmosphere, with footy on TV and even a dance floor.
My only regret is that we didn’t have more nights and more friends in the city to go out with, but if we ever have the chance you can bet we’ll be back.