Three years; It’s the length of a degree and the best education I could ever have asked for.
It feels like a long time ago that I packed my bags and boarded a plane from London to Melbourne, Australia. I came here at 21, with no plans, no return plane ticket and most impressively, just one winter sweatshirt. Fast-forward a few years and I can barely remember a time when I wasn’t calling myself a Melbournian.
There’s a lot of factors that have made me stay in Melbourne for as long as I have; and Covid wasn’t one of them (going home was never the issue, it was coming back). Primarily, it has been the truly fantastic friends I have made over here, the coffee, the wages, the lifestyle and the challenge of creating a life on the other side of the world, all on my own.
My Melbourne experience will never be the same as anyone else’s will be. That’s because; watching the New Years fireworks from my friend’s Eureka tower apartment, working at a marketing agency with a rooftop garden, driving the Ocean Road with my Parents, having my friend ask the winner of ‘The Bachelor’ to take a photo of us in the club because we had no idea who he was, going to Sydney with my best friend and ex-Sydneysider, having impromptu street parties with all of our neighbour’s and working in one of the most iconic laneways in the world, are experiences all unique to me.
However, for those of you planning to visit Melbourne in the future, I’ve also come up with a list of my top 10 favourite things to do here. They won’t be everyones cup of tea (or coffee), but these 10 things are just some of the experinces that have bought me a lot of joy during my life down under.
- Bay Trail Bike ride: Port Melbourne to Brighton
I debate that there is a better way to spend a sunny day than doing the Bay trail. Ride your bike past the city skyline at Southbank and follow the road-free bike path all the way to Port Melbourne. Cruise along the path by the sea, stopping off at Elwood for Impressive views and continue all the way to the Brighton Bathing Huts where you can go for a swim.
2.Visiting Williamstown (by bike or boat)
Take the bike route here, stopping off at Footscray for some Asian food or good coffee at Rudimentary. Continue along the coast to Williamstown, Melbourne’s oldest port settlement. Stop off by Scienceworks for unbeatable views. Alternatively, catch one of the day cruises, crack open a beer and sail into the port and spend the day at the gorgeous beach.
Get some mates and head over to Philip Island in the car. You will see spectacular rugged beaches, wild kangaroos and penguins.
4.Capital City Trail Bike Ride
Another bike ride I know, but you can also walk or run sections of this 18.14 city loop. The route takes you along the side of the Yarra river and gives you an insane tour of the city, taking you through popular suburbs like Brunswick and Collingwood. You can stop off for coffee along the way, explore the Yarra Bend Park or meander off into the Merri Creek trail for more nature.
5.Run to the Shrine Of Remembrance
The 5k tan track that loops around the Shrine of Remembrance was named by Lonely Planet as one of the best runs in the world. The loop takes you around the beautiful botanical gardens and alongside the Yarra River. Get to the shrine for sunset where you can appreciate Melbourne in all its glory.
6. Grocery haul at The Queen Vic Market
The market was my happy place in Melbourne lockdowns and supporting small businesses is one thing that has proven really important to me over the last few years. Spend a couple of hours strolling through the market, where the bread is divine, the cheese selection is unbeatable, the natural wine is plenitful, the veggies are cheap and the atmosphere is second to none- No plastic required.
7.Driving the Ocean Road
It’s the journey, not the destination. The Twelve Apostles are alright but its the Drive that makes the Ocean Road so incredible. Stop off at Anglesea, Belles Beach and Torquay.
8. Strolling along Gertrude Street
Nearby Smith Street has been named the coolest street in the world in 2021 but Gertrude Street is my favourite. It’s a small strip at the side of Carlton gardens with stunning blossom trees and some of the best, maybe little fancy, hospitality venues. Go to: The Morning Market, Sonido, Poodle, Workers Club, The Eveleigh, Gertrud Grocer and Archies all Day.
9.Try Japanese Breakfast
Avo Toast is fine but Japanese Breakfast is really yummy. Go to Cibi or Ima Project for the traditional spread of salmon, rice, onsen egg and pickles. If matcha latte is your thing, go to Little Rogue Cafe and it’s bakery Bakemono, its the best.
10. Going Swimming in Fitzroy Baths
Inner city swimming with sun loungers and it’s so cheap, it’s virtually free.
11. Exploring Half moon Bay
My Australian friends reckon Melbourne has crap beaches but even they agree Half Moon Bay is pretty nice. This gorgeous beach is rugged and naturally stunning. It can get a little crowded on a hot day but if you clamber over the rocks on the far right, its a lot more secluded.
This list could go on for a while but these are some of my absolute favourites.
I just want to give some big love to Melbourne and all of the amazing people that I have met along the way. You have truly changed my world x