City Girl Vs Small Town Girl: Life In Melbourne

FeaturedLife In Melbourne

When I was 18, I followed a life long dream and made the move from my small town of Brighton up to the UK’s capital of London.

At first, the hustle and bustle and novelty of walking past iconic landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace as part of my daily commute was overwhelming.

However, it was a brief stint that lasted just a few months until the loneliness and franticness of the city wore me down and I moved back home. That experience in London led me to believe that I just wasn’t a city girl and I was resigned to that: until I moved to Melbourne.

I arrived in Melbourne at the end of last year on a Working Holiday Visa- you can follow my travels from day one on this section of the blog.

The decision to do so was totally random and in my mind a short term one. At first, I said I’d be home by Christmas, then that extended into April. Then April came and I said I’d stay until summer. Then that brings us up to the current date now, almost one year on and still here. 

Although it’s been voted the world’s second most livable city for years in a row according to the Global Livability Index (coming in only after Vienna), Melbourne isn’t a place that’s particularly high on the tourist map- I’m guessing mainly because it’s so damn far away from the rest of the world.

So why Melbourne?

Well, I’ve visited quite a few cities over the last few years: Paris, New York, Bangkok, Copenhagen, Sydney and Hanoi, to namedrop a few. However, there’s just something about Melbourne that makes it so unique in comparison to other places that I’ve been to.

Life In Melbourne

 

Space

For starters, on the map, Melbourne is way bigger than London (almost six and a half times bigger) to be exact. However, Melbourne’s Central Business District or CBD is much smaller and way more compact so almost everywhere is in walking distance. Secondly, its population is proportionally lower than London at 5 million compared to 8 million. So, although Melbourne’s tourist attractions, bars and restaurants busy, it never feels overcrowded.

Australia’s cultural capital

Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital which means that there’s an overwhelming amount of exhibitions and galleries to explore on days off from work. That goes without mentioning the countless festivals and events that are held throughout the year- and then, of course, there’s Melbournes ever-changing street art scene.

Eating and drinking

Next reason- Melbourne’s drinking and dining scene in the city is out of this world. If you’re a foodie then this is the city for you. Last week, my parents visited me from the UK and they commented about the huge amount of dining options available in the city: and it’s true. Next, there’s the city’s love affair with coffee. Melbournian’s are coffee addicts and Melbourne has more cafes per capita than any other city in the world. In fact, it’s actually referred to as the coffee capital of the world. 

The best of both worlds 

Like my hometown, Brighton, Melbourne is located on the coast. This means that in summer, there are plenty of beautiful beaches to relax on and enjoy the warm weather. What’s more, Melbourne is also surrounded with outstanding natural beauty in all directions such as National Parks, vineyards and of course one of the world’s most iconic drives, the Great Ocean Road. This coupled with everything that the city has to offer, means that Melbourne is the best compromise between city living and the great outdoors.

Life In Melbourne

I could go on and name lot’s more reasons why I love Melbourne so much but you only need to go and take a look through the posts on this blog to see why. Besides, that’s not the point of this post. The purpose that I’m trying to get across is that this move has proved to me why it’s important to keep expanding your comfort zone.

I’m from a small UK town of 600,000 people. It’s by the coast and it’s seasonal meaning that winters are quiet and sleepy. At home, I spend my weekends going for walks and baking rather than doing the rounds of rooftop bars and making coffees in a busy cafe with queues out of the door.

My time living in London led me to believe that I wasn’t a city girl but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I was content with my lifestyle in the UK but in Melbourne, I’ve never felt more alive. In a city where I have the space to express myself and do the things that I love but also an ever-changing list of places and events to keep me occupied, this year living in the city has been one of the best of my life.

It all goes to show that sometimes if things aren’t going to plan, it’s not you who needs to change but the place that you’re in itself. 

Have you ever had an experience similar to mine where changing the place that you lived changed your whole perspective? Please get in touch, I’d love to hear.

Confessions Of A Melbourne Barista: Spilling the beans of what it’s like to make coffee in Melbourne 

Confessions Of A Melbourne Barista: Spilling the beans of what it's like to make coffee in Melbourne 

I love the routine that I have going in Melbourne- and when I’m not busy writing or out exploring the city, you’ll find me at my cafe job, making coffees.

Coffee making is something that I’ve been doing on and off for the last few years back in England- ever since I was seventeen and I got my first cafe job. It’s a job that I not only enjoy but it’s one that has enabled me to fund many a trip over the last few years.

If you’ve never done it and you too love drinking coffee and enjoy chatting to the public then I would encourage you to go on a barista course: it’s a valuable set of skills to have that you can use anywhere in the world- plus cafe work can be a lot of fun.

Having said that, before I got to Melbourne I was very doubtful that I’d manage to find a coffee making job at all. Melbourne is famous for its coffee and boasts some of the best baristas and cafes in the world.

I was worried that I wouldn’t make the cut.

Thankfully, by some miracle, I managed to find some work pretty quickly. Since then my coffee-making abilities and my caffeine tolerance have been pushed to the limit- but being a barista has never been more fun than here.

On difficult coffee orders

It’s always when I have a ton of dockets up that I get that request for- an extra hot, dirty chai latte with almond milk, please. To the average person, coffee is coffee, right? Well to many customers there are a lot of variables and common requests include everything from burning hot to weak, 3/4 full, in a mug, made using particular brands of milk or made with varying quantities of foam.

On coconut milk

Soy, almond and lactose-free are fine but I’m sorry coconut milk is just a nightmare to work with.

On regular customers

We have a lot of regular customers who come to get coffee and chatting to them makes my day. Most people are really friendly and will always ask questions about you and what you’re doing. I always try and remember the names of our regulars, but between staff members, we often refer to people by their coffee order instead.

On the people that don’t know what they want

In Melbourne more than any other city, there are a lot of customers who know exactly what they want when it comes to coffee. The other half- Well they don’t have a foggy clue. Requests for ‘just a coffee’ are the norm. Sometimes you’ll bring over a short mac and they’ll laugh or complain that their cappuccino is too foamy. Difficult requests are the worst but those customers that require a breakdown of every single coffee on the menu, well they come pretty close.

On making coffee

Melbourne is famous for its coffee and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what makes the coffee different here to coffee at home in England- and I’m sorry, there is a difference. The fundamentals are that coffees in Australia are generally weaker, with a regular size containing just one shot of espresso. However, the coffee sizes are also smaller here so it evens it out. in Australia, a lot more emphasis is given to the espresso shot here- whereas in England its all about the aesthetics (aka latte art). Here the baristas know the importance of packing the coffee properly and they can spot the difference between an over and under-extracted shot: something that I had to get to grips with.

On coffee making hacks 

A barista will know that there is a difference between a latte and a flat white-despite the cup. That being that a flat white should have virtually no foam. However, if you’re inundated with coffee orders, you can use the same milk to make the two. Just pour the flat white first, holding the milk jug at a height so that the foam doesn’t sit on the coffee. Then use the remainder of the milk to make the latte.

On Magic Coffee 

Contrary to the name, no special powers are required here. Magic coffee is a special Melbourne creation- and it’s quite a particular one. Technically, a magic coffee is like a smaller stronger latte that is made over a double ristretto or restricted espresso ( that’s the first half of the espresso shot only). If you were to serve this is in a normal latte glass, you would then top it up to two thirds full with steamed latte milk.

On Melbourne

There are a lot of fantastic cafes and baristas in Melbourne. I don’t claim to be anywhere near the best however I wanted to assure anyone that’s coming to the city and hoping to find cafe work. There’s a lot of prestige that goes with being a Melbourne Barista- but you don’t have to be a latte art genius or a pro at grinder calibrations to get a job. You need to be chatty, hard-working, enthusiastic and most importantly, you need to have a love of coffee and a drive to find out as much as you can about making and drinking it.

So don’t let your fears hold you back. If you’re looking for a coffee-making job in Melbourne, just get out there, get chatting and hand out some CVs. After all, it’s worth a shot.

Melbourne: Favourites Of The Week

operator 25 brunch

 Sakuratte, brunch at Operator 25, Australian Footy and cheap eats at Dodee Paidang

The week is fast approaching that I was set to end my working holiday in Australia, leave Melbourne and head back home. However, I have a surprise for you- I am leaving to travel around Asia for a few weeks with my best friends from home but then, guess what- I’m coming back to Melbourne.

This recent turn in events wasn’t actually an easy decision to come to. Staying here means that I won’t get to see my friends and family for that bit longer and it means that I’m swapping a warm summer in the UK for a cold Australian winter. However, when it came down to it- I’m having way too much fun in Melbourne to go home and quite simply, I’m not done here yet.

Anyway, my upcoming trip to Asia brings the chance to take a break from working, an opportunity share my adventures with you guys on the blog and then a fresh new start when I return to Melbourne mid-July. So, in the meantime, I’ve been soaking up as much of my favourite Australian city as I can and I wanted to share a few of my latest discoveries with you guys. So here we go.

Brunch at Operator 25operator 25 brunch

Brunch at Operator 25

Brunch at Operator 25

Last week, my friend and I decided to spend a hungover day like all true Melburnians do- by going for brunch. We decided to check out one of the city’s favourite brunch spots, Operator 25.

This quirky cafe is housed in Melbourne’s first phone switchboard and it has an eclectic menu with everything from peanut butter caramel french toast to a Japenese octopus omelette on the menu- so Melbourne, I know.  I went for the Matcha and Avocado smoothie bowl and my friend for the pulled pork benedict. Both of which were good and very aesthetically pleasing.

Thai Food on a budget at Dodee Paidang

Another foodie outing I took last week was to Dodee Paidang- a budget Thai eatery housed in an underground basement and that’s repeatedly hailed as one of Melbourne’s best cheap eats. I got here for an early lunch by myself but there was already a queue- looks like it’s a favourite with office workers on their lunch breaks. However, once I sat down my Pad See Ew came almost right away and I was in and out in about 30 minutes. What’s more, lunch only set me back $10.

Sakuratte

Japenese Sakuratte at Little Rogue

Next, I went to one of my favourite Melbourne coffee shops: Little Rogue. I usually come to this cute little cafe for their delicious matcha lattes but last week I decided to try something different and ordered the Sakuratte.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about- a Sakuratte is a milky drink made out of Japenese Sakura Cherry blossom. The drink comes with the blossom syrup drizzled in it which you then have to mix, turning the drink a greyish colour. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I really liked the subtle sweet taste of the drink and it was a really enjoyable caffeine alternative.

melbourne footy match

Experiencing my first Australian Footy match 

You’ll be surprised to hear that my last big Melbourne experience of the week was not food related (well not entirely). I finally made it to an Australian footy match. This had been on my Melbourne bucket list for a while so I was really excited.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this unique Australian sport- let me try and enlighten you. Footie is a contact sport that’s played on an oval-shaped field between two teams of eighteen players. Points are scored by kicking the oval ball between the goal posts (which are essentially large poles with no net). You get six points for a goal.  You can also score a behind in between the back posts (worth one point). The team with the highest number of points at the end of the game wins. What’s interesting is how much of a hybrid between football and rugby this game is- with contact between players and handballing allowed.

I was lucky enough to watch the game at the MCG- Melbournes most impressive stadium, where the atmosphere was insane. I also got myself a meat pie with ketchup on top and a cider- neither of which are my favourite things but I was advised this was how the Australians do it- All for the cultural enrichment, right?

Living and working in a city like Melbourne is so much fun and getting to explore this city slowly is one of the many benefits of doing a working holiday in Australia. Do you have any questions about life on working holiday or suggestions for things to do in Melbourne? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

What You REALLY Need To Pack For A Working Holiday In Australia

Featured

Packing for a trip is difficult but packing for an Australian Working Holiday is something else. You’ve got to cram enough clothes, cosmetics and gadgets into your bag for at least 12 months, not to mention the fact that you have to accommodate for the cold Australian winter, hot summer and possibly think about work clothes too: It’s no surprise that packing for a working holiday can be overwhelming.

When I told my friends that I was going to live for a year out of what I could fit into a backpack, some of them thought I was crazy.  Now months on, I can say that it’s been pretty easy and despite picking up a few items of clothing along the way, so far I’ve managed pretty well with what I came with.

If you too now face the struggle of packing for a working holiday in Australia, don’t stress- I’ve got you covered. Here’s my ultimate Australia working holiday packing list.

Clothes

The majority of space in my backpack was taken up with clothes but in all honesty, if you are going away for a year then you are going to need quite a few changes of outfits. I’m really happy with the number of clothes that I bought to Australia and apart from a couple of things to get me through the Melbourne winter (like a coat and jumper) I’ve just been wearing what I came with.

  • 2x long flowy trousers (suitable for hot and cold weather)
  • 1x jeans
  • 2x skirt (one good for evenings)
  • 2 x shorts
  • 2 x dress 
  • 1 x trainers
  • 1 x converse
  • 1 x flip flops and/or sandals (suitable for evenings)
  • 8 x basic short sleeve tops
  • 2 x evening tops
  • 2 x bikini
  • 2 x sweatshirts
  •  1 x set workout clothes (leggings, shorts, top, sports bra) 
  • 1 x lightweight waterproof jacket
  • 1 x tote bag, 1 x evening, small bag, 1 x day backpack (for hand luggage) 
  • underwear
  • pyjamas: shorts and top

Essentials

  • Passport
  • Insurance
  • Your Working Holiday Visa
  • Australian Money and debit/credit cards

Gadgets

  • Laptop
  • Phone
  • Kindle 
  • Australian adapter
  • Portable phone charger
  • Extension lead

Cosmetics

  • Hairbrush
  • Dry shampoo
  • Shampoo, conditioner
  • Face Wash
  • Toothbrush/ paste
  • Basic makeup and something special for evenings
  • Nail scissors
  • Mosquito repellent
  • prescription drugs

Travel Accessories

  • Wallet to keep documents organised
  • Money belt/ bumbag 
  • Passport cover
  • Travel socks
  • Padlock
  • Travel journal and pens 
  • Waterproof cover for backpack

Other things

  • 1 towel
  • 1 x sarong 
  • 1 flannel/ small towel
  • Cutlery set 
  • Small sewing kit
  • Small year diary (useful when working)
  • Tea and favourite snacks from home
  • A notebook

The things I am really glad I brought (and what I wish I’d packed)

  • My travel Journal- I kept my journal the entire time that I travelled the East Coast and I am so happy that I did. Now I have a record of my travels that I can keep for years to come.
  • Workout clothes- Personally, I couldn’t have survived a year without exercising so I’m really happy I brought my workout clothes with me on this trip. I think its a good idea to have a pair of workout shorts and leggings so that you’re prepared for the summer, winter and cold air con temperatures.
  • Kindle- My backpack used to be 50% full of books so having a Kindle has been a game changer. I can’t recommend the Kindle Paperwhite enough. It holds loads of books, has a low glare and I hardly ever have to charge it. The great thing about the Kindle is that it’s compact and you can even read it in the dark- great for hostel dorms. 
  • Laptop- My laptop is the one thing I use every single day and I can’t belive I almost didn’t bring it. As I was travelling in Australia and then later in Asia, I was worried about it getting damaged or stolen however so far, all of the hostels have had lockers and I couldn’t have done either of my internships or blogging without it. 
  • Evening tops- Going out in the evenings is Australia is somewhat dressy so having a couple of nice evening tops is essential. 

What I wish I’d packed

  • In hindsight, I wish I’d bought my hair straighter as it’s nice when I want to make more of an effort in the evenings
  • Sandals- I only came with flip flops so I ended up having to buy nice sandals that I could wear out in the evenings to bars and nice restaurants.
  • A deck of cards- A necessity for all trips- not really a big issue though as I was able to pick up a pack pretty easily
  • Warmer clothes- I didn’t anticipate that I’d stay in Australia for as long as I have therefore I wasn’t that well prepared for the winter in Melbourne. It hasn’t really been an issue as I was able to buy everything that  I needed but it’s just a heads up- Australia isn’t always hot.
  • A cheap phone- Seeing as I needed a phone for Australia and also Asia afterwards, I decided to buy a cheap brick phone that I could use for calls and texts with a local sim card. This wasn’t expensive to buy but if you have one at home it’s better to bring it and save the hassle.

Packing for a working holiday can be overwhelming but it’s important to remember that the fundamental things that you need are just the same as any other trip. A year is a long time and it’s just not possible to pack everything you need. However, the great thing about Australia is that you can buy everything there so as long as you have your passport, money and your working holiday visa, all of the other stuff is expendable.

Do you have any more questions about doing a Working Holiday in Australia? Feel free to drop me a message or check out my guide on what to do when you arrive.  guide on what to do when you arrive. 

 

Australia Working Holiday: Expectations Vs Reality

FeaturedAustralia Working Holiday: Expectations Vs Reality

Before I arrived in Australia, I wrote a blog post, 10 Things That Worry Me About My Australian Working Holiday (And Why I’m Going Anyway). It seems I had a lot of expectations and concerns before I arrived here. Now, six months on, I feel that I’ve been here long enough to address each of those points. So, here we go.

Australia Working Holiday: Expectations Vs Reality

1.Worry: The long flight

Yes, the flight here was long. In fact, I left the UK on a Tuesday and basically didn’t arrive here until Thursday… However, once you’re here, you’re here and it’s practically obligatory to break up the flight back home with a trip to Asia.

2. Worry: The Wildlife

Ok, to all the people scaremongering about Australian wildlife- please stop. Before I came, people made it seem like I’d be coming across poisonous spiders and finding snakes down the toilet on a daily basis. In fact, I’ve hardly seen more than a couple of spiders here, and that includes all the time that I spend on camping in the jungle and being outdoors 24/7 on Fraser Island. What’s more, in Melbourne I have seen nothing dangerous whatsoever.

3. Worry: Missing people at home

Of course, I miss people at home and if Melbourne was closer to England, it really would be the ideal place. However, I have made a lot of friends here too, people that I’ll now miss when I leave here.

Australia Working Holiday: Expectations Vs Reality

4. Worry: Not finding a job

Like I mentioned in my last post, not only have I managed to find two internships and two jobs here, but I’ve actually been getting more work experience here than I ever have in my life. In terms of money, Australia hasn’t been as expensive as I thought however with paying rent and not compromising on having fun, It’s generally more a case of money in vs money out than actually saving up lots.

5. Worry: The prospect of living in a hostel long term

I loved the hostel that I stayed in Melbourne called United Backpackers and I made some great friends there. In all honesty, I probably would have stayed there the whole time if it hadn’t have worked out so much cheaper to flat share.

Finding a flat is so easy on the Facebook pages like Fairy Floss for backpackers and in hindsight, I’m so happy that I did get my own place. I love having more space than in the hostel and I’m so lucky with my flatmates too. My favourite thing about my flat here is that it’s in the heart of the city, right over the road from the market so I can pick up fresh bread and fruit on an almost daily basis. I’m not embarrassed to say, me and friend still go back for a drink at our old hostel bar from time to time though.

Australia Working Holiday: Expectations Vs Reality

6. Worry: Not knowing what clothes to pack

I actually think I did quite well with packing and easily could have survived on what I brought here. However, of course, I’ve ended up doing a lot of clothes shopping out here. Now my biggest concern is not being able to fit in all into my backpack when I leave.

7. Worry: A hot Christmas

I’m not going to lie, Christmas was weird. Having a hot Christmas was an interesting experience and I was so lucky to have such a lovely group of friends here to celebrate it with. Going out on Christmas Eve and going to the beach the next day was a laugh, but I wouldn’t want to miss another Christmas away from home. Having a hot New year on the other hand, was fantastic.

Australia Working Holiday: Expectations Vs Reality

8. Worry: Not being able to drive

Now I’m in Melbourne, it would be nice to have the freedom to drive and take road trips to places like the Ocean Road and the Yarra Valley by myself. However, Australia was not without its road trips for me. I was very lucky that I ended up travelling with people who could drive so I got to do plenty of road trips including a fantastic five-day campervan trip.

To be honest, when it comes to the east coast, a car isn’t really necessary as you can do it all via Greyhound bus, which is how the majority of backpackers get around anyway.

Australia Working Holiday: Expectations Vs Reality

9. Worry: Balancing travel and work

I am really happy with the way I did Australia. I backpacked the east coast shortly after I arrived, flying up to Cairns and working my way back down to Melbourne. This worked well as the weather was better at this time, I had money saved and I got the wanderlust feeling out of my system. Now I’m in Melbourne, I am working a lot but I enjoy it and I have enough time here that I’m able to explore the city well too.

10. Worry: Not being able to get tea

Australia has two things, great coffee and great tea. There have been no tea issues here, in fact, they have Twinings just like at home (which is good because I ran out of my supply that I brought from home about a month in). In fact, the funny thing about Australia is that they have many of the same brands as at home, and contrary to what some might say, I really can’t taste a difference between Vegemite and Marmite…

So, six months on, it seemed I needn’t have worried. A working holiday, like most things in life, just ends up working itself out. 

Are you going on a working holiday and do you have any questions or concerns? Comment below and let me know. 

Melbourne: Must Do’s For 20-Somethings

FeaturedMelbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

A 20-Something Travel Bucket-List for Melbourne, Australia

Visiting a city like Melbourne can be really overwhelming if you’re pushed for time. With its fantastic coffee culture, quirky hidden bars and an ever-growing calendar of events to go to, it’s easy to see why Melbourne’s voted one of the worlds most livable cities time and time again. After having lived and worked here for a few months on my Working Holiday, I’ve totally fallen in love with the lifestyle here. However, if you don’t have quite as long to explore, I’ve written this list of things you absolutely must do if travelling to Melbourne.

1. Eat cheap Dumplings in Chinatown

You haven’t done Melbourne until you’ve ordered a plate of steaming hot dumplings in Chinatown. Thanks to the cities huge Chinese population, there are countless places to eat dumplings throughout the city and they needn’t cost more than $10 a portion. Steamed, fried, pork or prawn, whatever your favourite, be sure to treat yourself to some of these delicious balls of dough.  Aside from Chinatown, you could also give the dumplings at Shandong MaMa Mini a go and tick off food and an iconic Melbourne Laneway all in one sitting.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

2. Watch a Movie on a rooftop (or in the Botanical Gardens)

I was going to try and pick just one of these quirky cinemas to suggest in this post but I just couldn’t pick. Firstly there’s the rooftop cinema, located on the top floor of a tall building on Swanston Street. With its deckchairs, cocktail bar and fantastic city views, this impressive place would be an ideal place for a date that dreams are made of.

Secondly, the Moonlight Cinema is another fantastic outdoor cinema, only this one is located in the heart of the Botanical Gardens. Ideal for a chilled evening with friends, this cinema is only around for the summer and shows well-known movies every night. Be sure to bring a picnic mat, some blankets and plenty of snacks.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

3. Spend Wednesday evening at the Queen Vic Night Market

Wednesday nights in Melbourne are for the Queen Vic Night Market. During Summer this popular Melbourne market extends its opening hours and packs full of street food vendors, boutique stalls, live music and other pop-ups. There’s an eclectic mix of food showcasing the best of what the city has to offer with everything from Polish dumplings and mini pavlovas to halloumi fries and juicy bao buns to choose from. Be sure to grab a Gin and Tonic from one of the pop-up bars and get stuck in.

4. See the Weekend off at a Day Party

Saturday nights are for going, Sundays are for day parties. Day Parties are a big thing at the weekend in Melbourne and are essentially a continuation of Saturday nights fun. Bottomless brunch, Aperol Spritzes and live music are essential. The most famous of all weekend party destinations? The ESPY, with weekend brunch from 10 and the best of live music gigs most evenings.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

5. Bring a book to the State Library of Victoria

The State Libray of Victoria is one of my favourite places to spend a quiet afternoon in the city. This beautiful building is well known as one of the most photogenic places in Melbourne because of its stunning interior. It’s free to enter and with its wifi and plenty of desk space, there could be no nicer place to bring a book and relax.

6. Have a drink on all floors of the Carlton Club

The Carlton Club is one of those Melbourne Bars that I’ll never get bored of. Located right in the heart of the city, the Carlton Club has loads of differently themed quirky bars on each floor. From the Carlton bar with its eclectic decor of huge wild animal sculptures to the Hasti Bala jungle themed room, this crazy place isn’t your usual spot for Friday night drinks. My favourite is the Palmz rooftop bar on the top level with affordable drinks and crazy views of the city skyline.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

7. Be a hipster in Fitzroy

Located just a short tram ride out of the city centre, Fitzroy is a must visit area in the city when it comes to eating and drinking. Known as the cities hipster area, Fitzroy is a popular place for 20-Somethings due to its many bars, vegan/ brunch style restaurants, its vintage clothes shops and vast street art. Popular places include Veggie Bar for vegan/vegetarian food, Naked in the Sky rooftop bar, Lune Croissanterie for the worlds best croissants as voted by Time out and Industry Beans for coffee.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

8. Get a Flat White Coffee

Melbourne is infamous for its love affair with coffee and it’s true when they say that it’s hard to find a bad cup of coffee in the city. The city is packed full of Independent speciality coffee shops and there’s hardly a Starbucks in sight. To order your coffee like a Melburnian ask for either a Flat White (with milk) or a Long Black. You can check out my list of favourite Melbourne cafes here. 

9. Indulge your sweet tooth at Brunetti

Ask a local where to get the best cake in Melbourne and they’ll give you one answer: Brunetti. Set up in Melbourne in 1985 by an Italian family, Brunetti has been serving up the most delicious and aesthetically pleasing cakes and pastries in the city ever since. Now the Italian cake shop has expanded to several locations over the city but its exceptional quality of cakes is still as highly regarded. So, whether it’s cheesecake, cream cakes, fresh pastries or tarts, if it’s dessert that you’re after then it has to be Brunetti.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

10. Philip Island Day Trip

Most people do the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne but another day trip that in my opinion is even better is Philip Island. This gorgeous island is located just 140km from the city and offers spectacular scenery. Spend the day driving around, taking coastal walks, stopping off at secluded beaches and spotting wild kangaroos. Philip Island really is a taste of the real Australia and the ultimate city break.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

11. Take your Insta’s at the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes

While St Kilda Beach has got all the atmosphere, it’s hard to beat the colourful bathing boxes located on Melbourne’s Brighton Beach. Each unique in their own right, these bright little beach huts offer an explosion of colour on this sandy Melbourne beach making it easily one of the most photogenic places in the city. The best way to get there is by train from Flinders Station and then you can take the short coastal walk to St Kilda after and tram back from there.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

12. Hit the Arbory Afloat for Cocktail O’Clock

Arbory Afloat is one of my favourite Melbourne Bars. Located on a raft right on the river, this pop-up part of the Arbory bar is the nicest place to spend a sunny afternoon in Melbourne. It’s free to enter and offers affordable drinks, great music and unbeatable views of Southbank. Aperol Spritzes are obligatory.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

13. Have the best Pizza in Melbourne at Lygon Street

Lygon Street in Carlton is Melbourne’s Little Italy and home to some of the best food in the city. Take a stroll along this street and be transported to Italy as you pass numerous Italian eateries offering alfresco dining and past locals tucking into mouthwatering plates of spaghetti. Lygon street is, of course, infamous for having the best pizza in the city with the best out of all of them being DOC Pizzeria. This popular eatery offers the very best artisan pizzas as well as a mozzarella bar in which you can sample cheese from all over Italy. (If you’re after something sweet for dessert, Pidapipo nearby has the best gelato in the city including Nutella sauce on tap).

I hope that this post has given you some Melbourne related inspiration. There are endless things to do in Melbourne as a 20-Something and even after spending a few months here, I’ve not covered half of the thing on my list. Stay tuned for more Melbourne related posts coming up on the blog soon.

What are your favourite things to do in Melbourne? Comment below to let me know. 

 

Melbourne: What it’s really like to work on an Australian Working Holiday

Melbourne: The Best Cafes For 20- Somethings

I had mixed feelings when it came to the ‘working’ part of my Australian Working Holiday. After a few months of travelling down the East Coast of Australia, I was ready to work again, both mentally and financially. However I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of actually looking for work and I knew that once I had a job, the constant daily excitement that I had gotten used to in my travels would decrease- work is work after all.

I arrived in Melbourne with less than two weeks until christmas and was pretty resigned to the fact that I would not be able to find a job until the new year. However after a couple of days of making phone calls and handing out CVs, I’d managed to get a barista job and a paid marketing internship secured. Now after a few weeks, I’m fairly settled and I thought it was a good time to write a more insightful post about what it’s like to work abroad in Australia.

australia working holiday melbourne
Brighton Beach, Melbourne

Firstly, make sure that you actually want to work

I know to a lot of people, a year abroad in Australia sounds like the dream. However you’ll be surprised at the number of people who cut their trip short. When it comes down to it, the ‘working’ part of the trip is often a bit of a reality check for some people: the fun part is over (in some senses) and the hard bit begins. You don’t really hear about the travellers that didn’t really feel at home in Australia, however I have met plenty. Trying to find work in a new country presents a struggle and it can be really stressful, particularly if english is not your first language. When it comes down to it, a lot of travellers would rather go back to their jobs at home, where they have their friends and family around which is totally understandable- just make sure you know what you want before you come here. You only get one working holiday and it costs a lot of money. If you’re in any doubt then why not get a tourist visa first? It’s valid for three months and it’s a great way to test the water out first.

It’s a taste of independence

I’ve spent a lot of time backpacking over the last couple of years so I’m used to being fairly independent however the working holiday is entirely different. In the UK I live at home and have my friends and family around. In Melbourne, I’m on my own. I have to sort things out myself, get myself around the city, pay my rent, cook my own food and meet new people. It’s exciting and there are always new people around to do things with, plus I’m preoccupied with a whole city to explore. Coming to Australia has given me a taste of real independence and if I can set up a life on the other side of the world, then I can do it anywhere.

You will survive off $1 Seven-Eleven coffee

Working in Australia has been some of the most physically demanding work that I have done. In order to save up some money after paying rent, it’s hard to say no to shifts and considering that I am currently doing two jobs, I’m working most days. Unlike at home where I can go home and switch off, while I’m waiting to move into my shared apartment next week, I’m still in a hostel. This means that every evening after work (and each morning before) there are new people to talk to and there’s always something going on. Going out for endless cocktails seems like a good idea at the moment but it’s not so great when you have to be up for an eight-hour shift the next day. Seven-Eleven coffee is a necessity.

australia working holiday melbourne

Not every day is exciting

I have so many moments where I am so hyped to be working in Australia. Melbourne is my dream city and every day I am proud of myself for settling in here and finding work. However not every day is exciting. Some days I’ll just wake up, go to work and go to bed. It’s not because I’m depressed or I’m bored with Melbourne (anything but) but it’s because I know I have the time, and it would be physically impossible to do something significant every day for the next few months.

Staying in hostels can be hard

Staying in a hostel while I have been settling into Melbourne has its benefits and downsides. The plus side is that hostels are sociable so they are a good place to meet people who you can do things with. The downside is that people are always coming and going so it has been so sad having to say goodbye to people who I had gotten really close with.

People love a British accent

The cafe job that I have here is one of the hardest hospitality jobs that I’ve ever had but the customers are some of the nicest. What’s best is that I can’t count the number of times that I get compliments from locals on my english accent; compliments just for talking!  Plus my accent is a great conversation starter with all of the travellers and locals who come into the cafe. There’s always an interesting story, or two to hear.

img_2723-e1546681056752.jpg

It’s harder to save up money than I thought

The wages are fantastic in Australia, almost twice as much as at home in the UK actually, However saving up is harder than I had anticipated. At the moment I am staying in a hostel. This means that I am paying a crazy amount on rent, and because there’s always a lot going on, I’m also spending a lot of money on socializing. While soon I am moving into a shared apartment and will undoubtedly start saving some money, at the moment it’s hard to save up my wages especially compared to at home where I am living rent free and with free food. I’m not here to make a lot of money though. As long as my income meets my outgoing I’m pretty happy- it is a working holiday, after all, not either/or.

I hope that this post has given you some insight into what it’s like to work on a Working Holiday in Australia. I’m currently living my dream life in Melbourne. Yes some days are hard and sometimes I even question what I’m doing here but overwhelmingly I really love it here. I’m getting all of my creativity nurtured through my marketing and content writing internship (along with the experience of being in a modern city centre office with free food and Kombucha on tap!) Then I have the physical challenge and experience of making coffees and waitressing in a cafe, in a city known for its coffee culture.

At the moment I’m just taking advantage of having a hot January where days off can be spent at the beach, eating gelato by the river and going out in a vest top in the evenings. Even though I’m working, I’m still a traveller, I’ve just taken a little pit stop for a while.   In Melbourne, for the first time in my travels, I am in a new country and I don’t have to look for local recommendations in the area; I am compiling a great list of my very own.

You can read more about my work and travels in Australia here.