Tuesday 31st January 2017- Wednesday 8th February 2017
The city of Melbourne was one of those places that even I couldn’t believe I hadn’t visited yet. Many backpackers decide to start their Australia trip in Melbourne, others go there in search of work. Many head there for its famous arts or music scene. For me, well I started in Brisbane and travelled up, only even visiting Sydney after flying in from Perth. I somehow managed to completely miss Melbourne, although I knew I’d make it there eventually. Ben has been a couple of times and spent large amounts of time there and so was the perfect tour guide for a week in the city at the heart of the Victorian state.
As he had stayed here before and liked the area, we opted to stay in the beachy suburb of St Kilda, home to Melbourne’s Luna Park. After a night relaxing in the Nomads hostel (which you should definitely check out, they have snazzy new pod bunk beds which are very comfortable), we had hired a car and were off on the Great Ocean Road, which you can read about here.
Once we had returned from the road trip, we settled back into the hostel and set about discovering what Melbourne had to offer. Which, as it turns out, is quite a lot! First at the top of my to do list was discover Melbourne’s world renowned street art and so we hopped onto the road tram into the city centre and in the direction of where Ben knew the best street art was, in places such as Hosier Lane.
- Top Tip #1: Melbourne’s road trams, busses and trains all use a tap on tap off system called Myki, similar to Sydney’s Opal Card. They can be bought either from train stations or at most 7/11s or news agency stores.
- Top Tip #2: The city’s tourist information has maps which have on them highlighted the best spots to find the art. Once you get there, it’s beautiful, in its own city, urban kind of way. The art changes every few weeks as the artists struggle to find new space to paint on and so end up painting over older work so you never see the same piece twice. Occasionally if you’re lucky, you’ll stumble across a new piece being painted right there and then!
One potentially unknown fact about me is that I’m a bit of a nerd for all things film and television and so a visit to Melbourne’s ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) was a must. The museum is free (bonus) and contains large exhibits focusing on Australian film and television, such as an exhibit on Australian director Baz Luhrmann who’s films I particularly enjoy. There was also a gaming exhibit where Ben and I enjoyed a very competitive game of Mario Kart and also an exhibit full of fish shaped helium balloons, which we enjoyed but probably didn’t understand.
As well as discovering the inner CBD, I was keen to see some more of St Kilda’s charm. We took the short walk down the beach to the Harbour to see if we could spot any of the small penguins that call the rocky shores there home. Summer is the best time to spot them and we were advised that shortly after sunset was when they are at their most active, however we only managed to catch a glimpse of one. St Kilda also has a lovely beach and during summer the water is warm enough to enjoy a refreshing dip in.
At the time of our stay, the St Kilda Festival was just about to start and, with its busy line up of events and music acts, I’m sad we didn’t have the time to stick around and enjoy it. We did however get the chance to have a little look around some stalls that had set up early one evening and enjoy one of St Kilda’s finest sunsets as a backdrop. As the sky was so stunning, we also had a wander into Luna Park, to watch the rides and take in the beauty of the vintage theme park at dusk.
And finally, on our last day in Melbourne it was time to head to Brighton Beach, home of the famous beach huts which appear on most Melbourne postcards. Brighton is accessible by train from Balaclava Station which you can get to on the tram from St Kilda in around 20 minutes. The train then takes half an hour. From the station at Brighton Beach, it’s around another 20 minutes walking until you reach the part of the beach that hosts the huts. Top Tip – Take plenty of snacks and water as, other than the odd ice cream van, I saw no shops or cafes along the route. Also, as always with Australia, make sure you’ve got your suncream on as there wasn’t much shade when walking along the beach.
Sadly that’s all we had time to see of Melbourne for now. Next stop, we’re off to Uluru for our Rock Tour. This has been something that has been top of my to do list since arriving in Australia and I’m SO excited! I hope you enjoyed this post!