Melbourne has become a city that I love; even though I have lived the shortest time here it made me feel comfortable and homely. It never made me feel small and insignificant as bustling Sydney did, instead I felt embraced, like it was home. I also never got tired of wandering through Melbourne as I did so much with Perth; from the skyscrapers to the traditional buildings and everything in between it always managed to keep me interested and in awe.
This could be due to the laid-back cool vibe Melbourne has going on with its grungy but non-threatening graffiti filled alleyways such as Hosier Lane, numerous cafes inviting you in with their pungent coffee aromas and the stunning hipster bars dotted throughout the city and suburbs. Melbourne seems to have something for everyone which is why I imagine it has been voted the World’s most liveable city! Although my personal love has probably also got a lot to do with the people I spent my time with and the friends I met along the way during my short 3 month stint here! Once again I’ve formed friendships that I know I will keep for a long time and I hope that one day I can return to Melbourne to truly make it my home.
Now I wouldn’t say I have necessarily been a tourist during my time in Melbourne, I’ve barely seen anything at all to be honest. Instead I have just lived and worked and sort of drifted through seeing it from a local perspective as much as possible in such a short time.
I lived in both Southbank in the city and St Kilda in the ‘burbs’. Southbank is literally a 10 minute walk from the CBD. The riverside at Southbank was one of my favourite places, I was lucky enough to have some work assignments in the area so I got to spend quite a lot of time contemplating in the sunshine on my lunch break. There’s always plenty going on as well, with back to back bars all the way down, the enormous Crown Casino and numerous other attractions it’s definitely a place worth spending at least a day (and a few nights!). There’s also lots of street performers and buskers in the area; one of which I was lucky enough to see was an impromptu gig from Passenger! One of my favourite bars in Southbank is Ponyfish Island, it’s a cute little hipster joint that’s set underneath one of the pedestrian bridges that links the CBD and Southbank. Which means that you have an unparalleled view of both the city and Southbank on both sides. They also do a great independently brewed beer!
Where Southbank would be a glitzy and glam older sister, St Kilda would be its grungy hipster little sister. It’s very much a backpacker area which shows the most when venturing down to St Kilda beach as you hear accents and languages from all over the world, apart from Australia it seems! Even though St Kilda beach is far from the nicest beach in the Southern hemisphere (watch out for the needles!), it’s still a great place to hang out and soak up the sunshine and the atmosphere. I spent many a day there doing just that, including celebrating Christmas Day!
The other draw for St Kilda though is the great bars and restaurants dotted around from Fitzroy St to Acland St, there is always something going on every night of the week. It’s certainly not a place that you could find yourself bored in! Republica and Captain Baxter’s down on
the beach as well as Vineyard on Acland are great places to go for a day session, ideal for those sunny Sunday afternoons! For an evening drink I was a big fan of the The Saint and 29th Apartments both on Fitzroy St. The Saint has a more civilised glammed up vibe and 29th is a kooky little bar that always has a good atmosphere and strangely enough a pull down leather bed for when sitting on a chair isn’t cutting it!
So often after a few drinks in St Kilda the night would escalate and I would find myself on nearby Chapel St in Prahran which has an abundance of great bars and nightclubs. I only began to touch the surface with this place but one of the best bars here had to be Pawn & Co; anywhere that leads into a bar behind a bookcase is a winner in my book! Another local favourite would be Revolver, which opens for the weekend and stays open solidly for all the hard-core ravers until Monday morning!
In and amongst the partying in various bars in Melbourne I did manage to attend some big events during my time there including the well-known Melbourne Cup race day at Flemington racecourse! I glammed up and donned my posh frock to soak up the amazing atmosphere and enjoy a flutter or two on the horses. It’s an event that people fly from all over the world to watch so I’m pretty chuffed that I was lucky enough to be in Melbourne at the time.
Just about the most epic weekend I’ve probably had in my life though had to be when I was reunited with a friend from home, then attended Stereosonic Music Festival and topped it all off with the most amazing Ed Sheeran gig supported
by Passenger and Rudimental! As you can imagine it took me around a week to recover from that heavy weekend!
I finished my stint in Melbourne in a pretty memorable way; bringing in 2016 in Albert Park with friends watching the fireworks sparkle and shimmer reflecting into the lake! I have to say that watching the spectacle come together from afar was completely mesmerising.
Although I am sad to be leaving Melbourne and Australia as a whole due to my visa being up, I am excited for the next chapter of my journey. I will be leaving Australia a different person and although I have lost a few things (and a person!) along the way, I am also leaving with incredible memories, new friends, a determination for the future and also a new tattoo!
I have no solid plans for the future at the moment; they are changing pretty much every day. This is probably the first time in my travels that I don’t have a fixed timeline or itinerary. From here on out I will be going with the flow and seeing where this crazy journey as a now solo female traveller takes me!
I have arranged to initially volunteer for at least 3 months at a children’s village in Guatemala called Casa Guatemala which I am incredibly grateful to be able to do. I also just recently decided that beforehand I will travel to Lake Atitlan to complete a week’s worth of Spanish lessons to brush up on my very basic Spanish and also to complete an Open Water Diving course, which is something I have always been meaning to do! From here on out the blogs and updates should be a little more regular!