Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to visit Melbourne. Was it because it is a cosmopolitan city, bubbling with culture? No. Was it because it was cool and artsy and I used to think I was cool and artsy? No. It was because I discovered it was home to my favourite TV show, Neighbours. Not only that, but you can do a tour!
Of course this is common knowledge and a popular cheesy tourist trap but to my 8 year old self, it was the ultimate ‘thing to do on holiday!’ Visiting Melbourne just to do the Neighbours tour became one of the things I most wanted to do in my life. 20 years later I finally ticked that one off the bucket list!
Whilst I was in Melbourne, I soon discovered there was SO MUCH to do! I think I could have spent months there and never got bored! I only had 3 days there and that was definitely not enough. I didn’t get to explore St Kilda, I never went to The Great Ocean Road nor did I trek in the Grampians. Don’t even get me started on things I missed in the city itself. I’m just taking this as an excuse to visit again! (Just hopefully in less than 20 years!)
If you’ve ever seen Eat Pray Love, you may recall a scene where they discuss each city’s word. Stockholm’s is conformity, Rome’s is sex… This is now a game I play whenever I visit a city. Melbourne’s is without a doubt, culture. If you’ve ever visited then this may be pretty obvious! There are countless museums and art galleries, an aquarium, the old gaol, botanical gardens, some of the best street art in the world, trendy cafes, the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne Zoo, Eureka sky tower, Flinders Street Station, Federation Square, Luna Park, Greek area, Chinatown, theatres…. Seriously so much to do and I’ve probably missed loads! That’s without even leaving the city! Melbourne also has many natural wonders within a few hours drive including The Great Ocean Road, The Grampians and Philip Island.
We spent our first day exploring the city, visiting the Eureka Sky Tower (amazing views), The Botanical Gardens, Flinders Street Station, The Shrine of Remembrance and The Southbank. I think I fell in love with the city pretty much straight away. It was a Sunday during their winter but it was reasonably warm and sunny. To say it was the weekend, the city just had a chilled out vibe. Families were out having picnics in the park, playing cricket, having lunch, casually shopping and just generally enjoying spending quality time together in this awesome city. It was a complete contrast to the atmosphere in cities like London.
Our second day was a day trip to Philip Island to see the Penguin parade. This was when I realised I had not packed properly for Australian weather! I was expecting warmth and sunshine so had loads of shorts and Tshirts in my backpack. Philip Island on this day was very cold and windy! My little zip up hoodie wasn’t cutting it so I had to purchase a coat. At least I have a nice purple fleece with a Philip Island logo embroidered on it as a souvenir!
Our third and final day was the day I’d waited 20 years for…. The Neighbours tour! OMG! My excitement levels were unbearable! I’ll write another blog post for it later in great detail but I’ll just say it was pretty much all I dreamed it would be! (Yes I know I’m uncool but I don’t care! I walked down Ramsay Street!) The tour was only half a day so we spent our afternoon in ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving image) as they had a Hollywood Costume exhibit on. My friend and I are both big dressmaking nerds so a costume exhibit was right up our street. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos.
Overall, I’m pleased with how much we managed to see in our short time. My biggest regret is not doing Great Ocean Road, but as I said earlier, this just means I’ll have to return soon! I plan on writing more posts in much greater detail at a later stage.
I really enjoyed Melbourne. It was definitely my favourite city in Australia that I’ve visited and if I moved there, then Melbourne is where I’d head for. I just loved the artiness, quirkiness and chilled outness of it. For me, it’s one of the best cities in the world.