Escape of the Week: Melbourne – sophisticated, hip, and a food lover’s paradise

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from travel blogger Chris Moshi.

Melbourne is the first place I visited on my trip around Australia and it certainly made an impression on me, so much so that after visiting Adelaide and Perth it’s the city that I want to return to the most.

The most European of the Australian cities, Melbourne is a good place to start and adjust before you hit the Outback or one of the other big cities. I found people from Melbourne very welcoming and friendly and I loved the diverse cultures there — around 140 in total.

One of my favorite things to do was wander around the city in search of the amazing street art. You don’t have to walk far to discover one area full of art and that is Rutledge Lane and Hosier Lane, which can be found opposite Flinders Street Station and just five minutes’ walk from Federation Square. There are other streets and hidden pieces to find around the central business district (CBD), thatsmelbourne.com.au lists the main areas.

Melbourne Street Art

Orange Frog

Once you have taken in enough street art, take a break at the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens, just a 15-minute walk east of the CBD. I love that Melbourne has many of these large parks within short walking distance; it reminded me a lot of Edinburgh having this spectacular park in the middle of a busy city, great for relaxing and recuperating. James Cook’s cottage can also be found here, shipped across from Britain in 1934 and reassembled.

Fitzroy Gardens

Another highlight was the Yarra River which runs past the south end of the CBD behind the train station. It’s a beautiful walk alongside the river as you watch the boats, runners and cyclists pass by. There are often events happening along the river or nearby such as the Australian Open, which was on at the time I was there.

Another benefit of Melbourne’s rich culture is the food; there is so much choice when it comes to dining out, Asian food in funky Chinatown, Lygon Street for many Italian restaurants. How about Turkish?  Head down to Sydney Road.

However my favourite place to go was the Queen Victoria Night, without fail you would find me there every Wednesday. I could choose from more than 100 vendors, offering shrimp, burritos,  paella, gourmet burgers, pasta, Chinese dishes, Caribbean dishes … and many more, plus desserts too. You can even get your fill of  Dutch Pancakes or Churros Ole (Spanish doughnuts). The market is perfect for those on a budget too — most main meals run between $8-$14.

Night Market Melbourne

Personally, I loved the Paella with chorizo. It was absolutely delicious. As I enjoyed my food, there would be different bands playing each week on two stages as well as other entertainers. It’s a great place for catching up with friends, eating delicious food and enjoying a nice cold James Boag (my favourite Aussie beer).

Food in Melbourne

When it wasn’t a Wednesday, I’d sometimes meet friends for a drink along the Yarra River in the evening. Take note though, it is more upmarket here and drinks can be really expensive.

Travel Tip: 

Go for happy hour for drinks long the Yarra River, you can enjoy the busy atmosphere while only spending $8 for a pint of beer, which (trust me) is a pretty good price when in a city in Australia.

Melbourne looks amazing at night. I’d definitely recommend catching the fire show along the Yarra, near the Crown Casino as well as visiting the casino. I’m not much of a gambler, but it is an impressive place.

The Crown fire show

Yarra River

If you are going to Australia make sure you visit Melbourne! Read more about Chris’s travels around Australia on his blog My 30s Travel Blog.

Destinations Guest Posts

Daily Wanderlust: Outback South Australia

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Amanda Kendle.

Driving for hours and hours past not very much is not everyone’s idea of fun, but I love it. That’s lucky since I live in Australia, where many places are only reached via long and lonely highways, and we hold the record for the longest stretch of perfectly straight road in the world.

A few hours’ drive from Adelaide, in South Australia, you come across the Flinders Range National Park. It’s a combination of desert and low mountains with some incredible natural formations like Wilpena Pound thrown in.

The region’s not exactly overrun with other travelers but just the same, one of my favourite parts was out in the middle of nowhere, somewhere between Quorn and Hawker, pulling our camper up on the side of the road and staring out across the scrubby desert without another human in sight. Quite a few dead trees for company, though.

Guest Posts
Dude Don't Be A Hostel Dick | The Ultimate Guide to the Dos and Dont's of Hostel Life via www.dtravelsround.com

Dude, Don’t be a Hostel Dick

Dude Don't Be A Hostel Dick | The Ultimate Guide to the Dos and Dont's of Hostel Life via www.dtravelsround.com

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: via Grumbler

I’ve spent more than 200 nights in hostels. The good hostels. The bad hostels. The awesome hostels. If you are planning to stay in a hostel, or sometimes get confused about hostel etiquette, the following post is for you. Consider this your do’s and don’ts should you decide to be a roommate.

The Check-In

1. Smile. Even if you have just had the most hellish time finding the place, a smile will go along way at reception.

2. Be nice. No one wants to see you throw a tantrum because you have to pay for sheets. Or because the Internet is down. (Well, you can get a little cranky on that one.)

Your Room

1. Don’t let your backpack throw up all over the room. If you need to take stuff out, take it out, but don’t have things sprawled everywhere. Unless you don’t mind it getting stepped on. Or lost. Many hostels have limited floor space, and you’re not the only one in the room who needs to unpack a little bit.

2. If you are on the bottom bunk and want some privacy, hang your towel down from the bed above you.

3. Nowadays, it is hard not to stay connected. However, many hostels seem to only have one or two power sources per room. Don’t hog all of them. And, if your stuff is finished charging, kindly unplug it so others can use the outlets.

4. Bring a lock. A good lock.

5. Lock up your stuff. Seriously. If there aren’t  lockers, still lock your bag. Especially if you are leaving anything of value.

6. If you are leaving early in the morning, pack the night before. No one wants to get woken up by your inconsiderate zipping and unzipping and rustling of plastic bags. No one can get it all done the night before, but keeping the noise down to a minimum and only having to pack a little is one of the most considerate things you can do for other travelers.

7. If you think you may be in late, do everyone else in the room a favor and get the stuff out of your bag that you need for the  night before you head out.

8. When you get in late at night, try not to turn on the light. Use a flashlight, or your phone, or your iPod, or whatever. If you have to turn the light in, do it quickly, and then turn it off. Don’t leave it on while you go to the bathroom/kitchen/etc.

9. When you get in late at night, hush. No one wants to hear recaps of the night in your normal voice. Or a whisper. Go outside of the room to talk. And, remember: whispers are loud when there’s no other noise in the room.

10. Don’t get it on in the dorm room. No one wants to hear moans and fluids and such. Well, at least most people don’t. If you want to hook-up, go somewhere else. Like the common room. Or outside.

11. If other people are sleeping in the morning, don’t be loud.

12. If it is after lunch and people are still sleeping, it’s OK to go about your business in the room … and not worry too much about needing to do whatever it is you need to do. Chances are the people who are still sleeping are the ones who woke you up at 4 a.m. when they stumbled in, turned on the light and chattted drunkenly.

The Kitchen

1. Buy your own food. And lable it with the dates you are going to be staying at the hostel. If you see someone else’s food, don’t take it. It’s not yours. Backpacker karma exists.

2. Clean up. This is a group environment. No one wants to wash your egg-covered pans or the sauce remnants from the pasta you cooked last night. Wash. Dry. Wipe down. Got it?

3. If the hostel provides meals or snacks, enjoy them. But don’t go nuts. You aren’t the only person who wants to enjoy the chocolate cereal or hardboiled eggs. Just because its complimentary doesn’t give you permission to take it all.

4. If you’ve made extra food and aren’t going to save it, offer it to another backpacker or the staff. Don’t waste.

The Common Room

1. Backpackers are a friendly bunch. If there is a solo packer in the common room and you are there, start up a friendly little conversation. You never know, that person could turn out to be a great friend.

2. Don’t hog the TV/DVD/stereo. Ask around if there are other people in the room. Don’t assume someone wants to watch/listen to the same thing you do.

3. Clean up after you’re done. Just like in the kitchen.

Want more hostel rules? Check out Michael Hodson’s Hostel and Dorm Rules. Ah, great minds think alike.

Got more tips? Add ’em below.

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