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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.