I can hardly control the growing jitters of excitement in my stomach during the weeks leading up to my departure. Over enthusiastic, with a gigantic smile planted on my face, I step on the plane headed to Melbourne. A short stop in Doha and an overall pleasant journey with Qantas later, I finally arrive … and the jitters are instantly replaced by another feeling. That of love.
“This is it. I finally made it to AUSTRALIA! “
Ever since I was little, I’d been saying “I am going to live and surf in Australia one day”. Well, the living part may not come true right now, since I have to be back in the office in a few weeks, but I will finally get to feel the Australian soil under my feet for a brief, yet intense, period of time time.
As I step through immigration and customs at the airport, I am slightly disappointed because there is no extraordinarily beautiful Australian stamp in my passport. Never mind, though! Immediately, I start looking for a bus to the city center and get my first glimpse of Melbourne, beautifully lit in the darkest hour of the night.
I check in at the hostel Nomads Melbourne and soon realize that you should not be here if a quiet night’s sleep if what you’re after – after all, there’s a great party raging at the bar downstairs.
But, after more than 24 hours of travel, I think I’ll probably fall asleep on a block. Well, guess again! A ten-hour time difference does lead to some pretty serious jet lag.
After a few hours of staying awake on the upper bunk bed, I decide to explore Melbourne with the first morning sun. I walk through the still fairly quiet streets and see only a few early runners and business professionals stepping through the doors of giant skyscrapers.
A brilliant brunch
Soon, I find exactly what I’m looking for: Hardware Societe, one of Melbourne’s top spots for brunch. I order the lobster benedict and it’s an absolute hit. This cafe has a charming French touch and super friendly staff.
Street art scouting
Melbourne, a foodie’s paradise, is also known for the amazing coffee, boutique shopping, sports/F1, and also spectacular street art! Thus begins my search for the well-known Hosier Lane.
You can do guided tours through Hosier Lane but I visit it on my own. It is just a two-minute walk from the Flinders Street railway station and Federation Square. But do keep in mind that it’s not just Hosier Lane that has impressive street art. In fact, you can see so many other cool (and sometimes very funny) street art installations elsewhere around the city. Just stroll through the streets and let these artworks come to you.
The beautiful interior and healthy options on the menu convince me to have lunch at The Grain Store. It is great, although slightly expensive because you can easily end up paying around AUD 26 ( almost EUR 17) for the meal.
All in all, I fully enjoy the atmosphere of Melbourne. One of my favorite things that I do when I’m in a new city is to deliberately trying to get lost. This way, you get to chance upon the nicest places. After just the first day I’m convinced: Yes, I want to live here.
Queen Victoria Market
After another night with very little sleep (thank you, jet lag!), I try to find the most fresh breakfast… and where better than the Queen Victoria Market for that? Here, you will not only get fresh food products but it is also a real shopping mecca. I travel around with my backpack because I do not want to be overburdened with souvenirs during just the first leg of my trip.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Want to flee the chaos of the city for a while? Make your way to the Royal Botanic Gardens asap.
This space is huge and you will see an insane variety of subtropical flowers from all over the world. You can walk around for hours… oh, and it’s completely free.
Eureka Skydeck 88
Do you want to get a bird’s eye view of Melbourne from the highest point possible? I do, so I find the Eureka Skydeck to be an awesome experience. You can clearly see the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit and even though I am not a fan of fast motors, I enjoy every single moment.
You can easily get to St. Kilda with the old tram. This is a vibrant area by the Bay of Melbourne where you’ll find numerous restaurants, pubs, hostels and other attractions. From the historic pier you can see the keen surfers in action when there is some wind. Don’t forget to walk along the beach and watch penguins down by the the pier. It is a super memorable sight!
Coffee (and wine) sippin’ all day, everyday
Although I find myself to be a fan of Dukes Coffee Roasters, there are countless good coffee places in Melbourne.
In the evening, with some friends who live in Melbourne, I enjoy delicious Australian wine along the water. Unfortunately, the name of this bar has eluded me, but the memories remain intact.
Melbourne, I love you and I will be back.