I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Everything happened so fast after the tickets and arrangements were set. I was swept up like a tornado brought me to Australia. After the eighteen hour flight I called a car to my Airbnb, when I was driven by skyscrapers covered with billowing Australian flags I knew I wasn’t in California anymore. My first home in Australia would be the city of Melbourne.
The lively streets of Melbourne are filled with young adults smoking on rooftop bars, eating their favorite meat pies during footy games, and enjoying the best flat white coffee’s Australia has to offer. I loved visiting the central business district just to listen to the musicians showcasing their talents on every corner.
Outside of the CBD, you will find a number of neighborhoods worth exploring. St. Kilda was the first neighborhood I lived in Melbourne. The beach is the perfect place to go for a run or hike. A fun little walk along the boardwalk will include a solar system display that starts from a skate park on one side all the way to Port Melbourne on the other side.
Depicted at the Melbourne Museum in Carlton is the coat of arms. It is a perfect depiction of Australian values. The crest shows six images representing each of the states. It portrays the native kangaroo and emu specifically because it is physically impossible for them to walk backward. Australia can only go forward, towards the future, while there is always room for improvement.
The most iconic form of artwork in Melbourne is the street art. The city itself is a metropolitan art piece. When wandering around I would feel as if I were a part of the artwork as well. The network of graffiti show the personality of Melbourne. From positive messages to abstract images it is recognized as a major feature of Melbourne.
The drink that ruled them all was the local coffee. It is said that some places in Australia market that they employ Melbourne baristas because of how good the coffee is. The magic behind Melbourne coffee is the focus on quality over quantity. The standard taste for these little cups of heaven are rich and smooth. It is the chosen fuel in the city. My favorite coffee shop that never disapoints is called Truffles Patisserie located on Carlisle Street in St. Kilda.
If you love food as much as I do (which is a lot) go to the Queen Victoria Market. There is live music, food stands, and pop up booths this market is the perfect place to relax, dine, and buy handmade souvenirs.
Brighton Beach’s row of bathing boxes is catnip to beach lovers. The lined boxes look like a colorful row of dominos lined next to the ocean. My favorite box, of course, was the one with the Australian flag on it.
If you’re in the mood for a quiet stroll or picnic go to the Royal Botanical Gardens. It is a botanist’s paradise. The garden showcases a mirage of different plant life. It is a tranquil place teeming with magpies in the middle of the every day hustle and bustle.
One important behavior I learned was how to acknowledge and pay your respects to the original caretakers of the land. Melbourne is the traditional homeland of the Wurundjeri people. They are one of the five Aboriginal clans in the Kulin alliance.
Melbourne has to be my favorite city because it has so much depth that there is always more to explore. My time living here taught me a lot about myself and Australians. The most valuable lesson I learned from the people is to let go of your worries. “No worries, mate!” Life is meant to be enjoyed.