Melbourne has certain places and characteristics about it that makes it so unique and special. A majority of my year spend in Australia was in Melbourne. When going to Melbourne, imagine it as a puzzle: in order to experience its brilliance, you first need to visit the special bits that create its story of greatness.
Find yourself in the middle of the action by visiting Federation Square. This geometric frenzy of a building was erected as the winner of an international architecture competition. Personally, I think the uniqueness of this building is unmatched and irreplaceable. Fun fact: There is a rooftop beehive on top of Federation Square, brought there to help the declining bee population. It runs on solar energy as well, making it carbon neutral since 2013. The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) is a free interactive museum in the Federation Square where you can learn more about Australian cinematic creations.
From there, walk along the Yarra River and see the best of Melbourne’s skyline. The Eureka Tower, in particular, is my favorite skyscraper, not only because it is the tallest building in Australia, but it also represents the stockade rebellion that happened during the gold rush in 1854. It is designed to look like a measuring stick. The gold brick represents the gold rush and the red line represents the bloodshed. I love it so much because it serves as a reminder to fight for your rights under unfair circumstances.
The sport that thrills Melbournians to the bone is Australian Football, or footy for short, hosted by the Australian Football League (AFL). When I first saw this sport, I was slightly bewildered by how it is played. Even for someone like me, who is generally ignorant about sports, I loved watching footy! The way it is played intrigues me: the players bounce the ball like a basketball, kick it like a soccer ball, catch it like football (US version), and smash into each other like they’re playing rugby. I felt a great admiration towards the players because they don’t use any padding protection in their uniforms. The best place to catch the game is the Melbourne Cricket Ground. If you want to see Australians fired up, go to a game!
Nightlife in Melbourne is always fun! Warning if you want to bar hop: most bars charge a cover fee so make sure you have cash on you! My go-to was always on Chapel Street, which includes Temperance Hotel because they don’t have a cover charge, and they have good music and cheap drinks. Jane Doe is a good place to chillax on comfy sofas turned towards the outside to people watch. The Holy Grail is a good bar for a nautical-themed cozy drink session. My top two rooftop bars are Naked for Satan, located in Fitzroy, and Goldilocks, located on Swanston street.
For all the music lovers out there, you HAVE TO go to AC/DC lane. Named after the legendary band, the graffiti laneway is incredible. If you wanted to go to a very unique venue for a night out, go to the Cherry Bar. The best part about it is they promote and showcase local musicians. Also, there is a specific lane where children have produced a majority of the artwork. I loved this, especially because it is rare to find artwork displayed from a child’s mind.
The place you want to go to to have plenty of options for excellent cups of coffee is Centre Place. A mass of cafes displayed as if from inside a garage or whole in the wall. The food options are ideal for the coffeeholic and the foodie.
Calling all of the museum buffs! If you love looking at paintings and sculptures as much as I do, then you’ll love how inspired the Melbourne museums are. My top three are the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Museum, and ACMI. However, if you have more time, also visit the Immigration Museum, the Chinese Museum, and the Ian Potter Museum of Art.
What I love most about Melbourne is that every corner and street has its own story. Nothing is as it seems and everywhere looks different as each day passes.