10 Things About Melbourne To Know Before Visiting

 

Four Seasons, One Day

I’ll get the obvious one out of the way.

Everyone talks about the weather in Melbourne. Everyone repeats the same saying with a weary smile, “You see the four seasons in a single day here”.

There’s no nice way to put it; this city’s weather sucks. It can easily swing from a nice sunny day, to rainy, to cold and back to hot. I actually got sick from the constant weather shifts.

Seriously, I pity the weathermen in this town. Whatever their predictions, I guarantee you they’ll get it wrong. It would be easier if they just keep one standard prediction for each day that has the sun, rain, wind and heat in one graphic.

 

Coffee Is A Religion

Melbourne is a hipster town and they take their coffee seriously. Very very seriously.

Ask a barista to tell you about their coffee and they’ll launch into multi verse sonnet explaining where the beans were grown (organically of course), how the it was roasted and the details and undertones of the coffee’s taste.

This is a town that’s loaded with trendy coffee shops that have long lines of people waiting to be served. I don’t know why Starbucks even bothers opening stores here. I keep imaging the people of Melbourne turning up their collective (well cultured) noses at the drivel that Starbucks would dare serve them.

So is the coffee as good as people say it is?  In a word:  YES.

My favorite place is called “Brother Baba Budan“. I just walked in and asked for their most popular coffee drink. It was magic in a cup.

Heavenly white coffee
Heavenly white coffee

 

You Will Gain Weight

I tried my best to minimize eating out, given how expensive everything is here, but failed miserably. Melbourne is a multi cultural city, and it shows in its food. Every single type of cuisine is well represented.

Any form of self control crumbled when I walked through China Town and the smells of freshly cooked dumplings wafted in the air.  Just like the Freshman Five, expect to gain weight while traveling through Melbourne. But I promise you, it will be a hot, sticky and delicious freshman five. Well worth it.


Melbourne Is The Sports Capital Of Australia

Sports is a big part of Melbourne culture. This city hosts some of the biggest events related to cricket, Australian rules football, tennis and horse racing. No matter when you visit, it’s almost guaranteed that something will be going on. When I visited I was lucky enough to go to the Australian Open and it was one of the highlights of my time in Melbourne. This is a town that’s obsessed with their sports (especially their footy), so while you’re here do yourself a favor get into the spirit and take in one of these events.

 Sharapova, Serena and Federer playing their second round matches in Rod Laver
Sharapova, Serena and Federer playing their second round matches in Rod Laver

 

Everyone Has Footy Fever

Cricket might be the national sport of Australia, but AFL (Australian Football) is an obsession in Melbourne. Ten of the eighteen teams that make up the AFL are based in Melbourne. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked “Who’s your footy team?” …. well …. I wouldn’t be a millionaire but I could pay for a very nice dinner.

To be relevant in any regular pub conversation you should have basic knowledge of AFL, otherwise expect to be left out of the conversation.  Trust me it sucks to be left out of the convo. So I recommend you do a little research before coming here, learn some phrases, pick a team and fake it. You can thank me later.

 

Find Your Inner Banksy

Ever dream of leaving your mark on a city without feeling like you’re breaking the law?

Well, in some of Melbourne’s alleyways you can. This city is famous for its street art that’s constantly evolving and changing. Hosier, Union and AC/DC Lanes are some examples of lanes that are covered head to toe with spray painted art.

In Hosier and Union anyone is free to paint on the walls. So you end up with pieces that inspire you and others that make you think “Why did they bother?”.  So go ahead, channel your inner Banksy and leave your mark on this town.

Hosier Lane is covered top to bottom with wild street art
Hosier Lane is covered top to bottom with wild street art

 

Don’t Do The Great Ocean Road Tour

I don’t mean don’t go to the The Great Ocean Road , I’m saying don’t do it as part of a tour. This is one of the world’s most scenic road trips and one of my regrets was doing it as part of a tour. I wish I’d rented a car and done the drive over the course of a day or two.

This would’ve given me the freedom to slowly enjoy this scenery, stop off at small beach towns that dot this road and enjoy the sunrise, sunsets and vistas at my own pace. Doing the Great Ocean Road as part of a tour was one of the times I walked away feeling like I had robbed myself of a great experience.

Learn from my mistake and rent that car.


Make Time To Visit St. Kilda

Here’s another tip, make sure you visit St. Kilda. This isn’t an area that’s necessarily on people’s must visit list, which is a shame. This is a beautiful neighborhood filled with chilled out bars, fantastic food and funky stores. Best of all it’s only a 15 minute tram ride from CBD.

You might also be surprised to know that St. Kilda has its own small colony of fairy penguins. If you visit in the evening you might catch them as they return from sea to rest in the rocky beach. It’s cheaper than going to Philip Island and you won’t have to fight the hordes of tourists to see the penguins.

Iconic Seaside Amusement Park ( Luna Park )
Iconic Seaside Amusement Park ( Luna Park )

 

Melbourne Is Better Than Sydney

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a long running rivalry simmering between Sydney and Melbourne. Actually, rivalry might be too nice a word, it’s somewhere between a rivalry and a blood sport. It touches on everything from who has the best culture, sport teams, food, festivals or anything else.

If you ask a Melbournian about it, they’re likely to start pounding on their chest like a Silverback Gorilla and start sounding off on why Melbourne is the best. If you every find yourself caught in this situation, for your own safety, make sure you stay quiet and just nod your head. You don’t want to get caught in these skirmishes.

The same advice applies when you’re in Sydney. It’s best you stay out of family affairs.

 

Did You Missed The Memo? This Is A Hipster Town

You don’t need to look too hard for places that just scream out we’re too hip to be cool …. or is it too cool to be hip. Below are some examples:

There’s a cafe called “Serotonin Dealer”, the owners claim their menu will tickle your taste buds and stimulate your serotonin receptors to make you happier. I’m not making this up.

While “Shebeen” claims to be Melbourne’s first not-for-profit bar. Their profits go to charities in 11 developing countries. Wonder how long they’ll be in business?

Then there’s the interesting decor in “Brother Baba Budan”. As you enter and look up you will find lots and lots of chairs glued to the ceiling. Why? …What? … Huh? …. I’m just not hipster enough to understand why they did that.

Seriously, this list can go on forever. It’s safe to say that Melbourne not only revels in its hipster status, it wallows in it. Maybe a little too much.

Interesting decor with chairs hanging from the ceiling
Interesting decor with chairs hanging from the ceiling