LocationMelbourne is the absolute ideal starting point when it comes to location. In the South of the country, it has everything you need in either direction. To the West, it has the Great Ocean Road, a majestic 220km road that hugs the coastline and winds through rainforest making for the best car window staring you’ve ever experienced. Carry on from there you’re in Adelaide which is both a gateway to the Outback and Kangaroo Island. If that’s not your thing then you have Sydney to the North-East. With its iconic bridge, Opera House and beaches then it’s a given that everyone’s going to visit Sydney and often head up on that golden backpacking trail up to Cairns, so why not do it after landing in Melbourne? If you don’t fly into Melbourne you may miss it simply it’s not on that trail of Sydney to Cairns you may miss it. Plans change when travelling and you may not ever get there if you start elsewhere. They’re just the things to do when leaving. That’s if you want to leave, of course, Melbourne has been voted the most liveable City in the world for the last 7 years so you have to see why! WTTM Tip: Start in Melbourne and then start travelling. If you’re planning on living somewhere post-travel then pick your favourite place from your travels. I bet Melbourne will be up there when you make your decision.
Food and DrinkPeople often comment that they felt that all they did in Melbourne was eat and with Melbourne’s renowned café that’s not surprising. Melbourne is a young City shaped by many different migrant groups giving it a dynamic and diverse population and this lends its hand to there being a different café from a different cuisine on every street corner, it’s pretty hard to not indulge. It’s home to huge Vietnamese and Italian populations and also to the World’s Oldest Continuous Chinatown population and the dumplings do not disappoint. WTTM Tip: Although you’ve got exotic cuisine from every corner of the globe we recommend checking out Queen Victoria Market (especially on a Sunday) for some great local produce both to eat immediately and to take home for your weekly shop!
NightlifeMelbourne is known for it’s vibrant yet hidden nightlife. It’s not known for its nightclub scene but has an exceptional bar culture. There are over 200 laneway or rooftop bars alone in Melbourne meaning licensees have to constantly up their game to maximise their space and create another point of difference in a City that has everything. When I say everything I mean everything, you’ve got secret bars that are only accessed by walking through fridges or bookcases, Japanese Whisky Bars, inner-city brewery bars and cocktail bars that used to be hospitals. If you’re looking for a night out where every bar is a stark contrast to the last then you’re in the right City. All of that and I didn’t even mention Melbourne doesn’t have any lockout law like Sydney….. WTTM Tip: Melbourne has some great happy hours, especially on Sundays. Jump off the train in Windsor and wander down Chapel Street for specials on everything from beers to vodka and espresso martinis. Want to go on a cheap night out in Melbourne, we have you covered, check it out HERE.
SportIf you don’t like sport that’s fine, you’ll still love Melbourne. If you love sport then you may never want to leave. Melburnians love their sport and every family has an AFL team as Victoria is home to the game. It’s also home to one of the world’s most iconic cricket ground, the grand ol’ MCG that seats a cool 100,000. Just a stones throw from the MCG is AAMI Park which plays host to the best rugby league team in the world right now, Melbourne Storm. Got another stone to throw? Good as 500m from that is where the first Tennis major of the year is held, the Rod Laver Arena. They also have the Etihad stadium which hosts cricket, AFL and international rugby matches. Throw in a Golf open, the world’s richest handicap horse race, a marathon, and the first Formula 1 Grand Prix of the year then you have a sports-mad City!
Getting Around Is Easy…And Sometimes FreeMelbourne has 250km of tram tracks making it the world’s largest tram network. The fact they rule the roads here makes it incredibly easy to get not only around the City but also to different suburbs such as St Kilda, Brunswick, South Melbourne and Collingwood. It’s often quicker to tram it than drive it! Not only is it easy, Melbourne has a rare yet fantastic initiative that all tourists love….travelling on trams in the CBD is FREE! Yes, that’s right backpackers, FREE. This means you can get to all the major City spots without spending a cent, we love it! WTTM TIP: Learn about the City in depth on the Free City Circle Tram (complete with commentary) or treat your loved one on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant that offers a 5-course meal and drinks (unlimited) while spending 3 hours on a tram, a pretty unique experience indeed!
Still not convinced? Check out our video of Melbourne and try not to fall in love with it.
Co-founder of Welcome To Travel, who loves a bloody good blog about travel, backpacking, gap years, working holidays, Melbourne, food and gin.
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