Choosing just 10 reasons to visit Melbourne is like an irony in itself. Melbourne was so very special to us from the moment we landed, and we could literally write a book on it!
Top 10 reasons to visit Melbourne
1. The Coffee
As coffee lovers, we thought we knew coffee. But we had no idea just how intense the coffee culture in Melbourne’s million cafes was. From lesser known nooks tucked away in the laneways, to our friend Kimmi whipping up Macchiatos and Expresso Martinis with the flair of a proper Barista at home, to a coffee tasting platter at St. Ali’s, that comprised house blends, single origins from Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Honduras or from brewing options like Cold Drip, Pour Over and Syphon, we knew tasting coffee will never be the same again. Melbournians really know their coffee, and they have every right to be proud of it.
2. The Food
When we say Australia is the food capital of the world right now, we’re not just going by what we’ve seen on Masterchef. We’re going by the passion with which locals buy and sell produce at the Queen Vic market. We’re going by the flair with which our friend Brett served up home-made beer ice cream on a peanut crunch with jasmine infused apricot puree as a part of a 6 course meal he whipped up at home. We’re going by the incredibly rich ice cream that was worth the endless queue at Messina. We’re going by the people at the Hardware Society who whip up a mean repertoire of egg based breakfasts. We’re going by the light and airy Vanilla slice from any of the cafes in St. Kilda. We’re going by the crispiest Barramundi we had for dinner at Chin Chin. We’re going by the unique flavours we discovered on Nobu’s dessert platter. (As you can tell we did a LOT of eating in Melbourne, and had to leave primarily for the sake of our waistlines).
3. The Art
Melbourne wasn’t just a feast for our tastebuds, but for the eyes as well. We strolled around the laneways gawking at the breathtaking graffiti until our necks hurt. We even managed to catch some of the artists in action, and ended up standing and watching them create beauty from nothing for a few spellbound moments. (Read about our walk through the laneways here.) The National Gallery of Victoria, the Ian Potter Potter Square hold some incredible exhibits inside, and are stunning pieces of architecture in themselves. We gasped and oohed and oohed over them just like we did at the Flinders Station, Eureka Tower (where we were lucky enough to be staying on this trip), and the State Library. The thing about Melbourne is, every time you step out, you’re going to see a thing of beauty.
4. The Nightlife
Melbourne’s got a pretty crazy nightlife, especially over in the hipper neighbourhoods of Fitzroy (where we downed some mean Huxtaburgers while surrounded by hipster bars) and St. Kilda. For us however, the clincher was the nondescript Eau de Vie. A speakeasy cocktail bar, hidden behind a regular unmarked door. Knowing the bartender helped us get in on a pretty packed night, and were captured by the drama oozing out of theatrical cocktails like peanut butter jelly time (served in a teacup) and smoked whiskey (with actual woodchips burning away) or frozen expresso martinis. Another freakish experience was the Croft Institute where we felt like we’d just agreed to participate in some weird science experiment. We walked into a lab, where even the loos were like hospital waiting rooms and shots were served up in test tubes and other bizarre glassware.
5. The Wine Region
Speaking of drinking, both Yarra and Mornington are within a morning’s drive away from the Melbourne City Centre. So off we went, all packed into a car visiting Paringa, Moorooduc, Stonier, where we downed wine after wine, to a point where we really couldn’t distinguish anymore. Patient winemakers personally talked us through their vintages, blends and tasting notes, encouraging us to spit out the ones we didn’t like. Thankfully the fresh crisp winter air kept us alert, and we did leave knowing and understanding a lot more about the region’s chardonnays.
6. The Animals
While we didn’t get to step out to the Dandenongs, we did manage to spend an afternoon feeding wallabies, befriending kangaroos, staring and sleepy koalas and curious emus, holding our breath for smelly tasmanian devils, and meeting other Aussie wildlife at the Moonlit Sanctuary in Mornington. Maybe it had to do with Australia breaking off from Pangea so early in the life cycle of the planet, but we all agreed that Australia definitely deserved the very unique flora and fauna it boasted. Read about our visit to the Moonlit Sanctuary here.
7. The Skyline
While in Melbourne, we stayed with friends who lived in one of the city’s iconic structures. So every morning, we woke up to a view that loads of travellers and tourists pay to see. The city skyline looked gorgeous from our perch in Eureka Towers, where we watched the stars and the moon, sunrise and sunset, played name that spot, looked wistfully at the Dandenongs in the distance, checked out the Etihad stadium and more. All in our pajamas over a morning coffee. How lucky were we?
8. The Team Spirit
The first thing Brett brandished as soon as we landed were VIP seats to an Australian rules football game. He’d been wanting to get Charles to see one for years. When Charles joked about the team Brett supported, he looked up at him with a deadpan face and said, mate, this is serious. You don’t support the Roos, you’re looking for a hotel tonight. Needless to say, Charles slipped a beanie with the mascot of the North Melbourne Football Team on his head and went to the Etihad Stadium to watch a game of what he calls the most polite form of football he’s ever seen.
9. The Great Ocean Road Drive
We’d always wanted to drive through Australia, and seeing as I’d already driven a fair bit of it when I was younger, we picked a route that neither of us had seen before – The Great Ocean Road. Setting off from the Avis car rental shop in Melbourne, we drove for 6 days across several landscapes and weather conditions, stopping to take a chopper ride over the 12 Apostles and London Bridge, walking to Erskine falls, trekking to Seal Colonies and generally admiring the South Australian coastline from various lighthouses and watchtowers as we heard eerie tales of shipwrecks. We spotted Kangaroos in the wild, and passed hours without seeing another soul. Coming from the second most populated nation in the world, this was such an incredible concept for us to wrap our heads around. Read about our Great Ocean Road Drive here.
Check out our video from the Great Ocean Road:
10. Surprise Surprise
This isn’t really a physical thing to see or do in Melbourne, but it’s definitely the most important of all of the reasons to visit Melbourne. The fact that it surprises you. As travel bloggers, we as usual had a detailed itinerary of the things we wanted to see and places we wanted to go in Melbourne. The only difference? This time, we threw all our plans out the window, and decided to let Melbourne look after us. Best. Decision. Ever. We may have missed out on some of the key sights people tick off their lists, but Melbourne managed to seduce us, astonish us, delight us, and basically take over all our senses pretty much the entire time we were there.
And.. a contest for you!
That’s the best thing about Melbourne, it means different things to different people. So here’s a little contest for you. Tell us (in the comments below) Which of these places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why? The lucky ones stand a chance to win some vouchers sponsored by Tourism Victoria.
Contest ends 5th Jan 2015. The contest has ended, thanks for all your entries.
Drumroll… and the winner is Pragati! Congratulations, your voucher is on its way!