Second stop in Australia: Melbourne

We arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday 4th November 2015, at around midday and took the SkyBus from the airport to Southern Cross station and then got their free hotel transfer to Urban Central hostel which was to be our home for the next five nights. We were keen to see what Melbourne had to offer straight away, so after we checked in we went for a walk along the Yarra River and had lunch at a restaurant along Southbank. The walkway along the river was lined with lots of bars and restaurants and the whole area had a great feel to it - busy with people shopping and eating, and watching the street performers. After lunch we walked into the CBD (Central Business District) to Federation Square and St Paul’s Cathedral and then through some of the many street art/graffiti alleyways.

Hosier Lane is the best alleyway for street art in the CBD we think. It’s so bright and colourful, the artwork is very detailed, and the graffiti is constantly changing so every day you walk through the lane, there is a new piece of art to discover.

We then had a wander around the main shopping centre in the CBD along Bourke Street and then stopped at a restaurant in the infamous Degraves Street for a coffee. On the walk back over the river to our hostel, we stopped at a supermarket to get some food as we had a kitchen in our hostel.

Coming from pretty nice weather in Perth, it was annoying that on our first full day in Melbourne it was raining pretty much all day. We went looking for a good gym in the morning and came across Snap Fitness which was less than a 5 minute walk from our hostel. They offered us a week’s free membership to try it out, but the weekly payments were a reasonable price too. As we knew we wanted to live in either Melbourne or Sydney, we decided to sign up for the gym there and then, so we could both get back our pre-travelling bodies. That afternoon we relaxed in the hostel watching Netflix and waited for the rain to stop. The sun finally came out and we ventured out down Clarendon Street to catch the tram south to St Kilda - the main beach area in Melbourne. We quickly stopped off at Nandos to grab something to eat, before riding the tram for about 10 minutes into St Kilda. When we got there we walked along the Marina area to the beach. Sadly the beach was nothing special. Coming from Bali and even Perth, we had been spoilt by the beaches there - gorgeous turquoise clear sea and soft white sand. St Kilda does not look like that. It almost reminded us of a beach in the south of England, minus the pebbles. Both the sand and the sea were flat and had no sparkling bright colours to make the beach look tropical or inviting. Not what we were expecting from a beach in Australia. Then again, St Kilda is very near the main ferry port and docklands area, so the sea was never really going to look that nice.

We also saw the famous entrance to Luna Amusement Park. We had a look around some of the shops in the main street where Jordan bought a few t-shirts and a hat and then we had a coffee in the sun in a small restaurant and bar called Vineyard. Not a bad way to end our second day in Melbourne.

On the Friday daytime we went to the gym, researched jobs and apartments in Melbourne and watched Vikings on Netflix - a very lazy day until we went out in the evening (it has to be done every once in awhile). Friday night we went for dinner and drinks at a restaurant and bar called Degraves Espresso Bar down Degraves street no less. We went for the tapas and it was delicious and good value for money. We then had a wander into the CBD and went to a few bars in Swanston Street that were in the same building as each other, just different floors - Cookie, The Toff (with real train carriages in) and Rooftop Bar with incredible views of the city. After a few drinks in each, we then walked to Berlin Bar in Chinatown which was cool. You wouldn’t know the bar was there unless you’d been there before - it took us ages to find - and once you go in you have to knock as the door and wait to be seated. The bar is divided into two parts - East and West Berlin - and the decor is really unusual. The cocktails there are expensive ($20 a pop) but they are delicious and there is a question and answer game to help you work out which type of cocktail you will like most - sweet, sour, smoky etc. Our last stop for the night was The Croft Institute and getting there was half the fun - this super kooky Melbourne bar is tucked away at the end of an alley in Chinatown, and used to be an old doctor’s surgery. The decor is a little creepy and they serve shots in syringe tubes. Would be a great place for Halloween.

Saturday morning (late morning after all that drinking) we went to gym then had brunch in cafe down Clarendon Street. Afterwards we caught the tram to Fitzroy and walked down one of the main streets there called Brunswick Street. We’d heard good things about Fitzroy. People had said it was quirky and cool with lots of great indie shops, restaurants and bars. But to be honest we didn’t like it. Without being rude, it felt like a massive council estate with unnerving people. So we walked back down towards the main city and through Fitzroy Gardens which was pretty.

We then walked all the way back to Southbank - past the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MSG) and all the other sports stadiums such as Hisense Arena, Rod Laver Arena, past the Olympic Park and followed Yara River back to Southbank where we had a snack in the healthy food court there. After all that walking it was surprising we had any energy for another workout. That night we cooked dinner back at our hostel and chilled.

The next day we went to the gym in the morning (you see the routine forming now) and then went to a place called Essendon to meet our friend Eddie who we met in Bali for a BBQ at his house. It was great to meet some other people living in Melbourne and hear about their travel stories.

Monday 9th November was our last day in Melbourne, as we were off to Sydney to see which of the two places we wanted to live in. That morning we went to the gym then had an early lunch in the food court at Southgate along the river. That afternoon we caught the SkyBus to the airport at 1pm to catch our flight to Sydney.