‘If music be the food of love, play on.’
These words played themselves over and over in my head throughout my time in Melbourne. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with the city. I’m a sucker for romance. I’m a sucker for beautiful things. I’m a sucker for music and dance and love and beauty, and Melbourne served all of these to me on a platter!
There’s art EVERYWHERE. There’s BEAUTIFUL graffiti on so many streets and lanes (they’ve even made the dustbins look like works of art), there are street musicians either singing or playing some amazing tunes, dancers performing some wondrous acts, and somehow, all of this comes together and creates this magical picture of a city steeped in culture and talent and love and that is what I will forever remember Melbourne as.
I spent 5 days in (and around) Melbourne. The place is so young and peppy and HAPPY that you cannot help but feel anything else! I’m putting down some of the highlights from my trip here, that you absolutely MUST include when you go (send a picture to me when you do!). Go on, pick and choose and make yourself the most amazing, amazing vacay ever!
Day 1: Explore Melbourne
National Gallery of Victoria – You could be an art student, a connoisseur, an artist, an art lover, or simply someone who is curious about learning something brand new. NGV will not fail to stun you. The gallery has collections right from ancient civilisations to modern and contemporary art, and it’s fantastic to actually SEE how art has evolved from then to now. It’s like a walk through time. Also, it’s free 😉
The gallery hosts exhibitions from time to time, and I was lucky enough to go when they had hosted the Van Gogh exhibit.
St. Paul’s Cathedral – I like good architecture. This is good architecture.
Hosier Lane – There’s graffiti, and then there’s THIS. It’s AMAZING how a simple street has been turned into a BEAUTIFUL work of art. Those dustbins I’ve mentioned? See for yourself.
You’ll find streets like these all over Melbourne, especially in Flinders Street. Hosier is by far the most popular and centrally located, you just cant miss it 🙂
Day 2: Explore Melbourne some more
Melbourne Cricket Ground – You cannot go to Melbourne and NOT pay a visit to this iconic stadium. You cannot miss the experience of walking on those grounds, exploring parts of the stadium which are unseen to public; actually get to know about the history of the grounds. It’s so exciting!
The MCG organizes tours on the hour, and the guides are super-friendly and very well-informed. Turn up and book on the spot, and you’ll cherish the experience of a lifetime.
Tip: If you’re planning to visit the museum as well (you should), take a combi ticket, it is wayyyyy cheaper than buying individual ones for the tour and the museum.
St. Kilda – If you ever feel like hitting a beach, this is your spot. Also, if you’re hoping for an active nightlife with lots of young, beautiful crowd, this is where you want to be.
Day 3: Great Ocean Road
Not many know that the Great Ocean Road – this 243 km stretch – is actually a war memorial. Private investment was sought to connect all the little towns along the coast in the 1920s. Servicemen from WW I were brought in to build this road, and it was this that helped beat post-war depression.
There is nothing between the coastline and Antarctica except miles and miles and miles of azure, aquamarine and turquoise shades blending beautifully into each other. There’s nothing except a hundred rainbows winking in and out of sight. There’s nothing except endless waves foaming and crashing against golden sands. And it is a sight to behold.
You can do a day trip out here, or you could choose to spend a night or two and catch sunrises and sunsets 🙂 If you’re doing a day trip like I did, here’s a tip. Go for the REVERSE tour, because that takes you to the most popular spots of the Road FIRST, before everyone else gets there. Which means you can have it almost ALL to yourself, with no crowd rushing in to click a selfie or two! I went with Autopia Tours and was super happy with how they organised the whole trip.
You can book the tour here.
Day 4: Philip Island – Penguin Migration
Never thought I’d see a penguin in my LIFE unless I went to Antarctica, but surprise! The little blue penguin, also known as the ‘fairy’ penguin, is the smallest among all penguins and can be found in parts of Australia and South Africa. What’s more, you can actually see hundreds of them return home after a day hunting for food at sea!
I went with a company called Wildlife Tours, but turns out Wildlife Tours and Autopia Tours are essentially the same. So yes, I was pretty happy with this tour as well, because the guide was excellent, I met some great people, we saw penguins and wallabies and a gorgeous sunset, and yep, had a great day!
Ooh, and we also pet some kangaroos and koalas on the way! We stopped at Maru Animal Park to cuddle a koala and feed some ‘roos. These guys do a great job with the animals. They help rehabilitate animals who are unable to coexist in natural surroundings due to whatever reason – some are orphaned, some are sick – and release them back into the wild when they are fit to go. It’s so unlike a zoo, where animals are kept in captivity! Warmed my heart to see what Maru does!
Book the tour here.
Day 5: Yarra Valley
Australian wines are EXCELLENT. Yarra Valley is located about an hour or so outside Melbourne, and a lot of companies offer some great tours that will let you explore the region, taste some delicious wines, samples local cheeses, and enjoy a day or two at absolute leisure, while spoiling yourself silly. Sounds fun? Check out these guys, their tours looked good to me –
Where to Stay
I stayed at Space Hotel, which is excellent when it comes to location, cleanliness, comfort, staff. The wifi doesn’t work in the dorms though, so there’s that.
What to Eat
Nope. I can’t do justice to the food scene in Melbourne as a part of this post, so I’m going to do a whole other post on it. Melbourne is such a great place for FOOD!! I’m someone who loves exploring the city, so I usually end up missing meals, but I really didn’t want that to happen here. I basically dedicated an entire day to eating, and it was pretttttyyyyy damn amazing. Check out my next post – Melbourne I – Eating my way through this gorgeous city – for the lowdown on a lot of delicious food!
Was this helpful? Is there something else you’d like to do in Melbourne? Let me know in the comments below!