Melbourne, Melbourne, Melbourne! I love Melbourne! A weekend trip to Melbourne is a must when studying abroad in Australia. Two friends and I flew 1.5 hours from Sydney to Melbourne on a Thursday evening and stayed until Monday evening, giving us four days to explore. We stayed in United Backpackers Hostel right in the CBD. CBD means Central Business District- every Australian city has one. Our hostel was located directly across from Flinders Street Station and next to one of Melbourne’s many FREE tram stops. The hostel also provided us with complimentary pancakes each morning! The only downside to United was the lack of A/C. Only upgraded rooms had “air con”, and with temperatures reaching the high 90s, our first night was sheer torture. Luckily, our friend Bronte let us stay at her house for part of the trip, and we were able to upgrade our room for the last two nights. If you plan on visiting Melbourne, definitely stay here, but pick your room accordingly!
Our trip began early Friday morning when Bronte picked us up! Bronte studied abroad at Fairfield for a year and is back home now living and studying in Melbourne. We met at Fairfield and she was nice enough to drive us along the Great Ocean Road to see the Twelve Apostles on Friday (thanks Bronte!!). Unfortunately, there are only eight Apostles still standing due to wave and storm damage, but the sights were breathtaking! I particularly enjoyed Loch Ard Gorge, and being able to climb down onto the beach for a swim. The steps were a little difficult to find, but the experience was more than enjoyable. From Melbourne, the Twelve Apostles are about a three hour drive away. If we didn’t have Bronte, we would’ve had to book a day tour, so if you plan on visiting, make sure you set aside a full day for this!
The ride along the Great Ocean Road was super windy (even scary at times), but was so beautiful. It is one of the most scenic drives in the world and hugged the coast the entire way! We stopped in two towns on the way back to Melbourne for dinner and gelato- Apollo Bay and Lorne. Lorne is a classic Aussie surf town and I’m so happy I was able to see it. That night, we arrived to Bronte’s house at about 10 pm after a long, fun day.
We spent Saturday morning on Brighton beach. Maybe you recognize the “Brighton Bathing Boxes”? Well these are there! For several thousand dollars, you can own one of these painted storage boxes, and for free, you can take a photo in front of one! I’m not sure why or even how they became so famous, but taking a photo in front of the Australia painted one is a Melbourne must. Check out my pic below!
Saturday afternoon was spent in St.Kilda! St. Kilda is a beach town located on the outskirts of Melbourne with plenty to do. Here, we got burgers for lunch, went to the beach (and saw lots of jellies!), and came back later on to watch the penguin parade, go out to dinner, and meet Bronte and her friends at Hotel Esplanade for drinks. Located near the St. Kilda pier is a penguin colony that walks along the ocean each night. I really enjoyed this because we were able to watch the sunset and see several penguins come out shortly after! Who knew there were wild penguins in Australia? I certainly did not! This activity was completely free, but got really busy so make sure you arrive before sunset if possible.
Sunday was a full day of city sightseeing. Our hostel offered a free walking tour of Melbourne, so we met for this at 10 am. During the three hours, we were able to see and do so much, including visit several lanes filled with Melbourne’s famous street art, see the Yarra river, and try Melbourne’s famous coffee. Melbourne is one of the coffee capitals of the world, and even though I don’t normally drink coffee, it was so so good. After our tour ended, we visited Queen Victoria Market- a huge outdoor market with food and good stalls. Here I bought some souvenirs for friends and myself (shocker), and some fresh fruit!
Monday was a bonus day for us. I think Melbourne is definitely doable in three days, but we spent our last day visiting cafes, walking along the river, and looking around some of Melbourne’s free museums.
I really really liked Melbourne. It is Australia’s most “European city” and has so many cafes, quaint streets, and art to prove it! Melbourne earns the title as one of the world’s most livable cities year after year and I couldn’t recommend a visit to here enough!
Make sure you subscribe if you haven’t already to keep up with my adventures down under, and follow me on Instagram @n_rosaniaa to see more photos! My next trip is an exciting one since it is my first time traveling solo! Stay tuned to see where in the world I end up next. Cheers!