…this Sydney-sider is in love with Melbourne!
Rivalry between the two Australian cities is alive and well. For most people it’s controversial topics like food, coffee and weather. And working for a company that spans across mostly the eastern states of Australia, these inter-state rivalry makes for some fun office banter and friendly competition.
Origins of how the rivalry between the two Australian cities started is still unknown today… but the theory I like best is that it started in the early 1900’s, when each city was competing to become the nation’s capital. It has been said that competion between the two cities were so rife that they built Canberra to quell the jealousies.
Whether this is true or not and regardless of the rivalry, everyone will agree that Melbourne is a city that all Australians can be proud of.
Now I have lived in Sydney most of my life and I love it. If anyone asked, I would very proudly recommend visiting Sydney. But I’m embarrassed to admit that I would not have known what to say about Melbourne. I’ve been to Melbourne a few times, mostly for work but rarely got a chance to see or enjoy anything she may have to offer.
In August 2016, Melbourne was once again voted the most liveable city in the world. It has won this title for SIX consecutive years, whilst in that time Sydney managed to slip away from the top 10.
So here are the reasons why I love Melbourne and why YOU should visit soon.
Skybus & Trams
From Melbourne Airport almost immediately outside the exit doors, is where you’ll find the Skybus stop. A privately operated transfer service between the airport and 3 key locations: Melbourne CBD, St Kilda and Frankston (and surrounding areas). The service is efficient, on time, runs every 10 minutes from the domestic terminal and is very affordable. A return trip from our hotel to airport, cost us the same as a single taxi fare, IF the traffic was ok. The buses were clean and had ample places for seating and luggage storage.
The Melbourne CBD drop off location is Southern Cross Station, the main train station in the central business district. From there, you have access to trains, trams and within walking distance to the Docklands area. Skybus also provides a free hotel shuttle bus from the station directly to your hotel.
Getting around the city during our stay was easy and convenient. The public transport network is extensive and makes it very easy for anyone, with luggage or shopping bags, to get around.
We loved the trams! We saw 3 types of trams in use: a modern tram with air conditioning, another modern tram but without air conditioning and the vintage-looking trams, which to our disappointment we only managed to catch once. I guess they’re not as common.
Best part of all was the free tram zone! This seemed to cover a large part of the city and certainly got us to all the attractions we visited without needing to purchase a ticket.
Grand Hyatt Melbourne
We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne and we were so happy that we did. There are a lot of great hotels in Melbourne but the Grand Hyatt is luxury at an affordable price and caters well to the needs of families. We also saw that it was rated as one of the top hotels in Melbourne by reviewers of our preferred booking site, Booking.com, which made choosing to stay there a no brainer.
We have read many good reviews by other guests about the breakfast buffet and we were not disappointed. In fact, every morning we were very happy indeed. The selection was fantastic and it provided enough variety without being excessive just for the sake of it.
We booked a standard King room and found that there was ample room for all three of us… especially in the evenings as we settled down for the night. The service we received was excellent from the time we stepped out of the Bus, through to the process of checking in. Another highlight of the hotel is the indoor pool – which Izzy loved and visited everyday. Right next to the pool is the spa – which I visited as often as possible.
The location was also very convenient being, no more than 10 minutes walking distance to some of the city’s must see attractions, including Federation Square & Flinders Street Station. It was also handy to be so close to a lot of the great eateries and the laneways that the city is so famous for.
Melbourne’s reputation for being a culinary hotspot brings with it very high expectations. And boy oh boy… were we blown away!!!
Everything we ate ranged from good to… really, really good… and then there were some that were just brilliant! And this is everything from the cheap and delicious Vietnamese Pho soup to the popular, trendy bars & restaurants.
There is excellent food to suit all manner of taste, cuisine and budget. In fact we found that eating out is affordable and great value for money – every single time.
Bear in mind that during our visit, there were a lot of places that were closed for the Christmas/New Year period. Nevertheless, there were plenty of options and we found ourselves regretting that there were only three meals a day!
There is a laneway for everything in Melbourne. You will find street art, one-off boutique stores, unique independent galleries, tiny cafes and hidden bars in these narrow streets.
Off the main streets and in their unassuming spaces, take a walk down these laneways and you will find yourself transported to another place and time. Do a free walking tour of Melbourne to familiarise yourselves with what each laneways offer. But the ones not to miss are Hosier Lane, Centre Place and ACDC Lane. Read more about them here.
Art & Culture (for the non-Arty types)
We are not the arty-type of people. By this I mean that there’s some art that we love and then there are those that we don’t understand at all. You will not find us staring at blobs of paint on a white canvas and be amazed by it. Just not going to happen.
As the culture capital of Australia, at first I thought that there would be nothing to do but go to museums. Then I discovered that, the rich art culture of this beautiful city, has many layers – and we were all excited to get out and see them.
We particularly sought out street art, which Melbourne is famous for, and those that we can interact with.
We found street art in many laneways but mainly in Hosier Lane and ACDC Lane. Federation Square offered lots of free exhibits both inside and out. We visited the Australian Centre for Moving Images (ACMI) which was more fun than we expected.
By far, one the most fun things to do in Melbourne is ArtVo. It opened in August 2016 and has been described as a new immersive “trick art” gallery. Perhaps a better description is one provided by Izzy when she wrote in her travel journal that it was “the best fun I’ve had posing and taking pictures ever!”.
Perhaps one of the reasons Melbourne won their most livable city award is because the people are so nice! Genuinely nice.
When being served, there is not a feeling of being rushed and when they say “take your time” they really do mean it. In one place I think we took about 15-20 minutes to mull over the menu as we talked about our day.
Walking the busy streets, I was amazed that I was not shoulder bumped once! Even when walking through the shopping areas of Collins Street during the after Christmas sales.
John Berger, an English art critic, novelist, painter and poet has been quoted to say that “Every city has a sex and an age regardless of its demography. Rome is feminine. London is a teenager and Paris is a man in love with an older woman.”
Personally, I think Melbourne is a woman in her mid-twenties. The kind that wears ripped jeans, t-shirt & leather jacket by day then slip into a trendy shift dress and wedges for a night out with friends. Despite her varied and stylish wardrobe, she’s not “still trying to find herself” but she is confident being both urban grunge and fashionably elegant at the same time.
I love this Melbourne girl – I can see us hanging out more often in the future.
So tell me, what age and sex is your City like?
You might also be interested in:-
For more information on:-
- Skybus leaves every 10 mins, from Melbourne Domestic T3 stop for passengers on Virgin Australia flights
- CBD bus to Southern Cross Station, from Airport, is approx. 30mins
- Cost is $36 for family or $70 return, including airport access, road tolls & GST
- Tickets are valid for 6 months and can be printed or shown on smart phone/mobile device
- Free tram zone within Melbourne CBD where principal boundaries are within Spring St, Flinders St & La Trobe St
- Free tram zone map can be found in Public Transport Victoria website (www.ptv.vic.gov.au)
- When travelling within free tram zone, no need to touch on/off or carry a MYKI card
- Free tourist tram – City Circle tram # 35 and operates in a circular route (both clockwise & anticlockwise) within Melbourne CBD