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Our Visit to Melbourne, Victoria

Earlier back in June this year, my partner and I visited Melbourne. I haven't been to Melbourne since 2014, and I was astonished to find out how much the city has changed after nearly 10 years of not having been back. If you are travelling to Australia, I'd suggest you to check out Melbourne, rather than just Sydney alone.

The iconic Flinders Street Station is where tourists flock to. It is adjacent to other must-see landmarks such as Federation Square (including the ACMI museum and Channel SBS building) and Hosier Lane (graffiti lane). If you are visiting Melbourne for the very first time, these areas are highly recommended. (Photographed by me - message me for permission if you want to feature the photo)

Melbourne is home to entertainment, good food and coffee, art museums, numerous interesting architecture (historic and contemporary), local markets, and simple living. I visited the CBD, and suburbs including South Bank, Prahran, South Yarra, Windsor, and St Kilda, but do intend to venture out in more remote locations during my next visit in the near future, especially in Fountain Gate and Narre Warren, where the iconic Australian TV show Kath and Kim was filmed at. If you haven't watched Kath and Kim, I recommend you watch it, especially the first two seasons! I rewatched the series recently, and it gave me instant flashbacks to what life was like growing up in Australia, through the elements and references mentioned in the show, such as Noughties fashion trends, former logos of big companies like Woolworths, abundance of small businesses selling specific products (the computer store that Brett worked in, and the homewares store Prue and Trude worked in). Kath and Kim's home is no longer standing, but the memories still remain in the show.

For most of the time, we visited the markets. Unlike Sydney, where markets generally operate once a week, the ones in Melbourne tend to operate 3-4 days a week, which gives it an advantage for tourists and customers to have more options to choose when to visit and do their shopping there. The ones we visited were Queen Victoria Market and Prahran Markets. Both markets sell fresh organic produce, including a diverse range of mushrooms (being a vegetarian, I love mushrooms!) including rare ones like Lion's Mane. If I was a local, I would definitely visit every week to do my groceries. Not only do the markets specialise in organic produce, seafood and delicatessens, but there are also stalls for specific interests, including coffee. My partner purchased a manual Porlex coffee grinder from Jasper Coffee, at Prahran Markets. It didn't come cheap, but he was happy about it, because he embraces the art and beauty of coffee making, and the service we received was excellent.

For the fashionista, there's South Yarra. South Yarra is equivalent to affluent Sydney suburbs - Darlinghurst, Paddington, and Double Bay - because of the presence of upscale local boutiques, gift stores, and high-income residents. There are Australian companies lined up along Chapel Street, including Country Road, Nude Lucy, Politix, Dinosaur Designs, Kookai, Peter Jackson, etc. There are also bridal ateliers for those preparing for the big special day. The suburb Windsor is just down the road, and is more residential and out to the suburbs. There is a good selection of restaurants, pubs and bars there, suitable for a get together with friends and family, or for a dinner to reward yourself after a long, tiring day.

While we were in South Bank, we visited Lume. It is an awesome place to take photos and be in the moment as you watch art and documentaries be projected out onto every wall, ceiling, and floor of the exhibit room you are in. The views are extraordinarily captivating, and you can feel as though you are being swept into being part of the art that is being projected. After Lume, we strolled along the Yarra River, and we could hear subtle music playing from the speakers connected to the street lamps.

Walking across the beautiful Yarra River late at night, after our visit to Lume. It's quite magical, come to think of it. (Photographed by me - message me for permission if you want to feature the photo)

(Photographed by my partner - message me for permission if you want to feature the photo)

St Kilda is quite similar to Manly and Bondi, because of the slow-paced setting, and abundance of small businesses catering for desserts, clothing, health-conscious groceries, etc. It is home to St Kilda beach, and the amusement park Luna Park. The suburb is scattered with beautiful giant palm trees which resemble giant pom-poms. My partner and I get motion sickness from rides so we didn't go to Luna Park, but instead, we walked along St Kilda beach and felt the gentle waves splash against our feet. It felt romantic. We had dinner at the Lady of St Kilda, which was once a pub, but now transformed into a Mediterranean tapas-style restaurant. The service was attentive and lovely, and accommodated well towards my vegetarian diet. It is best to book beforehand, since the restaurant is popular.

We spent the last night at Sky Deck. Similar to the Centrepoint Tower in Sydney, the Sky Deck allows you to have a 360 degree birds-eye view of Melbourne CBD and surrounding suburbs. It was the perfect way to end our trip, and made me feel emotional at times as it is our last night there. I promise to revisit this beautiful city again more often.

Fellow Melburnians! Please recommend some good places for me to visit on my next trip!!!

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