With its sunshine, beaches, mountains, diverse culture and dynamic wildlife, Australia’s a honeytrap millions of travellers make a bee-line for.
And it’s a popular base for adventurers on an extended sabbatical break, but those who overlook Melbourne for better-known Sydney might be missing a trick.
Melburnians will tell you that their city is Down Under’s cultural capital and an all-round brilliant place to live — decide for yourself with these five reasons Melbourne’s great for gap year travellers.
Melbourne’s a mecca for sports fans — attending the Melbourne Cup Carnival is a must for horse racing fans, but this year, the city and its state Victoria are also hosting the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Australian Open tennis, The Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club and Australian Boomers V USA basketball.
Melbourne’s a paradise for beach bums of all varieties, so you’re sure to find a sweet spot to chill out, surf and people watch while you’re in residence. For starters, Brighton beach has beautiful Victorian-era bathing boxes and genteel swimming, Mentone has a brilliant boardwalk and laid-back vibe, while Blairgowrie Back Beach boasts delicious fish and chips.
Foodies spending an extended break in Melbourne can feat their eyes and fill their bellies with a huge variety of culinary treats in the city’s world-class restaurants. There are many mouth-watering eateries to engage with, but with dishes like sea corn tacos filled with crab custard, and signature sumptuous scampi, eating at South Melbourne’s Lume might be the most inspirational introduction.
If money’s no object, Melbourne hosts some of Australia’s finest hotels. You can lounge at high-end apartment hotels like United Places, live in the lap of old school luxury at The Hotel Windsor or mix with the beautiful people at trendy QT Melbourne. Alternatively, find a clean and central backpacker’s hostel at urbancentral.com.au — the cash you save on more spartan lodgings can be spent on socialising.
Getting around Melbourne is easy thanks to its reasonably modern and punctual public transport system, which features buses, trains and trams. Whatever your preference, buying a myki card lets you hop between different modes to maximise efficiency and savings. And if you’re catching a domestic or international flight, the city’s air hub has awesome facilities and amenities — for instance, finding Melbourne airport parking with Looking4.com is easy and, once you’re inside, eateries like Baxa and Billie Chu will make your taste buds tingle with Asian treats.
These five reasons Melbourne’s great for gap year adventurers are only the tip of a terrific travel iceberg but they should whet your appetite enough to ensure it claims a space on your next global trip.
Australia’s blessed with a clutch of cool cities, but for our money, Melbourne might be the pick of the bunch.
Do you have any Melbourne travel tips? Share them in the comments section.