Monday, 27 July 2015

Melbourne

On a spur of the moment decision I had booked a plane ticket to Melbourne for a few days as I might never get the chance to come back to Australia so wanted to see as much of it as possible. 

Melbourne is well known for its creativity in the arts from sell-out theatre productions to music gigs and commissioned street art. It certainly pays to get out of the city centre to explore the multitude of districts and see what they have to offer and there really is no reason not to with several different free buses and trams crisscrossing around the city. 

On the first day I took the tram 30 minutes out to North Coburn to Sydney Road which is meant to be a haven for clothes shopping at bargain prices. Whilst I found nothing of the sort it was nice to explore the neighbourhood which had a strong Middle eastern influence. I found a charming greek cafe which offered up the most delicious bacon and caramelised onion pie finished off with toasted banana bread! Back in the centre there is an abundance of coffee shops and restaurants most of which have the best produce on offer. 

Melbourne is a city obsessed with coffee and it has even been coined as the coffee capital. There are specialist coffee hotspots everywhere giving customers a chance to sip everything from flat whites to cups of 'magic.' 
With a tasty takeaway vanilla latte in hand I went off to find Hosier Lane which is an example of unique expressions of art. A small side street like many others, Hosier Lane distinguishes itself as an approved outdoor location for legalised artwork with every inch of wall covered in multicoloured somewhat trippy designs ranging from the creative to the religious. There are even envelopes stuck to the walls with heartwarming refreshing memos inside. 

That evening I took a walk across town to the Fitzroy suburb where art galleries, boutiques and bookstores are nestled side on with bars, cafes and pubs. It was the location of a street projection festival where 35 sites ranging from green spaces within a park to high rise buildings were illuminated with colourful artistic interpretations. Even the rain couldn't dampen the spirits of the visitors and locals alike enjoying creativity splashed across contrasting settings. 

The next day we took the tram 20 minutes out of the city to St Kilda, a seaside town gaining popularity as a getaway spot from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whilst at the moment it is still a little bit dated, it is still a tourist destination and is slowly catching up with the other suburbs to become a go-to spot. Naturally, we had fish and chips by the beach side whilst overlooking Luna Park, an outdoor fun fair. 
That evening as part of a group from the hostel we went to Victoria Market where we were greeted by food stalls cooking up delicious international cuisine - Filipino street food anyone? - handmade gifts, locally brewed ales all to the sound of live music. And if that wasn't your thing, there was even an open air cinema showing films produced by Melbournites. It was a really great way to immerse myself into the underground lifeline of the city as the stall holders are part of the growing eclectic mix offering the high street mainstream a run for its money.
Although my time in Melbourne was only lasted three days, it was a short but sweet visit where I got to understand why it has such a magnetic draw and so many outlets with which to enjoy Australian life.