Spending 5 months in Melbourne was not the initial plan. A month maybe, two at the most. How did it get to five? Regardless, I feel I have been here long enough to see the sights and be able to recommend some must see’s while you are here. Melbourne is known for being art and creative, as well as expensive. Luckily, there are loads of free things to do and see in and around the city! And of course, some things that are worth a little splurge.
Most people would suggest St Kilda beach. It’s the main beach in Melbourne. But Elwood beach is about a twenty minute walk along the shore from St Kilda. It’s much quieter and the sand is much finer. Every time I walk by St Kilda Beach, I feel like I can’t breathe. Especially on the weekends or when the weather is especially nice. EVERYONE is out. Plus there is that whole alcohol ban on St Kilda since thousands of Backpackers trashed it on Christmas Day. The police are always about, dishing out fines left right and centre. Save yourself the aggravation and enjoy the nice, quiet beauty of Elwood.
Neighbours Set Tour
I watched Neighbours religiously, everyday growing up. Sometimes even twice a day! Even though I haven’t watched it in years, it was still top of my list of things to do while in Australia. It’s one of the main reasons my frist stop was Melbourne actually. It’s reasonably cheap at $59 and lasts a good 4 hours (including travel time). Our tour guide was a very sarcastic Irish man who made it all the more enjoyable. Getting to actually walk around some of the sets and visit the real life Ramsay Street was really cool! You also get to meet a star of the show during your tour. We got to meet Stingray, who hasn’t been on it in years but was a main character when I used to watch Neighbours so I was a giddy little teenager again! It’s as cheesy as you would expect it to be, but if you like Neighbours, I would definitely give this a go.
Old Melbourne Gaol
You have two options here. To take a tour on your own and just wander around the prison, or go on one of the guided tours which also have a role-play element to it. We took the guided tour, not knowing about the role play. Getting arrested and shoved in an old cell was unexpected to say the least. The museum itself is really interesting and is full of information about the history of its prisonsers. One of which being the infamous Ned Kelly. I can’t remember exactly how much it cost, but it was something like $23, so not too much.
The Immigration Museum
This is a really beautiful, and at sometimes heartbreaking museum that tells the history of Immigration in Australia. It covers everything from the first British settlers to present day. Any it doesn’t shy away from the harsh truths of Australia’s history. It is definitely worth a visit.
I know including a whole suburb is a bit lazy, but this would be a very long post if I tried to name all the cool things to do in Fitzroy. You have Bimbo Deluxe, where you can get $4 pizzas if you download their app! Naked for Satan, which is a super cool rooftop bar with a killer view as well as loads more really interesting shops to explore. It’s well worth a day out, and it’s really quite cheap.
The Penguins at St Kilda Pier
Every night, penguins climb upon to the rock rocks at St Kilda Pier to chill. And naturally, people flock to see them. You can’t talk pictures with the flash on as that is just mean, but there are people there who have red torches, that I guess doesn’t hurt their eyes as much and allows you to see them a bit more.
I guess you can tell from this list that I like a good Museum. The NGV, or National Gallery of Victoria, is a really cool Art Gallery. I’ve been a few of times now and it changes every time! You’ve got your classic art and sculptures, but then also modern exhibits. Also it’s free and you can spend as much time as you like there. Win win.
Is it the most famous lane in Melbourne? I don’t know, but let’s say it is. Just across the road from Federation Square, it’s always packed with people who come to see the ever-changing graffiti that decorates the walls. Take your time walking through and really appreciate the street art. You might find a little gem.
If you have a car, it’s about a 10 minute drive from the city. Public transport will be a bit longer, but there a few buses that take you right there. It’s a beautiful beach with dark blue water. I was working near by one day and took my break on the rocks down by the water. I would have given anything to be able to jump in!
Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium
I know Aquariums are a touchy subject for some people, believing the animals should be in the natural habitats. But Sea Life are an orgisation known for their conservation work around the world. I get they are not for everyone and that’s fine, but if you are into Aquarius I highly recommend it. It’s four floors are full of so many cool and interesting sea creatures and corals. A but pricey however at $42.
I went to the zoo on my birthday and I was blown away. We don’t really have cool zoo’s in Scotland. Or if we do, I’ve never been to any. I used to go to an animal park in Calder Glen when I was a kid, but they had Guinea Pigs so it wasn’t quite on par with Giraffes and Lions. After wandering around Melbourne Zoo for 5 hours, the only reason I decided to leave was because my shoulders were getting burnt. I absolutely loved it, and it’s a great place to spend the day solo.
The ACMI or Australian Centre for the Moving Image, is a must see for any film lovers. It tells the history of film (or the moving image) and how it relates to Australia. It also covers broadcasting and computer games as well as the internet and virtual reality. I literally have everything and is really interactive. And, would you believe, it’s FREE! You could go there and play old Super Mario video games all day, or try out the virtual reality, or just play around in the cool interactive exhibits. Again, I’ve been about three times now and I’d go again in a heartbeat. I absolutely love it!
Bars and Clubs
Sister Bella – A really cool bar in Sniders Lane (good luck if you find the right door the first time) It has really cool music and a really relaxed vibe. That is unless you go at the weekend. It being quite a small place can get pretty packed. If you are approached by someone asking if you have seem their lost cat, or telling you a rubbish joke, just go with it. They are probably playing the Truth or Dare Jenga.
Workshop – I’m going to right ahead and say I only like this place during the day. Evenings get a bit too intense with the very loud techno music booming from every directing. During the day it’s lovely and relaxed and has a really nice terrace area that makes you feel like you’re in the jungle.
Yah Yahs – Another Fiztroy goodie. The closest thing to The Cathouse in Glasgow that I’ve found here. It’s a two floor rock bar that has couches for when your feet get sore. The drinks are average price and you need $10 cash to get in but it plays everything from 00’s emo rock to classic 80’s to Beyonce. Every music taste is catered to. Just an all round good night out.
And there you have it. All my essentials on Melbourne in one handy post. If there is anything that I have missed off my list let me know and I will hopefully get to check it out before I leave.
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