3 Months later and you'll still find me in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Why? Because this city is AMAZING. It's one of those cities that has something for everyone. Not only is it the capital of Victoria, but it's the Sports capital of Australia, the Fashion capital of Australia and it has been ranked as one of the top three World's Most Livable Cities since 2002. (Right behind my most favorite city in the world- VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA!) Suck it Sydney, Melbourne is where it's at. (The Sydney-Melbourne rivalry isn't something you can avoid while in Australia) Don't get me wrong, I loved Sydney but after I did the touristy things and saw what I had to see in Sydney I was left with this "get me out of here" feeling... you don't get that in Melbourne. There's always something to do or see. It seems like there's a festival of some sort happening every weekend including the Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne Fringe Festival, there are countless sporting events (HELLO Australian Masters, the Australian Open, the Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup. And is also home to the National Sports Museum which I loved BTW), the people here are AFL CRAZY (umm Go Essendon!? These boys wear REALLY short shorts... but I'm not complaining) and if it's a rainy day, just do what I do and go shopping! There's definitely no shortage of good shopping in Melbs. And for fruits and veggies you must go to the Queen Victoria Market... sure you may walk away with a headache from all the yelling but most likely you've just paid about $10 for 5 heavy bags full of yummy fruit and veggies. No complaints here.
Sure, the winter weather isn't something to write home about (they're not kidding when they say you can experience 4 seasons in one day) but I'm from Canada so I'm in no position to complain about a 15 degree winter. And the 35 degrees in November definitely make up for it. And who doesn't like to buy a new coat!?
Another thing I love about Melbourne is the Architecture... you don't have to be a nerd like me to appreciate it... it's awesome. The CBD has unrestricted height limits (unlike other Australian cities) and is therefor home to 5 of the 6 tallest building in Australia. The tallest being the Eureka Tower in Southbank which just so happens to be my next door neighbor (how cool is that?) There's hundreds of little cafes and shops hidden around the city in alley ways that you'd never expect to find. My most favorite street in Melbourne- COLLINS STREET is home to some amazing architecture and some amazing shopping... definitely a must see if you're in Melbourne. Some other favorite parts of Melbourne include Southbank (obviously I decided to live here), and everything along the Yarra River, Federation Square, St.Kilda, the walk from South Melbourne Beach to St.Kilda, Chapel Street, the Docklands and Brunswick Street.
As much as I'm not a fan of public transit (I miss my car that is sitting back in Canada) I must admit that Melbourne's public transit system is pretty good once you get used to it. (Trust me, it took awhile)
The people in Melbourne are friendly and helpful (unlike *cough* Sydney *cough cough*) once they kindly ask what part of America I'm from (accent) and then apologize profusely when I say I'm from Canada. Melbournians are interested in everything, especially stuff they know nothing about. People in Melbourne will seriously show up for anything... take for instance last weekend when over a thousand people showed up in Federation Square dressed as super heroes to break a world record (which they did) -it was definitely a funny sight to see. I mean who wouldn't want to see grown men in tights!? It's ok as long as it's not your own father.
For years, Melbourne has revelled and thrived on being a smaller, more contained city than Sydney. They have the right mixture of population, infrastructure and sustainability. Something you can really appreciate.
Something I may never understand about Melbourne is Hook Turns. Trams in Melbourne run down the centre of the street. Normally when a car turns right it sits in the middle of the intersection. This would block trams so in Melbourne when you want to turn right near a tram line you have to sit and wait in the left lane. Confused yet? Then when its clear or the lights go red you make your turn. Its daunting at first as you have to check for trams and cars in two directions before you go. But I'm assuming it's damn fun the first time you successfully complete one. And trust me, I've seen a few failed Hook Turns. I'm guessing it's the number one cause for traffic accidents here...
When I first decided to come to Australia I honestly thought I'd end up living in Sydney (the Architecture nerd in me has a crush on the Opera House) but after experiencing Melbourne I fell in love. Sydney. It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. I can only hope that Melbourne will accept me, offer me sponsorship and let me enjoy it for a little while longer.