12 May 11 Amazing Reasons Why Melbourne Rocks
“If it wasn’t so far away, everyone would live there.” That’s what a lot of people who’ve visited Melbourne say about this vibrant city. This coastal capital seduces its visitors, and charms its way into their hearts. That’s what happened to us. So much so, that we’re already thinking about moving there, beginning next year.
On the other hand, it seems that people who haven’t been there, and have no immediate plans of going, know little about it. Some have misconceptions and are not interested in visiting because it’s “on the other side of the planet.”
This Australian city has some amazing things going on, and after a month back home, we still miss it. So we came up with a list of 11 facts about Melbourne that will put this city right on top of your list.
1) Best Chai Latte in the World
Granted, we haven’t been everywhere. But we’ve made it our mission to have a steamy cup of Chai Latte everywhere we go. Why? Because we love it. Because it’s nice, and hot, and the smell and taste of its spices is glorious in a summer or winter day. It’s creamy and comforting, it smells heavenly and it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. The first time we tried it we were actually on a road trip with friends in Australia and we were instantly hooked. So now we order one everywhere we go.
And the verdict’s in. The best chai we’ve tried is the one you’ll find in Melbourne—by far. They usually have it at every café, no matter how small. The Melbourne chai latte has a special flavor that reminds us of atole (a delicious Mexican drink made primarily of corn, milk, cinnamon and piloncillo.) It tastes right. At first we thought it was because of its closeness to Asia and its spices, but we recently sampled many cups in New Zealand and, sorry Kiwis, but they kinda sucked.
So if you’re looking for a
great perfect cup of chai latte, go to Melbourne.
You can thank us later.
2) The Melbourne Royal Botanical Gardens
We’ve been to our fair share of botanical gardens. Some are tiny, some are interesting, some should’ve never had the audacity to name themselves gardens, some are gorgeous, and some are plain horrible. Melbourne Botanical Gardens, however, kick ass. Sitting right in the middle of a bustling city, they´re a relaxing oasis where you can literally hide from it all. The 38 acres consist of plants of more than 10,000 species, and that’s not even the coolest part. It’s beautiful. It’s got flowers, lakes, ponds, acres of manicured lawns for picnics, reading, doing yoga, sleeping… Whatever you can think of.
Plus, in summer, they’ve got all kinds of activities like Shakespeare Under the Stars, where you can have a picnic and then enjoy some of Shakespeare’s best plays performed by Australian Shakespeare Company, under the stars. Not into plays? Catch a movie during Moonlight Cinema. An outdoor cinema which shows movies on a giant screen, right on the garden’s Central Lawn.
Perfect summer night plans if you ask us.
3) Prahran Market
I don’t know about you, but we hate going grocery shopping. When you could be doing a whole lot of different things, you have to go freeze by the refrigerators in an overcrowded store.
Well, not if you go to Prahran Market. Believe us, you’ll want to go back…and back…and back again. Everything is organized, and fresh, and smells wonderful. It’s got high ceilings and the windows filter soft sunlight.
Over 90 traders sell their goods in this market, making it easy for you to find all of your crazy and exotic needs.
They’ve got fantastic stalls like one specifically for wild mushrooms, another one just for gourmet potatoes, and yet another one for cheese. Us vegetarians can rejoice in all of the options available and, while strolling around, we even found gourmet vegan cheeses. And, of course, there’s also a specialty gluten-free store.
Delis? They’ve got ‘em. Coffee? You bet. Flowers? You get our drill.
They’ve got a beautiful section for organic produce only, and the restaurants are great too. They even got and Oatmeal Bar.
Can we say heaven?
4) Home of the Australian Open
I’m not a big tennis fan. But I’m always up for food, face painting, concerts, shopping, games, and half a million excited and happy people. The fan zones set up for the Australian Open are perfect places to watch the games, have fun, see some live music, and make new friends. The buzz gets to you, and even if you don’t particularly like it, you may even find yourself playing simulating tennis, and cheering during the matches.
You’ve been warned.
5) The Laneways
If we had to choose one thing we love most about Melbourne, we’d probably say its Melbourne Laneways. With their cobblestone streets, they’re mysterious, pretty, dark, and seducing. During the Victorian era they served as lanes for horses and carts, and they’ve slowly evolved to be internationally known, and to have great cultural value.
Go see live music at a bar, have a perfect chai latte in a cozy café, please your taste buds in a restaurant, or marvel at amazing art in a gallery. Get your fashion on at one of its quirky shops or stylish boutiques, and have an al-fresco dinner. Also, you won’t find two similar laneways. Each of them has a character and a feel to it which makes it unique. And, together, they make Melbourne unique.
6) Street Art
Be prepared to be mind blown. As soon as you get a look at some of Melbourne’s urban art you understand why its become one of the world’s street art capitals.
You can find this type of art especially in the city’s hidden laneways, but there are also great examples that cover sides of buildings completely.
The main techniques used are spray painting, stencil art and paste-ups. Needless to say, the talent required for creating such pieces of art is indescribable.
This culture gives Melbourne a sparkling and creative city vibe that’s only attracting more and more intrigued visitors.
Tip: You can take a Melbourne Street Art Tour guided by a practicing artists who will take you to the streets of Melbourne and show you the highlights.
7) Eclectic Food Scene and Plenty of Vegetarian/Vegan Options
What are you in the mood for? Go crazy. Whatever your craving, you’ll likely find it in Melbourne. Since its population is a melting pot of a myriad of cultures, it’s no surprise that its food is too.
You can have a smashed avocado with oven roasted tomatoes and hummus in ciabatta for breakfast at Caffé Siena, a raw vegan lasagna for lunch at Sister of Soul, and the best veggie dumplings you’ve ever had at Jucy Dumplings on Chapel St. Have also a mid-day Colombian hot chocolate, served with ‘queso freso’ at Sonido and a late night Spanish churro served with a pot of melted chocolate at San Churro.
8) State Library
I’m a sucker for libraries. I am. But when one holds over 2 million books, in a grand building, in the city’s CBD, it’s possible my love could turn to down right obsession.
Victoria State Library has also over 5 reading rooms; all pristine and quiet, and smelling wonderfully of old books. It’s even got a tiny Shakespeare room dedicated in its entirety to the British genius, and an impressive resume of art exhibits and events.
There’s a grassy lawn in front of the library’s entrance popular for picnics and games of giant chess.
The stuff my nerdy dreams are made of.
9) The Freedom of Moving Around
You can walk, you can take the tram or the train. You can even drive. Living in Southern California where public transport is…lacking (to put it politely), having the freedom to move about however you want to is freaking awesome.
10) Diversity of Neighborhoods
From the lively and posh South Yarra to the bohemian Fitzroy, and the hip, laid-back St Kilda, there’s something for everyone, every time.
For an authentic cultural experience, Chinatown won’t disappoint. You want to wear your flip flops and eat fabulous cake? Head to St. Kilda, walk along the pier, watch the kite surfers, and even catch a penguin or two!
11) A City that combines Asia and Eroupe- in Australia
As we walked around the city, we were sometimes reminded of European cities, specifically Barcelona: the convenience of the public transport, , the (not so pretty) beach right in the city, the wonderful food served in plenty of restaurants crammed together, covering the streets with outdoor seating, the diversity of the people, the historically rich buildings, short blocks, and the weather.
On the other hand, it’s got Asia written all over it too: the authentic, can-I-have-three-servings food, the good quality tea, its streets alive with people, who seem to think pedestrian crossings are purely ornamental, the tall buildings gathered in CBD, the small shops which announce themselves in colorful banners, and the crowded alleys.
Mix it all together with Aussie charm, laid-back friendly vibe, in a wonderful country, and you’ve got yourself one of the most incredible cities in the world.
So yes, even if it’s far away… it’s actually the place to be.
Have you ever been in Melbourne? What did you like most? The least? What are some other cities that you think are underrated? Would love to hear from you! Leave us a comment below.