Term Abroad: Melbourne, Australia
Whilst I live a mere 60 seconds stroll from the building that I work in every day, I only really use it as a base for eating dinner and sleeping. My weekends are spent on the train to the city and beyond, trying to do as much of Melbourne and the surrounding Victoria area as I can for my short time here. As stated in my past blog post, I have never lived in a real city before this. I grew up in a village in the West Country, taking a long bus ride into Bath every day for school, which is so small I think it’s only counted as city because of the Abbey, and then moving to Coventry for University. I think we can all agree that our campus isn’t exactly in the centre of a thriving metropolis. Therefore, the novelty of adequate public transport is something that still hasn’t warn off. I never learnt to drive, so have always been reliant on other peoples kindness to go out somewhere, so despite living in the suburb of Clayton, a half an hour train ride from the CBD and a 5 minute bus journey to the train station, I am really enjoying the independence city life has provided me with. Melbourne is not, in the grand scheme of things, very old so it has been built so the CBD is easily accessible and there are about 10 train lines going in and out of the centre reaching all the suburbs. Re-reading this now, this is actually a very boring thing to talk about, so I’m going to move on to what makes Melbourne epic in other ways:
The beaches: St Kilda beach is the beach in the city and it isn’t great. Whilst you can spot an occasional penguin on the pier, the beach is long and a bit dirty and the sea has no waves or any real life to it. The best beaches involve a bit of effort but they are SO worth it! Melbourne isn’t far from the Great Ocean Road and Surf Coast which are home to Torquay, Lorne, Anglesey and the famous Bell’s Beach. Breathtakingly stunning with shear cliff faces and wilder oceans, you are totally spoilt by living city life with the natural beauty of the beaches just an hour away.
The bars: Whilst the city centre is bustling and easy to navigate, some of the more central suburbs like Fitzroy and Brunswick house some of the world’s best bars. These suburbs are gentrified and edgy, making the drinks come with a bit of a price tag, however they make you feel way cooler than you are and also great to show off on Instagram. Examples include bars themed as laboratories and rainforests, or that are hidden behind fridge doors and under train stations.
The sport: Melbourne is a sporting city and it knows it. Home to 10/18 Australian Football League teams, Victoria has a state-wide public holiday for the grand final, and boasts the largest stadium in the Southern Hemisphere in the form of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Melbourne also hosts a variety of other sporting events, like the Grand Prix and the Australian Open. This gives the city a great sense of spirit, particularly when it comes to AFL which is like a religion for the locals as they shout from the MCG every weekend.
The safety: Starting life in a new city I was EXPECTING to be scared and overwhelmed, but I suprised myself in this not being the case. As mentioned in great detail, the city is easy to navigate with trams going around most streets in the centre (which are free) and neighbouring suburbs (which are cheap), and every train station manned with staff. It is well lit at night, has a low crime rate, and only has about 10 different street names making it very easy to get your bearings. I like to think I am coping well because I am a mature, independent woman, but Melbourne also didn’t make it difficult!
The cafes: Along with the ‘four seasons in one day’ saying, Melbourne is famous for its coffee and thus boasts a vast array of cafes in the centre and outwards. Like its bars, these are often well-styled and are begging to be snapchatted. There are entire streets in the CBD connecting the major roads which are paved with cafes, called Cafe laneways, and at peak time can be hellish in terms of tourists
The street art: Melbourne is clean and has some very nice buildings (and some less nice ones, there has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding the new builds on the Federation Square in the centre) but a lot of its beauty comes from its street art. There are dedicated streets where street art has been legalized and they are covered top to bottom in colour with some pieces covering whole walls. Rumour has it there has even been a Banksy piece down Hozier lane.
There is so much more I could go on about, so don’t let the proximity of Monash to the CBD dissuade you from spending some time here yourself if given the opportunity; Melbourne is fast becoming one of my favourite cities!
Love Fi x