Lovable, Livable Melbourne

Posted by on Mar 14, 2013 in Australia, Countries, Featured | 2 comments

To Mike and I, one of the highest compliments we can pay to a city is that we could “see ourselves living there”.  This means that there is not only enough to do to hold our attention for a long period of time, but also that we get a good vibe from the people and the city itself.  We felt that way about Melbourne.  

I loved the city’s thriving bar and restaurant scene, the accessible beaches, the nearby wine country (yes, wine again), and its pride in being a huge sports town (host of the Australian Open, the Australian Grande Prix, Melbourne Cup, and home to many rugby and Aussie rules football teams).  It was especially a treat to be able to meet and spend time with some locals that introduced us to a more authentic experience.  We utilized Air Bnb to rent a room from a local couple in the heart of Albert Park – halfway between the bustling Central Business District (CBD)and laid back, eclectic St. Kilda. The couples’ passion for travel was rivaled only with their love of their city and we hit it off.  Additionally, one of Mike’s former Boston Scientific colleagues (Matt)  has lived in Melbourne his whole  life and offered to take us to some of the lesser known areas around the city and the surrounding area.  We spent four days in Melbourne and were sad to leave.  Below, I have included some of the highlights of our time there:

Walk of CBD: Southgate, South Bank, Yarra River, Federation Square, Royal Arcade
I was blown away by how many amazing bars and restaurants Melbourne has to offer.  We strolled the CBD on Friday night during happy hour and couldn’t get enough people watching as we peaked into the crowded pubs and listened to the raucous laughter as we passed the outdoor patios.  It seemed that each turn offered another block of fun Aussies eating, drinking, and enjoying their city. 

Royal Botanical Gardens:  
Probably my favorite city park I have ever been to.   So well done with beautiful manicured lawns, sprawling gardens, local flora and fauna, and people picnicking everywhere.  In this area, you can also find  The Shrine of Remembrance, a large stone building built in 1934 to honor those lost in WW1.  Unfortunately, I failed in my blogging abilities on the garden because I do not have one single picture to show.  I experienced the gardens on a run so I didn’t have my camera (Side note: after running around the peaceful park for an hour, I met back up with Mike who pointed out that there was a sign in front of every entrance labeled “no running”.  I guess I am a tourist even when I try to be a local).

Yarra River Valley Wine Country:  
I perked up when Mike’s friend Matt offered to drive to a few wineries on our day outside the city.  I mean, I can’t be in wine country without doing some sampling. The Yarra Valley Wine region is only an hour outside of Melbourne and holds some of Victoria’s oldest and best wineries.  We stopped at Red Hill Winery and Rochford….both picturesque and delicious.

Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary:  
Basically an interactive zoo with indigenous animals enjoying their natural habitat.  I was like a little kid: snapping photos of the koalas, gasping every time I saw a kangaroo hop, and swelling with pride when a wallaby ate a carrot right out of my hand.  I was surprised that most of the animals could pretty much wander (or hop) about through the sanctuary.  There were a few short rope fences but I think they were more to keep the humans out than keep the animals in.  We also had a chance to view some of the deadly snakes and spiders, and nocturnal rodents and oversized bats.  (Thankfully these animals were secured behind some very thick glass). All in all, a great experience.


Beaches: Albert Park, St. Kilda, Sorrento
You are not experiencing Australia if you don’t enjoy the beaches.  Simply put, Australians seem obsessed with their beach culture and we were happy to become a apart of it. We spent two afternoons on the nearby Albert Park beach reveling in the quiet strip of sand that was a mere 700 meter walk from our room.  One morning, we enjoyed a run along the boardwalk to the busier St. Kilda beach to take in the shops, eateries, and bustling pier.  Another highlight was driving to the ritzy town of Sorrento to have brunch overlooking the sparkling Port Phillip Bay.  Each beach was unique and seemed to embody the people that lived near them.  


One Melbourne highlight that we missed was the famous “Great Ocean Road” drive.  We hear it is truly breathtaking but after coming off of spending 2 weeks straight driving New Zealand, we decided that we could do without another day in the car.  The drive starts 60 miles south of Melbourne, hugs the coast for 150 miles, and includes the famous Twelve Apostles rock formation.  Instead, we used the day to explore Sorrento, wine country, and the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary.  

There is so much to see, do, and experience in Melbourne.  I think the trick of being a truly livable city is being fascinating and fun without having one major tourist attraction or site. I only hope I can one day  revisit this town on future trip Down Under.


  1. Re-reading your blog posts with even more appreciation after my training – love it!

  2. Looks incredible. Seems like a great trip so far. Bring some vino back!!

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