In 2018 I spent about 6 months collectively living in Melbourne, Australia while on a working holiday visa. It was such a fun city to live in, and I quickly fell in love with it, enjoying exploring the different neighborhoods and suburbs, trying lots of restaurants, and making new life-long friends that I miss dearly.
Eureka Sky Deck
While not precisely a “must-see” attraction, if you’re looking to get some incredible 360º view of the city, take a ride to the top of the Eureka Tower and check out the Sky Deck. It’s the 2nd tallest building in Australia, and the viewing platforms are the highest public vantage point in the southern hemisphere. The entrance fee costs $20 to ride the elevator to the top, and you can spend as much time as you like checking out the different views from this Southbank point. It’s cool, but I wouldn’t stress if you don’t have the time or don’t want to spend money. If you do go, I’d advise going a bit before sunset to get some daylight and evening lighting for unique photos.
Cocktails at Arbory Bar
Drinking on a floating platform on the Yarra River, surrounded by city lights and tall buildings? Yes, please! I love a good downtown cocktail, and Arbory is an excellent spot for one. Arbory Afloat sits right on the river, and you can enjoy a drink and a lovely view of the city. I came here with my roommate after we went to the top of the Eureka Skydeck for a pomegranate mojito. Drinks are pricy but delicious.
Drinks at Vineyard & Republica
These two bars are St. Kilda staples and a must to visit, especially if you’re looking to enjoy a classic Australian “Sunday Session” of day drinking in the sun. Republica is right on the water while Vineyard is on Acland Street, and both are often hosting events and live music to bring in the crowds. A great place to start a day of festivities and enjoy some views of the water.
I ate in Chinatown many, many times during my Melbourne life. I love dumplings and really any Asian food, and this long street provides a plethora of options, and many are budget-friendly AND BYO. To get to Chinatown, head to Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) and go to Little Bourke Street. This is the start of the long stretch of Chinese restaurants and markets. A few in particular that I enjoyed included Shanghai Street (incredible dumplings) Dragon Boat (dim sum) and Empress of China.
Street Art in Hosier Lane
This sought-after graffiti spot is essentially a free outdoor museum! Winding through the laneways around Hosier Street in the CBD of Melbourne, various artists come here to create artwork on the brick sides of buildings, with everything from political cartoons to statements on pop culture and everything in between. I loved the street art that can be found here and all around Melbourne, and it’s always changing so you’ll see something new each time you go for a walk.
Ok, I’ll admit I never actually went INSIDE Luna Park in either Sydney or Melbourne, but seeing it from the outside during a stroll to St. Kilda Beach is probably enough. The amusement park first opened in 1912 and is a pretty cool sight just in terms of historic rides and entertainment. Plus, a photo-op in front of the main entrance is a must.
Music & Food Festivals
There are always events and things happening in Melbourne, whether it be a music festival, cultural celebrations, and food festivals. I wrote quite a bit about my experience at the Asian Food Festival in Melbourne in a previous post on restaurants in the city, but other festivals I stumbled upon during my time here included celebrations of Indian culture, Chinese New Year, and various art shows that popped up all over the city and in museums like the National Gallery of Victoria.
A music festival I went to and thoroughly enjoyed was Elrow. It’s a day festival highlighting lots electronic music, incredible decorations, and fun entertainment. It was in a warehouse and was a super fun day of music and drinks. Elrow is a traveling festival that goes around the world, I’d highly recommend attending one of their events if it comes to a city you’re in.
The National Opal Collection in Melbourne’s CBD
Love jewelry and gemstones? Then stopping here is a must. You can shop to buy or just browse, the staff is amicable and informative. I learned about the various styles of opal cuts – triplet and doublets, solid opals, fire opals, and way more. It was awesome too because the jewelry available spans a wide price range – you can find something even if you’re on a tight backpacker budget.
I miss Melbourne a lot, it was a fantastic city to live in, and I wish I could’ve had more time there. In the future, I’d love to explore more neighborhoods on the north side of the city and take more trips down the Mornington Peninsula and other spots in greater Victoria.
Have you been to Melbourne? What was your favorite thing you did or saw?