Hello! Welcome back to our 2nd instalment of our holiday to Melbourne. The last edition was all about the journey over and surviving 23 hours with a wriggly toddler (we survived!). But now’s for the good stuff – what is Melbourne really like as a city? I’ve often heard people describe it as the city with four seasons in a day, and I suppose the lack of glorious sunshine makes Sydney seem a much more desirable place to go on holiday. But I love Melbourne: it’s down to earth, the people are always so friendly and there is so much variety from the beaches by St Kilda & Port Melbourne, to the amazing scenery in the Yarra Valley, to the many places to visit in the city centre.
Of course the whole reason we came to Melbourne was for the wedding of the year…my little brother got married. The day was perfect – the sun was shining so brightly all day and so many people came to be together. I absolutely love weddings but there is something so special about attending a family one, perhaps because you know how much it means to the bride and groom and it’s also a chance to catch up with close friends and family. It was brilliant and although the day seemed to whizz by in a flash, we really enjoyed it.
The City A Stones Throw Away
After the wedding, we had about 5 days all to ourselves and it was the perfect time to get to know the city. My other half had never been to Melbourne and it was so nice exploring new areas together. One of my favourite moments was riding the tram with Emma and seeing the delight on her face at something so new. It’s much different to trains, and I could see it was so exciting for her. It’s also the quickest way to get around the city; the house we were staying in had 3 tram stops within a 5 minute walk so it couldn’t be easier.
Top tip for getting around Melbourne: you need to buy a Myki card from a Milk Bar (newsagent) or convenience store, and pre-pay credit to be able to travel on the trams. It’s much like London’s Oyster card, a re-usable card for travelling all around the city and vital you have one, as you can’t buy paper tickets for the trams. I have had the same one for the past 5 years and miraculously it still worked!
Driving Around the City
When we arrived in Melbourne, we made the executive decision to get a hire car after the wedding as we really didn’t need one until this point. But we soon realised that it is always far easier to just bite the bullet and get one when you arrive at the airport, as it is a huge faff getting to the airport to collect afterwards. But we managed to get there in the end, and it was so nice to have a car of our own so we could take some day trips around Melbourne.
Until this point, we had been using the Uber taxi service. In Melbourne, like other cities, this is a much cheaper way of taking a taxi and so easy by using the app. However, what we didn’t realise was that Uber works like a private car hire company and you won’t always be allowed to travel with your baby/toddler on your lap. I know people have their own views on this, but in Brighton and other cities, it is fine to travel holding them for short journeys, as long as they are belted up too. We did get slightly stranded in Melbourne once, as one driver had said it was fine to not bring the car seat, only for the return driver to not feel comfortable travelling without it. Lesson learnt: always bring the car seat along for the ride!
Driving around Melbourne was really easy – it reminds me of American cities and is a grid-based road system, so couldn’t be simpler if you miss a turning, even for me with no sense of direction. We also got to know the roads a bit and spent some time on the beach road, visiting more and more beautiful beaches, as well as driving north of the city to see the Yarra Valley.
Port Melbourne: Our Favourite Spot
I think I mentioned in my previous post how we love staying in Port Melbourne. It has so many shops, restaurants and bars, all perfect for the kind of things we like to eat (a mixture between naughty and a little bit healthy). Most of the restaurants also had outside spaces to eat, so it was ideal when you have the buggy with you too. My favourite part though is that it is really close to the beach – the apartment we rented via Air BnB was a 5 minute walk to the beach. This was the perfect spot for us to enjoy a different part of Melbourne.
Soon enough it was time to head home, and it always goes way quicker than I could ever imagine. We had a fantastic trip, which felt like the trip of a lifetime! It has been quite an anti-climax arriving home to a whole world of jetlag and realising how behind we are with organising Christmas. But one thing’s for sure, Melbourne is a city to remember and hope we’ll be back very soon.