8 Simple Reasons To Love Melbourne

Greetings from the land of very changeable weather, hipsters and great coffee

I moved to Melbourne nearly four years ago, four, years ago. I have no idea how its been that long but I will admit, I love it just as much, if not more than I did when we first moved here. Melbourne isn’t (as) flashy like Sydney, nor hot all year round like the far north neighbours. Melbourne is vibrant, cultural, energetic and completely unpredictable. Of course, no city is perfect, but Melbourne, for me, comes pretty close. Here’s why…

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THE GARDENS

One of my absolute favourite things about Melbourne is all of the public gardens. Although I live in the inner city, I still have many gardens and parks within a 10-20min walk. In fact, in and around the inner city there are 12 well known gardens to visit! All slightly different.

A few of my favourites would be Kings Domain/ The Royal Botanical Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens and Carlton Gardens.

I think this is something that really sets Melbourne apart from other cities and part of the reason it has more livability than others. Beautiful.

THE VIBE & STREET ART

Unpredictable personality, Vibrant Laneways and hidden secret bars and restaurants are all of what makes Melbourne so unique. From an outsiders point of view, places such as Collins Street and Bourke Street at first glance are just typical city streets. Loads of people, shops and small cafes. From an insiders point of view, there is so much more.

There are little laneways which are home to small, locally owned cafes and restaurants as well as sellers of coffee utensils, sustainable clothing and probably even a hidden gym or two.

There are the famous laneways such as Hosier Lane and ACDC Lane which are always worth a look, but no matter where you go in the city, behind a random dumpster, there is probably something quite unique and beautiful.

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THE FOOD AND COFFEE

Where to even start.

Food in Melbourne is genuinely glorious. It has everything from high flying Brunch spots (Read here) to weird and wonderful (and crazy expensive) options such as Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Plus everything in between. As someone who is somewhat health conscious & enjoys living the health wanker life, there are also many options available too.

Melbourne is called the coffee capital of Australia for good reason. More and more brilliant coffee shops are popping up all around. Not only in the hipster suburbs, but also right in the city centre. I will be writing a blog post soon of all my favs but for now, just do a small amount of googling and you will find some finger licking good places.

THE MARKETS

Since moving to Melbourne and living so close to a few big markets I have really become quite obsessed and going to the Market on a Sunday is a bit of a tradition.  Markets are a great place to start when visiting any new place because you get a glimpse of the local fresh produce, food scene as well finding gems from local artists and creative types.

There are a few markets in Melbourne which are definitely a must see. The first being the Queen Victoria Market. Its quite famous in Melbourne and has everything from food to vintage clothing to live bands and much more. There is also a Night Market which runs out of here at certain times of the year which is quite the experience.

My favourite markets are ones which are a little smaller. Being the South Melbourne Market & the Prahran Market. Both have a great fresh produce section as well as amazing deli’s and restaurants.

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THE NEIGHBOURHOODS

From the quirky health cafes and cozy old pubs in Fitzroy, to upmarket clothing and food boutiques in Prahran, the over the top and elegant leafy mansions of Toorak and  backpackers or wind surfers enjoying the beach vibe of St Kilda. The inner city suburbs of Melbourne really are like mini cities or towns in themselves, all known for different things.

The variety of neighbourhoods is part of the reason I never tell friends and family to only come for a weekend. You could literally spend the whole time in just one suburb or the inner city without getting bored!

TRAMS

As much as everyone in Melbourne complains about the public transport, it really isn’t that bad. Especially in comparison to other big cities around the world. In Auckland, your only option is a bus, in London, you have a really overpriced tube or a bus that takes the long way around. Here, we have it pretty good. Free trams in the City Circle which run pretty frequently and they also look pretty cool, especially the older ones. The trams in the city give Melbourne that little hint of differentness as well as just being pretty cool.

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THE DAY TRIPS

This is such an amazing bonus of living in Melbourne. Whether you like the beach, the mountains, the forrest or wineries, within a few hours on the train or via car you can have a bit of everything.

My favourites have to be The Great Ocean Road & The Otways, The Mornington Peninsula, The Dandenong Ranges and going north to places such as Mt Macedon. Which, as a side note, has a had a fair bit of snow this winter, pretty exciting.

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ALL THE EVENTS

Do you like sports? Food? Wine? Beer? Crafts? Clothing?

Well, then Melbourne is for you. There is quite literally an event for everything at some point in the year and if you get bored in between, no doubt there will be a hit band or theatre show which is bound to be interesting and make for a good night out.

You will never be bored, especially if you have a money tree growing in your back yard, which can be the downside off all these events. Melbourne isn’t exactly the most cost effective city.

To sum up. I love Melbourne, for all these reasons and more. I feel very grateful to live here and find myself realising this quite often. Even the small things, such as appreciating the cityscape at 5.30 in the morning can be enough on a bad day to bring me back to life.

The Melbourne Brunch Guide | 6 Places You Can’t Miss!

Melbourne does love a Sunday Brunch

Melbourne is well known for being the Australian capital for all things Coffee.. but do you know what goes really well with coffee? Great food! Brunch is my favourite meal for sure mainly because it is only really enjoyed during the weekend and probably only became a thing because people wanted a glorious sleep in. So, here are 6 of my favourite pick for places to go in Inner City Melbourne.

Top Paddock – Richmond. 

The Food at this place is incredible. Not even just the range or the taste. The presentation is immaculate (‘Cough, Cough’ the Blueberry & Ricotta Hotcake). There are ‘healthier’ and some more indulgent options depending on how you are feeling, however I would reccomend having a fairly big appetite when going!
The cafe itself has a really beautiful design. Its comfortable and quite open  compared to some other options in Melbourne.

Tip – Get in Early! Or you may be waiting a fair while for a table.

Pilar of Salt – South Yarra/ Richmond. 

Once again – this is a cafe that if you want a decent table and a short waiting time, get in early! I have been here a few times, early morning and after lunch and it seems no matter the time, theres a chance of waiting! But for a good reason.
Firstly. The coffee at this Cafe is seriously top notch! The cold brew however is def a go to for me as its just, good. Like, really good.
The food here is also pretty bloody good and the menu does cater to a lot, if not all walks of life and it quite veried (Would you like the Pancakes? an Eggs Bene? Or maybe an Hawaiian Poke Bowl?). The atomsphere of the Cafe itself is also really cool both inside and in the back/ outside area. On the way out you must also get one of their delicious treats from the front desk (Drooools).

Tip: Request a place to sit if you are fussy, or you may end up at a very busy and loud share table.

Serotonin Eatery – Burnley.

Seratonin Eatery

Are you the type of person who loves Smashed Avo, Vegan Pancakes or a Matcha/ Tumeric/ Cacao Coconut Latte with a Smiley Face like myself? Then you will love this place! As the name would suggest, you walk into this Cafe and you cant help but feel Happy! If it isn’t the Smiley face on the Top of your  latte, the Japanese Style share tables will seriously make you go, Wow. This Place is Cool!
The food is all Plant Based, very nutritious and delicious 🙂 Even the names on the Menu make you  smile and feel good (Positive Pancakes and Smiling Smashed Avo have to be my favs!)
My Favourite part of this Cafe however has to be the incredible comprehensive list of drinks! Protein Lattes, Coconut Cacao Lattes, Tumeric Lattes’ – ALL THE LATTES. I seriously love it and want to try them all! Even if you arent hungry, just go there for a drink!

Tip – Google map it by street view before you go or you may not find it easily ( like me and end up waaaay down the road).

Oscar Cooper – Prahran.

I have been lucky enough to dine at this cafe a few times and each time I have thoroughly enjoyed it! The atmosphere is really nice. Its cosy and warm in the winter (even when you are seated right by the door) but they also have some outdoor seating options which would be great in Summer! Their Jaffles look amazing and I have been told they certainly are. My fav dish is definitely the buttermilk & banana pancakes (dreamy).

Oscar Cooper

Higher Ground – CBD

This place is #instagramgoals

If you are in Melbourne for a short amount of time and based in the CBD, after a typical Melbourne brunch. This is your place. The menu is pretty great with a wide range of options for everyone (once again has the famous pancake as it is a sister cafe of Top Paddock). The savoury dishes are also good!

I had the Lamb Sausage Roll and although the portion size was smaller, I was still satisfied. The interior of this place is actually just incredible. Its so big with a load of greenery. It IS the place to instagram.
Tip: once again, get in early so you aren’t waiting an hour!

5 and Dime Bagel

This one is a little different to the others and as you can imagine, is Bagel focused. If you like a good bagel. This is where you need to go ( or one of its suppliers). For me this ticks the box of a really good, cheap, on the go (but you can eat in) breakfast or brunch. You do need to get there early during the weekend however its so worth it. SO many options of things to have on and they actually do really great coffee to have with them!
My personal favourites are the Bacon Maple Chipotle or the Smoked Trout!

There are so many more amazing Cafes around Melbourne! This list could really go on forever! Where’s your favourite place? Where do I need to add to my list?

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The Great Ocean Road Travel Guide | Australia

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

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I have now been lucky enough to travel the Great Ocean Road a few times. Once, with a tour & once hiring a car and driving down for the weekend. So I feel as though I can give (a few) tips on what to see & do.

TIP

Go in Winter. Off peak season – less tourists, less cars on the road – you actually get places quicker. Also hot spots such as The 12 Apostles are a lot quieter and you can take all the photos you like.

GETTING AROUND

Another advantage of this is that things such as rental cars are a lot cheaper. We got this bad boy below from Avis Rentals and it cost us $130 for 3 days! Bargain!

Holden Commodore SV6
Comfy, reliable & safe with great fuel economy. Great for road trips such as this!

KOALAS, PARROTS & KOOKABURRAS
Obviously this is Australia and what would a trip be without seeing some of the locals. My favourite spot to see these is a little place called Kennett River. You are (almost) guaranteed to see some of these guys on a trip here! It’s pretty cool. They are definitely there, but you just need to keep your eyes peeled as Koalas especially blend in with the surroundings really well.

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Spot the koala
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Kookaburra
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Feeding the locals

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Look higher up than you think – including the really small branches you don’t expect the koalas to be. Go early in the morning! By about 11am, there will be so many tourists that you can not move and also buy some seed from the ‘Kafe Koala’ to get a chance to get up close & personal with some parrots & cockatoos.

Feeding the birds

THUNDER CAVE & LOCH AND GORGE

On my first trip to the GOR, we did stop at Loch and Gorge, however, only for a few minutes so we did not get to see much. The second time, it was pissing down with rain so we just ran off in one direction to (quickly) show Dietmar what it was all about. However, we ran the wrong way, BUT it worked well because as well as eventually finding Loch and Gorge,

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we discovered the Thunder Cave which is quite possibly one of the coolest parts of this place!

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APOLLO BAY
This little town is the perfect place to stop for a snack, a quick beach trip or lunch along the Great Ocean Road. Its about smack bang half way between Melbourne and the 12 Apostles – right before heading into the Otways! Because of this, this is also the place we decided to stay for our weekend trip.

We booked a motel last minute and there were many to choose from (even in winter). Most of the Motels & Hotels are really close to the centre of the town (we stayed here .), so everything is really only a 5-10min walk away which is perfect!

Motel
View from our Motel Balcony

WHERE TO EAT

Great Ocean Road Brewhouse – Great dinner options. The food was really good pub food and the atmosphere was great. Get the Lamb & the date pudding, dreamy.
The Bayleaf Cafe – Breakfast and coffee both top notch!

THE CANOPY TREE WALK/ OTWAY FLY
I’m not gonna lie. I am not the most adventurous person. However, one thing I have always wanted to do is ziplining (don’t get excited, I did not go ziplining) and when I discovered a place that had this, I was (almost) sold. We then did some googling and discovered that for this trip it wasn’t in the budget. BUT they also had a more reasonably priced activity, which was The Canopy Tree Walk and it was awesome.

The walk itself is the tallest and longest of its kind (at this point). Its around 600 meters long and 35 meters above the ground, so maybbbbeee not your thing if you don’t like heights! There is also a spiral tower which goes up an extra 12 meters above the ground and gives you an amazing view of the forest! But, be aware, it does sway around with the wind which can be a little unsettling!

Tree Canopy

CRAFT BEER / WINE / WHISK(E)Y
Strangely enough, this area of Victoria has a sheitload of breweries, wineries and even a whisky distillery. We stopped by a brewery near Forrest called Prickly Moses and it was pretty cool. While known for their beer, they are a small scale wine and cider producer so if beer isn’t your thing they can cater to you also.
The tastings are fairly comprehensive and reasonably priced so I would recommend stopping in if you are in the area.

Other recommendations in the area for the crafty scene (which we were recommended) are:
Timboon
Forrest Brewing Company – Their fish and chips were top notch!

THE 12 APOSTLES

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These natural rock stacks do look pretty cool. However, they are so hyped up that when I first saw them I was very underwhelmed. I do think that they are worth going to see because the history behind how they got there etc. is quite cool but I think the trip actually getting to this point (and beyond) is much cooler. If I was to go back I think doing the helicopter ride would be the top of my list.

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LIGHTHOUSES
Along the Great Ocean Road there are quite a few lighthouses. My favourite would be this one.

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There are a few walks around here, including up to the lighthouse and I think at certain times you can even do a tour of the lighthouse and get some pretty amazing views down to the marine reserve.

There is also a (very) small chance of seeing whales here as they do come into the bay at certain times of the year. We weren’t so lucky, maybe next time?
I would recommend coming up here earlier in the day because I think we only saw two people.

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WATERFALLS
One of my favourite stops on the second trip up the GOR was Sheoak Falls. Its only a short, easy walk from the carpark and well worth it. It was really quiet too which was lovely considering how busy the road can get!

Waterfall

Waterfall 2

Fun Fact: To the left of this picture there is actually a guy sitting on the edge reading a book. Other waterfalls we didn’t manage to get to but would have loved to had we had more time were Erskine Falls & Phantom Falls.
Go check em out!

I would really recommend a trip down the Great Ocean Road and could really add about another million and one things into this post. If you do have any questions or want to know more about certain things, feel free to leave me a comment!

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