Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia and competes friendly but fiercely with Sydney. While Sydney was love at first sight with its beautiful setting on the harbor and the iconic Opera House and bridge, Melbourne has been growing on me from one visit to the next. It’s cosmopolitan, fun, foody and artsy – without some of the attitude you might find in Sydney. Throw in a nice beach and one of the best road trips, the Great Ocean Road, and you have a winner!
Where Sydney has the harbor, Melbourne has the Yarra River, snaking through the heart of the city. You get spectacular skyline views along the river and find enough bars and restaurants along its shores to keep you busy for a while.
Or, you can go for leisurely sightseeing on a boat, enjoying the sights with your feet up and a drink in hand.
Where Sydney has Bondi or Bronte Beach, Melbourne offers you St, Kilda. It’s even easier to reach by tram and you can spend a lazy day on the sandy beach.
The boardwalk makes for a good stroll and it’s hard to beat a meal with an ocean view. If you are bringing the family, you can visit the quirky Luna Park!
You’ll also find leafy parks for a walk, like the Carlton Gardens with the Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum.
If you are looking for more space, head South of the River to the positively gigantic Kings Domain and Botanic Garden. The nearby National Gallery has an impressive collection worth visiting!
But what sets Melbourne apart from its bigger rival is the distinctly European feel. Wander around the grid of streets and alleys in the center and you’ll find authentic food from Italian to Greece. Keep exploring and you’ll see the edgy side of Melbourne, with some of the best street art of any city, funky bars and unique stores.
It’s these sights and places that made Melbourne grow on me with every repeat visit – you won’t find it on a business trip or when shuttling to the tourist sights, but you will when you take the time to walk the neighborhoods! Sometimes, love on first sight is not all it’s cracked up to be and taking the time to learn more about a city is a great investment – Melbourne is such a city: Take some time, stay a little longer, explore Melbourne’s neighborhoods and learn to love it!