Lauren O’Hanlon recommends Melbourne for a getaway down under
Planning on going away for the summer, or maybe taking a year out? How does sun, surf and sand on the edge if an energetic cosmopolitan urban jungle suit you? If that seems like your kind of scene, the sophisticated and slick city of Melbourne should be at the top of your travelling list.
Prided as the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne is known as a hotspot for tourists and backpackers across the world. This is no surprise: the city is filled with an array of edgy bars, chic restaurants and an enviable outdoor lifestyle. Both the physical and cultural landscapes provide a welcoming canvas for its dynamic population. Whether you’re interested in lazing about on one of the golden beaches, experiencing the multi-cultural central business district or savouring the atmosphere at an Aussie Rules match in the famous MCG, Melbourne really has something for everyone.
Getting into the city is pretty convenient – the city is serviced by two airports which are just 25 minutes from the city centre. The $45 taxi fare is a little pricey for a student budget, but air coaches operate regularly. Once arrived, there is a range of cheap and cheerful hostels to choose from.
One of the first things you will learn when you arrive is that Melburnians are extreme sports enthusiasts. Be it cricket on the beach or football on TV, the people of Melbourne love their sport and welcome everyone to join in. Major sporting events such as the Australian Open and the F1 grand prix attract tourists from all over the world every year. It is here that you will become familiar with the rules of thumb: “get up and go” and “slip, slop, slap”; the first meaning to get involved in sport, the second referring to the use of sunscreen. If you can’t stand the heat, summer is definitely the wrong season for you as temperatures skyrocket.
For those more into checking out the shopping and dining side of things, Melbourne boasts an assortment of lively shopping promenades and stylish high streets, all easily and cheaply accessible through the unique trams that lumber up and down through the urban frenzy and out towards the character-filled neighbourhoods. A short trip from the city can bring you to crowd drawing locations such as St Kilda Beach where surf, fun and eclectic dining can all be found. Here many cafes and arts and crafts markets can be found along the beachfront in the summer.
Melbourne is not known for its wild clubbing but what attracts so many tourists to Melbourne is what is hidden outside the city. For example, one of the most popular and well-known areas just outside Melbourne is the Great Ocean Road. This takes you right down the coast, really showing you what the country has to offer – so next time you’re deciding where to travel, Melbourne is definitely a cool and vibrant place you won’t regret visiting.