To be honest, when we were planning our two weeks in Australia, I did not expect Melbourne to be the highlight. We had a friend from the area to show us around, so I knew we’d enjoy ourselves, but I certainly thought Sydney, Whitsunday and Bryon Bay would outshine Melbourne. But this small city packs a big punch. With the Great Ocean Road a day trip away, wineries an hour down the road in Yarro Valley and a part hipster part trendy vibe, Melbourne quickly earned a place in my heart.
Here were my favorite finds:
Great Ocean Road – Take a day to rent a car and drive up the coast. You wont regret it. The views are second-to-none and you’re sure to see some authentic Australian wildlife. My favorite were the koala bears at Kafe Koala, but we also saw wallabies and kangaroos along the side of the road at dusk.
Yarro Valley Wineries – Yarro truly felt like the Napa of Australia. About an hour outside the city, Yarro is filled with vast rows of vines lining beautiful rolling hills. Sitting in a gorgeous tasting room sipping on crisp wine is the perfect way to relax after a morning of sightseeing in the city. We went to Domaine Chandon but there are countless options. It would be hard to go wrong.
Street Art — The graffiti that lines the streets in Melbourne is less an act of vandalism and more an act of artistic expression. I could wander the streets all day taking in the scenes.
Attend a cricket match – I am not really sure what was happening but the excitement in the stadium was palpable and the people were great to be around. Nothing compares to experiencing a sporting event like a local if you’re looking to fully understand a city’s vibe.
Riverwalk — The riverwalk was probably my favorite area of Melbourne proper. Lined with restaurants, bars and even a casino, this is a popular spot for locals to spend the evening. We didn’t have a chance to eat at any of the restaurants there, but it will be my priority when we make it back.
I am not going to lie to you. Melbourne may have been the highlight of my Australian adventure (ok one of the highlights).