Melbourne – once the most livable city and now one of the happiest in the world. This city has a lot to offer and should not be missing during a visit to Australia.
With the 17 following facts you will learn more about the metropolis and you will certainly feel like booking your next holiday there directly.
And now have fun while reading!
1) Second largest metropolis in Australia
With approx. 4.9 million, Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia. Sydney is the biggest with approx. 5.2 million inhabitants. Melbourne is also a very multicultural city. Most of the immigrants are of Chinese, British, Greek, Italian, Irish, Croatian and Vietnamese origin.
Who or what is this? Quite simple – that’s how the people who live in Melbourne are called.
3) The most beautiful skyline
Of course, I haven’t seen all the skylines in this world, but Melbournes skyline is one of the most beautiful ones without any doubt!
4) Coffee Coffee Coffee
Who hasn’t heard it yet? Melbourne is known for its coffee scene. And I, as a coffee addict, have to say: Melbourne is a dream for every coffee lover! At every corner of the city there are cute cafés where you can find everything your heart desires, from Cortado, Flat White to Latte and much more. Here you will find a few more creative variations of coffee. However, I always stick to my beloved Soy Latte.
Let’s see how I’ll find the coffee in Germany when I’m there again. But of course you can’t say anything against the good old filter coffee ;-).
5) The winter is cold
When most people think of Australia, they think of sunshine, hot temperatures and beach days on pretty much 365 days a year. This is the case for most cities in Australia – but unfortunately not for Melbourne. There are actually winters – and they get cold.
So if you’re visiting Melbourne in winter, not only pack your summer clothes, but also warm clothes. You’re going to need it as a non-Australian. Whereas the Melburnians like to go out in the mornings at 6°C with shorts and thongs (Australian term for flip-flops). But I would rather advise Europeans not to do this, because I don’t think we have the right DNA for that.
In addition, the houses in Melbourne are not very well insulated and there is usually no proper heating system in the apartments, not even in all new buildings. Therefore, you really can “feel” the winter here rather than in Germany. So you either have a romantic 70s gas oven, or a split system that runs with electricity. Believe me, you don’t want to pay the electricity bill for the latter. So whenever you can choose between gas and electricity, I would always prefer gas.
Several layers of warm clothing and a hot water bottle will become a part of you in Melbourne during the winter season.
As uncomfortable as it all may sound, the winters are definitely not as “bad” as the German winters (ok, I have to admit, I’m from Hamburg). During the day, the temperatures are usually around 15°C, it rains rather rarely and the sun shines pretty often. So I personally don’t mind the winter here at all. And maybe at some point I’ll mutate to a shorts/thongs wearer in winter, too ;-).
6) The City of the Four Seasons
Speaking of the weather. Melbourne is always good for surprises. So be prepared to experience all four seasons in one day – yes, I said day. Hail and 30°C, or 40°C in the morning and 18°C in the afternoon can appear for sure. The onion look definitely gets more important and an umbrella in the bag is a must (but as a former hamburger I’m already used to it).
7) Kindness and respect are important values
I have to say that I was impressed by the very polite nature of the Australians. During my two holidays in Australia I had noticed this already, but even now, after almost living a year in Melbourne, my impression hasn’t changed. Treating everyone with respect, being friendly and always considering the people around you, is a must.
Even as a newbie with perhaps not yet perfect language skills, Australians will never look in a weird way at you. Everyone is compassionate and sometimes they even find your accent cute. Jumping the queue or affecting others with your bad mood are a no go. Overall, it’s more relaxed and quieter.
At the beginning, I first had to get used to the “calmness”, but once I got into this flow, too, I don’t want to go back anymore. Disclaimer: Of course it can happen that you encounter chippy people, but this doesn’t represent the general picture and exceptions are everywhere.
8) Public transport: Choose the train
Let’s talk about the public transport. Whenever you have the option, choose the train. The train is the the fastest way to travel and it has air-conditioning, which can be a huge relief in summer. Trams are okay, but you travel much longer, they can get stuck in traffic and they don’t have air-conditioning, which can turn out to be a less pleasant experience in summer. The network of bus routes isn’t very good in Melbourne. I think I’ve only used the bus once and I don’t even see them often on the streets.
9) Explore the Suburbs, not the CBD
CBD – the Central Business District, is, in my opinion, a little overrated. If you stop by in Melbourne, I would recommend you to focus more on the surrounding suburbs and rather explore them.
The CBD is characterised by skyscrapers, as the name already says by a huge range of offices, of course, one or the other shopping mall and bars and restaurants. For me personally the CBD has less charm than the surrounding suburbs. No doubt, it’s great and there’s a lot to see and shouldn’t be missed during your visit, but spend a lot more time in the surrounding areas, such as St Kilda, South Yarra, Fitzroy, Brunswick – just to name a few. There it’s much more exciting but also more relaxed, more lively but less crowded and also more individuality with more “Aussie flair”.
Another weird term. Brekkie is the short form for breakfast in Australia. People here love to meet outside for Brekkie, including the Melburnians. The delicious coffee and the little cafés from point 4 are of course a perfect match. Generally, a healthy breakfast which is beautiful to look at, is hip and you already know the cozy Sunday brunch from Germany. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to enjoy a great Brekkie in Melbourne.
For example, I can recommend the Fourth Chapter or Hobba, both in Prahran, or Rustica in South Yarra. However, I cannot recommend the incredibly hyped Kettle Black, South Melbourne. The café is very pretty and nice to look at, but both times I have been there, the service wasn’t very good, the food wasn’t very nicely served and definitely not worth the high prices. So spend the same money rather in another café, where you’ll get more for it.
11) Melbourne has many beaches
Melbourne is bigger than you think. The region covers many suburbs and stretches along the coast to Portsea. There are far more beaches than just St Kilda Beach, probably Melbourne’s most famous beach.
If you’ve been to New South Wales, Queensland or Western Australia before your stop in Melbourne and when you’ve visited one or the other beach there, don’t be disappointed. The beaches in Melbourne can’t keep up with them, but to stay humble, they’re still very nice and worth a visit.
In addition to the beach in St Kilda, a trip to the beaches of Brighton, Elwood, Port Melbourne, Half Moon Bay, Sorrento and Rye are worth it. I, for example, love the beach in Rye. It’s quite a drive from the inner suburbs and it’s a narrow beach, but the water is heavenly, like the Caribbean Sea – even though I have never been to the Caribbean ;-).
12) Highest minimum wage in the world
This point doesn’t only apply to Melbourne, but to entire Australia. It might be still interesting for you. Australia has the world’s highest minimum wage, a rate of $19.84 per hour (as of 2020). That’s about 12,24€.
For all the fashionistas out there: Melbourne is not an international fashion trendsetter, but is still very trendy. Here are many many great boutiques, it’s just that in Europe, the trends, individuality and creativity in different styles are much more. Totally understandable. There, in Milan, London, Paris, fashion happens. This is where the big designers are.
I would say that Melbourne is the most fashionable city in Australia and that Australia in general, has its own fashion style. Mixed with international trends, it’s much more constant and not as fast-paced as in Europe. Nevertheless, you can live out your personal style and dress as you like. So don’t be shy; the Melburnians are very tolerant and open-minded.
14) The art scene
Melbourne is an artist’s city. The multicultural vibe is also reflected in the offers for art. Beside the NGV, National Gallery of Victoria, there is a big variety of other galleries, such as the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, the Ian Potter Centre or the Flinders Lane Gallery. In any case, it will be worthwhile to stop by and search for even more offers.
15) Dangerous animals
I don’t know if it was just me, or if a lot of people think about the dangerous animals before they go to Australia. For me, with a arachnophobia, only the thought of the huge and sometimes dangerous spiders was incredibly scary. But I can tell you that you really won’t see them often in Melbourne. First of all, there are basically less wild animals in the cities, and second, seeing them still depends on where you live.
If you live on the ground floor and got a terrace or a small backyard, you’ll see spiders and snakes rather than if you are in an apartment on the 2nd floor or higher, although we actually already had a Huntsman spider in our apartment on the 2nd floor for a visit (I really don’t know what I would have done in this situation if I would have been home by myself…). You also more likely see spiders if your apartment or house is surrounded by a lot of trees.
So if you are afraid of spiders like me, I recommend you to live as high as possible and preferably not in rural areas. I’ve heard one or two creepy stories from friends. But let’s say that much: everyone is still alive ;-).
16) Perfect spot for day trips
Melbourne has the perfect location to take great day trips within Victoria. The Great Ocean Road is perfect for a trip, the Grampians National Park, Great Otway National Park, Mornington Peninsula, Phillip Island, Yarra Valley and many more. So you have the opportunity to see koalas and kangaroos in Melbourne’s surroundings and don’t have to travel to Queensland for that.
17) Wine lovers will enjoy
Speaking of Yarra Valley. Melbourne is surrounded by great wineries. So if you like wine, you should definitely take a day trip to Yarra Valley or Red Hill. There are various vineyards with extremely delicious wine, beautiful views over the region and great architecture. As far as I know, you can book tours from Melbourne. This is certainly worthwhile if everyone of your group wants to take part in the wine tasting.
I hope you liked my 17 facts and that they inspired you to put Melbourne on top of your bucket list. I would be happy if you leave me a feedback in the comments, or let me know what you personally associate with Melbourne if you’ve been there already.
Have you read my last post yet? If not, have a look if you like: What is the 100-point check in Australia.