Charbel is a 21 year-old literature and linguistics graduate from Melbourne.
Published July 9th 2013
If you're a young person (or young at heart) who has yet to visit Melbourne, then you are seriously missing out. With over 17 million domestic tourists visiting Melbourne every year, it is one of the most sought tourist destinations in Australia – and rightly so. In 2011, Melbourne was ranked the world's most liveable city by The Economist.
However, forget being a city with a high level of safety, education, and living standards– Melbourne is just super cool. These are the seven must-do activities in order to live and breathe the authentic Melbourne experience:
Melbourne hosts some of Australia's flagship international arts festivals and one of the major multi-arts festivals of the world, so if you want to stay true blue to the Melburnian culture, it's one thing you must check out. If you're planning a trip this coming March, don't miss Melbourne's famous free Moomba Festival, which will be celebrating its 60th Year Anniversary. A month before, in February, Australia's best free music festival, the St Kilda Music Festival, will be showcasing some of Australia's best bands, attracting half a million young people yearly.
There is always a festival on (whether it's film, comedy, arts, music, design, or spiritual) no matter what time of the year you decide to come.
If you're sports mad or simply love to jeer and shout than Melbourne's sporting DNA has something for you. Be sure to plan a trip this coming September for the AFL Final Series, Spring Racing Carnival and/or V8 Supercars Sandown 500. Dubbed the sports capital of the world, you don't have to follow sports in Melbourne in order to have fun. Head down to the Australian Open this January for a month full of activities, competitions, music and games.
Release your inner chic in the fashion capital of Australia. If you yearn for some retail therapy then exploring the upmarket fashion designer stores of Chapel Street is the place to start. For a more authentic spend on Melbourne's idiosyncratic fashionable culture, browse the streets of Fitzroy and Brunswick for quirky independent boutiques. Just some personal Melburnian fashion advice though – don't buy your clothes according to our weather.
Melbourne loves markets! The Suzuki Night Market is a cannot-miss event, being the original and largest open air market in the southern hemisphere. Located in Queen Victoria Market, the night market offers a unique mix of world food, music and fashion. Find yourself lost among crowds, eating Polish dumplings, sipping on coconut juice, listening to busker-style entertainment and all the while shopping for hand-made clothing by local artisans. The market is open every Wednesday night during Melbourne summer.
Don't get me started on Melbourne food. According to Tourism Australia, 67% of domestic visitors 'eat 'out' on their trip to Melbourne. For a state that is Australia's largest producer of mutton, lamb, and dairy products, we are sure to satisfy some of those lunch and dinner cravings.
Check out MasterChefs Gary Mehigan's and George Calombaris' signature restaurants, but I would also suggest being a little more adventurous by heading down to some local, 'indie' restaurants in Thornbury or Collingwood, or even some oriental Chinese cuisine in Chinatown. In Melbourne we love our things free, so maybe give Lentils As Anything a shot – it's a pay-as-you-think-the-dish-deserves style restaurant situated at the old convent near Collingwood farm.
For a city that invented the Shuffle dance, you can't surely visit Melbourne and give our entertainment a pass. Crown Entertainment Complex offers everything you need, from nightclubs to bars and a multi-level casino.
But why not do the chicken dance to some live local music in the bars of Brunswick Street? And if you're in a more sombre mood, chuck your uggs on and head to one of Australia's largest drive-thru cinemas in Coburg for an authentic 50's style dinner and cinematic experience. I would also suggest the roof-top bar and cinema in Swanston Street, or the Astor Theatre in St Kilda for a truly grand cinematic experience in 1930's style – they serve beer and tickets are so cheap.
Finally, you'll need some coffee to keep you awake during all these experiences and fortunately, Melbourne is the only place to soothe those throbbing headaches. Melbourne's coffee culture thrives from street to street, however I would suggest heading down to Melbourne's premier laneway Degraves Street, just a few minutes' walk from Flinders St Station. If you have time on your hands, try out Auctions Rooms in North Melbourne, a warehouse-café that really captures the essence of Melbourne's coffee culture.
Whether it's a day trip or a weekend-stay, in January or July, Melbourne is waiting for you.
Tourism Australia estimates an average trip to Melbourne to be approximately $850.
Not sure how to get around? Do it the Melburnian way - tram it or rent a bike in the city.