A Quick Stop in Melbourne

 June 24th 2013 – Day #1

After spending 5 months living in Melbourne during my academic exchange, it was never in my wildest dreams that I would be returning within the next year! As an add-on to my “Best Jobs” itinerary, I planned to spend 2 days down in Melbourne visiting a friend. It was the perfect amount of time to get a refresher of the city and spend some quality time with Sara.

I arrived on my Virgin Australia flight from Sydney at 12.30pm and was picked up by Sara at the airport. It has only been a year since we have seen each other, but when you spend so much time together in such a short period of time (5 months), the distance makes it seems like forever! Before heading straight into the city to take full advantage of the time I had, we headed to her house in a small suburb outside of the city. Her family is so welcoming to me, and it is always nice to see them when I am in town.

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We picked up her brother at her house and we headed to the Melbourne CBD (Central Business District) to grab a coffee at our usual meeting spot; the Starbucks outside of Flinders Train Station. Flinders Train Station is the oldest train station in the Southern Hemisphere, and it is truly a building of beauty. The bright yellow/gold colour draws in attention to tourists, and has become a very iconic stop for those who visit Melbourne.

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After grabbing a coffee at Starbucks, we made our way to Melbourne Central (another train stop) and grabbed a bite to eat. Melbourne is extremely easy to navigate as it is in a grid pattern. It has a very different layout than Sydney as everything is generally in one central area (CBD), whereas in Sydney, there are attractions all over the place: Sydney Harbour, Bondi Beach, Manly Beach, etc. Following Melbourne Central, we did a bit of shopping and since it was getting late we headed back to her house. The night was spent hanging out with her family and watching the movie Playing For Keeps. We headed to bed early to ensure a productive and early start the next day!

June 25th 2013 – Day #2

It was my last day in not only Melbourne, but also Australia for this trip! Sara and I headed to the city right away with a quick stop at the Flinders Station Starbucks… of course. People laugh at the fact that we choose Starbucks in Melbourne, because Melbourne is world-renowned to have some of the best coffee. I think it has become more of a tradition than anything else and we don’t really want to break it.

Our afternoon was spent checking out some of Melbourne’s many alleys and laneways. We were on a hunt for street art. When I say “street art” I don’t mean big posters or paintings in frames, or any sort of traditional art – I’m speaking of graffiti art.

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Hidden amongst many of Melbourne’s little alleys and laneways you will find some of the world’s best graffiti. The city realizes that it is a huge tourist attraction and it is actually encouraged for those graffiti artists with a real talent. It was really neat that when we went down one of the laneways a graffiti artist was in action.

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I was blown away by the caliber of art found in these laneways – it was incredible. I definitely recommend that if you are ever in Melbourne for a couple days, make sure you head to the Melbourne Travel Centre on Federation Square and ask for a map of Melbourne’s street art. There were about 9 different locations recognized on this map that have very diverse and unique street art that were all within walking distance from the CBD.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon doing some souvenir shopping and grabbing lunch at Grill’d in the “Degraves” laneway. This laneway must have had at least 20 cafes and restaurants in a row! I was surprised how busy it was on a Tuesday afternoon – It’s really nice seeing people out and enjoying themselves throughout the week and during the “winter” season. 

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Melbourne in the winter isn’t as bad as many people make it out to be. Yes it does get to about zero degrees in the morning, but with a light jacket during the day you are set. I found it to be the perfect exploring weather and definitely beats the Canadian winter!

My visit in Melbourne was definitely short and sweet. It was the perfect amount of time to catch up with Sara, as well as provided a refresher of the city I called home for 5 months last year. With Melbourne being only an hour flight from Sydney, or a 9 hour drive – it is the perfect stopover if you have a few spare days in Sydney and don’t know what to do. I have noticed that many travellers don’t make it down past Sydney when they do the East Coast. It is definitely worth the trip!

Tomorrow I would be leaving to head back to Canada after three unbelievable weeks in Australia. It has flown by… but I guess that is what happens when you are having fun, right?

Here’s to a 30+ hour travel day!

Sam Clarke

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