Melbourne: Always seen as second best!

Trip Start Oct 07, 2012
Trip End Oct 07, 2013

Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Sunday, February 10, 2013

Melbourne, the second largest city in Australia and rival of Sydney - both in constant measuring, who is the most beautiful city. I have the answer... keep on reading ;-)

We stayed in Melbourne as couchsurfing guests with Alan, an older men in his early 60´s. Alan lives in Fitzroy, not far from the city center and he has been living in Melbourne for decades and therefore knows his city like no other. Alan is a wine lover like most Australians and so we got on the first night a few glasses of good Red and plenty of tips for our citytour.

The inner city of Melbourne can easily be explored on foot, which we did the next day. The center is the Federation Square - a place full of futuristic buildings of glass and steel like the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the Ian Potter Centre next to it. The buildings are modern and somewhat abstract.

From here we started our walking tour through the city, through all the streets that are in the shadows of the skyscrapers. Unlike Sydney we immediately felt like in a bustling crowded city. We were surrounded by big office builings with lots of glass, elegant shopping streets and trendy restaurants and cafes. Everything seems so urban and chic - tranquility and comfort can be found on the other hand barely. Melbourne is so different from Sydney, it's hard to compare the two cities.

We liked the small alleys and arcades connecting the main shopping streets. Here you find the most calm and somewhat cozy atmosphere. The English influence is strong here - some buildings and streets reminded us very much of London.

The next day we walked through the Carlton area with its beautiful gardens & parks and noticed once again how green the Australian cities are. Already in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne we noticed that this is not an exception. Just around the corner from Carlton is the Queen Victoria Market, the market hall of Melbourne - and this is really worth a visit. We have never seen so many amounts of meat, poultry, fish and seafood. In the halls next door you´ll find the fruit and vegetables of all kinds , plus many small stalls with specialties from all around the world. For Thomas as an amateur cook, the market was a paradise and he would certainly do his weekend shopping here every week if he lived in Melbourne.

The next day, we took the car and visit more places around Melbourne. The Royal Botanic Gardens and we went to St. Kilda, the main beach suburb of the city. The beaches in Melbourne cannot keep up with the beautiful ones of Sydney and also the atmosphere was not so nice.
We liked Williamstown on the other side of Port Phillip, Port Melbourne much better. This is a pretty little town with a beautiful promenade and Marina, from where you can see the skyline of Melbourne. If you like the rest, you will also find very affordable accommodations here.

One evening we went out in Fitzroy and we have to admit that there are really tons of great bars and cafes. Long nights out are not possible because everything is very expensive, it felt even more expensive than Sydney :-) A glass of wine or beer under € 7 was really hard to find and a main course in a normal restaurant hardly less than € 20. The prices in the supermarket are about twice as high as in Europe.

Most evenings we spent at home with Alan where he cooked and spoiled us and we had really great conversations. The planned 2 nights became 4 and we would like to thank Alan again for being such a great host.

So that was Melbourne and you most probably can read between the lines, it didn´t blown us away as Sydney :-) It's a great city with lots of beautiful places, but it doesn´t have the beauty and atmosphere like Sydney. Sydney remains for us the number 1.

One last thing I found on the internet :-)

Melbourne is serious. Sydney is sexy.
Melbourne is dark. Sydney is light
Melbourne is all about layers. Sydney is all about skin.
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