From chatting with friends in SF to those we met along the trip, the bar was pretty high for Melbourne and we had high expectations especially as it was on the list of potential places to move to.
We’d booked an airbnb in the Brunswick area of the city which was the cool hipster zone next to Fitzroy and about 30mins on the local tram from the CBD (For Melbourne this is “close”). Nice modern place with views of the skyline and plenty of space to spread out our luggage.
Many of the recommendations for the city were food and drink based so we’d planned to explore different neighborhoods, eating and drinking our way around.
One thing that we realized during our stay is that the city is really sprawling. There is public transport (buses, trains and a tram system) but it tends to run north/south in and out of the CBD so if you want to cross town, you need to either get a ride share or drive your car. You can walk, as in there are pavements, but the distances are pretty big so it’s a commitment. You can cycle, there are designated lanes and there is also a shared bike scheme but it’s mostly in the CBD. Additionally, you can’t take bikes on most public transport (fail).
Anyway – We hit several of the districts on the list (Brunswick, Carleton, Fitzroy, CBD and South Yarra) during our stay and got a good feel for the city and for each unique neighborhood. We tackled the Botanical Gardens, the ACMI (Australia Centre for the Moving Image) as well as NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) which had a National and International location. We hit both and saw some great exhibitions. The stand out was one by Julian Opie, British visual artist who used LED lights in his work. We spent some time in the Kids interactive area and created our own versions.
Two of the standout restaurants we visited were Transformer and Smith and Daughters. Both essentially vegan/vegetarian and both outstanding.
After a solid four days of exploring and eating, we made our way to the mountain town of Bright to spend some time with Matt and Britt our Aussie/SF friends. A 5 hour bus journey which was infinitely nicer than any we had experienced previously on the trip.
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