As our time in Australia comes to an end, it is time to cover our home base: Melbourne. This city is often dubbed “the most livable city in the world” because of its arts, education, food, health, infrastructure, parks, and sports. After living here for a year we wholeheartedly agree: Melbourne is a great place to live.
Before moving in to our own apartment, we stayed at an Airbnb in the South Yarra neighborhood. Trendy shops, nightclubs, and restaurants characterize this upscale neighborhood. From South Yarra, it is about a 30-minute stroll along the Botanical Gardens and Yarra River to the CBD, Southbank, and South Melbourne neighborhoods.
Our apartment is located in one of many apartment towers in Southbank. A ten-minute walk will take you right to the center via the lively Southbank Promenade. The promenade is lined with upscale nightclubs and restaurants, as well as the Crown Casino. For grocery shopping, or less fancy restaurants, it is only a few minutes to South Melbourne.
This neighborhood is home to the South Melbourne Market, our go-to place for cheap but good cheeses, meats, fruits, and vegetables. Apart from the market, there are plenty of supermarkets, coffee shops, and takeout restaurants. Just south of South Melbourne you can find Albert Park, a great park to go for a run or walk around the lake. It is also home to the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
Most banks and offices are located in Melbourne’s Central Business District. The main shopping areas are at the Bourke Street Mall and the surrounding Emporium and Melbourne Central Malls. On weekends, it is normally pretty quiet outside these areas. Most hostels and cheap takeaway joints can be found walking south through the many laneways and shopping arcades towards the iconic Flinders Street Station.
We spent little time exploring the neighborhoods north of Melbourne. Fitzroy is home to primarily students and artists, and also many hip and alternative bars and restaurants. This trend can also be spotted in the surrounding neighborhoods of Carlton and Richmond.
The biggest development area in Melbourne is Docklands, located east of the Southern Cross Station and the Etihad Stadium. The waterfront area has plenty of apartment towers, and even though it is not as lively as Southbank, many new bars and restaurants are opening up a branch here.
Finally, away from the center, Port Melbourne and adjacent St. Kilda are a popular getaway during summer because of their beaches. Although mediocre and hardly swimmable, it is great to be able to reach the ocean within a few minutes of the city center. The Westgate Park, home to a strange pink lake, is also part of Port Melbourne.
Melbourne’s neighborhoods are very diverse, which makes for a great mix and something for everybody. We had a great time living in Southbank where everything is within arm’s length: grocery shopping in South Melbourne, upscale restaurants on the Southbank Promenade, running at Albert Park, and also only fifteen minutes away from the city center.
We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.Read Mark & Herta’s full story.