The Hipster Capital of Australia (Melbourne)

I had heard a lot about Melbourne before I arrived in the city.  All my friends who have gone have loved it.  Everyone compares it to Sydney, and most people prefer Melbourne to Sydney.

Honestly? I thought that both cities were really great.  Both had awesome beaches (although Sydney has more), both had cool city centers, and both had great food.

Melbourne is known to be more hipster, and that definitely came across. They had streets dedicated to street art, and it felt a lot less commercial than Sydney.

There were also areas that were so hipster it was painful- plants don’t need to be taken for walks, people.

Not only is there a lot to do in central Melbourne- St. Paul’s Cathedral, Hosier Avenue, Victoria Markets, there’s also a lot of awesome stuff in the surrounding suburbs and outside of Melbourne.

Fitzroy, for instance, is probably the hipster central of Melbourne. There are artisan cafes, expensive vintage stores, and literally all the craft beer you can drink.

St. Kilda was also one of my favorite places in Melbourne.  It had everything- the beach, cute shops, and delicious food.  The only downside was that on the beach, there was so much liter and plastic. When I was sitting still on the beach, I found probably 30 pieces of plastic by just digging in the sand around me.

Brighton Beach is another popular beach spot in Melbourne. It is known for its ‘bathing boxes’, which are brightly colored sheds that line the beach. I thought this beach was a little hyped up, especially after going to St. Kilda. There wasn’t too much to do in the area, and it was full of tourist who were only there to see the bathing boxes.

One of the best things that I did in Melbourne (when my parents came to visit), was going to Phillips Island.  Honestly, it was probably one of the best things I have ever done in my life.  On one side of Phillips island is where the little penguins live.

I swear that is what they are called. Little penguins. Because they are so little.  You can’t make this stuff up.  At dusk, we sat on the beach and watched them run from the ocean to the grass, where they live.  We saw hundreds of them, waddling up the beach.

It was so adorable watching them flop around. If you ever get to Melbourne, go do this. Trust me, you won’t regret it. (They unfortunately don’t let you take photos, so these are pics of parrots, not penguins, obviously)

We also stopped an a wildlife sanctuary.  I’m always a bit hesitant about them, given its hard to tell if they are treating the animals humanly, but this one seemed to be focused on helping the animals, which was good.

They are even involved in conservation efforts to help repopulate some of the more endangered species in the wild.

One of the last days I was in Melbourne, we did a tour of the Great Ocean Road. It definitely deserves its name- it really is great.

Although the weather wasn’t cooperating that day, driving along the Great Ocean Road was a gorgeous sight. The cliffs, the rainforest, everything was absolutely gorgeous.

We made many stops along the tour, including a rainforest that has some of the biggest Eucalyptus trees, including the ‘mountain ash eucalyptus’.

We also stopped at a bunch of beaches, and some cute towns for lunch and dinner. It was a long tour with lots of driving, but it was definitely worth it.

We ended the tour at the 12 apostles (there are actually only 8).  They are sandstone ‘stacks’ in the ocean, left over from a eroded coastline.  They are truly stunning.  A few years ago there were still 9 apostles (there was never 12, unfortunately), but one fell down.

Eventually they will all fall, succumb to the erosion from the tide and the wind.  It was really awesome being able to see them while they still stand.

Melbourne is a great city, and there is so much to do there, within the city and in the surrounding area.

I have some cool plans for this blog in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned! Next week’s post will be about traveling with my parents to Hamilton Island, and my latest return to Sydney.

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