Melbon,” not “Melbourne

October 23, 2013

in Australia, Elora Majumdar, Fall 2013, Oceania

Just as I got settled back into my apartment after being away for 15 days, I remembered I had another trip booked for the following weekend! My friends and I decided to take advantage of the long weekend that was a result of Labour Day, and spend a few days in the lovely city of Melbourne (pronounced “Melbon” because, again, Australians love silent R’s). We left on Saturday and came back Tuesday night, and let me tell you, four days was definitely not enough! Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia (so it’s huge). It’s also much more spread out than Sydney, from what I could tell, so it really is necessary to stay longer than just a few days if you’re planning on seeing the whole city and surrounding area. It also has a very different “feel” than Sydney. Where Sydney is a modern, business-fueled city, Melbourne is more European, fueled by its vibrant and unique culture.

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Melbourne has a reputation for being a seasonal city…daily. It literally goes through multiple seasons within hours! After being used to the beautiful sunny weather in Sydney (it has rained a total of 6 times since I’ve arrived here), the weather in Melbourne was quite a shock. Now, I wasn’t ENTIRELY unprepared. I did check weather.com beforehand and thought 60-70 degree weather would be pretty warm! In fact, it was supposed to be 80 the day I arrived there! Well, little did I know, the highest temperature of the day lasted for about one hour around 1pm, and then continued to drop until it was FREEZING. Basically this is how the weather went each day:

Morning: Cold, windy, cloudy

Noon: Sunny and warm OR chilly and cloudy

Evening: Slightly chilly but still comfortable OR cold (sometimes torrential downpour)

Night: FREEZING

The temperature probably fluctuated about 30-35 degrees over the course of the day. Despite the fact that the weather wasn’t all that great, we still had a great time exploring the city! Melbourne is the perfect city to let yourself get lost in. There are alleyways filled with shops and restaurants all over the place, and if that’s not enough, there is street art (not graffiti) EVERYWHERE. In fact, Melbourne is famous for having incredible street culture.

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Aside from just wandering around the city, which was pretty cool, we also checked out one of Melbourne’s beaches. Unlike Sydney, Melbourne isn’t known for having beautiful and pristine beaches. In fact, the beaches aren’t very nice at all. They don’t even look like beaches! According to locals, in order to go to a nice beach in the Melbourne area, you have to travel about an hour outside of the city. We didn’t have time (or a car) to do that, so we just stuck to making the most of one of Melbourne’s beaches, Brighton. Though the beach itself wasn’t very nice (and it certainly didn’t help that the weather was especially awful that day), it was still quite beautiful. It was lined with a million colourful huts painted by the owners themselves! In the distance was the Melbourne skyline. It was an interesting sight to see, as you got a taste of the quiet beach town and the busy city all at once.

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On Monday, which was Labour Day, my friends and I decided to leave the city and go on a day trip down the Great Ocean Road! The Great Ocean Road goes from Melbourne to Adelaide (another large city on the southern coast of Australia). The views from the road are absolutely breathtaking, as it hugs the coast. I have quite a bit to say about this trip, so I’ll save it for my next post!

Like I said before, just a few days in Melbourne wasn’t enough, which is why I’m going back in December!! I can’t wait to explore more of the city. After spending some time in Melbourne and a lot of time in Sydney, I think it’s safe to say that I prefer Melbourne to Sydney. Of course I don’t regret choosing Sydney when I decided to study abroad here. I am incredibly lucky to be living here, in the largest city in Australia, and I truly do love this city. However, I love a city with great street culture, and that is something Melbourne has that Sydney lacks. Hopefully there aren’t any Sydneysiders reading this, or they’ll have my head!!! Don’t worry; I really do love Sydney too!

Completely unrelated sidenote: You can buy crocodile, emu, and kangaroo jerky here! I have yet to try it, but I certainly will before I leave in 2 months (trying not to think about that very depressing fact).

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