A couple of days in Melbourne

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
3
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
6
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
6
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
5
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
7
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
4
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
60 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Oceania
country
Australia
Length of time
1-2 days
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 300
Time of year visited
November
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
204th/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 70% SUMMARY RATING: Worth doing

Summary

Melbourne is consistently voted one of the most liveable cities in the world based on its arts scene, access to outstanding restaurants, outdoor lifestyle and, well, lack of many of the usual frustrations other large cities have.  But more than anything, it’s the vibe of the place that makes it stand out, especially in comparison with its natural rival Sydney.  Whilst Sydney has the big ticket world famous items like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Melbourne is more about the street cafes, chilled out lifestyle and sports scene.  So, to get the most out this wonderful city, its best to focus on these things for a couple of days

 

Its years since I lived in Melbourne, ,which also means there are fewer photos to share!  But my 5 biggest tips for 2 days:

  • #1 Sports – see if you can combine your visit with one of the major sporting events taking place as Melbourne really comes to life when these are in town.  Best ones are the Australian Tennis Open (January), the Melbourne Cup horse racing (March), Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix (usually March) and the Australian Rules Football at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) throughout the year.  Even if not a sports fan its a must
  • #2 Cafe culture – Melbourne is often called the most European of Australia’s cities and a large part of this comes from the street cafe culture.  The best places are always changing, but I’d suggest heading into Fitzroy as it has the added benefit of bring next to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens nearby.  Another option is Richmond, which can tie in nicely with a the end of a walk along the Yarra River and visiting the MCG
  • #3 Walk along the Yarra River – the city centre of Melbourne is actually quite beautiful and nothing brings it to life more than the walk along the river.  Start at Crowne Casino on the South Bank with the skyscrapers surrounding you and then walk east past the magnificent Flinders Street Station, Federation Square and onto the lovely gardens of Queen Victoria Gardens and Kings Domain.  From there walk over the Swan Street Bridge through Melbourne Park and finish at the MCG
  • #4 Chill out in St Kilda – whilst Melbourne may not have the wow beaches of Sydney, St Kilda is far cooler.  Give yourself an afternoon to chill by the beach and enjoy the neighbourhood
  • #5 Be prepared for extreme temperatures – Melbourne is often highlighted as a city that can have 4 seasons in a day.  Famous for its 40 Celsius / 104 Fahrenheit days of blistering heat, it can also be grey and rainy shortly after and, one the first day I arrived, it snowed
  • Extra tip – give yourself a day trip to the Great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s most famous driving routes, with its gorgeous coastline, rainforests with koalas housed in the trees, pretty seaside towns, and the eye catching 12 Apostles.  Only a 3 hours drive from Melbourne, part of which is taken up by the gorgeous drive along the coastline itself

highlights

#1 Seeing one of the many international sports events that come to Melbourne if the timing is right, or just heading to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for one of the cricket of Australian Football League games. A must even if not a sports fan

#2 Enjoying the outside cafe culture which makes Melbourne be often compared to European cities

#3 Walking along the Yarra River all the way from the Crowne Casino to the MCG, to get a real feel for the city's main attractions

#4 Heading to the uber-cool Saint Kilda for beaches and parties

#5 A day trip to the nearby Great Ocean Road and its stunning 12 Apostles

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone