I like to think of myself as one who gives second chances and is open-minded. But when an opportunity to revisit Melbourne arose, my immediate thought was no thanks.
Which is an odd reaction for someone who jumps at any opportunity to get off Shutter Island.
And I know what you’re thinking (and probably rolling your eyes). What a privilege to travel. And why publicly write/vent about having to make that choice?
I have a point, I promise.
My meh feelings to revisit Melbourne were because of the memories of my previous trip. Those memories were …. well…. not memorable. At. All.
I literally had to search through my Instagram feed to see what I posted (-if I posted-) of my last visit.
Why revisit Melbourne?
Because giving second chances to a first time meh experiences, is something I should do more often. Also, given the chance to travel (and get a break from humidity) will always override distant memories of underwhelming experiences. Or maybe it’s residual pent-up lockdown energy.
Whatever the case, I owed it to myself to uncover why many others love Melbourne and why I don’t.
After spending a week in Melbourne, I can emphatically say the sequel is so much better than the original.
The weather was the end of the summer season sun mixed in with a cool breeze that held temperatures around +70F / +22C. We stayed along the Yarra River which is full of flora and fauna. The towering eucalyptus, willow, and palm trees emitted an abundance of scents that provided perfect amounts of shade and aromatherapy. The variety of birds and their distinct chirps drowned out the city noise. And the callers on dragon boats hollered to their hustling teammates whose synchronized rowing strokes looked effortless, quickly floated down the calm river. It’s enough entertainment for pleasant daily strolls.
The close-by urban areas of the city are lined with retailers, grocers, restaurants, fitness gyms, parks, bars, and cafes. The number of cafes in Melbourne is bountiful. There’s an extensive variety of coffee, each with its own unique body and flavor.
Melbourne is java heaven.
Getting around the area is simple on a tram, bus, and train. Public transportation is very easy to navigate. Within the CBD zone, the trams are free and come so often enough, that there’s really no need for a car.
I don’t know how I missed the vineyards the first time around. But I’m glad we had the opportunity to visit a few. Tours are readily available to book that stop at 3-4 vineyards, which is probably the best option, especially when visiting multiple vineyards.
Speaking of tours. I booked a full-day tour that took me along the Great Ocean Road. It was well worth it. I couldn’t believe how many stops we made and how many beautiful landscapes and views there are to see. The lime cliffs, koalas in the wild, a walk through temperate and ancient rainforest, and being in nature was breathtaking.
The beaches in the immediate area are clean and beautiful. They are legit white sandy beaches. If you like long walks along the beach, this is the place to do it, and they are so close to the CBD.
Whilst there, there were a few things that really stood out to me. Besides the amazing diversity of the area (city, country, vineyards, beaches, epic ocean cliffs). Which were:
- The large assortment of Asian restaurants.
- The mullet hairstyle is very popular and is not for a specific age.
- Female solo travelers outnumbered the couples and single male solo travelers on my tour groups. Go, Girls!
Speaking of female travelers. During one of my tours, I had an interesting chat with a fellow female traveler. I learned she was from Germany, living and working in Luxemburg, and on a three-week adventure traveling around Australia. At first meeting, I knew we shared the same values when she said,
Her: ‘’The first thing I wanted to do in Melbourne was to get out of the city and get into nature.”
I thought: You. Me. Same.
I also loved when she told me that her boss back in Luxemburg encouraged her to take her work laptop just in case. She rejected the thought and told him, ‘’Absolutely not. This is my holiday.”
She deserves a promotion.
He needs a lesson in quality of life.
Looking forward to next time
What I hope to do during my next visit is to attend a live sport (e.g. cricket, rugby, or Australian Rules football), visit Phillip Island, see penguins at the beaches, go to the theatre(s), visit more sections of the Great Ocean Road, and experience more vineyards and beaches.
So why was my first time in Melbourne not so great?
I’m chalking it up to the .. it’s me not you excuse.
It only took me a few hours during my 2nd visit to see why Melbourne is amazing. During my first trip, I was not in the right mindset (for whatever reason). It was clear that I was not fully present.
In addition to being open-minded is to mix in kindness and curiosity. And that I should always first look inward when having meh experiences. Which I hope will signal me to course correct if/when I find myself in a similar situation.
But it makes me think – what other things have I not given a fair chance?
Cheers to traveling for making space for second chances and giving opportunities to improve on being more open-minded.