Carlisle Rogers from Canada
I love Melbourne because: Melbourne has the perfect mixture, I think, of city and country. There is a small-town feel to the inner suburbs, a real “Jesus, it’s good to be in this town” vibe on the sidewalks, which isn’t quite there in any other city in Australia. The sun has this way of dropping below the clouds late in the day and painting everything in the most intense golden light with a purple-gray backdrop.
My favourite places in Melbourne are: The ones where young people are taking matters into their own hands and making things happen. The music studios, the backyards, the late night planning sessions in back rooms of myriad bars. Any number of places in Fitzroy for wasting a slow afternoon over a few pints; the http://theesplanadehotel.com.au[Esplanade Hotel] when the temperature is boiling for an ice-cold pot of beer that you can sip, the huge window overlooking the water screwing up your night vision so that everything inside is a dark blur. And anywhere on Chapel Street: sure the coffee prices are a little high, but the people-watching is superb.
My ideal day in Melbourne would start with: A walk around the block to eat breakfast at Don Vincenzo’s on Brunswick St. The eggs benedict and coffee are complimented perfectly by the dark wood paneling, wide-open windows and general Sunday-morning ambience. Things would generally roll into a stroll down Brunswick, stopping in at a few record shops and Polyester Books.
Melbournians are: Pretty much anything they want to be, or anything you’d like them to be. It’s a melting pot of cultures, for sure, with more restaurants, it seems, per square kilometre than any other place on Earth. The bars are plentiful, clubs even more so. We’re definitely into our music, this being the live music capital of Australia by a long shot. On weekends there is some of the best live music in the country, right around the corner, for a pittance or free. If all roads lead to Rome, then all roadies lead to Melbourne.
Jayne D’Arcy from England
I love Melbourne because: I love it for http://www.federationsquare.com.au[Federation Square] when it’s sunny and for all the free things you can do to keep yourself entertained (including watching tram ticket inspectors man-handling people who haven’t bought tram tickets). http://www.backpackerking.com.au[The Neighbours] tour is great too.
My favourite places in Melbourne are: Federation Square (opposite Flinders Street Station) because there’s always something happening here… Yesterday you could stand in the middle of the Square and your image was broadcast on the massive TV screen. (It’s true about the camera adding 10 pounds, actually make that 100.) The http://www.acmi.net.au/[Australian Centre for the Moving Image] is located here, and it’s free to go in and have a look at the latest exhibition as well as get interactive with playthings and a games lab. ACMI’s got the world’s largest dedicated screen gallery (downstairs).
My ideal day in Melbourne would start with: Meeting a friend ‘under the clocks’ at Flinders St Station, then walking up to CafÃ© Creperie Salon AIX (No. 24 Centre Place) for a large fresh blood orange juice and a feel of lane life… The graffiti opposite this cafe is gorgeous, there’s also a photo exhibition on the walls (the photos light up at night) and the outside seating for AIX is on upside down, milk crates. Then I’d head off to listen to Hare Krishna music being piped at Crossways (upstairs at 123 Swanston Street). Crossways has a two course all-you-can-eat vegetarian lunch for $4.50 concession or $6. The halava with custard is always yummy. You’ll be sharing your table with an interesting mix of taxi drivers, students, the down and out, robe-wearing Hari Krishnas and business folk. I would then get on the free City Circle tram. It’s a tourist tram that gives you a good idea of the layout of Melbourne, and the tram tracks have just been extended to take in Telstra Dome Stadium and the shiny and new Docklands area. The tram basically does a big square around and through Melbourne, and sometimes you even get a bonus commentary.
Melbournians are: Happiest when it’s raining.
Greg Cormack from Australia
I love Melbourne because: You can go out every night of the week, which is what makes this city really awesome for me. If you’re feeling the need for a big one on Wednesday night, you know that for sure there’s going to be a place around the corner that’s full of people getting stuck into it. I don’t mean just drinking either – there’s always heaps of interesting stuff going on, DJs and bands and movies in pubs, weird drinks, food, kung-fu, whatever. People are always trying to put on something different to the joint next door.
My favourite places in Melbourne are: Brunswick Street in Fitzroy because it’s still the best place to go boozing. There’s nothing but bars the whole way up and down, so everyone who’s out there is obviously up for a big one – the Labor In Vain Hotel is tough to beat. On a cheap night I’d probably head to Victoria Street in Richmond for some Asian food. Chilling out on weekends I go down the Yarra – near Federation Square – where they have free barbies on the river bank, so we take down some sausages and play with the footy or whatever. I see a lot of bands at the Tote in inner-city Collingwood.
My ideal day in Melbourne would start with: A couple of friends from the night before, and we’d be having Bloody Marys near the bay in St Kilda – we could watch all the cyclists and runners go past and feel good about knowing what’s really important. Once we’d got a buzz up, we’d work our way through the Italian and Greek caffs, eating one of everything, having a perve and chatting to some of St Kilda’s random freaky people. Day time is definitely when St Kilda’s at its best, I reckon. Nowhere in Melbourne has as much action before midday as St Kilda.
Melbournians are: Interested in everything, especially stuff they know nothing about. People in Melbourne will seriously show up for anything, any excuse to have a look. Also, people in Melbourne are all cool with each other, that’s something everyone comments on. No one has an attitude about themselves. You can be friendly to strangers here and they won’t get freaked out!