For five years in a row now Melbourne has topped The Economist’s list of the most liveable cities in the world. After spending just five days there, I can see why; I would love to spend more time in Melbourne.
For years people have been telling me how awesome Melbourne is, but I’ve never believed them – mostly because I’m naturally sceptical (my wife would say pessimistic) and partly because I’m a New Zealander and I just don’t want to admit that Australia does anything better than we do (for the record, Auckland was ranked a relatively paltry ninth on the same liveability index this year).
Well, it’s time for me to face facts because Melbourne is a brilliant city. In fact, it might even be the best city ever. Here are 5 reasons why I loved it so…
In New Zealand we’re super proud of how good our coffee is. Generally speaking, our flat whites, lattés and cappuccinos are a crap-load better than the dross you get in the United Kingdom, the United States, or most places in the world.
Well, I hate to admit it, but I reckon Melbourne could just about have us beat. Not once did I have a bad coffee..
In most big cities around the world alleyways are dirty, unsafe and smell like urine. Not in Melbourne. In this remarkable city they’re fun and funky, packed full of awesome places to eat, drink, and shop.
It was a genius move turning these alleys into useable spaces. You could literally get lost in Melbourne’s maze of laneways for hours, drinking world-class coffee or craft beer, eating Chinese dumplings or cakes, and shopping up a storm.
I love my sport, which means I’d be well at home in the sporting capital of Australia.
Sure, the city’s most popular sport may leave me cold – watching AFL is like watching a flock of seagulls fighting over a chip – but there’s plenty of other sport to watch in Melbourne. It has a great NRL team, two A-League football clubs, and a (lousy) Super Rugby team. Plus it hosts the Australian Open every year and is home to the largest cricket venue in the world. That gets it two thumbs up from me.
2. Public transport
I’m super jealous of Melbourne’s brilliant tram network; I wish we had something similar in Auckland. Melbourne’s Yarra Trams network is very efficient and easy to navigate, plus I love the fact that they’re free within the central business district.
Furthermore, whenever we got a bit tired from exploring Melbourne’s magnificent laneways and river bank, we’d catch a ride on the City Circle line – the free tourist tram that does a loop of the city, with a voice over telling you about the city’s main sights.
Is there better free public transport anywhere else in the world? I don’t think so.
1. Bars & restaurants
It’s a cliché that seemingly every country in the Western world has one city that is the so-called “capital of cuisine”. Melbournites reckon their city is it in Australia.
Sydneysiders may have a thing or two to say about it, but I reckon Melbourne has a pretty good case for being the best Australian city for food and drink. The city has heaps of awesome restaurants – whatever type of cuisine you’re after, you’ll find it here – and what about Melbourne’s many wicked bars?
You’ve just got to love Melbourne’s funky rooftop bars and, when the sun was shining, you’d find us at a bar somewhere along the Yarra River (long-time readers know how much I LOVE riverside pubs).
So, I’ve made my case after just five days in Melbourne – what do you think? Have I overestimated Melbourne or is it everything I said it is and so much more?