What to do and where to go in Melbourne by Valerie Casanova

It’s a new country, a new city, and there are so many events and places to explore that you don’t know where to start? I get it. This list is here to help you out, with some of the best tourist-y activities you’ll want to be sure you have on your list.

  1. Head to the Australian Open

    If you’re a tennis fan, like myself, then going to the Australian Open is a must. This is an event I’d only ever watched on TV, so getting to see my favourite tennis players play live and in-person was such a fun experience. A day pass will give you the chance to enjoy pop up stores and activities including a live music stage featuring local and international acts, all before you choose the match you’d like to see and queue to get into the court.

  2. Go to an AFL game

    If there’s one event that I think of as the peak of Aussie culture, it’s probably the AFL – Australian Football League. It may take some time before you understand all of the sport’s rules (at least in my experience), but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the game. There is an exciting atmosphere with supporters filling the stadium with high energy and anticipation for the success of their team. 10/10 recommend.

  3. Visit Melbourne’s beaches

    You’ve probably seen photos of the colourful bathing boxes at Brighton Beach on nearly every tourist website for Melbourne - they’re just as vibrant in real life. Brighton Beach isn’t your only option, with plenty to choose from nearby. St Kilda Beach is home to the city’s iconic theme park, Luna Park. (If amusement parks aren’t your thing, you might still want a picture in front of their famous entrance.) Melbourne beaches are packed during the summer, be prepared to fight for your patch of sand and don’t forget your sunscreen, a towel and hat.

  4. Check out Melbourne’s art galleries and museums

    If visual art, culture or history are your thing, Melbourne’s art galleries and museums feature interesting local and international exhibits. Some exhibits are free, others are not (as a student you can buy discounted tickets!), no matter the price they’re worth checking out. The National Gallery of Victoria and the Melbourne Museum are close to the city, there are also smaller art galleries all over Melbourne too, so don’t limit yourself to the big ones.

  5. Explore the night markets

    The summer months see some of the city’s favourite markets take advantage of the good weather with a great vibe and late trading once a week. Some of the most popular night market options are the Summer Night Markets at Queen Victoria Markets, located right near campus, South Melbourne Night Market and the St Kilda Twilight Market. There’s live entertainment, loads of food options, and endless craft and design stalls. They are a great spot for a food trip because there are so many different cuisines on offer. Prices are often a little higher than most places in Melbourne, but it’s worth checking out at least once.

  6. Go to White Night

    If you’re into large light projections of art on attractive buildings, then you’ll love White Night. A very Instagram-able event, bright and colourful displays make for an enchanting night in the city. There are also performances throughout the night at different locations. Top tip: This event is busy, check out their website and try to plan ahead to avoid disappointment.

  7. Explore local vintage stores

    In my opinion, Melbourne has some of the best vintage and op shops. Many of my favourite shops are in Brunswick or along Prahran’s Chapel Street. Keep a look out for any sales, with everyone on the hunt for the perfect bargain, the good ones disappear quickly.

  8. Decide what your coffee order is fast

    I truly did not understand how seriously Melbournians (what people from Melbourne call themselves) take their coffee until I arrived. When you overhear people ordering a coffee it can sound like a science experiment, “Triple shot, single origin, almond magic please.” Say what?! Here’s a little breakdown I compiled for you:

    Flat white: An Australian staple. It is one shot of espresso with not much frothed milk on top.

    Cappuccino: No one drinks them here, so much foam!

    Latte: One shot of coffee, but a little more foam than a flat white and a little less foam than a cappuccino. (Confused yet?)

    Magic: A ¾ latte, with the same coffee hit for those all of those late-night assignment sessions.

    Piccolo: A tiny latte.

    (Quick side note: Each of these activities are located around Melbourne, there’s still so much more exploring for you to do in greater Victoria!)

Valerie Casanova
Manila, Philippines
Bachelor of Commerce
Graduated December 2019

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