Melbournians will tell you that Melbourne is the cultural hub of Australia but us Sydney siders here at Park My Van know that they’re just trying to make up for the fact that Sydney is Australia’s only true world city. Melbourne does, however, have a vibrant cultural scence that many Australian cities are trying to replicate in an attempt to bring the people back into the streets. Yes Sydney included.
Melboune successfully juxtaposes ornate Victorian-era architecture and leafy boulevards against modern developments such as Federation Sq. Character-filled neighbourhoods, such as Fitzroy, St Kilda and Carlton, hum with life and the city produces some of the best art, music, cuisine, fashion, performance and design in the world. We had an aswesome night in a hip little bar with quality cocktails and a chilled vibe at Lily Blacks (below).
Yet despite the constant buzz of what’s on, Melburnians still keep their urban frenzy to a deliciously sedate pace. Trams lumber back and forth on routes radiating out like spokes from central Melbourne, and cycling is a common way to get from A to B across the encouragingly flat topography.
Melburnians are also devoted to their sport and go ballistic over the Australian Football League (AFL or ‘footy’ to the locals). They love to shop, eat and attend the myriad festivals that the city offers. You’ll even find them defending the city’s temperamental weather, and if you’ve ever experienced Melbourne’s inclination to plummet from searing heat to drizzling rain in the space of an hour, you’ll understand that this must be the true definition of unconditional love.
For art, we recommend the city’s many 'laneways' that have been covered in graffiti, murals and posters. The likes of Banksy and Space Invader once tagged local walls - although our ever-efficient government painted over one and the other was vandalised. But you can still find awesome pieces along Flinders Lane, where art galleries sit alongside street art. Don’t miss Hosier Lane and AC/DC Lane (yes, a tribute to the band). Key galleries include fortyfivedownstairs and Flinders Lane Gallery. Alternatively for the more traditional art lovers the National Gallery of Victoria and the Ian Potter Centre are also close by.
Beyond the city limits, Victoria offers soulful history, stirring wilderness and culinary excellence. Try the Yarra Valley for exceptional wines wines or the Great Ocean Road for a truly menborable drive along Australia’s Southern Coast. Just don't count the 12 Apostles - last count the ocean had claimed all but 8 or the fragile sandstone pillars. Melbourne vans available here.