I can’t believe it has already been a year since I boarded a flight out of Brisbane without a return ticket.
Moving has been one of the most challenging but most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I’ve made wonderful new friends, have had a year full of amazing work opportunities and am enjoying seeing more of a part of Australia I’d neglected before. I learned pretty quickly that moving is much harder than travelling but it’s been so worth it.
I’ve already talked a lot about what I like and don’t like about living in Melbourne in my 6 month recap of living here, so today I just wanted to share some (read: one million) photos that reflect the past year in a new city.
Art, culture & events
Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital. I’ve been to more shows, exhibitions and events this year than I probably have every other year of my life put together! Going to a cultural festival, show or event has become the norm rather than the exception, and it seems to be the way for a broad demographic of people here. Melbourne is known for having high participation rates, as far as events, festivals and cultural life goes, which I think is a really nice thing. Highlights for me include Andy Warhol – Ai Wei Wei at the NGV; musicals like Sweeney Todd, Cats and Nice Work if You Can Get It; and the Night Noodle Markets at Birramung Mar.
Friends & family
My boyfriend and I moved out of home, interstate and in together at the same time. I’m sure I’m not the easiest person to live with at times, particularly when I’m trying to find my feet in a new city. Moving to Melbourne is one of the best decisions I have ever made, and despite missing my family in Brisbane terribly, it has been exciting to start a new chapter of my life in another city. I’m so glad we could make this move together!
I’ve made new friends this year, and I love them to bits. The past year would have been nowhere near as fun without them and I’m so grateful to have such wonderful friends to explore Melbourne with.
Another huge perk of moving to Melbourne has been spending more time with my uncles, Matt & Thomas. I’ve loved seeing them more regularly and feel very lucky that I’ve had such wonderful people to help me settle in. They know Melbourne like the back of their hand – even after a year of living here, they are still taking me to cool bars in my own neighbourhood that I’ve never heard of!
Finally, my friends and family from Brisbane have been amazing this year. From Skype dinner dates, weekly phone calls and the occasional, but very much appreciated, visit, I feel lucky that my relationships with my friends & family from Brisbane haven’t suffered during the move. It’s not as easy to stay in touch, but I’m super appreciative of the ones who have made the effort. Couldn’t have done it without them either.
Laneways & Arcades
Melbourne is famous for its street art-covered laneways and hidden bars but it doesn’t get enough credit for the pretty arcades which tunnel through city blocks. I love the contrast in the city between old and new, elegant and edgy. Check out Melbourne’s laneways & arcades in black and white or Photos of the Week #1 for more photos of the city.
Coffee, brunch & cocktails
In the past year, I’ve spent a lot of lazy mornings and evenings unintentionally matching my flat white to my purse, catching up with friends over wine with city views, slurping down freakshakes or savouring bizarrely-flavoured cocktails.
Brunch is my favourite meal of the day. My boyfriend and I always make time for a brunch on the weekend and we rarely go out for dinner – we’d rather save a dinner out for a special occasion and go to a handful of our few favourite places.
Some of my favourite brunch dishes this year have been the famous ricotta hotcake at The Kettle Black, the My Mexican Cousin at St Ali and the pumpkin smash at Giddiup. Half the time, I’ll sheepishly order avocado on sourdough with poached eggs, ignoring the silent derision of my waiter. It’s simple, but some morning there are things only a pulverised avocado, crusty sourdough and runny eggs will fix.
Being by the water: The Yarra River & the Bayside
I was sad to leave Queensland’s beaches behind, but as it turns out, you’re never far away from the water in Melbourne. Imagine my surprise when I realise that there are beaches in South Melbourne and that parts of the bayside look like the Italian riviera. The Yarra is tiny, so it’s much cleaner than the Brisbane River, with a lot of interesting architecture on either side to complement the view.
St Kilda, South Melbourne, Black Rock, Brighton and Parkdale are just a handful of bayside suburbs and spending the morning by the water is the perfect mini escape from the city. Across the bay, Williamstown has beautiful views across the marina to the city. It’s only a 15-minute drive from the city, but it feels much further away.
My first real Autumn!
Brisbane barely has a winter, but it definitely does not have a real Autumn. Every time I left the house, I couldn’t help but gawk at the fiery golden foliage illuminating streets and parks. I know not to wish away a warm day, but I’m super excited for autumn again this year.
Discovering the true meaning of Winter
Turns out, growing up in Queensland gives you a delightfully warped sense of what cold weather is. Let’s just say that I do not “winter” gracefully, but I did manage to find the beauty in it – at least sometimes! Psyching myself up for another long winter this year, with a ClassPass membership, a growing list of wine bars and an unnervingly long winter wardrobe wishlist in my arsenal.
Spring in the city
Sweet relief! Truth be told, we skipped out on the last month and a half of winter and went to New York. By the time we were back, blue skies, green leaves and sunshine had returned to the city and I fell in love with Melbourne all over again. The city is particularly joyful in spring.
Summer in Melbourne, or, the year I slow-cooked my internal organs
After slinking through a few scorching 42 degree days, I resolved to not utter a WORD of complaint about winter until at least June. That’s a three-month handicap on my 2015 weather whinging.
On the few days that it’s between 20 and 35 degrees, it’s gorgeous. People really make the most of the good weather here!
Exploring Victoria & Tasmania
Victoria is a tiny state packed with very diverse regions, making it perfect for day trips and weekend breaks. We went to Ballarat, a major country town in the Goldfields region, to visit Sovereign Hill. Sovereign Hill is an award-winning open-air museum, built like a replica of a Gold Rush mining town. The Australian Gold Rush is a really important part of Australia’s history. It drew free immigrants from all over the world to Australia, mostly to the two major Gold Rush towns that sprang up, Ballarat and Bendigo, which are still lined with elegant buildings, funded by gold. It also brought a lot of wealth to Melbourne, making it the richest city in the world at the time.
We spent a day exploring the Mornington Peninsula, visiting Mornington and Sorrento. It was the middle fo winter, so it was too cold for a swim! I’d like to go back to the region, to visit some of the wineries in Red Hill.
We didn’t get to the Great Ocean Road or Yarra Valley, probably the two most famous regions of Victoria, but they are non-negotiables this year. I’ve got a glamping trip planned outside Daylesford and I’m also keen to visit the national hot springs at Hepburn Springs. Fingers crossed!
We also hopped across the Bass Strait to Tasmania, for a weekend in Hobart. Travelling to Tasmania and South Australia is much cheaper from Melbourne than Brisbane, so I want to take more advantage of that this year.