I spent most of my time in Melbourne, which may bias my answer to the age old question: Melbourne vs. Sydney? I definitely didn't know anything about Melbourne until my brother moved there, and Sydney and it's iconic opera house always came to mind whenever anyone mentioned Australia. However, now that I've experienced both cities, I must say that I am a greater fan of Melbourne. Both cities are spectacular and worth visiting, but Melbourne appealed to my creative side as it offered a more artsy and trendy vibe, as well as a more culturally diverse population. The narrow streets of Melbourne were filled with cute cafes, small shops, and loads of street art. It was whimsical walking through the main area of the city, and there was a reliable trolley to get you around the outer areas. I also found my wedding shoes in Melbourne, so it will forever have a special place in my heart.
Things to Do in Melbourne
Here are the activities I recommend in Melbourne:
Free walking tour- I've done free walking tours in tons of cities, including both Melbourne and Sydney. It's a great way to be introduced to a city, and I strongly believe you experience more by walking instead of driving. The tour guides work off of tips, so definitely bring cash to tip them appropriately, as it's often a 2-3 hour tour. This is when we really had a chance to see the street art and hidden alleys.
Hopetoun Tea Rooms - It's a traditional tea room established in 1892; what could be cuter?! They have a range of pastries, cakes, and pies. However, it's important to note that their concept of sugar in Australia is very different than ours in America. We love things super sweet over here, but they use sugar sparingly. This can be a good thing if you don't like things super sweet, and it's healthier as well. However, I was greatly shocked when I bit into a cake, as I was expecting something a little bit sweeter.
Queen Victoria Market - This is a great market for buying souvenirs and when we went, they had about 50 food stalls and live music on Wednesday nights. It was awesome to try lots of different food, and I even had my first taste of kangaroo. It was interesting, but I'm in no hurry to order it again.
Chin Chin Restaurant - You actually can find this amazing restaurant in both Melbourne and Sydney. It's asian fusion and you can have the chef bring out various dishes for you to try. I believe we had about 11 courses, and EVERYTHING was delicious.
Things to Do in Sydney
Everyone knows about going to snap a picture in front of the opera house. However, I highly recommend going on a tour, seeing the inside of the opera house, learning the history, and getting up close and personal with the building. I always thought the opera house was white all over, since that's how it looks in pictures. Once you get up close to it, you realize it's actually very beige with white scattered throughout. You have to take a ferry over to the opera house, but where you catch the ferry is filled with shops and restaurants perfect for dining while taking in stunning views of the water. We also did the free walking tour in Sydney. I was only there for 3 days, and terribly sick for most of it, so unfortunately, I don't have too much to offer on Sydney.
Australia was definitely a memorable trip for my family and I that we will cherish forever. I hope you add it to your bucket list once we are free to travel again!
xoxo, Global Midwife