5 reasons I keep returning to Melbourne

Next month I’m heading back to Melbourne for a quick trip. Little-known fact: when I moved back to Australia from Germany, I seriously considered making Melbourne my hometown instead of returning to Perth. At the time, Perth was still a bit of a boring city, to be honest (it is massively better now), and Melbourne had a much more interesting, international feel to it – and I had quite a few friends there.

Obviously, I decided on Perth because my family was here, and I’m glad I did, but I’m also glad that Melbourne is somewhere I can visit regularly. Here are just some of the reasons I keep making plans for Melbourne and why you should absolutely visit Melbourne if you haven’t.

1. Melbourne has amazing meals

My son and I stayed in the heart of Chinatown on our last trip to Melbourne. It was seriously heavenly. We’d take the lift down to street level, walk out, and turn left for Japanese and right for dumplings. And these restaurants served up meals that were both much more delicious than nearly anything I could find in Perth and cost much less.

Return to Melbourne for amazing Asian food

Dumplings at Shanghai Street, the Melbourne restaurant we returned to twice last trip

It’s not just Asian food. A decade ago I had an amazing Polish meal in Melbourne which I remember to his day; closer to two decades ago, back in my postgrad student days, my supervisor lived in Melbourne and she took me to a Greek place for a meal I’ve never forgotten.

Melbourne’s well-known for being a multicultural melting pot and nowhere is this better demonstrated, I think, than in the amazing food, and I often pine for it!

2. And Melbourne has amazing desserts too

I couldn’t put this in the same section as food because Melbourne’s culinary delights are so many and varied that this needs a separate section! I remember well going to Melbourne with a friend about ten years ago and she kept telling me we had to go to Brunetti’s – an amazing Italian cafe with the most exquisite bakery treats ever which was what started my ongoing love affair with Melbourne’s desserts.

Return to Melbourne for Shortstop Donuts great desserts

All the cool kids hanging at Shortstop Donuts in Melbourne

On my most recent trip, I got a great tip on Shortstop Donuts and went there with a friend and her boys. All of us fell in love that day! I’m not a massive fan of donuts, but these were something else and I could happily eat them every day for the rest of my life! (If you need a tip, my favourite was the Australian honey and sea salt one. I want one now!)

3. Melbourne’s CBD is compact and full of life

Sydney is an amazing, truly scenic city, but I never feel like I know my way around there. That’s one of the high points of Melbourne for me – the CBD is where so much happens and it’s laid out in a very sensible grid. It’s easy to find your way around and most places aren’t too far from each other.

5 reasons to return to Melbourne, Australia

Unlike Perth, where the city centre can be deserted after office hours (it’s improving slightly but still has too many ghost town moments for me), Melbourne is always alive and there’s always something open.

Oh, and the shops. All kinds of cool specialty shops start in Melbourne … and then a decade later come to Perth. I’m not even a big shopper and yet I love exploring Melbourne’s shops.

4. Melbourne trams make getting around fun

Along with the simple grid layout, Melbourne is the last remaining city of Australia to have an extensive network of trams. I love trams for the simple reason that it’s very clear where they come from and where they go – their tracks are right there in front of you. It’s a much easier system to guess in a new city than trying to figure out where buses will stop.

Getting around Melbourne by tram and City Circle route

Getting around Melbourne by tram on the City Circle route

Of course, to anyone from a city without trams, they are also simply a fun way to get around and my son just loves them. His favourite are the “vintage” trams like the City Circle loop tram above. And they do give a lovely historical feel to your journey!

5. Old and new mixes in Melbourne and it feels historical

Sadly here in Perth we lost a lot of older buildings before we realised they were worth saving. I’m sure the same has happened in parts of Melbourne but as a visitor wandering around it seems full of history. There is also so much just within the central area of the city – if you choose a central Melbourne hotel then you can easily spend a week exploring museums, galleries and places like Old Melbourne Gaol without needing to leave the CBD at all.

Melbourne CBD buildings mix old and new

Wandering central Melbourne, where old and new buildings co-exist

Bonus reasons to love Melbourne

I asked readers on my Facebook page about what they love most about Melbourne and I was rewarded with a huge number of responses. But let me summarise:

  • Melbourne’s multiculturalism – not just the food (that was my stomach talking!) but the people and festivals and feeling as well
  • The coffee. LOTS of votes for the coffee!
  • St Kilda (also an area I love) and especially Acland Street
  • Cycling on Melbourne’s great cycle paths
  • The State Library
  • Hozier Lane and its art; in fact, all the laneways and their art
  • Queen Victoria Markets (also a favourite of mine I must admit)
  • Federation Square
  • Great pubs
  • Brunswick St and Gertrude St in Fitzroy
  • And so many more reasons …

I can’t wait to visit again next month and I know, as always, I’ll wish my stay was longer. Thank goodness for good friends there and for the relatively short distance from Perth (it’s a 3.5-hour flight, but it’s one of the closest and cheapest places to fly from isolated Perth), which mean I will keep returning there many times in the future, I’m sure.



  1. Ah, I love this list!! 🙂 It’s the trams that give Melbourne that European feel, isn’t it?! 🙂 Oh, and Brunetti’s!! How could I have forgotten about Brunetti’s??!! Yum, yum, yum…

    I’m returning in a couple of weeks for a long weekend and in between family and friends, I must try and squeeze in a bit of sightseeing!

  2. I love this list! Good tip on Shortstop Donuts, they sound delish! I can’t wait to head back there next month too! You wouldn’t happen to be going to problogger, would you? 😉

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