Early last year, just after christmas and in the days before the pandemic I set off on what would become a trip of a lifetime, I left from Manchester in the UK and flew to Melbourne, Australia and within the first few days of being there, I knew that this city was going to have a lasting impact on me.

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I fell in love with the vastness of the city almost instantly, the beautiful backdrop of multicoloured skyscrapers mixed with the buzz of Melbourne coffee shops surrounded by the coolest graffiti artwork I think I’ve ever seen. Add to it the classic ‘Aussie’ feeling but with the metropolitan vibe of an almost European city with its high street shops and restaurants sitting amongst beautiful independent stores and markets, it really does have everything to offer and in my opinion, is the PERFECT first stop off point for any newby to Australia!

I managed to make the absolute most of my week here as I was booked onto a tour with Welcome to Travel ( https://welcometo.travel/ ) who I really really recommend to any solo traveller and somebody that doesn’t really know what they’re doing or where to head first! They packed the 7 days with a perfect mixture of activities, sightseeing, beaches and drinking which was exactly what I needed! The YHA hostel that I stayed in for the week meant that I had no issue at all making friends with other travellers from all over the world, most of them on the same group tour as me!

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If I’m offering top tips and locations that are a must see these are my top 5:

1. Spend a Day Walking The City On Foot

I always think this is the best way to see any new place, but Melbourne especially is filled with so many hidden gems that you just might miss otherwise! A visit to Hosier Lane is an absolute must - it’s one of the cities most famous locations and the most hashtagged location on instagram in all of Melbourne, so you don’t have to just take my word for it! The incredible art work that is constantly changing really captures the feel of identity and freedom of expression that I think Melbourne does really well!

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2. Have dinner on the Yarra River!

The Southbank Promenade is littered with a huge collection of independent restaurants and bars that range in price. Sitting outside on a warm afternoon with a glass of something cold is an absolute must, plus it allows you to really sit and take in the atmosphere of the city while overlooking the beautiful river that runs through it

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3. Visit Phillip Island

Phillip Island!! An absolute essential to anyone visiting Melbourne for a couple of days, take some time out of the city and do an overnight stay on Phillip Island, it can be done in a day trip but I think it’s worth a 2 day visit. Located just south east of the city, about a 2 hour drive Phillip Island is bordered by beautiful beaches and landscapes that really make you feel like you’re ‘in’ Australia. An absolute must do when visiting and one of my top 5 moments throughout my whole trip to Australia was the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island that happens every evening. From a distance the public can spectate the wonder that is hundreds of Penguins leaving the ocean and coming up the beach back to their nests for the night and it is truly such a unique experience watching it happen - I’d recommend it to anyone!

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4. Visit St Kilda

St Kilda is a fun up and coming suburb of the city of Melbourne, famous for it’s beach access and cool bars and nightlife - I really think it’s worth hopping on the tram downtown and taking a look around. It has a real surfer atmosphere to it, unlike the city itself and is known for being very backpacker friendly and fairly affordable too!

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5. Experience The Nightlife

My final top tip and one that I really wish I could go back and relive was the nightlife. I don’t think you need to be a big drinker or a crazy party animal to enjoy this city at all! Every evening we experienced something different as a group, from Comedy Nights, to crazy golf, to clubs and bar crawls to the best Bring Your Own alcohol restaurants I’ve ever been in! Meals in china town and rooftop bars after midnight - the city truly feels like it comes to life after dark and there is absolutely something for everybody!

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21. Yorkshire based blogger. If you can imagine it, you can make it happen 💫

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