Yet another month of lockdown, Youtube, and face masks. Even though we haven’t seen Melbourne in its full glory, it’s definitely a great place to be in lockdown. Despite all the restrictions, we’ve been trying to make the most of being in this beautiful city. Here are some of my favourite things I’ve done so far.
The discovery of Lime eBikes has changed the game for us. A day pass is $17 which is a great deal if you want to see the city. However, maybe read up on how the pass works because I got charged $40 for doing it wrong. These electric bikes make riding effortless. Not to mention, it’s fun to go fast effortlessly. We rode along the capital city trail, to Albert Park, St Kilda beach, and Brighton beach. I highly recommend the capital city trail as you get to experience the scenic views of the city as well as the lush nature along the Yarra River.
Melbourne has stunning beaches whether you’re looking for a cute stroll across the sand, have a calm picnic, or catch covid from the crowds of unmasked people. All the beaches are connected so I enjoyed biking along the coastline from one beach to the next.
Most of the food places have been underwhelming. I don’t know if it’s because we picked bad places or the takeaway containers make the food taste much worse. However, I have really enjoyed a couple of dessert places. My favourites have been a gelato place called Pidapipo and the Instagram worthy desserts served at Scoopy.
Melbourne is such a vibrant place and I would love to come back very soon. Hopefully, the restrictions ease up a bit so I can see more of what the city has to offer and maybe even a bit more of Australia 👀👀.
The last month has been anti-climatic, to say the least. Before the exchange, I had grand expectations of travelling to a different city every week, tramping the great world-renowned parks, and even experiencing the bustling food and city life. But now I leave my room twice a day for a drink and experience the great food wonders in a takeaway container. Even though things haven’t gone the way I’d imagined, I still don’t regret this experience. During this last month, we have visited the amazing Port Melbourne and St Kilda beaches as well as experiencing some great food, like the infamous Lune croissants. It could be a lot worse, we could be in level 4 lockdown.
I never realised that keeping myself healthy and alive would be so hard. There are many things that I took for granted. I now have a newfound appreciation for the things my mum does that has kept me alive all these years. Here are some things that may help you when going on an exchange or just when living by yourself, so you don’t have to learn it the hard way like I did.
Preparation : Try to do as much research before arriving. Doing admin at the beginning of the exchange is a pain when you want to maximise your time exploring and doing Uni work. Prior research about things like phone plans and banking would be especially helpful and make your first couple of days go smoother. For example, it was a struggle going places without google maps. I don’t know how people did anything before phone data. On the first few days, we got stuck in a random suburb while shopping. Without free wifi or data, we were lost and had to ask strangers about how to get home. As a shy introvert, this was my worst nightmare and I considered just living homeless there.
Clubs : Joining clubs are a great way to meet new people. I joined the University’s Ultimate Frisbee Club and was going to join the mountaineering club before lockdown started. Everyone was friendly and it was great meeting different people, even if I only saw them once.
Food : I didn’t realise food goes off so fast. At home, my mum has mastered the timing of best before and expiry dates. Now I’m eating expired mushrooms and bread, hoping not to die of food poisoning each night. Just keep an eye on expiry dates and learn to use the freezer.
Priorities : Only being here for a couple of months, you won’t be able to accomplish everything – whether it’s travelling around to every city, getting A+ in every assignment and tests, or meeting many lifelong friends. So you need to prioritise a couple aspects that you want to achieve. All in all, make the most of your time here. Choose how you’re spending your time wisely because it will fly.
I have been in Melbourne for the last month and it has been a great experience so far. Although we have been in lockdown for most of it, being stuck in our homes has never been better. Apart from occasionally falling into the Netflix and YouTube rabbit hole, I have been productive with things like chores, uni work and settling in. I have also somewhat enjoyed doing adulty tasks like going to the supermarket/Victoria market and trying new recipes (some turned out pretty inedible though). Even though we haven’t explored much of Melbourne yet, there have been many memorable moments. These highlights include playing Monopoly Deal in the Royal Victoria gardens, going for a cute walk along the Yarra river, and dinning at vibrant restaurants that I definitely can’t afford.
In many ways, Australia is very similar to New Zealand. But there are a few things that caught me by surprise, for example:
University classes: Here in Melbourne, we generally have less classes with most of them being longer than that in Auckland. As a result, I would start to doze off halfway through every lecture which never used to happen.
Supermarkets: The supermarkets are great here, but don’t expect to find your favourite food items here in Australia. For example, I noticed that their ice cream section is a lot smaller than New Zealand’s and items like kettle chips and iced animals are nowhere to be seen.
Public transport: Unlike Auckland, public transport in the city is so convenient and frequent. One reason for this is the tram system that runs throughout the city all day for free. You can expect trams every couple minutes into the city.
City size: Of course Melbourne city is much larger than Auckland but I didn’t realise how large it actually is. One minute you’re walking down a random alleyway checking out restaurants and the next you’re in a hidden 5 story mall. Also, The University of Melbourne is massive. I thought the new UoA engineering building was impressive but expect 20 of those scattered around campus.
So far the trip has been great and I cant wait to experience everything Melbourne has to offer. Lets just hope we aren’t in lockdown much longer.
Thanks for reading this amazing work of art Until next time!