Yes, Melbourne is close to the beach – but this diverse city has a lot more to offer besides, says Vicente Bicudo de Castro, a PhD student at Monash University.
I arrived in Melbourne in September 2009, so have been here for three years. I was definitely excited to live here, partly just because I like new experiences, and also because Australia is renowned as an amazing place.
Melbourne is unique, as it’s a cosmopolitan city but with a relatively small population. So you have the benefits of a very diverse city, without the problems of a more densely populated area.
I’m originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and compared to Rio I’d say Melbourne feels pretty well organized! The only thing I’ve found to dislike is that beer is relatively expensive...
Leisure activities here depend mostly on the weather. When it’s sunny I usually go to the beach, but otherwise I enjoy discovering a new restaurant or just going to the cinema.
I really like living in Prahran (an area to the south-east of the city center). I feel like I have plenty of options just around the corner, including good pubs, restaurants, gigs and much more.
It’s also close enough to the university that I can run to campus. I chose not to have a car, so when I need to travel further I use the public transport system – both the train and tram networks are quite good.
There are still lots of places I’ve yet to explore – I’ve got a long ‘to-do’ list. This includes things like going to the Eureka Tower, touring Yarra Valley, seeing the penguins at Port Phillip Bay, visiting Healesville Sanctuary, booking a night at Crown Towers, doing the Mornington Peninsula Brewery Tour, travelling in the Puffing Billy... There’s a lot to do here!
For new students, I’d recommend spending your first week staying in a hostel, to really get a feel for the dynamic of the city. You can’t understand Melbourne via Google Maps – believe me, I’ve tried!