Travel Destinations

Locals claim that Melbourne is the “best city in the world to live in.” Sydneysiders might dispute this but certainly the state capital and cultural heart of Victoria is an exciting city to visit. Melbournite, Sarah Morton, reveals what makes Melbourne so magical

Sarah and husband Brendan

Name: Sarah Morton

Age: 32

Occupation: Studio Manager

Are you a local girl?
Yes. I’m originally from the Macedon Ranges which is about an hour away from Melbourne, close to Hanging Rock made famous from the 1975 mystery movie Picnic at Hanging Rock.

What’s it like to live in Melbourne?
Great! Winter can be cold but we have four beautiful distinctive seasons and there’s so much to see and do.

What is your favourite thing about Melbourne?
The food, coffee (standouts include Seven Seeds, and St Ali, and sport. Sporting buffs should try and catch a cricket match in summer or an Aussie Rules match in winter at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The venue holds 100,000 people and there’s always a fantastic atmosphere.

Why should we visit Melbourne?
Migrants from all over the world have made it a great multicultural city. The steady stream of fresh, new faces means Melbourne is an exciting, ever-changing place to be.

How long do we, ideally, need? 
One week; four days for the city and a few for a road trip down the famous Great Ocean Road. Don’t do it just as a day trip – it’s too far and too special to rush. Another Melbourne must do is to visit Phillip Island (two hours from Melbourne) to see Fairy Penguins which, as their names suggests, are the smallest penguin species and are found only in southern Australia and New Zealand.

How can tell you locals from our readers?
Locals dress for all seasons all year around as even in summer the weather is always unpredictable and capable of extremes. A local saying is that Melbourne can have “four seasons in one day”.

Best bites?
Ahhhh – there’s too many to mention: Melbourne has the best eating in the world!  A few favourites include Press Club (, Cookie (, The Stokehouse ( and Donovans ( Meanwhile if it’s cheap, authentic Chinese food that you’re after be sure to check out China Town.

Top shops? 
Myer ( and its more upmarket cousin, David Jones (, are two popular department stores selling everything under the sun: the question isn’t what can you buy, but what can’t you buy.  On the mall front, Melbourne Central and DFO are both worth a browse but arguably the most interesting buys and boutiques are to be found in the lively laneways.

Where should we stay? 
St Kilda has many cheap backpacker hostels. Otherwise the Central Business District (CBD) is a good place to base yourself as it’s within easy reach of most of Melbourne’s main attractions.

Any insider tips for our readers? 
Try out the many bars in the CBD. Riverland ( is a popular spot on the Yarra River, Transport & Transit bar ( enjoys a good vibe and central location while Madame Brussels ( is a fun night out and Spice Market ( the place to see and be seen.
Finally, why not visit one of the wine regions? There are five in immediate proximity but the Yarra Valley wine region ( – famous for its Chardonnay, pinot noir and sparkling wines – gets my vote.

Thanks Sarah! For more information on Melbourne, consult and also