Not long ago, we were sitting in a café here when we overheard one visitor sum it up perfectly: “Melbourne surprises you.”
This city of 3.7 million (Australia’s second largest) may not be well known to North Americans, but it’s been named the world’s most livable city for much of this decade.
Perhaps that’s because Melbourne is so prodigiously diverse. The Victorian Flinders Street Station sits across the street from the geometric, purely 21st Century Federation Square. Trams course along big, wide streets, but the real action is often down narrow, little alleys. Melbourne is one of Australia’s commercial centers, yet the beach scene of the St. Kilda neighborhood is just a tram ride away. Its heritage is English, yet its residents come from around the world. It’s Australia’s undisputed capital of culture, yet it’s also the birthplace of Aussie Rules football.
All that and a good cup of coffee will get you far in life.