Melbourne, Part Three- St Kilda.

by Lori Dwyer on July 28, 2011 · 31 comments

I’m slightly in love with St Kilda.

I’ve always wanted to go there- something to do with Paul Kelly, and The Secret Life of Us. And it didn’t dissapoint.

Beautiful coffee. Every type of food you can imagine. Cake shops that look like they were made by Willy Wonka. Funky op shops, hippy shops, clothes and shoe shops. People and babies and dogs and bikes and trams and buses.

Melbourne is a living, breathing space, like any major city. But it’s different to Sydney. Well set out, organised. The traffic flows smoothly, motorbikes park on the footpath. People use public transport because it’s abundant and easy.

This city works like clockwork.

It’s clean and it smells divine. Cold, yes, but again, different- without the wind coming straight off a huge open harbour, the cold is not as bitter.

And Melbourne doesn’t pretend. They know it’s cold here, and they work with it, unlike Sydney, where we all seem to ignore our discomfort for four months a year because we are, after all, a summer city. People in Melbourne dress for the cold. Cafes are equipped with well working cas heaters, and plastic enclosures to keep out the chill.

And it is a beautiful city. Sydney is dirty and grey, only it’s spanning bridge, fanning Opera House and the sparkle of blue water as it’s backdrop that makes it beautiful.

Melbourne makes itself pretty. Artwork is everywhere, quirky things to catch the eye, to entertain, whimsy to make you smile. Even the freeways are dotted with artwork, rather than a long stretch of grey carpark, no joy to be found in overpasses and green signs and graffiti. All of this on a 40 kilomtre drive that takes half an hour at 9am- in Sydney, it would be a two hour drive. I only wish I were exaggerating .

And the result of all of this is, I think, people in Melbourne are relaxed. They dress to match their background- rugged up for winter, but colourful and stylish. No one is overly friendly, but everyone treats you as if you visit their store every day. I apoligise for bumping against people in stores, and they look at me strangely. It takes me half an hour to realise this is not so much of a custom in Melbourne as it is in Sydney- personal space is not so revered, interfering with it less likely to cause tension.

Again, it’s that colour in the people. No arrogance or rudeness, living a bustling city life, but not constantly stressed by the grind of it, when the city works so well. It’s not quite the wet-dishrag-on-Valium relaxed of Perth or Darwin, but it’s lovely.

I don’t feel like a ghost here. But I’m not sure why.

I’ve spent months feeling like a ghost, as if I died the same time Tony did. (The day after he died… automatic doors, refusing to open for me. “Am I dead?” I ask my friend, “Did I die too, am I ghost?”).

A dose of Melbourne is making me feel alive again. I’m not sure why- there’s just a feeling that in Melbourne, every person has colour.

And I’ve been grey for quite a while now.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy Tope October 13, 2011 at 10:57 am

Glad you're having such a good time in Melbourne Lori, it's a wonderful city. However, this is another Sydney vs Melbourne post, with amuses me. Why do we keep comparing the two? They are both great cities in their own right. And no, the people are not entirely different, generally speaking. You get good days and bad days in both. You bring your sunshine with you honey, and Sydney is many things, but certainly not a grey city!


Andrea August 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Mr. Rugby and I have regular 'Melb vs Sydney' discussions. Melbourne is awesome. There is a reason it won' most liveable city' so many times.
It is one of my favourite cities.

I am so glad you like it, and it treated you well. It has energy.


whiterabbit July 30, 2011 at 8:43 pm

What a great post! I'm going to share this one on my facebook so all my friends and family scattered throughout the world can see why I was so happy to come back here after 6 years in grey London! And I live right next to St Kilda too! xx


Sarah Kaye July 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm

It was so great to read this post Lori, nothing like a little colour.


Lívia July 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Ohh Melbourne is my favourite city in the whole world. I used to live there, and I will love it forever.

Enjoy it, it's a real healer


Jennifer July 30, 2011 at 11:30 am

I'm glad you're having such a lovely trip – you totally deserve some happytime. You are such a powerful writer, no matter what the subject is. I have never been to Australia at all and your descriptions are so good I feel like I'm living vicariously through you a little, seeing it all through your words. Thank you!


Sharon July 29, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Melbourne is a divine city. I think it is relaxed where Sydney is try-hard. I've never liked Sydney, despite its beauty. Melbourne had me at "hook-turn".

Soak it all up, all of its colour and quirkiness. Enjoy!


Squiggly Rainbow July 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I'm glad you are having fun, we are about 50 minutes from the CBD in the hills of the Dandenong Ranges. Melbourne and Victoria are very rich in culture – love it too!

Rach xx


Lirio Jaguar July 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Melbourne IS the bees knees ;) Ya like Melbs? You'll love the regional centres! Next trip come down to Sth Gippsland – where the refugees from Melbourne flock. I'm very happy that you are shedding your invisibility cloak, Lovely Lori.


Aphrael July 29, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I was born in Melbourne and lived there for 24 years oblivious to how beautiful Melbourne is until I moved to Brisbane. I cannot wait to return and show my children the wonderful sights of Melbourne when I drive there for Christmas. You have made me miss it all over again :D Enjoy my hometown Lori xxx


Aphrael July 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I was born in Melbourne and lived there for 24 years oblivious to how beautiful Melbourne is until I moved to Brisbane. I cannot wait to return and show my children the wonderful sights of Melbourne when I drive there for Christmas. You have made me miss it all over again :D Enjoy my hometown Lori xxx


Crystal Cheverie July 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm

I'm so happy for you, Lori. I'm glad Melbourne has made you feel like you have colour again. Keep having an awesome time! :-D


Lynda Halliger-Otvos July 29, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Really great to hear you are enjoying the week and its special City. Keep looking up !~!


Jen D July 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm



Denwise aka Denyse Whelan July 29, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Hi Lori…we are in sync on this…I am so in love with Melbourne after my 50 years living in Sydney I posted about it today on memoriesbydenyse
I LOVE it…
Glad we "had a good excuse" to find out, hey!


Ebonie’s Mummy July 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Melbourne sounds amazing you make me want to visit! Glad to see u are enjoying yourself even for a moment.


Maxabella July 29, 2011 at 11:42 am

I loved Melbourne too. It's just such a wonderful urban place to be. I'm glad you are walking tall there, Lori. x


Mich July 29, 2011 at 11:16 am

I grew up in melbourne. And I miss its busy-ness. Perth is by far so much more relaxed and where Melbourne, there is always somewhere to go or something to do, no matter what time of day.
It was a massive shock to me when I moved here 11 years ago. It was so quiet, no one was rushing anywhere, trains were clean and not filthy and overcrowded.

It sounds like travel is soothing your soul.

PS. Melbourne has THE BEST hot jam donuts. they sometimes sell them out of caravans/stalls at some of the train stations and markets.


Kimmie July 29, 2011 at 8:04 am

I lived my first 34 years in Melbourne and the last ten in Brisbane. Your post made me ache on the inside for home.


Stinky July 29, 2011 at 7:11 am

Sounds like its doing you the world of good! I find people polarise to either Melbourne or Sydney: I'm definitely more into Melbourne(did you find the cakes in St Kilda don't taste as good as they look. I think its the time taken to decide which one to choose, they've decomposed a bit by then!).
I also see Melb as similar to Wellington, and Sydney as more like Auckland but thats my personal perception/projection.

The ghost feeling is horrible – I'm not you and have different experiences but I have felt that too


bestie July 29, 2011 at 7:03 am

I am a huge fan of Melbourne and not-so-much a fan of Sydney but I could never really explain why. You have summed it up very eloquently – thanks!


Yules July 29, 2011 at 6:28 am

Wow…. I'm an Aussie (perthie) living on the other side of the world…. But tonight, after reading that…. I'm in Melbourne!


Eva July 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Isn't it GLORIOUS! Sigh.. I'm a Qld girl, and have only been in Melbourne for 2 years, but I LOVE IT. I could never really put my finger on why, but there are a lot of points in this post that help! Good city. I'm glad it's good vibes are making their way into your brain :)


Shellye July 29, 2011 at 3:57 am

Wow, Lori, what an amazing description! If I had the money, I would be packing my bags now.

I'm so glad you're having a wonderful time.


babygalah July 29, 2011 at 9:41 am

What a brillant description of Melbourne. Glad that we melbournians are making you happy Lori. Enjoy the rest of your visit…..the sun is even shining here for you this morning :)


Deb July 28, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I'm guessing its not windy there today… that wind comes in off the bay in the winter, its FREEZING… and I live in canberra and found it cold when i lived there!

I love melbourne. its my kind of town. St kilda is awesome.


E. July 28, 2011 at 10:27 pm

It's great to know that you are feeling so alive there. Like Robyn, your words want me to visit as well.

Enjoy your time in Melbourne.


robyn July 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm

You make me want to visit there! Glad you are enjoying it :)


Zoe Paige July 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Lovely! I was in Melb. Exactly four years ago for my 21st, so chilly! But a wonderful city! So much to do! Enjoy!


Rachel July 28, 2011 at 9:51 pm

I love seeing that tag at the end of your posts:
Stuff that makes me happy <3


Melissa July 28, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Soak it up, Lori :) I'm so glad you're enjoying the trip – you've painted an amazing picture with this post.


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