Four hours after my last final exam I was on a Tiger Air flight straight to Melbourne (pronounced Mel-Bin)! I heard a lot of negative things before making the trip, ranging from “You only need two days to see everything” to “Aww the weather is crap.” In my opinion Melbourne might even be better than Sydney depending on what you are searching for!
The first day of my trip I explored downtown and found two really awesome graffiti alleys: Hosier Lane and AC/DC Lane. Hosier Lane is the most popular, it has more art pieces plus the shoe wire. I thought the piece that says, “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire” was the best, but to each their own.
After checking out the art I met up with my friend Ashmeet who is attending Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) this semester. We went to a really great restaurant/bar called Asian Beer Cafe (ABC); I definitely recommend happy hour between 4-8 p.m. I might make a second trip just for the $4 ($3 USD) pizzas they had!
Finally on day seven of the trip we made it to The Great Ocean Road – a must see if you ever travel to Melbourne. If you can’t make time for anything else, at least do a one-day tour of The Great Ocean Road (find it on Groupon). Alternatively, you can find cheap car rentals around the city, that way you can do it in reverse and skip all the tour bus crowds (all going the same direction at the same times).
We were lucky enough to have a friend with a car so we made it a speedy one-day trip and only stopped at places we wanted to see. The first stop was the London Bridge – it’s the the last stop if you travel in the normal direction, but we took the highway to the end of the road first. I think this remains my favorite view because of the way the waves crashed through the middle of the arch!
The next stop was a place called Loch and Gorge. It’s not a bad place to throw up a front double bicep pose!
Second favorite stop: Twelve Apostles. I’m surprised this isn’t one of the Seven Wonders of the World! There is another view of the Twelve Apostles from the next stop down the road called Gibson Steps, but we skipped it since we already taken about 50,000 photos.
After we skipped a few stops we ended up at the Kenneth River. To be honest the river wasn’t anything special but the cool part was the birds and koalas in a nearby park. You can buy bird feed from the convenience store and the birds will come land on you for an Instagram-worthy selfie!
Last, but not least was the mandatory Memorial Arch photo.
Besides a great host (thank you Ashmeet), $4 pizzas, and great views of The Great Ocean Road, this is why I think Sydney doesn’t blow Melbourne out of the water like everyone thinks: One of the main things I wanted coming to Australia was to meet mostly Australians. I was under the impression that almost everyone I met was going to have a thick bogan accent like the crocodile hunter Steve Irwin (no disrespect to the Australians I did meet in Sydney).
I can’t speak for all of Sydney but at UTS this isn’t the case at all; this is a guess, but I would say around 5% of the 750 people who live in Yura Mudang (on-campus housing) are Australian and UTS is situated in the middle of China Town, so there are not many Australians nearby either. On the other hand, RMIT which is around 350 people has about 60% Australian residents and is located in a country suburb. Of course I didn’t meet all of them, but I met more Aussies in nine days at RMIT than in five months at UTS.
So, for those of you who are trying to pick a school in Australia, take this into account: UTS has more internationals (awesome people from Germany, Spain, UK, India, France, etc.). RMIT has more Aussies (a better cultural experience in my eyes).
Thank you for reading! And remember, its not about making the right decision, it’s about making a decision and making it right!
Dillon Morgan is pursuing a bachelors degree in kinesiology. This fall he is studying functional anatomy, exercise rehabilitation and sport medicine at University of Technology, Sydney.