Six months ago I packed up my Melbourne life and moved to Sydney.
At the time, the huzzband and I were trying to buy a house in Melbourne. Crazy, I know. We’d spend every Saturday either traipsing around opens or bidding at auctions, only to inevitably end up drowning our sorrows in cake when we were outbid by a trillion dollars.
Then we woke up one cold July morning and on a whim decided to move to Sydney. But before this abruptly-made life decision, Melbourne was home. Home for the foreseeable future at least.
I’m not going to lie, Sydney life is pretty damn fabulous, with its warm weather, heart-breakingly beautiful harbour and ludicrously expensive lifestyle (goodbye home ownership forever).
Yet, there are definitely a few things I miss terribly from my time living in Melbourne. Here they are:
1. Living in Prahran
Of all the things filed under what I miss most about this city, living in Prahran sits close to the top. We were definitely living our best life by residing in the inner-south suburb of Prahran – the energy, the chaos, the shopping, the options for eating and drinking within walking distance (my gawd!), and all so close to the city. Not to mention, it was a 10-minute walk to work for me, which let me tell you is life-changing.
I miss the Prahran Hotel and its $30 schnitzels, I miss having to navigate my way through 100+ Deliveroo choices just to get dinner delivered (I now cycle through a rotation of 10, half of which fall under the category of dodgy pizza places). I even miss the trams waking me up at 5am with their unnecessary dinging, and if it wasn’t the trams it was the drunkards singing Michael Jackson out the front of our apartment. Now all I hear outside my bedroom window are cicadas, fruit bats and kookaburras – It. Freaks. Me. Out.
I loved that in Prahran your neighbours turned a blind eye if you played music past 7pm. I loved that Jude and I never had to have the “it’s your turn to be Des, no it’s your turn to be Des” conversation because you don’t need a designated driver when you can walk home from anywhere worth going.
It was a good life.
2. Chadstone Shopping Centre
I called this one at my farewell Melbourne party. In return, my soon-to-be-ex-colleagues labelled me a desperate housewife. But I stand by it, with my Teri Hatcher badge on.
Chadstone Shopping Centre is the biggest shopping complex in the Southern Hemisphere, for Christ’s sake, making it an ultra efficient way to go for a shopping burn. Everything is here – from fast fashion to designer, grocery shopping to cinemas. Plus, there’s free unlimited parking, Saturday night shopping until 9pm and Fonda. What the fuck is not to love?
As a side note, I do miss Melbourne shopping in general, which is just so much better than anywhere else in the country. These are the places of retail I miss most.
3. Melbourne’s food scene
This was a big one to break up with. When you’ve been blogging about Melbourne’s restaurants and amazing food scene for a couple of years it’s hard and emotional to call a divorce. One that I still feel quite hurt by.
I love that Melbourne’s food scene is just about good food and having a good time. There’s no pretension or stuffiness, no chasing of tourist dollars. I miss dearly the city’s fun ‘feed me’ style menus and that you can get an incredible feed with booze for under $150 (for a couple). Unheard of in Sydney. Not to mention, there’s ahhh-mazing restaurants everywhere you look. In laneways, down side streets, under echidnas.
On the flip side, what I don’t miss is the resulting extra five kilos that found a comfy home on my waist while living in Melbourne. Hey, when it’s so cold outside that you can’t feel your nose what else are you going to do but seek happiness in a heaving bowl of parmesan-laden chilli pasta?
4. Melbourne street art and general sassiness
As a city, Melbourne is gritty, sophisticated and effortlessly cool. It doesn’t need to try, it’s just got sass. For me this natural character comes to life most through the incredible street art that beautifully covers any exposed wall throughout the city.
Whereas, when Sydney tries to be all arty like Melbourne (cute) it never seems as perfectly thrown together, it always seems like they’ve tried a little too hard. Melbourne’s definitely got this whole arty cultural thing down pat, and I miss that.
5. Melbourne fashion
As a general rule of index finger, everyone in Melbourne is so flippen fashionable. Personal expression through fashion is taken very seriously in Melbourne, whether that’s designer everything or a vintage get-up found at Vinnies. There’s also no Havianas found in sight – they must be banned at the border. I miss the daily style competition.
Also, possibly the only upside of the cold weather is the ability to layer in Melbourne. And everyone expertly layers like an onion here, piling leather onto denim onto cashmere.
I also miss wearing black and it not prompting messages of condolence.
While a sub-category of Melbourne fashion, yes, this one deserves its own entry because I dearly miss my neck adornments.
In Melbourne, scarves were my thang. I wore them practically every day, married with jeans, a t-shirt and loafers – this was my Melbourne uniform. I had scarves in all colours, textures and lengths. Then in the depths of winter they were also part of my defensive strategy against the cold.
Then I moved to Sydney and learnt that the harbour city has an entirely different dress code and scarves aren’t on the list (read about that here, along with 11 other things I learnt when moving to Sydney). I once wore a scarf to work and it was like I’d worn a Madonna bra.
Hence, I now have a draw full of scarves collecting dust (and probably Sydney mould) with little use outside of drying dishes.
7. Good coffee
My first coffee in Sydney I nearly spat into a potted plant. This is from someone who nurses a serious coffee addiction and will take whatever fix I can find. I realised in that moment it was going to be a long road ahead as I made a break-up mix tape for the Melbourne coffee that I’d become so accustomed to.
But then, to let Sydney off the hook, no city can compete in the coffee stakes with Melbourne where latte art is an Olympic sport. It’s a common fact that you’re not Melburnian if you don’t have a view on where you’ll find the best coffee in Melbourne (here’s my opinion).
8. Cheese and wine flights from Milk the Cow
Again, I’ve been challenged on this one by many people. Yes, I really do love perfectly paired cheese and wine that much. Yes, I do believe truffle honey is a creation of Batman. No, I haven’t found an equivalent experience in Sydney (as hard as people try to recommend one).
9. Melbourne’s AFL culture
I love that during every cold-month weekend in Melbourne the city is a flood of tribal colours (including lots of scarf wearing). I love that you can go to any pub and watch a football game on TV. I loved being able to decide last minute that I wanted to go see my beloved Adelaide Crows play live and jump on a train. All of that’s out the window now, and I just can’t bring myself to learn the rules of rugby.
10. Melbourne is so close to wine regions
Before I lived in Melbourne, I grew up in Adelaide, 20 minutes from McLaren Vale. Naturally I thought it was my birthright to be able to access good wine at all times. I also just adore the slowed-down pace of wine regions and the fact that they’re an ode to the good things in life.
I then moved to Melbourne and replaced my 20-minute jaunt to wine country with an hour drive. Passable. Now a wine trip is a two-and-a-half-hour one-way decision and not quite in the realms of a day trip. This makes me quite sad. I seem to be getting further and further away from my grape babies.
Oh and of course I miss my Melburnian friends, you crazy cats. You know I do.
Melbourne expats, what do you miss most about the delightful city on the Yarra? Please share below.