Australia - Melbourne - My first taste of Australia, could I adjust to the Western ways again or would the culture shock be a rude awakening??

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February 14th 2012
Published: February 25th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Australia – Melbourne – My first taste of Australia, could I adjust to the Western ways again or would the culture shock be a rude awakening??

After a long day travelling from Singapore with a stopover in Darwin for good measure I arrived in Melbourne with the sun shining and English (well Oz) being spoken all around me. I guess with the free use of English complete with the sight of so many brand names from back home I instantly felt at ease. I’m not sure if this was the correct state of mind to be in but I felt like I was on holiday and not travelling as I had been for the past few months, it was mixed emotions for sure.

After an uneventful journey from the airport to the heart of Melbourne I quickly located my hostel and settled in. By this point it’s fair to say I was struggling with the cost of everything, not only had I been travelling in some seriously cheap locations for a while I was now in one of the most expensive places I have ever been to. I always thought London was expensive but it was becoming quite apparent it was good value compared to Australia. I had already told myself not to worry about it because after all I cannot change the situation therefore I must just change some of my habits to ensure I can enjoy my time here and not end up broke. To give you an example the cheapest beer in a bar I could find was $8.50 or (£5.80) and even something like fried rice which had previously been costing me £1 was at least £6, as you can see my £30 a day allowance I had allocated myself for everything whilst travelling would not go far here. I will leave my feelings about the cost of everything at this point, it’s not something worth dwelling on because it just an expensive country and I have to accept it and just enjoy it whilst I’m here.

Melbourne was a pleasure to arrive into, I knew instantly I was going to like it just walking down the streets to the hostel, it’s a very modern city with it’s cool trams nipping about everywhere (Edinburgh one day you will get there with yours I’m sure!) and loads of funky buildings and quirky areas as well.

I had no plan for Melbourne or Australia for that matter, I decided to treat this experience a little differently and just arrive and sort it out once I was here, the only problem being my flight is in six week’s time and it’s approximately 3000km away so I need to get a move on!

Wasting no time I went to explore Melbourne and take in the cities atmosphere and culture and anything else it would throw my way. It’s hard to describe why I like somewhere, it’s often easy to say why I dislike somewhere but with Melbourne I just instantly felt like I belonged there and everything came so easy to me. The city has structure, is well organised, the transport system works brilliantly and it’s set up for tourism as well as everyday life and I guess it’s fair to say I’ve missed this way of life and within an instant I remembered all the qualities I’m blessed with back home and clearly take for granted. Melbourne is nothing like London and clearly bugger all like Norwich, however there is loads to see and do here and most of it was free with my fake student ID card which is a bonus! Whilst here I visited the Botanical Gardens, the National Museum, the Immigration museum, Flinders Street and it’s beautiful station, Federation Square, the remembrance shrine, the docklands and just generally walked around and explored all the side streets and areas away from the CBD. Each and every sight and spot were brilliant, everything is so well cared for and looked after and it makes it a pleasure to explore as a tourist.

Whilst at the hostel I made several friends and went out to a comedy club and a few local bars which were good fun, but we were all in the same boat and after a couple of drinks none of us could justify spending that sort of money on beer so the evenings always ended at a sensible hour and it felt like being a student making a pint last as long as physically possible.

After talking to many of my roommates I made the decision I would probably use a travel agent to organise my next six weeks, basically they do everything for you and I just needed to make sure I’m where I’m meant to be on the right day, sounds perfect! I really am adjusting to the Western ways I’ve been so long without. The reason for this choice was twofold, one I was being lazy and two they get far better discounts than I could ever get plus the internet here can be as much as $10 an hour and getting free wifi meant sitting in a library and I only had a short amount of time here and didn’t want to waste it sitting in a library. So after two hours with a travel agent called PeterPan travel I had the next six weeks of my travelling sorted. It would begin with a road trip on the Great Ocean Road in one day’s time and I couldn’t wait, so many people in the hostel had been raving about it so I was really looking forward to it.

With the itinerary sorted it left me one final day to enjoy Melbourne before being picked up at 6:45am for my three day road trip. I wasted no time and headed out to the docklands and a place called St Kildas where there is a cool beach and most of the backpackers places are located and had a great final day here.

As you can probably tell so far I’m really enjoying Oz, I can’t work out if it’s because I’ve missed this normality for the last eight months or if it’s because I genuinely really like it here, time will tell as I adjust more but so far a huge thumbs up for Australia and long may it continue. Bring on the Great Ocean Road!!!

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