En perfekt dag i Melbourne med en lokal

30. april 2024

Vi har en perfekt dag i Melbourne set gennem lokale øjne. Fra en betagende udsigt fra Melbourne Skydeck til de charmerende Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes.
Tag med, når vi undersøger, hvad der gør Melbourne til verdens mest beboelige by.

It’s 9.30 in the morning and during the night we’ve been sailing across the Bass Strait from Tasmania back to the mainland of Australia. As we get off the ship we’re greeted by a local. His name is Jon and he’s agreed to show us around.

My travel companion, Cynthia from Florida is very active on Couchsurfing. She’s actually also an official Couchsurfing Ambassador for the US. She did what’s called a public trip post on Couchsurfing. You can say on the site where you’re going to be, and then if other travellers or locals are there, they’ll see that you’re in the neighbourhood. She started communicating with Jon, and he volunteered to come pick us up and wanted to spend the day with us.

It’s just one more way that CouchSurfing connects people who really want to meet. Most people think that CouchSurfing is just a bed of free couch to stay, and that’s not the true meaning of the site. The true meaning is connecting people and sharing time and sharing experiences together.

Meeting a School Crossing Supervisor

Jon has a part time job as a School Crossing Supervisor, helping kids get safe to and from school. So, he only works a bit in the morning and in the afternoon, and that’s how he’s able to take time out to show us around his city in the hours in between. And he’s got a few things lined up: a visit to Melbourne Skydeck and something called Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes just to name two of them.

Before we get to the first stop, let’s have some facts about Melbourne.

FACTS ABOUT melbourne


Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria in Australia, is known for its rich culture, vibrant food scene, and as a hub of sporting and arts events. It’s located in the south-eastern part of mainland Australia, lying on the large natural bay known as Port Phillip.

Size and Population

Melbourne covers an urban area of almost 10,000 square kilometers, and it has a population of approximately 5 million people, making it the second-most populous city in Australia – after Sydney.

The Flag

The local flag of Melbourne is a white field with a red cross and a royal crown in the center. Each of the other quadrants contains one of the following symbols: a sheep hanging from a red ring, a bull, a whale, and a ship, all representing different economic foundations of the city.

Local Food

Melbourne is famous for its diverse culinary scene. Some local favourites include Melbourne’s take on the classic Aussie meat pie, local oysters, and Vietnamese food in areas like Richmond and Footscray. Coffee is also a major part of Melbourne’s food identity, with the city often claimed to have the world’s best coffee. Yeah… they all say that don’t they?

Local Beer

Melbourne’s craft beer scene is booming. Some notable local breweries include Mountain Goat Beer, Stomping Ground Brewing Co, and Moon Dog Craft Brewery.

Famous People

Melbourne has been home to many famous people, including actress Cate Blanchett, singer Kylie Minogue, and the legendary band AC/DC. Another famous Melburnian is comedian and actor Barry Humphries, better known as Dame Edna.

Famous Sayings from Here

One iconic Melbourne saying is Four seasons in one day, referring to the city’s notoriously changeable weather. This phrase captures the experience of many residents and visitors who find themselves needing to prepare for multiple types of weather in a single day.

Melbourne: The Most Liveable City

Melbourne has been named The Most Liveable City in the World not just once, but a whopping seven times since 2011. This prestigious title was handed to them by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the city took the top spot every year from 2011 to 2017, making it a poster child for great living conditions.

So, what exactly makes a city liveable? Well, it’s not all about having the fanciest buildings or the most cafes per capita (though Melbourne might score pretty high in that department too). It’s more about the boring stuff like stability, healthcare, education, infrastructure, and access to cultural activities. Yep, that’s the stuff that really counts and Melbourne ticks these boxes with flying colours.

Besides the essentials, Melbourne has a charm that’s hard to deny. From its bustling side streets filled with cafes and bars to the lush green spaces and beaches around, there’s a bit of everything: sports, arts, dining, or just a nice place to chill. Plus, it’s hard to beat the vibe of a city that’s both laid-back and lively at the same time.

After Melbourne’s reign as The Most Liveable City in the World ended in 2017, a fascinating tug-of-war for the top spot followed between the Austrian capital Vienna and Auckland, New Zealand – by the way, the end destination of our cruise. Vienna, with its rich cultural scene and robust public services, claimed the title in 2018 and 2019. No list was published in 2020 – I guess no city was liveable that year due to the pandemic. In 2021, Auckland took the title, but Vienna bounced back to reclaim its position in 2022 and 2023. In the latest published rating from June 2023, Melbourne is back on top of the list as number 3 just ahead of their rival Aussi city, Sydney at number 4. And my own capital, Copenhagen Denmark is number 2. 


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St Kilda

St Kilda, located near Melbourne’s CBD, is known for its eclectic and bohemian vibe, drawing a diverse crowd including artists and young professionals. While not as wealthy as suburbs like Toorak or Brighton, St Kilda offers a unique charm with its lively entertainment scene along Acland and Fitzroy Streets, and a variety of cultural events, including the large St Kilda Festival.

The suburb’s real estate varies from luxurious waterfront homes to contemporary apartments, attracting mainly a younger demographic. With its beachfront location on Port Phillip Bay and proximity to attractions like Luna Park and Albert Park, St Kilda is a vibrant and desirable urban area.

Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes

According to Jon, the two most desirable areas of Melbourne are Toorak and where we’re heading now: Brighton. He’s taking us to Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes. It’s 82 distinctive little instantly recognisable timber huts lining Brighton Beach, each one decked out in a unique mix of colours and designs, standing bold against the ocean backdrop.

Originally, they were built over a century ago for the modest Victorians, and now these bathing boxes have turned into a charming slice of local heritage and a photographer’s paradise. No two are the same, and they pop against the coastal landscape like a line of Skittles ready to be snapped by cameras.

They are worth about 400,000 AUD (almost a quarter of a million US dollars or Euros). So, they’re not just cute; they’re a hot commodity. Owning one can cost as much as a small apartment! Yep, in Melbourne, even the beach shacks are real estate gold. They offer a nostalgic peek into the beach culture of yesteryear, now standing as a funky, vivid landmark for both locals and tourists who flock to see and snap a picture of this quirky Melbourne sight.

Royal Botanic Gardens

The next stop is the Royal Botanic Gardens, just a stone’s throw from the bustling city center. These Gardens are an oasis of calm and natural beauty.

Spanning 38 hectares, these gardens are home to over 8,500 plant species, offering a beautiful and diverse escape. Wander through native bushland, colourful flower beds, and around serene lakes. They were founded in 1846 and now also host activities like yoga classes and outdoor cinema events in the summer.

Whether you’re exploring plant life, enjoying a picnic, or just go for a stroll like us, the Royal Botanic Gardens are a perfect blend of nature and leisure close to the urban hustle. The gardens are so popular that they get 2+ million visitors per year.

As we’re walking around the lake, I wanted to hear why Jon is on Couchsurfing. He also hosts people – and sometimes a very long time. For him, it’s a way to make friends and fight loneliness.  

“My friends aren’t ringing me up every day, saying ‘Jon, you’re the most interesting person in the world,’ so I get lonely, and I need the company of other people. So, I’ve had 140 girls stay with me and most of them have been awesome. Some of them have stayed for two years, so they are personal friends as well as Couchsurfing people.”  

Cynthia chimes in and says, “I don’t think that’s the purpose of the site” and laughs. But Jon says:  

“Well, if it works out, I own my own flat so I’m the master of my house, and if they want to stay and I want them to stay, I can do that.” 

He hasn’t been Couchsurfing himself. He says that he hasn’t left the country for 20 years, and if he goes somewhere within Australia, he tends to stay at hotels.  

Eureka Tower’s Skydeck  

Next, we go to Eureka Tower. It stands out in Melbourne’s skyline and its ”Melbourne Skydeck” offers some of the most breath-taking views around. While it’s no longer the highest building, its Skydeck is still the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere.  

From this sky-high platform on the 88th floor, we can see the entire city spread out below us, from the winding Yarra River to the bustling CBD and beyond to the suburbs. 

It’s got a 360′ circular observation floor with indoor and outdoor viewing areas. The experience doesn’t just stop at the views. The Skydeck features The Edge, a glass cube that slides out from the building, giving those inside the sensation of floating above the city – an adrenaline-pumping highlight not for the faint-hearted.  

The Eureka Tower reaches a height of 297 meters (974 feet) to the rooftop, and the observation deck is at 285 meters (935 feet) above ground.  

We can see our ship Norwegian Spirit from the tower

While we’re up there, Jon is waiting in his car down on the street. Partly because it’s hard to find parking, partly because he’s been there before – but also to save the entrance fee. And speaking of that, it’s cheaper to book the tickets online than on site. Someone was friendly enough to tell us that when we got there, and we simply did the booking on our phones while standing in line. At the ticket office it’s 34 AUD but the online price for an adult is 28 (around 18 USD or 16 EUR).  

Jon Made Our Day Perfect 

It was a scoop for us having Jon take us around. The visit to Melbourne wouldn’t have been the same without him. Here’s how Cynthia sums up our day: 

“Spending the day with Jon was a true day of Couchsurfing, because we were really just spending a day with a local who just wanted to share his city with us. And I can’t imagine a better day in Melbourne than that day, getting to the Royal Gardens and the highest Skydeck in the southern hemisphere or the cool Brighton Beach Bathing Houses. All of that was made so much easier because of him.” 

The whole idea about Couchsurfing is that no money changes hands. But it’s important to do something nice for your hosts, so we asked Jon to pick a nice restaurant for a late lunch before he had to be back at the school crossing with his whistle. And Cynthia had “Tassie Oysters.”  

After lunch in Albert Park, we said our goodbyes to Jon, and walked much of Clarendon Street, ending at the Clarendon Hotel for a tasty glass of Australian red wine. At 5 pm, we were back on ship 30 minutes before the all-aboard time. We were about to cross the Bass Strait for the third time. This time we’re also crossing the Tasman Sea all the way down to New Zealand.  

New Zealand Part Coming Up later 

More about the rest of the cruise and our adventures in New Zealand in future episodes of The Radio Vagabond. But next week we’re doing a detour, as I’m taking you to another island. This one is in the Mediterranean and I’m renting a car and doing a road trip on this a fascinating island with a Greek and a Turkish part – and a buffer zone in between. Can you guess which one? 

More Episodes This Week 

I have more to come before then: In two days, I have a bonus episode for you on Thursday. Because when you’re on a cruise ship you meet all kinds of interesting people, and on a more recent cruise, I met a 22-year-old German woman, who’s about to end a year and a half of solo travelling. She’s a bad ass, who went to a country I haven’t had the courage to visit yet, and then she crossed the Atlantic by hitch-hiking a sailboat. Hear that conversation this coming Thursday. And on Saturday, I’ll have another Vagabond Shorts with tips on what to see and do … when in Rome. Both as a podcast and a YouTube video. If you haven’t watched any of my videos in that series, I highly recommend that you find and subscribe to The Radio Vagabond on YouTube 

My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you.  


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