Last week I flew to Melbourne. I had heard so many good things about the city. Melbourne is supposed to be the coffee capital, the city of culture, arts and colourful ally ways. I was optimistic about finding work in such a big city with so much to offer.
Unfortunately, I arrived at a hotel that was more than below par. I was travelling with a friend I met in Byron Bay and we had both checked into the Ritz backpackers in St Kilda. We had chosen this place because the price was reasonable and it looked good in the pictures.
Unfortunately, for me, this put a dampener on the experience in Melbourne. I tried to stay positive as we explored over the next few days. We even managed to get a refund on the rest of our stay and moved into a much nicer place. But I was not liking Melbourne one bit. I felt unsafe and detached, there was nothing really about it that made me feel comfortable or like I could enjoy being there. But I had committed to making it work and I really wanted to give it a good go. In a desperate attempt to find a place where I could be happy I decided to explore the beaches to the east of the city.
While we were still staying in St Kilda I took a day away from the friends I was travelling with to have some alone time and get back to nature. Here is the route I took.
Starting at St Kilda beach which was a 15-minute walk from Habitat HQ, the new hostel we were staying at. My plan was to get to the seafront turn left and keep walking until I hit Sandringham or until I felt like turning back.
I had packed my laptop in the hope I would find a library along the way. I had also packed my journal and a book in case I wanted to stop and read or write. So loaded up with a heavy backpack I walked along the coast.
I passed the marina at St Kilda and on towards a more green area by the sea.
St Kilda is a typical seaside town. It reminded me of places like Bognor Regis or Littlehampton. If you have been to these areas you will know they not known for being the best beaches on the south coast. I didn’t love it at St Kilda. I was pretty disappointed in the area. Especially having come from beautiful Byron Bay, it felt like a very big downgrade.
Elwood was the next suburb along from St Kilda, a pretty coastal area that apparently has some nice shops and bakeries. It wasn’t lunchtime when I passed through here, but I did stop to do a bit of journaling.
I was catching up on the podcasts of some of my favourite entrepreneurs. They get me inspired and motivated to work on my business so I had to keep stopping to journal or take notes on my phone.
I sat here for a while watching the water as well. I was sure I could see some kind of creature just off the shore. After watching it for at least 15 minutes I realised it was people snorkelling.
An area named after one of my favourite Saturday shopping spots with my mum in the UK. Brighton has the typically British colourful beach huts along the beach. It was clearly a very popular tourist destination with lots of people taking pictures and posing in front of the huts. I didn’t hang around for long as I was starting to get hungry and I couldn’t see anywhere to eat.
I noticed as I walked along the main road in Brighton how nice the houses were there. I had been told that the further round the peninsular you go the nicer it gets and I was certainly noticing this the further I walked.
Hampton was where I stopped for lunch. I walked along the main high street looking for food. I wasn’t in a decisive mood so walked for a while before settling for a beef pie and an orange juice. As I had walked back in the direction of St Kilda to get to this cafe I had to retrace my steps to get to the library.
I intended to stop for a bit a rest whilst catching up with uploading some vlogs. Unfortunately, the library computers and internet were down for a couple of weeks due to maintenance. So I had bought a heavy laptop for no reason. I Googled how far it was to Sandringham and although I was getting a little tired it wasn’t far. So I thought I would carry on as that is where I had planned to go.
By the time I got to Sandringham, I was tired and annoyed about the internet. It was another beach like those that I had passed. I didn’t think the Melbourne beaches were anything special. They were nice enough and are probably great to visit in the summer when you have spent the working week in the bustling city. But I missed the NSW and QLD beaches.
After a very quick look at the beach, I started on my long journey back to St Kilda. According to Google maps, it was about a 2 and a half hour trip one way. So when I looked at how far I had to go and how tired my feet were getting I knew I had to sit down for a bit.
I stopped at a nice bench overlooking the ocean. I read a bit of my book and did some journalling before setting off on my journey again.
Penguins at St Kilda
I kept checking my maps as I walked back and it seemed like it was taking forever to get back. I was adamant I wasn’t going to spend money on public transport. I thought I might be able to make it back just in time to see the penguins at St Kilda just after sunset. So I kept the pace up listening to my podcasts and marching along. Some of the views along the way back were lovely as the sun was setting.
I made it back to the St Kilda and to the pier before the sunset. I had done nearly 40,000 steps by this point and was knackered. My back and feet were hurting and I was ready to lay down. But I thought as I was out and I had made it this far I may as well was the penguins as I might not get a chance to see them again. I had made up my mind by now that I was moving on. I found a spot on the lower walkway where I could sit and watch the penguins.
It was a beautiful view through the sailing boats back towards the city that was still illuminated by the last of the glow of the sun. I thought for a second this could be my happy place in Melbourne if I were to stay, but only for a second. I saw a couple of little penguins come in from the sea and waddle across the sand to settle in for the night. They were very cute but there were not as many of them as I had expected.
Ellie, the girl I was travelling with, had come to watch the penguins as well so we met up and left together. We walked into the town to get something for dinner and then back to the hostel. By the time I got into bed that night I had walked 44,000 steps and 31Km. The screenshot below I took before I had walked up the stairs to bed.
It was a long and tiring day, but it was the kind of day I really enjoy. Exploring somewhere new, listening to my podcasts, getting some fresh air and some much-needed exercise. I seem to be very all or nothing at the moment with exercise I either don’t do it or go mad and walk everywhere.
I had a good day and I liked some of the areas, but I didn’t love them and I hadn’t fallen for Melbourne. I had made up my mind I was going to move up to Sydney and look for work there instead.