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All the reasons you need to fall in love with Melbourne, Australia

Everyone in Auckland raves about Melbourne. And while on the surface, it's easy to say that the shopping is better, the culture is better, and the food is better - you don't actually understand why it's so good until you step foot in Australia's cultural capital. I gave myself a long weekend (four days) to find out what made Melbourne so wonderful and while I barely scratched the surface of the city, it was easier to write this list than I initially thought. Imagine if I had a whole week to take on the city properly!

WiFi Freedom
It seems trivial to put that as one of the first things I noticed about Melbourne, but as I originally debated over the cost of roaming or buying a SIM card for my short trip - it didn't end up being a problem at all. Free WiFi is everywhere. Melbourne Airport (despite how small the international airport is) and SkyBus both carry free WiFi (though SkyBus's service is a bit limited). Within the central city is 'Free Vic WiFi', as well as public spaces such as the malls and art galleries that provide all the internet access you may need on the fly. Cheers to the Melbourne Central mall who footed a lot of my WiFi needs while I was trying to sort out work issues from my phone.

A city-wide buffet
Food comes as multicultural as Melbourne comes. There is a lot of freedom to eat anything and everything because there's just so many options (maybe too many when you've only got money for the one meal!). Burger joints sit next to Mexican cafes, which are next to ramen shops, opposite the street from Turkish and Greek restaurants, between dumpling houses. And while the ethnic range of food is mind-blowing, the level of speciality food stores is ridiculous. Special doughnut shops. Crepe shops. Exclusive Waffle + Coffee shops. Even a shop that only produces delicious melt-in-your-mouth 'three types of cheese' tarts (holla at Melbourne Central's Hokkaido baked cheese tarts.)

The lady and the tram
While the city isn't as sloped as Wellington, or as hilly as Auckland, the convenience of free inner city trams is your footpath angel. Saving your feet from the endless sidewalks, the tram is usually very efficient with very little wait time between rides. And while I will admit I didn't really get my head around which directions they went in, there were usually people who could help.
In general, public transport seems reasonably good as it stops in all the main city areas, and runs on the same network. Plus, there's a cap on how much you will end up spending on travelling in one day - so let public transport be your friend!

Getting your dose of greens
Parks, urban spaces and the peaceful Yarra river. These are only some of the things that make Melbourne feel so livable and relaxed. On the banks of the Yarra river are seats and benches you can peacefully take in the riverside view, and there are endless places in the Royal Botanic Gardens you could lie back on the grass and stare up at the sky. In particular, within the Royal Botanic Gardens are gardens dedicated to cultures and people so there's always a space that will suit you. But my favourite place to relax in the city was in the outdoor installations of the Melbourne Art Gallery where there were bean bags, seats and endless sunshine to really relax into.

Shops, shops, shops, shops, shops
It's not the number of shops that is impressive in Melbourne, but it's that whatever your budget is set at, there's a place for you to shop. From the upper-class stores in Emporium, the designer stores on Collins, to your every day Melbourne Central and unbelievable DFO malls (Designer Fashion Outlet - aka cheap shopper's heaven), there is so much you can buy within a reasonably walkable distance of each other in the city centre. Plus, for your tourist heart desires, Queen Victoria Market has all those classic gimmicky items, while selling fresh produce and the best fruit custard pastry I've had in a long time.
By the way, Queen Victoria's Market isn't open on Mondays - in case you try walking there for another fruit custard pastry for breakfast and get disappointed...

Aesthetically artistic
Melbourne is a beautiful city. Standing at the top of the Shrine of Remembrance, I remember looking out towards the inner city and seeing how beautifully laid out the roads were amongst the cityscape. Straight, well-sectioned blocks, framed by trees shadowing wide footpaths. Skyscrapers, streets and sidewalks compliment each other in ways no city I've seen could compare. Heritage buildings stand beautifully at many street corners, flora and sculpture features fill empty concrete spaces, and waterfront buildings almost give a nostalgic London vibe. Just a shame about the ugly SBS building opposite Flinders Street Railway Station.
Other visually aesthetic places include Hozier Lane for beautiful graffiti, botanical gardens for beautiful gardens, and Eureka Skydeck for an unbelievable 88-storey high 360 view of the entire city.

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