After a long term of academic readings, essays and exams, for many of us the time to relax and chill is here. Summer holidays in Australia come with heaps of opportunities to enjoy time with our mates, discover new places and embark on new adventures.
I’m studying in Melbourne, so here are my tips for making the most of summer holidays in this beautiful region…
Australia has stunning beaches all around the country. Each of them has its own magic and beauty. Close to the Melbourne CBD, it is possible to visit St. Kilda. This beach is an amazing spot to have some time with friends, eat great food, have some drinks listening to the ocean waves and enjoy the sunny weather.
Visiting Brighton beach is a must during summer. The famous bathing boxes are one of the popular postcards of Melbourne, and the perfect place to portray our life in Melbourne for our social media profiles and share to our friends and family back home.
Hiking and camping
A bit further from Melbourne CBD, there are several natural parks that are great for hiking, meeting with nature, breathing fresh air and getting rid of some of the stress that comes during the last weeks of the academic term. These parks are also a great opportunity to meet Australian animals such as kangaroos, koalas and wombats in their natural habitat.
Wilsons Promontory located just a few hours from the Melbourne CBD has stunning landscapes that are possible to be witnessed from Mount Oberon Summit. As a fun fact, there is a beach called “squeaky beach” because of the sound of your steps over the wet sand. Also, the white colour of the sand makes it the perfect beach to have a picnic and enjoy mindfully the peace of this beautiful area.
Interested in the outdoors, hiking and witnessing splendid landscapes?
The Grampians, a few hours from the Melbourne CBD, is the perfect place to walk into the woods, wonder at the panoramic views of the immense forest and the balconies to witness the “jaws of death” – a hilarious name for such a beautiful view. What about meeting kangaroos hopping around? The Grampians counts several troops of wild roos as local residents, making it the perfect place to do some photo shoots with the insignia of Australian wildlife.
Interested to meet more native Australian animals?
Ballarat Wildlife is a park where people take care of Australian native animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, dingos, emus, crocodiles, tortoises, and others. The best part of visiting this place is understanding how to take care of the environment for the sustainability of Australian wildlife, and of course, taking your photo with a kangaroo. And if you are feeling adventurous, it is also possible to hang a snake on your shoulders.
Australia is a country with significant history and cultural wealth. Around the Melbourne CBD there are plenty of museums to visit during summer to learn about Australian aboriginal culture, as well as migration and contemporary art. The Melbourne Museum offers an amazing exhibition of animals of all continents. It was a surprise to find an Andes´s Condor exhibited between kangaroos and lions. Australian aboriginal culture also has its own space in the museum. Understanding about the traditions, music and arts of the original owners of this land enriches the overseas studying experience.
Just next to Flinders Station is the National Gallery of Victoria with an amazing collection of sculptures of different ages and from different countries. There are Egyptian sculptures as well as pre-Columbus Central American art pieces. And for the post-modernity fans, during the following months, the Kaws exhibition will be available, reflecting some social issues of contemporary society.
Finally, my favourite cultural landmark is the Shrine of Remembrance. This shrine honours the participation of Australia in international conflicts. Here, you can learn more about WWI and WWII through a wide collection of weapons, vehicles, flags, and military equipment. Stories about the brave warriors that risked their lives looking after a better world for us are told throughout their diaries, and it is the perfect monument to help us reflect and consider how we relate to others. Visiting the Shrine of Remembrance comes in a package with the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Summer in Melbourne also offers many entertainment events for all interests. The Australian Open, one of the four Tennis Grand Slams, happens just a few meters from the CBD. This event gathers all the best Tennis players to compete in January and February. It has free entry where it is possible to watch the players warming up and some qualification matches. It is also an amazing opportunity to support competitors from your country, such as I did two years ago for the men’s doubles finals.
The Australian Grand Prix F1 is an event only held in Melbourne. Listening to the explosive engines of Ferrari, McLaren and Course Renault and to support the Australian racer, Daniel Ricciardo, it is a once in a lifetime experience. It is also possible to see the Porsche race and some other vehicles exhibited in Albert Park.
Melbourne is known worldwide as the City of Coffee. There are thousands of cafes all around the city and suburbs. Coffee is an important icon of the Melbourne culture because it is always present in social and business meetings up to the point that most of the people have deep knowledge in how to brew it perfectly at home to avoid disappointing their guests.
Having free time to wander around the city and visit different thematic cafes with mates is one of the best things to do in summer. Coming from many overseas locations, coffee represents an important role in the cultures where it is harvested. As a Colombian international student, it is always encouraging to have the joy of drinking coffee with my friends and to share a beautiful cultural experience.
So there you have it – my tips for enjoying the summer holidays in beautiful Melbourne. Whether you are taking a break from study or studying in summer term, make time where you can to get out and explore!
Carlos Bravo is a current Master of Human Resource Management student and a member of the Social Squad – a group of content creators helping to promote student and campus life at CQUniversity.