News / City Life

The 21 things you only learn in Melbourne the hard way

St Kilda Beach with a cross through it
Photograph: Graham Denholm

Make no mistake, living in Melbourne is the bee’s knees. But everyone – even the people who have lived here all their lives – has had to face some shocking realisations about this fine city. Some might make you mad and some might make you sad, but rest assured every single one of us has been there too. We have all learned...

1. That you can’t buy a tram ticket on a tram, nor a bus ticket on a bus.

2. That the airport is further away than you remember. 

3. That trains inexplicably skip the City Loop, leaving you unexpectedly stranded at Flinders Street Station right before you’re meant to start work or meet a friend.

4. That hook turns are never easy, and we've all had to face the wrath of other cars and then sworn to never drive in the CBD again (only to accidentally make a wrong turn immediately after and have to try to turn all over again – ugh).

5. That trams take waaaay longer than you think they will (especially on Sydney Road and Victoria Street).

6. That it’s always better to take the stairs at Curtin House or up to Madame Brussels because the lift will take forever and you just need a drink stat.

7. That you can’t just rock up at Chin Chin on a Friday night at 7pm and expect there to be a table free.

8. That you should never, ever, trust your phone’s weather app and always bring an umbrella/jumper/sunhat/bucket of sunscreen just in case you end up at Arbory.

9. That getting a taxi from the airport is a huge ripoff.

10. That you should actually book tickets to see that super ‘grammable art show or that five-star theatre show now because you will definitely forget to do it later and by the time you remember to go, it will be sold out or finished.

11. That you will not get a seat at the Queen Vic Night Market.

12. That you should definitely turn the brightness down on your phone when on the train because someone will absolutely be reading your private messages, watching your friend’s Instagram stories and rubbernecking at your choice of reading material while they’re sardined next to you.

13. That walking down Swanston Street is like running the gauntlet of pedestrians, slow-walking tourists and people with prams.

14. That showing up to brunch at Higher Ground, Top Paddock, Hardware Societe or Auction Rooms at 11am on a Sunday is a guaranteed hour wait, and you better have packed your comfy shoes. 

15. That turning left on to Flinders Street from Elizabeth Street will take you a very long time. 

16. That St Kilda Beach is not a real beach. Well, technically, all Melbourne beaches aren't really beaches (no waves equals not a real beach, guys!)

17. That going out to eat for every meal in Melbourne is normal.

18. That Melburnians are late to bed and late to rise. If you'd like to meet a friend for breakfast at 9am, expect to be scoffed at. 

19. That trying to find a park in Carlton, Fitzroy, Richmond or South Yarra is futile. It won't happen.

20. That driving on Punt Road is a horrible, banked-up nightmare no matter what time of day it is.

21. That $21 is a reasonable price to pay for a cocktail. 

But it's not all bad news. Learn how to be a better Melburnian with these 17 hacks to make your life easier.

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