Planning a working holiday in Melbourne? BBMLive’s Arti Rajput gives us her first-hand account of what it’s like to stay in St Kilda during a working holiday in Melbourne.
Melbourne’s Favourite Backpacker Suburb: St Kilda
Melbourne’s inner-city suburbs hold clusters of laneways, hidden bars and local spots. Brunswick and Fitzroy are both the reliable ‘go-to’ suburbs for Melburnians, but if you speak to any St Kilda working holiday maker they’ll tell you otherwise. This coastal suburb is only a thirty-minute tram ride from the CBD but there is so much to do here that you may never need to leave. Here are a few places that make it easy to stay cocooned in the suburb.
The Coastal Walk From St Kilda to Brighton
If you’re looking for a quieter place than St Kilda beach, you can do the coastal walk from St Kilda to Brighton and back. Along the way there’s an outdoor gym, perfect for saving your dollars and making the most of the beautiful outdoors. You’ll go past Elwood where the beach isn’t as crowded and makes for a great reading spot. In Brighton you’ll see the iconic and high-valued Dendy beach boxes, of which the most recent orange and yellow bathing box was sold for $326,000. On the way back to St Kilda lust after the boats anchored-up, check out the sky divers or stop at the skate park and try your luck.
The Secluded Beach Chill – West Beach Bathers Pavilion
West Beach Bathers Pavilion is something of an anomaly. It’s on St Kilda beach but because of its secluded location there aren’t many backpackers frequenting through here on a regular basis. Some don’t even know it exists unless they wander off past the pier on the foreshore. This restaurant/bar literally opens onto the beach and has decking for you to relax outside. Ceiling to floor glass walls means it’s perfect on a slightly chillier day. You’ll see the waves crash into shore while tucked-away indoors. Order their breakfast smoothie for a morning wake-up or have a peck on their Anzac cookies. Make sure to give them a call before you go as they’re open until ‘sunset’, which is a questionable time in Melbourne considering the ever-changing four seasons in one day.
The Low-Cost Backpackers’ dream – Cheap Eats in Melbourne
Low on funds, need food but you also want to be social? Melbourne has a not-so-hidden secret in the name of Lentil As Anything. This is a not-for-profit chain of vegetarian restaurants with the belief that everybody deserves a place at the table regardless of their financial status. Go along to the small restaurant nestled on Blessington Road in St Kilda and pay what you feel the food is worth. There is no minimum payment requirement but $5 is a courteous way to start. Whether you’re a creative who’s waiting to get paid, a backpacker that needs to tighten their purse strings or someone who doesn’t have a roof over their head, you’ll always be welcome here. Get even more involved and give back to the community by being one of the volunteers. Expect lentils, Indian music in the background and plenty of conversation.
Wonderful Wildlife Spotting
It may not be the most strenuous way of discovering wildlife on your adventures, but the penguins on St Kilda Breakwater pier arrived in the 1970’s and are here to stay. Go for a leisurely, and at times intensely windy, stroll along the pier around sunset and see the penguins come out in their dozens. They’re looked after Earthcare St Kilda Inc, but you’ll find them left to their own devices most of the time. This is the most up-close wildlife encounter in the area and it really is personal. While you’re there keep an eye out for the water rat that is easy to spot if you look in the direction of the sky-high CBD buildings across all the moored boats.
Market Mayhem On The Esplanade:
If you’re looking for small trinkets, unique post cards with a high artistic value or a special gift, then St Kilda Esplanade Sunday market is just for you. This is where the arts and crafts of Melburnians is combined every Sunday from early morning until 4pm. Grab a delicious brunch on Acland Street at 95 Espresso, Abbey Road or La Roche then walk your way up the esplanade. Depending on the day you may even see an artist painting or wood-crafting a new design.
In some ways St Kilda can be seen as a city in itself. This special Melbourne suburb is always the centre of free festivals, open-air cinemas and plenty more. There’s so much to do here that you might find yourself caught-up in the St Kilda bubble and before you know it six months have passed.
Words and images by Arti Rajput