When it comes to New Zealand and Australian coffee culture, I’ve got a fair amount of experience on both sides of the counter.
I was a barista for nearly 10 years of my life — four of which I spent working in the afore-mentioned countries. I’ve been yelled at, lectured to, and relentlessly interrogated about everything from extractions and grinds to, if you can believe it, “cups” vs “mugs.” I’ve probably spent more hours of my life covered in milk splatters and coffee stains than I have sleeping.
Photo by Linda Xu
Looking for somewhere to grab a drink or a bite in Melbourne? Well, let’s be real: you probably won’t be looking for long. This Australian city is packed to the gills with cafés, bars, restaurants, dives, markets, stalls, food trucks, and holes-in-the-wall (hole-in-the-walls?) that cater to nearly every budget, style, and preference. Finding a great bar or café in Melbourne is like finding hay in a haystack.
Travel bloggers are notorious for telling you not to plan. I know.
We’re always like, “Just get lost! See what happens! Go with the flow!” And then we post 3,000 words on how much we love organizing our trips, the perfect day to book your flight (57 and 1/2 days in advance, in case you were wondering*), and the 37 apps you should download before you go. But aside from that, don’t plan a thing!
Melbourne is no stranger to praise or acclaim. The city has been hyped as the world’s most liveable for years, topping lists left and right, and generally garnering a reputation as The Place To Be. There’s festival for every season, a market for every budget, and a restaurant for every taste. (There might not be a café for every hipster, but it’s probably as close as you’re gonna get.)
By the time we arrived in Far North Queensland, we already had a pretty decent array of Australian wildlife sightings under our belt.
When I first read that Fraser Island was the world’s largest sand island, I kind of thought that was a gimmick. Like naming them the Pancake Rocks because they “look like stacks of pancakes” (only if your pancakes are especially sharp-angled) or calling it the Blue Mountains cause of a slight blue-ish haze off in the distance (not exactly the dramatic scene I was picturing).
As a foreigner living in the Netherlands, I’m asked quite frequently what I think of this country — often by people who don’t seem to like it all that much themselves.
In fact, the question I probably get more than any other is, “Why would you want to live here?” (Usually accompanied by a raised eyebrow and that generally unimpressed tone the Dutch have when they speak in English.)
I can’t speak for everyone (to the shock and chagrin of many, I’m sure). But I would imagine we all have a place that, despite our open minds and best efforts, just didn’t “wow” us. Somewhere we don’t hate, or associate with a terrible experience, but merely wouldn’t think to recommend to our friends while there are so many other options in the world.