Why Is Melbourne The World’s Most Livable City? The City With Two Faces

Melbourne. It’s been voted the world’s most livable city for four years in a row. One of the most friendliest and most resilient cities in recent times too. With over 140 nationalities among four million residents, naturally each of us in Melbourne find different reasons to live here.

Melbourne. It boasts a grid-shaped city with skyscrapers alongside narrow laneways lined with cafes. A city where I’ve lived for more than half my life, went to university and now work. A city that speaks to me the perks that come with being a part of the rat race in a first world country, and whispers to me the finer things in life.

Concrete and dreams make up the city of Melbourne. Yarra River | Weekly Photo Challenge: Half and Half.

Concrete and dreams make up the city of Melbourne. Yarra River | Weekly Photo Challenge: Half and Half.

The other day it was 4pm on a cloudy Sunday afternoon in June. The chilly winter wind whipped my face. I had two hours to kill in the city before catching up with someone. Standing at the Flinders Street Station intersection, cars whizzed by. As two trams rumbled past, the asphalt shook slightly beneath my feet.

Some say Melbourne is a city where getting around is easy. Besides tram or train, biking or walking is always an option. Sure, public transport here isn’t always timely and roads congested during rush-hour, but it’s pretty much the same elsewhere. As the pedestrian lights changed green, I aimlessly followed the crowd across the road to Federation Square, the corner of the city home to artistic exhibits.

Some say Melbourne is a city on the move, a cultural feast for the senses. A city that works hard, plays harder. Sporting tournaments, night markets and bars abound. A city championing self-expression and everything in-between: the plain and quirky, traditional and contemporary. Hippie fashion. Organic avocado-laden dishes. Modern Gothic arches. Beyoncé look-a-like high-rise.

I milled around the current car display at the Square, restless. I’m lucky living in a city earning a decent living. Fun and games everywhere. Know good company. What more do I want? I headed back out, making my way towards the casino end of town along the Yarra River. Overhead, the winter sky was beginning to darken. Night taking over day.

Arguably, Melbourne is a city with different faces, myriad facades throughout time. Historically, it was founded in 1835 by settlers from Tasmania, and it has long been debated whether John Batman or John Pascoe Fawkner is the rightful founder. Then there’s modern-day rivalry between Melbourne’s northern and southern suburbs: arguably the best coffee up north, arguably scenic landscapes down south.

...Seafarers Bridge, South Wharf, Docklands.

…Seafarers Bridge, South Wharf, Docklands.

Strolling past the casino, the only sound I heard was that of my footsteps slapping against the pavement. Absent-mindedly pulling my camera out of my bag, my mind wandered. Almost a decade ago, high school me didn’t want to leave Singapore when dad moved the family to Melbourne. Singapore, the tropical island boasting the best street food and world-class public transport system, and where I really liked living. Funny how the words “chink” and “nǐ hǎo” drift my way ever so often in the city I roam today, yet taking flight escapes my mind again and again.

Undeniably, racism is prevalent in multicultural Melbourne. So is the under-representation of Indigenous Australians. Melbourne, a city riddled with chauvinistic sentiments and where people disagree to agree. But still, cities move along in the face of daily stresses.

Ambling towards the western end of the city, Docklands, I passed by towering apartments. Towering apartments where there are probably ten or more people sharing a room in a time when there are both more and more travelers and homeless in this expensive city. Melbourne. A city where some find adventure yet a city where desperation lies. A city where some go to desperate measures to make ends meet. Either way, it seems many of us have hope for a better tomorrow here. As Italo Calvino wrote:

“With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears.”

Love, peace and dreams often triumph in the city.

Love, peace and dreams often triumph in the city.

Suddenly, I sensed movement in front of me. Man and woman passing by. Holding hands. Jolted out of my reverie, my feet followed them and hastily, I snapped a shot. As they walked out of sight and skyscrapers clouded my view once again, my heart pounded in my chest. They didn’t notice me. Alongside the emotions of desire and uncertainty swirling within concrete jungles, love and passion bubble deep within the depths of our being – the things that often make us tick.

Slowing down, we see the city for what it is: its people, us. In the words of Charles Baudelaire, “What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters.” When we look beyond rectangular, uniform-esque skyscrapers and drab suits and appreciate the mundane around us in the city, we come to see beauty in the smallest of urban moments.

Was I nosy, taking that photo of the lovebirds like a creep? Yes. Standing beside the harbour at Docklands, I watched the last golden ethereal rays of Sunday sun disappear behind the Bolte Bridge. Just as the sun is the heartbeat of nature, people are the heartbeat of a city. Melbourne, a city where feelings of tender aspiration tend to triumph over strifes reflective from the monotonous metropolitan grind. A city where strangers mind their own business while going about their own business, insatiably chasing dreams, lust and passion of the heart. The city that stirred the writer in me, this blog and an upcoming book…all of which I’m thankful for. It’s never what we want or the chase that matters, but what we have and how we make the most of the present amidst the hustle and bustle.

The best things in life are always right in front of us.

The best things in life are always right in front of us.

I looked at my phone. Quarter to six. Plunging my freezing hands into my jacket’s pockets, I started hurrying back into the middle of the city. Feet striking the concrete pavement, I wondered what lied ahead next week, next year, in Melbourne. Or elsewhere. But what about tonight? I smiled. First smile of the day.

No matter what city we live in or where we are at a given moment in time, the finer things in life are always around and amongst us, always in the now.

Do you like living in the city? What’s your impression of Australia?

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174 thoughts on “Why Is Melbourne The World’s Most Livable City? The City With Two Faces

  1. I don’t love the city. I like the convenience but I long for the peace of the country. The DC area is just too crowded.
    Australia is a dream of mine. I would love to see it some day. You make it sound awesome.

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    • Convenience may be great and time-saving, but I don’t think it’s a means to and end for some of us. Not sure if living in the city teaches us patience.

      Australia is a great country. Has its ups and downs, just like everywhere else.

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  2. I love living in the city, but equally in the countryside. I love the city for its convenience of things, and the countryside for the open spaces. People watching is one thing I like doing in cities. Just watching people go about their lives. Nothing creepy about that.

    Melbourne, being the most livable city. I guess that title is always up for debate. We all like different cities for different reasons. I love Melbourne, because of its sporting facilities (I’m sure this doesn’t surprise you. 🙂 ), good public transport, and cycle paths. I also have relatives there. So, I guess that has an influence. 🙂

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    • People watching is always interesting, interesting seeing how people act and react around you. I suppose it becomes creepy when you actually start following the person you’re watching.

      It sure is up for debate. I’m sure Sydney is just as livable as Melbourne…though the former is a bit more pricier in terms of cost of living.

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  3. Beautifully written Mabel!! The post renewed my love for Melbourne! We really are very lucky to live in a city that is so diverse and multicultural. When you live somewhere, you barely take notice of the places around you but you bought my awareness back to my home and why I wouldn’t want to leave so thank you 🙂 also love your blend of narrative and fact. Very talented writing! Your book is going to be amazing! xxx

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    • I am glad to hear you love Melbourne too and that you like living here. Though I’ve lived here for a while, when I go on my photo walks I always see something new. Could be a new restaurant, a new shop, new art work…and different people around me pretty much most of the time. Thanks so much for your kind words! ❤

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  4. It seems to me Melbourne is like all the large cities and metropolis in the world, problems are the same, people are the same, human expressions, fears and concerns are the same, one must find that personal cocoon to crawl into at the end of the day.

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    • You summed up how I feel about Melbourne very nicely, Valentina. But every now and then I encounter different people of quirky personalities an backgrounds. At the end of the day, I do like my own personal space. I think we all do.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed my tour of Melbourne! So sorry, lovebirds, I’m glad Mabel was nosy. 🙂 That’s a great photo.

    When I think of Australia, I think of sport…and good sports. My Australian coworkers were all lovely people. (Even the one who gambled my company’s line of credit away was much beloved. But that’s another story.) Whenever the Summer Olympics came around, there was good-natured ribbing in the office or in emails, but there was also tremendous respect for the winner, whether he/ she was Australian or not. “Good on ya, mate!” they would say, and clap for a great run/ swim/ triathlon.

    And for a few minutes, great sport united us behind all humanity, trumping nationalism. A rare and lovely thing to see.

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    • Thanks, Autumn. Now you got me thinking – I should be a tour guide. Then again, I have a very small and soft spoken voice…

      Sport is certainly big here. Aussie Rules Football, rugby, cricket, I’m sure your Australian co-workers have chatted about all that att some point. “Good on ya, mate!” – classic Australian phrase right there 😀

      I was on one of my photo walks this evening. Saw a couple more lovebirds. Heh heh heh…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amazing shots of a beautiful city Mabel. I can see you enjoy living there. I do prefer quieter and smaller places and the less people, the better. 😆 Love how you described everything. Through your eyes, an absolute adventure. 😀 ♥

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    • Thanks, Sonel. All the shots were taken that night and at that time I thought I had a bad photo night 😀 I do like living here but I feel that there’s a certain “spark” lacking…

      “the less people, the better.” That is best when you want time to yourself to think ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. An honest and balanced overview of this world renowned city. I guess, similar maladies and magnificence belie every great city.
    Lovely shots mabel…would love to visit your city someday!

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  8. Fascinating and informative in equal measure, Mabel, or rather, my dear Singaporean turned neo-Melbournean. Indeed, Australia in general, and Melbourne in particular is a city of settlers, and a melting pot of cultures. It is mostly the same with all great cities. Mumbai for instance is the biggest city in India, built up, initially by the Portuguese and other colonialists, and later by the Parsees (immigrants from Iran) and Indians from different states of India who migrated there to construct their dreams and earn a living. The natives comprise only a minor 27% of the city’s population of twenty million. I too started my career in Bombay (now Mumbai), thus the city holds a special place in my heart. Ultimately it is the composite character of the people that lends definition to towns and cities. I have not been to Australia as yet, and your lovely post comes as another reason for me to visit the place in the near future..best wishes.. Raj.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As history goes, the early settlers in Australia were convicts. And then there are the First Peoples or Indigenous Australians. Touchy subject. But you are right. Today, Melbourne is culturally diverse and that certainly impacts the fabric of society here.

      That is such an interesting bit of history about Mumbai, Raj. Thanks for sharing. A city made up of immigrants as well, and I guess that’s a major reason why there are so many kinds of ethnic/Indian cuisine and traditions there. As people change and move, I think that changes a city too.

      Singapore will always hold a very special place in my heart.

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  9. Never been to Aussie so I can’t say anything about it, Mabel.
    Really love the couple’s picture. I can feel the romance is in the air.
    Living in Jakarta, a big city also, I’ve always wondered how it would be like to live in a village. But I think I would be missing the crowd of a big city also. Ah. I don’t know. Maybe someday I can tell you how when I do live in a small city or village.

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  10. Mabel, I have to admit that I am very jealous of your cooler temps. I am here reading about your freezing hands and I am finding relief from the heat in an air con room!!

    Such lovely images and imagery included in this post. It feels like I was in Melbourne, walking right beside you. And from the last photo and other ones you have shared, the city has amazing sunrises as well as sunsets.

    It is so good to see so many Canadian cities on the list as well. Vancouver is by far my favorite city in Canada as there is so much to do there and it is hard to believe that so much nature surrounds a city – mountains, harbor, parks, and so on.

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    • And I am jealous of your warmer temperatures. It has been unseasonally cold here this year. Brrr.

      Thank you, Constance. What a compliment. All the shots were taken on the night of the chilly walk. I’m sure you would have been great company had you come along 🙂

      Vancouver has always been hot on the heels of Melbourne. I’m looking forward to seeing which city comes out tops this year (yes, it’s just a survey with its limitations but interesting nonetheless). Maybe Canada will come out tops. I hear cycling is very popular there 😀

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    • Thanks, Maamej. I’ve hung around the Bolte Bridge numerous times during sundown, and a lot of the time I’ve been treated to a wonderful sky at that hour.

      I really felt like I was being nosy and I should just let the lovebirds have their space 😉

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  11. Lovely post with such vivid picturesque description of this beautiful city. Melbourne seems to have a right amount of everything that a great city is supposed to have. Renowned for its fine culture as well as convenient distances.

    Mabel! Good luck with your book. Am sure it will be great.
    I too have this dream of writing many books 🙂 but one has to take concrete steps so as to get one’s dreams materialized.

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    • Thanks, Alka. There’s always the Melbourne and Sydney rivalry too. Some say Sydney is more sophisticated in the fashion scene and throws better parties. I guess it depends on what kind of lifestyle we prefer that influences where we live.

      I am sure one day you will write a book, what with all your writing experiences. It’s a matter of time 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. So beautifully written, Mabel! I have to admit I do not know so much about Melbourne. Now I undertand it more from an insiders point of veiw. Would love to visit Australia and Melbourne one day. I was suppose to actually move to Melbourne for some months when i was studying, but it did not work out. But I am sure one day I will be there and then I will understand even better what you write in this post 🙂

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    • Thanks, Hanne. I think a lot of people aren’t aware of Australia because we are so far south down the globe! Sorry to hear you weren’t able to come to Melbourne to study. There are a lot of things about Melbourne I didn’t cover in this post…such as the parks, street performers, beaches…you really need to come to see it all for yourself 😀

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  13. Thanks for the virtual tour, Mabel ! reminds me of the poem ‘Leisure’- what is this life full of care, we have no time to stand and stare. Good you got time to take a break and leisurely walk down the roads of melbourne 🙂

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed walking with me, Mamta! That is a great poem. We really should stand and stare more and not be too hard on ourselves when things don’t go our way. Walking in Melbourne is always great 🙂

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  14. Thank you for sharing your heart and your thoughts about the many faces of a city I’ve never visited but about which I’ve often wondered. I love your photos Mabel, and your narrative about your observations…hand-holding in the concrete jungle, great capture. So much beauty right on our own doorstep wherever we live in the world. Wonderful post 🙂 ❤

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  15. As I don’t know Melbourne or Australia at all from first hand experience I can only talk about my preferences when it comes to either living in a city or the countryside. I do really prefer the countryside even though it is so inconvenient to get around but you get to enjoy nature as much as possible.
    From few of your articles.and also other blog posts and news in TV and the papers it is often mentioned that Australia is pretty racist, especially with their native population. For example you mentioned that while you walked down the street you got a few ‘chink’ and ‘no hao’ (though the second ain’t racist) this is something my wife experienced in her whole time in Europe only a few times, in fact she can count these things down on one hand!

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    • It is very unfortunate quite a few racist incidents in Australia tend to make headlines around the world. Then again, often these people are a minority and in general, most people here are very nice. As the saying goes, empty vessels make the loudest noise.

      In the countryside, you can also see animals roam about freely, something you don’t usually see in the city.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Melbourne looks stunning in your images, Mabel! I agree of what you said: “we see the city for what it is: its people” . At this moment I like living in the city but I hope I can retire in somewhere close to nature than in a city..sometimes a city could be tiring.
    My impression about Australia mostly comes from your blog, other Australian bloggers and Indonesian news about Australia (not much about Australia in Dutch news unless there were something huge happening). I would love to experience Australia myself someday 🙂

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    • I am sure you will enjoy Australia if you do come. You might want to head up north and snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef – that’s where Australia’s most famous coral and marine life are. Recently the news mentioned there aren’t as many travelers up there, sad to hear.

      I suppose living in the city is good if you want a job that pays well. Save up and then travel and later retire in style 🙂

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  17. Wow, your photos are getting better and better every week. Melbourne looks quiet via your fabulous shots. I really don’t know much about Australia and don’t hear news about Australia either.
    I like cities with culture and long history, but not metro busy cities. Well written post, Malbel. 🙂

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    • It is interesting you say Melbourne looks quiet. Compared to cities like Malaysia and Singapore around 4pm onwards, it is truly quiet with only a handful of people around. Maybe it was the cold weather.

      Thanks, Amy. I’m glad you like the photos – all taken on the walk. I remember having a bad night on photos that night…but looking back it wasn’t that bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I love cities, though I grew up in a tiny tiny town. Judging by your gorgeous photos I’d say one of the things that makes Melbourne so liveable is clean air. It looks so clear, and the details are crisp. Here everything is hazy, but then, it’s summer and even smoggier than usual. Tell us more about your book.

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    • Spot on, Sandy. Crisp is a good word to describe the air in Melbourne. We do get a few foggy days in winter and that makes the city looks hazy, but aside from that the air always clear. Good city for jogging ad cycling around.

      My book will be about being a part of a cultural minority in Australia and the ups and downs that brings, as well as finding confidence as a writer.

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  19. A wonderful piece of writing, Mabel. and I so enjoyed your photos. I haven’t visited Melbourne, but I’m sure that most modern big cities are very similar, and all are “swarming with innocent monsters.” 🙂 Loved the quotes you chose here.

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    • To be honest, I feel that the city of Melbourne is rather small – you could go around the whole thing in half a day. Melbourne’s surrounding suburbs, you might need more time.

      Aren’t we all innocent monsters at the end of the day, just wanting to love and be loved in return 😉 Thanks, Sylvia. So kind.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And I’m glad you enjoyed the tour, though it was a short one. In all honesty, I don’t think Melbourne is a very big city, but it is certainly much more easier to navigate than Sydney. A provincial city sounds like a good in-between the country and the big metropolis.

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          • I’m always amazed at those who proclaim to love a coffee but will drink instant (shudder) at home.

            I make a pretty damn good coffee at home on my little manual espresso machine that cost me $100 as an ex-demo model at a Collingwood outlet ten years ago. (I’ve had terrible coffees at friends’ houses from whizz bang expensive machines. It’s not how much your machine costs, it’s how you make the coffee.)

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            • It sounds like you can make a mean cuppa for yourself anytime of the day. I am not a coffee drinker (love the fresh cup of coffee aroma, though), but I suppose it’s about how you heat the milk, the way you grind the beans and so on that goes towards making a decent cup of Melbourne coffee.

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  20. Miss Mabel. Happy Friday little one. Hope you have had a great week. Squishy hug *Mwah *Mwah

    Such a great post, love the way you really pull your reader into the moment, I feel like I am standing right there next to you. Melbourne is exactly what Canberra aspires to be. You guys have all the best things, fashion, food and your so cultured. Only thing I dont dig, your 4 seasons in 1 day.

    I like living in the city, but in all honesty, if I had my laptop, a good internet connection, warm & cozy place to live, I’d be one happy little camper. And I am one of those mad keen patriotic, hand over heart, vegemite eating Aussies.

    How’s your book coming along? I do hope well. 🙂

    Wishing you a super weekend. xoxox

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    • “you really pull your reader into the moment” Awww, what a lovely compliment, Miss Anna! Thanks so much, you are very kind *sniff*

      I’m sure it’s the opposite of doom and gloom in Canberra. I’ve never been there but I hear there are brilliant landscape views and lots of (Australian) art to look at in the nation’s capital.

      Such a simple girl you are. The small things keep you happy 🙂

      I’m halfway through the first draft. Looking at picking up the pace this coming week. You have a good weekend too. I lovvve you kisses *mwah mwah ❤

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  21. Hi Mabel,

    I have never been to the beautiful city you have written about, the pictures reveal it all! Your post is informative as well as inspiring, beckoning to plan a visit.
    Thanks for another wonderful share. Have a nice weekend!

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  22. i like the diversity and all that chicago offers but i love the peace and quiet and country feel of the suburbs. your photographs are stunning; great blog as always!

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  23. I’ve never been to Aussieland, Mabel. But I did hear some good things about Melbourne from my partner who was there for about 2 days a few yrs. ago.

    I’m more a city person– I like being in a city with parks/natural water body near by and lots of trees. The only thing I want where in live, in a city neighbourhood, is peace, quiet in the evening and cooperative neighbours.

    I did live in smaller cities of 30,000 – 100,000 during first 2 decades of my life. That was fine too.

    I like cities where there are a diverse range of residents at various socio-economic levels, cities that offer and promote cultural events and the arts. One criteria I think helps a city bit, is a local college or university…it brings /exposes locals to other ways of thinking if the college/university has outreach programs.

    While I could romanticize about living in mountain towns or seacoast towns of British Columbia, the reality is that I would get slightly bored after a yr. or so unless I had a job that brought me in touch with a broad range of locals.

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    • You’re another one that calls Australia “Aussieland”. A lot of my friends in Singapore and Malaysia use that term all the time.

      Cooperative neighbours. Don’t we all want that. Living in the city and its surrounding suburbs, I’m guessing there’s a higher chance of having drunk neighbours throwing parties every now and then. I used to have neighbours like that but they moved out, fortunately.

      It is interesting to hear you say you’d get bored living in isolated, scenic locations. You strike me as someone who likes time to yourself to reflect. Then again, we’re all human and social creatures of some sort.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Mabel, such wonderful thoughts and written with such deep passion. I enjoyed it. Very much like Melbourne it is true with most big cities. These cities draw us with its wide opportunities and as rightly pointed out it goes without saying that the challenges accompanies these opportunities. We are so much immersed in the daily grind of our work and the hustle and bustle of the city life, we don’t see things around us and the very purpose why we landed in such cities.

    It is only we take time or get some time, just the way you did it….we stand or sit at one corner of one street and start seeing the way the city works and moves. There is a pattern and it not unique to one city, it is very much the same for similar cities…and you beautiful phrased like ” city with different faces and myriad facades” to “work hard and play harder” to “city that disagree to agree”…

    Yes, every city has its personality and as nicely described the personality of Melbourne so vibrant and so energetic, with so many options and with each city dwellers hooked to their profession in the day and release their day’s work pressure in the evening party, and the city has created all the avenues to break free and fall in love with the city.

    By the way I like the way you captured the man and woman passing by, holding hands, the way you were jolted out of my reverie, your feet followed them and hastily and snapped a shot…but it has come out wonderfully well and define the fading romance in city in the rising skyscrapers…

    Have lovely weekend and one more such beautiful reflection perhaps in another part of city and as usual you will come with one more brilliant reflection…
    take care!!!
    😀

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    • “challenges accompanies these opportunities” Very well said, Nihar. And such an insightful comment from you. It’s so easy to get caught up in the challenges each city brings. Often, everyone seems to be rushing here and there, knowing where they are going – and this usually creates a sense of urgency. It could be because us city folk manage our time poorly, or we could have high expectations of ourselves in terms of work and running the rat race.

      The more I walk around Melbourne, walk around the same spots, the more I see new patterns every day. It’s not just about slowing down in the city, but also looking at things from a new angle and asking why – why this, why that, how does it define a city’s personality.

      “the fading romance in city in the rising skyscrapers” Beautiful, beautiful phrase! 😀 Lately I’ve got quite a few holding-hands-romance shots…I might share them all in an upcoming post 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Life in city and with the expectation so high, it gives good competition to the skyscrapers, we are on a roll and we have no station and no stoppage…everything is on move and we are in motion. Nobody has time for others, everybody has his/her piece of work defined and by the time you complete you piece, it is time to pack and proceed back to home, and there is everything clocked and we have little choice of playing with the time, our mind is conditioned and we just follow it like slave and when we have the weekend, we are all exhausted and left with no energy or drive to do what we want to do and we have been thinking throughout the week…

        Yes, Mabel there are patterns in the way people move and what they do when they are on the move, there is no such button for slowing down, it is only the button of speeding and pedal on the acceleration, running to catch the train or the flight, where is the time for self forget about time for others…
        Life is on move and we are all lost and we have no time for self and others have no time for each other.

        Looking forward to the holding-hands-romance shots must be speaking lot hidden stories of city life.
        Hope you are having a lovely weekend.
        😀

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        • “everything is on move and we are in motion. Nobody has time for other” Again, another poetic comment and take on cities, Nihar. You are so right. No wonder so many of us city folk complain we’re sleep deprived all day long, even on weekends. In cities, there’s so many “play” options too – thus probably why many of us work a lot, and play a lot too.

          Often there is the fear that we will get left behind if we stop moving and working in the city. Often at the forefront of our mind in the metropolis is climbing the career ladder, that next promotion, that next gig attend so we can brag about…it’s all about achieving a status, a status we will usually never be contented with.

          I got a feeling the romance shots will make an appearance before the year is out 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, Mabel this fear that we will be left behind keeps bragging us and dragging us and we just run and compete in the rat race without knowing what is that we are finally looking at and what we are wanting from life. And there is no end to that status, it keeps growing on us and we are draw to it.

            Yes, the irony of city life is that we are always busy and we are all busy, and nobody has time for self or each other, we work hard and when we are back home we have no energy to enjoy the money we have earned for us, we are getting into a vicious cycle and circle of life.

            Lovely as usual having such a wonderful discussion.
            Have a love week ahead.
            😀

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            • You are right. The paradox and vicious cycle lies right in front of us in the city. We work to make a living, yet often we don’t have time to enjoy life in the city. If we slow down, we might see the beautiful urban moments around us but others around us might not be too pleased about that. And that is why cities are such hollow places at times. As you said so perfectly, we don’t know what we want in life. Love hearing wise words from you as always 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, BB. Yes, Melbourne certainly has wonderful restaurants serving a range of cuisine. Italian, English, African, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Mexican, the list goes on…

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  25. I wake up this morning and the first thing I happen to read is this post. Melbourne sounds like an amazing place but what really appeals to me is your evocative description of it. Each sentence contains with it your love and passion for this city. You write beautifully, Mabel.

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    • Uday, thank you so much for the lovely comment. Melbourne is an amazing place, though with it’s shortcomings…but that’s a matter of perspective. Maybe one day you’ll get to visit this city.

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  26. I was in Melbourne many years ago Mabel and found it beautiful. I think your description of it could work for many places depending on the thoughts of the observer. It made me think of New York City, where billionaires live less than a mile from the most desperate of the poor. The world is an unfair place. I often think how lucky I am to be on the right side of the dividing line. You’ve done a great job of outlining the complexities of a beautiful city.

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    • Glad to hear you liked Melbourne, Tina, and thank you for the nice words. I’m sure you have many fond memories of your trip here. As I was writing this piece, I did think that what I said about Melbs could apply to other cities as well…funny how places can be so similar. I would love to visit New York some day – some have said Melbourne is the New York of Australia.

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  27. Another great post Mabel 🙂 I love reading and seeing your corner of the world and one day I’d like to see it and, of course, meet you. It sounds like you are very lucky to live and thrive in such an exciting city.

    Do I like the city? No, I don’t. I’m not a big city girl. I like mid-sized or small towns. It’s because I crave quiet spaces and nature. But I do love the food of the city and all that good ‘ol fashioned walking on planned city streets.

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    • Thank you, Lani 🙂 I would be honoured to meet you oen day. Exciting Melbourne? I think at times it is and at times…there’s just nothing to do here. Then again, if you’ve spent a lot of time in a certain place, you might be inclined to say that too.

      Ah, you’re a small town girl at heart. Down to earth 😉 I like the quietness of small towns too – easier to think and reflect. Then again, the night owl in me is not a fan of shops in outer suburbs closing at 5pm.

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  28. Hey Mabel, Love this post about Melbourne, my birth city. It is poetic, sad, reflective, provocative and engaging! “It’s never what we want or the chase that matters, but what we have and how we make the most of the present amidst the hustle and bustle.” – An excellent quote that is so very, very true, and that which we often forget.

    Large cities can be so impersonal cruel and lonely, but can also mean a great many possibilities and a fresh start, as I found out when speaking to several new-immigrant taxi drivers when I visited Melbourne recently. They disliked the city where I am located, and found Melbourne welcoming and alive. But cities can of course, be very ugly when it comes to racism and a metropolis attracts all sorts from all walks of life. I find Melbourne to be more multicultural compared to my city, and I feel totally at ease there, (as a temporary visitor), but do admire Singapore as a multicultural beacon to the world. Excellent photographs here too!

    My kiwi relatives called Australia: “Aussie” as opposed to ‘Aussieland” – both of which I find a little funny. I tell my kiwi rellies, Aussie describes who we are and is not the name of our country! (Aussies and kiwis always have this friendly banter, and love to tease one another, a bit like who owns the Pavlova/Timtams/Vegemite etc!)

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    • Hiya Amanda. It is so interesting to hear you chat with immigrant taxi drivers here, and them saying that Melbourne is alive. To them, it’s probably a city of opportunity, a city where they earn enough to get by here themselves and probably for their families too. Often, I wonder if (first time) visitors and travelers to Melbourne expect to find immigrant taxi drivers…or not.

      I’ve always thought of “Aussie” as an adjective, like you said, describing who we are and referring to what is Australian. However, I’ve heard a few Malaysians/Singaporeans call Australia, our country, as “Aussie” too, using it as a noun. Very, very interesting.

      Thanks for the kind words. While out taking these photos, I honestly felt like it was a bad photo day. Looking back and reflecting, I guess it was a great walk. Yes, it was.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I would totally do exactly what you did if I spotted a couple holding hands in front of me, on a bridge. Nosy or not, some moments are supposed to be captured on camera to be preserved forever!

    I myself am a big city boy. I might not like the traffic (horrible), but I love the convenience and diverse culture that comes with it. Infinitely much better prospects for people watching!

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    • Convenience. That makes life so much easier in many aspects. However, though there are endless food choices in the city, you can actually get bored of eating out. Certainly diverse cultures and peoples in each city, which means more opportunities for street photography if that rocks your boat.

      Of late, I’ve spied couples like that a lot around Melbourne. Snapped more than a few photos too!

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  30. I do now. I remember when I first set foot in Metro Manila back in college. I almost called my parents to send me back to the province after a few days. However, as I went on, I learned to appreciate the kind of bustles and hustles the city has. I learned to appreciate the modern kind of leaving. I learned to embrace this kind of change; it made all the difference.

    It took time for me to realize that I am now this someone who is both from the urban and a bit of the opposite. I spent 17 years in the province and only 15 years in the city, but my adulthood was formed during the latter’s. I no longer just belong to a place but both places.

    Anyway, what I thought about Australia is that it is much like the land of the free, America. Knowing that it is a first world country, I am picturing skyscrapers with impressive architectural designs around Canberra or Sydney. But most of all, I think of the beautiful person–inside out– I met via this blog. By reading her articles, I seem to have a very positive impression or picture of Australia. The land I used to call the land down under is now the Land of Mabel Kwong.

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    • So interesting to hear the perspective of someone who has lived in both a town and a big city. There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of, “You can take the person out of the country (or any place), but you can’t take the country out of the person.” Wherever we choose to live, the place will certainly leave its mark on us in some way.

      Funny how the city always seems so busy, yet if you stop to look around, many people seem to be lost in their own little worlds.

      You can certainly say Australia is a free country. After all, people here are rather easy-going though we have some way to go before cultivating a much more multicultural society. Such poetic words, Sony. Thank you 💖

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  31. Like I wasn’t already mesmerized by Australia, your post made me wanderlust even much more ! It was such a treat to read about this country and your city from your first hand perspective ! Whenever I think of Australia, Diversity comes to mind, The never-ending landscapes, ranging from mountains to green meadows. It’s got everything. And not to forget the Kangaroos of course ! ^.^

    Would love to travel to this country one day and delve in its rich culture and diversities and maybe get to meet you one day too ! 😉

    Keeping my fingers crossed! 🙂

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  32. Hi Mabel – first of all, congratulations on your upcoming book. It’s a big deal 🙂
    Very nicely written. This should be printed on the guide books first pages.

    I like to live in the city, but I have to be specific about this. I would enjoy living further away from the center but still in 30 – 40 minute distance so that I don’t have to use public transport. Place which enjoys less cars and houses around, surrounded with parks and fresh air. At the moment I live at the very center of Riga, but again, it has it’s perks. See you around.
    – Ruta

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    • Awww, thank you so much for the compliment, Ruta. Very kind of you 🙂

      Public transport can be a hassle sometimes, especially when it’s crowded and there are delays. I take it pretty much every day in Melbourne and have learnt to watch my bag carefully – you never know who is around to grope you 😀 Riga sounds like a nice city, I would like to visit it someday.

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  33. Hey there , Mabel 😊 I really enjoyed walking the streets of Melbourne with you… City for me, please… I enjoy spending time in the countryside, but I enjoy it even more to go back to my town, as busy and noisy as it is…

    I hope now the comment is posted under the correct post… You bet I am tired lately, I need some days off from work and all the house chores … Maybe spend some time in the countryside… 😊

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    • Awww, you came back to comment here. So kind of you Alexandra ❤ I suppose with medium sized towns, it's easier to do street photography – less people pushing you about and less people in your shots…unless of course you want people shots. Hope you have a good rest 🙂

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  34. I’ve never been to Melbourne. I think I’d like to visit someday. It’s sounds just like any other major city I know in a first world nation. A city’s greatest strength and greatest weakness is its citizens. It grows and excels when we are focused on improving things together. It stalls or outright fails when we are divided.

    On a separate matter; it’s very interesting that announcement of erecting skyscraper inspired by Beyonce Knowles’ figure. What would they make of the Absolute World towers in Mississauga, then?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_World

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    • “It’s sounds just like any other major city I know in a first world nation.” You might be right on that one. People are people wherever they are. It’s in our nature to look out for the best for ourselves and cities tend to facilitate that…or it it all in our heads.

      What a name for a condo, Absolute World. It does have a figure like Beyonce…so the tower in Melbourne is nothing really new…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Whenever I would drive by Absolute World as it was being built, the shapes would remind me of some specialty shampoo bottles. It still does, more than any woman’s physique. So, that’s what I still call them whenever I drive through Mississauga, “The Shampoo Bottles!”

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  35. You are indeed a very lucky lady to be living is such a city ~ a multi-faced city brings so many opportunities and life will never be boring. However, it can be so easy to seclude oneself in only one area/personality of a city and miss out on all the great things to be explored and experienced…I do not think you have this problem at all 🙂 Hong Kong (and even Seattle) brings out these new opportunities for me, so many different paths to take and sights to see and experience. Great post, and your writing style really brings a story-telling that draws me into your world ~ a very nice place to be 🙂
    Take care Mabel and wish a g’day (or night as I think it may be a bit late there now). Cheers ~

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    • It is true that Melbourne brings so many opportunities in the professional and personal spheres. The city is our oyster, I think that should be a new saying. Then again, travel far and wide and you may see things a certain city may never bring to you.

      Would love to visit Hong Kong one day. One of the densest cities in the world where buildings go up and come down faster than you see. The old beside the new.

      I always enjoyed writing in narrative style when I was ten years old. Bringing some of that back now after all these years 😉

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  36. Well described. I like your reflective style and thinking around city life. IAnd marvellous photos. have never been to Australia and never to Melbourne of course. I like one-week-holidays in cities with culture and/or interesting architecture.Then I just want to go home or out in nature to relax. The intensity of cities and people always being in a hurry – stressed living – is not what I want. When I was younger I felt the same. I guess I’m a country girl through and through!

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    • Thanks, Leya. One week holidays sounds great – probably enough time to get over jet lag and time to explore where you are and a bit further out.

      And who doesn’t like relaxing. Always need to make time for that wherever you are 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Commercialisation runs the city these days. So many of us in the city don’t think twice about buying things. True these days many of us like living in the suburbs – who can blame them for wanting a slower pace of life.

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  37. I’ve never lived in a big city before coming to Leeds, in the UK. I lived in two small towns in Belgium and 3 different villages… I think I prefer the countryside. It suits better my personality. I love the outdoors, I love having a garden, I love walking and look down and see nice flowers and lush grass. I love seeing wild cats running everywhere and seeing cows in the field. People are a lot more friendly in the countryside, or maybe it’s the difference between Belgium and the UK 🙂 But the racism is maybe worse in a village. Everyone knows where “the black family” lives. In big cities, the multiculturalism seems a bit easier (but when you look under the surface you realize it still exists, it’s just different).

    Regarding Melbourne, I appreciated the little history about the town. It sounds like a town I would definitively check out if I ever go to Australia !

    I hope you are doing well, Mabel.

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    • I’ve always imagined you as a country person since you like visiting gardens as you’ve shown in many of your posts! It must be exciting to have wild – and I’m thinking also friendly – animals run up to you. I hope one day a wild monkey runs up to me when I go out to the country 😉

      So true – in smaller towns people pretty much know everyone and their background. Some might be more racist than others…but there is always room for learning about cultural diversity at the same time.

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  38. Over hear in Europe, Melbourne is known as the most “European” city of Australia. Ok I haven’t been there (obviously in other parts of Oz yes) but it seems to have that reputation because of cultural factors, the easy to get around factor and apparently the worser weather than some other places, lol. All in all, it also has a reputation as a fabulous city, so you’re lucky to be there 🙂

    Like

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