reader report

Making Melbourne home

01:00, Mar 12 2014
melbourne skyline
Ben Blackwell found settling in Melbourne a walk in the park.

Melbourne, Victoria: The cultural, sports, and fashion capital of Australia. The jewel in the crown.

I am one of the 4.5 million people lucky enough to call the world's most liveable city, home.

However, Melbourne isn't where my life started.

Ben Blackwell
Ben Blackwell at Melbourne's Brighton Beach.

Originally from Wellington, having never really travelled as a child, by the time I was 18 I was itching to see the world. I set out on my OE, a gap year in the United States.

On return from my year in the US, I found it incredibly difficult to settle back into New Zealand life. It's a bit of a shock to the system to go from the bustling streets of Manhattan to the suburban streets of Wellington.

I needed to get out, to live in a city that kept me more than occupied during my free time.


Moving to Melbourne was a no-brainer. Perhaps because I could draw similarities in Melbourne that reminded me of Wellington but on a larger scale; from the coffee to the culture and not to mention the temperamental weather.

You're probably rolling your eyes at the very idea of another Kiwi living in Australia. There are over half a million Kiwis in Australia at present and with the cooling of the Australian economy and the tide of Kiwis moving home you'd be forgiven for thinking we all live here for the money. For me, this couldn't be further from the truth, in fact, I am on the exact same wage I was in living in Wellington and the cost of living here is more expensive. As recently as last week Sydney and Melbourne were both ranked equally the sixth most expensive cities to live in on the planet.

Moving to Melbourne was a walk in the park. I landed a job the first week I arrived and before I knew it was living in a beach side apartment in Port Melbourne.

I quickly made a whole heap of new friends, a lot of whom were Kiwis, some I knew before moving here. But you also meet people from all around the world in this incredibly international city; it's said over 120 different languages are spoken by the residents of Melbourne everyday.

Travelling extensively through Europe and North America, I've never fallen in love with a city the way I did with Melbourne. I love the way each suburb has its own strip of sophisticated shops and amazing cafes. I love how we get scorching hot summers but equally balanced by beautifully cold winters.

I love the buffet of sporting events from the Melbourne Cup, the Australian Open and this month's Grand Prix. There are things I do miss about Wellington, mostly just my family and close friends still living there, and not to mention the way you get genuinely blown away by its natural beauty every time you visit.

But for me Melbourne is home, a city I truly love every aspect of.