When thinking about Australia, many stereotypical aspects seem to be at the forefront of people’s minds; sharks, beaches, outback, snakes and a laidback lifestyle to name a few. But delve beneath that and you can find a hidden culture, different to that of any other place I’ve ever visited. I have studied in Australia now for two months and I have previously stayed in Melbourne for a further two and a half months, but this time there was something so wonderful about the environment I found myself in.
I study in Brisbane, and so I look at Brisbane’s surroundings from a certain perspective. I’m under no pressure to see the tourist spots as I have time; but time was precious upon arriving in Melbourne. I only had a week to experience the city but to truly understand it I needed to dissect it.
The nucleus of the city was a grid system of buildings which rose from the ground like stalagmites, interconnected by a tram system, with people flowing through the streets and dissipating to the outer city. This structure attracted multiple tourists, but I was much more in awe of the protons and neutrons inside the nucleus. Those protons and neutrons were the hidden laneways, the penguins at St Kilda, the beautiful graffiti and even a pink lake. I had to look for them, but in doing so I experienced something extra, something unforgettable.
…So I travelled to Melbourne, but I was only there for a week. Some of my friends and I went on a tour to The Great Ocean Road, just west of Melbourne. The road was enveloped with vivid blues, greens and yellows, the gargantuan sound of the Pacific Ocean was like a beautiful maelstrom in my ears. But during the tour we had regular short stops before we vamoosed to the next one, I wasn’t truly experiencing the sheer magnitude of what my eyes could see. We arrived at The Twelve Apostles, each formation of rock emerged from the ocean like performers on a stage revealing their characters, tourists alike could see the show. But it was the same show for everyone. We eventually drove further west as a final stop off before returning to the city, but what we experienced at that final stop off was epic…
…After visualising The Twelve Apostles with my own eyes, I was impressed; however I wasn’t euphoric. The final stop off on that journey showed me how wonderful this planet is, as a gorge was shrouding my existence and a current of ocean was pulsating through a massive tunnel in the rock to my right. All of my 6’6 meant nothing in the space I found myself, but the euphoria that was provoked meant everything.
As I got on that plane back to Brisbane I thought about the different areas I had explored, the paths I had taken. But I hadn’t even begun to explore the vast network of veins flowing from the heart of the city. So what did I find trying to dissect Melbourne’s heart? I found a network, a network bound together by a plethora of experiences. The question is, which ones will you find?