The sight of young backpackers, bronzed and looking like pack-mules, is common in Melbourne’s CBD during the warmer months.
They’ve come to experience the world’s most liveable city, as judged by the Economist Intelligence Unit for the fourth straight year.
This good press has resulted in Victoria experiencing large growth in its tourism sector, with international tourists splurging $4.9 billion dollars in the year ending June 2014.
Though they may not be the biggest spenders, backpackers still contribute $500 million a year as of 2007.
Kate from United Backpackers has been involved in the industry for a decade, and said she’s noticed a change in the demographic of backpackers from 10 years ago.
“Rather than working, a lot more people are doing their gap year after school, so they’re a bit fresher, a bit green.”
Alan works at Nico’s Friends Backpackers and said there’s enough for everyone to do, no matter the background.
“Nobody gets bored here. Everybody conquers their boredom.”
One of his customers, Masa, is a 23 year old Japanese tourist who is working in Melbourne while travelling.
“There are lots of parks in Melbourne and I think they’re very nice. The look of the city is very stylish and beautiful,” he said.
The “good vibe” was a common feeling among backpackers.
Verity is 21 from the UK, and has been in Melbourne for the past two months.
“Everyone says it but it’s true – it’s one of the most European cities in Australia.”
Alex from Canada agreed, and said “Melbourne is a totally awesome city. It’s got a bit more of an indie vibe than Sydney.”
Young backpackers usually have a limited budget, but they will find that Melbourne is an expensive city to be in. The eighth most expensive in the world, to be exact.
Despite this, Verity said you get what you pay for.
“If you’re gonna get the most out of Melbourne, you need to pay for it.”
Because of this, many backpackers choose to work while here.
“I came to Australia with 10 dollars to my account. I’m now working to keep travelling,” a young Canadian male said.
But Kate said Melbourne is not always expensive.
“I think if you know where to go it doesn’t have to be. You can go out with $40 and have a good time.”
Though it can be pricey, with a bit of guidance young backpackers will find Melbourne’s CBD has plenty to offer.