Melbourne, for some reason has
never been on top of my list of places to travel, yet it has been the first and the only city to which I’ve been for solely travelling purposes (besides settling down OR one-day getaways). The first thing about Melbourne that I’d like to mention is the coexistence of Modern and European Architecture. There are tall apartments and hotels and offices and then there’s Flinder Street Station and the State Library. The massive H&M in the heart of the city seems to sum up Melbourne in a building. Another thing about this city is that it’s so full of life and enthusiasm- there are people busking every 10 metres; and parties to go to every night. In other words it’s crazy busy. Apart from the people and the 24/7 never-ending social life, its facilities such as the free tram and the infrastructures are world-class great. I flew up to Melbourne during the Easter weekend, which was for 4 days and 3 nights- and I should have known- you do not want to travel during the holiday season.
What I did
My travelling schedule looked like the following:
Day 1 (25th Mar ’16): Arrive at the Tullamarine Airport half past 1 in the afternoon- Check in at Discovery Melbourne – Lunch – Take a train to Brighton Beach – Take pictures at the colourful Bathing Boxes – Walk to Luna Park (almost 6kms) – St. Kilda Pier and see Penguins – Take a tram back to Melbourne CBD
St. Kilda Pier
St. Kilda Beach
Day 2 (26th Mar ’16): Take free tram from Queen Victoria Market to Flinders St Station – Brunch at the Square – Hosier Ln – State Library of Victoria – Queen Victoria Market – Rod Laver Arena (Australia Open Tennis Court: closed) – Botanic Garden – Degraves Ln (famous for coffee) – Walk around the city then to South Bank – Dinner – Eureka 88 Skydeck
Flinders Street Station from Maccas
State Library of Victoria
Queen Victoria Market
View from South Bank
Day 3 (27th Mar ’16): The Great Ocean Road (The Twelve Apostles, London Bridge, Shipwreck Site, etc)
The Twelve Apostles
Day 4 (28th Mar ’16): Check out from Melbourne Discovery – Take train to Belgrave – Go on the Puffing Billy and back to Melbourne CBD- Lunch – Meet some friends – Bus back to Tullamarien Airport
The Puffing Billy
I pretty much went to all the tourist attraction around Melbourn that you could possibly fit into a 4-5 days schedule except for the Phillip Island tour and that is because I was successful at spotting my penguin friends at St. Kilda on my very first day. If you ask me what my personal favorite was, I’d with no doubt say the Brighton Beach-St.Kilda walk+ penguin spotting+ sunset the first day, but this probably has much to do with the sentimental feeling behind seeing a friend after three months (dem feels) and also because I was very excited about the brightly colored bathing boxes, they seemed so pretty in pictures that I’d seen previously.
Also my opinion of the Great Ocean Road is that it’s pretty great, but to a person living next to the water in Tasmania.. Well it still IS the biggest existing war memorial (with waaaaay too much crowd). We took a shorter route- we were really on the Great Ocean Road for only a distance relatively short- to make the trip possible in a day which is probably the major factor to my disappointment. However, it IS possible to make the trip within a day (13 hours in total) if you don’t have much time or money; although I’d still suggest you to invest enough time and money if you want to thoroughly enjoy this trip. Besides all the unsatisfaction, I really did love the gorge, it was beautiful. The Twelve Apostles that were supposed to be the highlight of the trip did seemingly live up to its fame.
The Eureka Skydeck is quite a sight, and by that I mean it’s really you-will-fall-in-love-beautiful but make sure you go to either see the sunset (on a clear day) or the night view. I didn’t experience what they call the ‘Edge’ which is like a room of glass all 6 sides that ejects like 3 meters out of the building but I did get to see it from the inside of the building- it looked disappointing as it had too much safety measures for my taste (the glass floor had a huge steel grid structure- and that doesn’t sound like the transparent view that you expect to see) and paying $12 in addition to the actual price for the skydeck sounded way too expensive for a backpacker like me(…) Do take the 10%off coupon that you’ll find at your accomodation or visitor centres and you’ll feel more like the sight was worth the cost.
The Puffing Billy is something that I didn’t count on too much but went just to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything- and I sure would have missed out on something had I not been on it! It is a part of the railway gauge lines operated from 1900 until it closed due to a landslide in 1953. The steam train departs from Belgrave (takes 80 minutes from Melbourne CBD by train) to Gembrook which is a distance of 24kms with 3 stops in between. We took the shortest trip to Menzies Creek (advised by a friend who went on it before) which took us a little less than half an hour but I probably shouldn’t have taken the advice. Sitting on the window sill of the wooden steam train which is the motive for the famous kids’ animation ‘Thomas and friends’ through the forest was both amusing and relaxing to say the least. The staff who are realy all volunteers are super friendly and will provide you great explanations. Caution: your butt may hurt from all the sitting on the window due to its tiny width.
I also really liked Melbourne’s transportation, not only is the tram free within the city zone but also there is a daily cap of $7.4(approx) and you can plan all your trips using the handy Journey Planner app called PTV (Public Transportation Victoria). For a person that hasn’t even been on a bus for the last three months, a good network of transportation seemed wonderful.
What I didn’t do
I, for one, skipped all the wildlife sanctuaries and zoos because I felt I’d been to enough in Tassie- I know it doesn’t help by mentioning that in the post but still– or the vineyard tours since I was working in one back then but it could be a different experience for you if you choose to visit one. I didn’t see the need of extra expenditure to take the time to experience the same back home without the guarantee that it would be any better. But if there is something that I wish I’d done is to visit places like Dandenong or spend an entire afternoon sprawled on a couch sipping on Iced Matcha Latte in a cafe with nice interior. I also do regret not having the time to visit Sovereign Hill- something that would have been real exciting. My schedule was really packed and hectic especially Day 3 -the Great Ocean Road is a lot to travel in just a day. I feel that I wasn’t too impressed with it because I didn’t have the time to really take in everything that was there, it was more of an overly ‘been there, done that’ thing that day.
Summing up, my trip to Melbourne was way too well planned- packed and hectic although I did enjoy it. My next trip should probably be an open ended one with impulsive planning with just a few ideas of what I’d really like to do. Maybe I will use a camera instead of snapchat to capture the places and the moments. Also I feel that seeing Melbourne in 4 days is doable but a longer trip may be recommended!