AUSTRALIA 2017: Melbourne

People, Travel

The world’s most livable city? I can definitely say so. The culture, all that art and the quirkiness. And have I mentioned the alleys? I have this crazy thing for alleys, and I guess I’ve had enough of them to last me till next year! O Melbourne, you enchant me! 

Well, it was a long debate within the family on which city we’d want to do a side-trip of, a month prior to traveling. It was between Gold Coast or Melbourne. But just like our Indochina backpacking trip in 2014, and from the title of this blogpost, I guess you could already tell that I always win every itinerary debate in the family. Melbourne it is! haha But since it’s to my insistence, then I’m compelled to do all the research and planning. Sigh.

Disclaimer: I may not be able to really satisfy your curiosity of Melbourne, as though lengthy, this is not a very in-depth write-up. We were in the city for only 2 full days (very short, I know) and we were just around Melbourne Central Business District (CBD) the whole time; unable to explore further. Anyway, let me walk you through our whole trip.

DAY 1

We took a 7am Jetstar flight to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport on a Monday, very exhausted with only 2 hours of sleep. A flight from Sydney to Melbourne takes only a little over an hour, so I made sure to get as much sleep as I can from that.

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The traffic at the airport was already incredibly bad at 5am! Well, it was a Monday morning.

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Boarding.

Like most travelers and locals have done (and continue to do), we originally planned to take the Skybus to CBD at $19 for adults. But on our way out of the arrival area, we felt the need to do some last minute research on other possible options. We found one transportation service online. It looked sketchy, but the offer of $80 for a whole van was too good to let go. haha We contacted them right away, and we were picked up in one of those yellow vans common in Melbourne. I don’t know if that was a good deal, but it definitely came out cheaper than Skybus which would’ve cost us $114 (6 pax) against $80 for a whole van.

We asked to be dropped off at the State Library of Victoria, thinking we could make it to the 10:30am I’m Free walking tour. But unfortunately, we didn’t. So we just walked aimlessly. You know, the beauty of getting lost in a city. 🙂

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Open space, people, books, and refreshments–a common site in Melbourne. This was right outside the State Library of Victoria.

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Melbourne Central. Its cone roof is hiding somewhere. haha

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Collins Place

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Around lunchtime, we found ourselves in the vicinity of Chinatown looking for cheap food. We stumbled upon this small food court with combo meals which were just right for the budget. We went to the Korean kiosk, which offered “fill-all-you-can” meals for $6.90 for a small plate, $7.90 for medium, and $8.90 for large. We got medium. We were already full just halfway through our meal, so we just packed them up and still had them for meals at the apartment over the next days.

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I swear there was more to this! We piled that plate up to almost 8 inches high!

After lunch, we found our way to Hosier Lane, which is probably one of the most iconic spots in Melbourne. A whole lane-way covered in graffiti! It was very satisfying for my art bone! B E A U T I F U L! ❤

What I also greatly love about Hosier Lane, is that it’s never the same. Every now and then, people come and paint over another picture. Just like that Bob Minion below. He was still there when we came in February, but now he’s gone. Lovely! haha

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‘shrooms.

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She took my spot! haha

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Flinders Street Railway Station.

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Interior

What’s great about Melbourne CBD, is that their trams are for free as long as you’re within the designated Free Tram Zone. That is definitely such a relief for budget-travelers like us. Also very convenient for employees in the CBD. But trust me, the system is nowhere easy to memorize. Let alone, understand! But I’m glad we somehow had it a little bit figured out, and we were able to get to the very popular Queen Victoria Market. Unfortunately, it was closed that time we went there. I don’t know if they’re closed at daytime, or on certain days, or what. But surely, a little bit of research could have made the difference. haha I’m just glad we were free from spending on transportation the whole time we were in Melbourne.

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View of the Melbourne skyline from Queen Victoria Market.

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Queen Victoria Market. Unfortunately closed when we were there.

Finally, time to check into our rented Airbnb apartment at 4pm! As we were trying to search for the best deals for hostels (the average mixed-dormitory type, common bathrooms, etc.) in Melbourne, two weeks prior to our trip, the rates weren’t very practical anymore, as we’re a family of 6 adults. The cheapest I found was 1,200php/pax/night ($33),  or 7,200php/night ($198) for 6 adults. So I randomly checked on Airbnb just for comparison. Lo and behold, I found the perfect place for our budget! A very spacious 2-bedroom apartment for only 5,098php/night ($136) good for 7pax already! Anyway, I’m gonna try and write a separate article for just our Airbnb find alone soon! 🙂

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Sunset view from our 10th floor apartment on Russel Street. ❤

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Can’t get enough of it!

After some rest and freshening up, my brother’s friend, Dan, who is a Kiwi (from New Zealand) but works in Melbourne, met us up and took us out for dinner at the beautiful rooftop of The Emerald Peacock Lounge. He was such a gracious host, he walked us around some spots in the CBD (finally, Federation Square!) after dinner, and very well-rounded too, answering every question we had about the city, business, travel…just about anything really! That was probably the most intellectual hangout I’ve had my whole life! haha.

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Can’t stop adoring this alley!!

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The majestic Flinders Street Railway Station at night.

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Yarra River and Southbank Promenade

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Dan and the sibs.

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Word comes in subtle ways you don’t expect. Though not forced, it is assertive and compelling.

 

DAY 2

On our first day, we had already done some grocery shopping at Coles (the one by Flinders Station), so we were able to cook our meals at the apartment and even bring some on-the-go.

That morning, first we did was explore Docklands. There were hundreds of jellyfish too just by the port!

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I bet one would die if he falls into that! 0.o

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After, we planned on going to Brighton Beach where the iconic, painted boathouses are. But we were a little bit short with time and so we had to cancel. We instead just made our way back to Flinders Station, and walked our way to Russel Street where our apartment is, buying souvenirs in the shops we passed by. We also grabbed some lunch on the way and ate them at the apartment. We cooked rice to pair with the whole stuffed roasted chicken which my mom bought from Coles in Melbourne Central for only $8. while I got myself Hungry Jack’s $5.99 Super Stunner meal which comes with a regular cheeseburger, chips (Australians don’t call ’em fries. haha), softdrink, 3-piece chicken nuggets (literally), and a mini-Drumstick ice cream. So worth it! But I wish there were more nuggets though. :/

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Some people still dress like this in the city because Melbourne is quirky like that. I felt so embarrassed and stupid for having told him “Nice costume, mate!” *facepalm HAHA

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One of the most beautiful buildings I’ve seen in Melbourne. So Art Deco. Its facade and covered arcade is studded with rusted, gold-colored steel plating. I found it so reminiscent of the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. Felt like I was transported to the Great Gatsby era!

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This intersection by Melbourne Central and the State Library is usually very crowded with students from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT).

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From inside Melbourne Central’s landmark cone-shaped roof.

At this point, we were already very exhausted so we surprisingly all took a nap. I made sure to only have it short, as I wanted to check out the apartment’s facilities–pool, gym, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, and just chill by the lovely, picturesque pocket garden.

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Our apartment building. The historic Deco Tower, which used to be the old Victoria Police Headquarters.

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Pool

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It was so great meeting up with long-time family friends, as they took us out for a buffet dinner at The Kitchen Workshop in Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex. Our relationship goes a long way back; even before our parents got married. Their children are our childhood friends too! We had such a blast catching up, witnessing the spectacular fire show just outside the casino, and taking a stroll by the riverside. Looking forward to our next visit!

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Thousands of crystals make up the chandelier that covers the whole ceiling!

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The folks!

 

DAY 3

We weren’t able to do anything that day as we had to prep up to fly back to Sydney at 3pm. We contacted the same person from the van company which serviced us when we arrived, to bring us to the airport. Traffic was very bad that week as transportation strikes and protests were going-on. We were advised to leave early for the airport, to avoid missing our flight. But I think, we got to the airport a little bit too early. ^_^

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Going out of the Melbourne Tullamarine Airport parking building

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Pre-departure area, with lots of food options, seats, and power outlets.

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About to board our flight back to Sydney and I see this. This should be every couple’s travel goal! #relationshipgoals haha

Overall, I could definitely see the beauty in Melbourne. I am a person very much into culture and art, which I could sense is very dense in the city, and which all blogs would tell you. But the sun had to ruin everything. Everyone who knows me know that I somehow hate sunlight, or avoid getting hit by it. haha I was praying for gloomy weather (just like what we had in Sydney), but God had different plans. It was just so incredibly hot the whole time we were there! Plus, we literally weren’t able to step out of the Free Tram Zone, so all we know of Melbourne is solely from there. I guess, that made me fall a little out of love for Melbourne. HAHA Kidding! I just wish on the next time we’re there, we have more time to actually, finally step out of Melbourne CBD and explore much more.


BREAKDOWN OF EXPENSES:

DAY 1

Airfare (Jetstar):

= $129.60 (roundtrip airfare; Sydney-Mebourne-Sydney)

Fare (van):

= $80 (Melbourne Tullamarine Airport to CBD)
          (divided by 6pax)
= $13.34/pax

Lunch:

= $7.90

Airbnb:

= $136 (per night)
             (divided by 6pax)
= $23/pax/night

Groceries:

= $23.55

Daily expenses:

$129.60 (roundtrip airfare; Sydney-Mebourne-Sydney)
$13.34 (fare/van)
$7.90 (lunch)
$23 (Airbnb; per pax, per night)
$23.55 (groceries)

Total = $197.39AUD


DAY 2

Lunch:

$5.99 (Hungry Jack’s Super Stunner meal)
$8 (roasted chicken)
= $13.99

Airbnb:

= $136 (per night)
             (divided by 6pax)
= $23/pax/night

Daily expenses:

$13.99 (lunch)
$23 (Airbnb; per pax, per night)

Total = $36.99AUD


DAY 3

Fare (van):

= $80 (CBD to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport)
          (divided by 6pax)
= $13.34/pax

Daily expenses:

$13.34 (fare/van)

Total = $13.34AUD

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