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First time visit, need help to plan

singapore
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First time visit, need help to plan

Hi, I will be visiting Victoria for the first time in November. My friend who stays in the northern suburb of Melbourne suggested that I stay in the South to check out Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island for the first half of my stay before going up to the North to visit her. However, she can only spend one weekend with me to bring me to the Yarra Valley vineyards on a Saturday and some other places on Sunday. So I have to plan my own activities.

I'm thinking of staying in Morningtin Peninsula for the first half (5 days +/-) to explore the area including Phillip Island. Is it too long? Any suggestions of what to do there? Any accommodations to recommend? Are there any local tours that I can join to go to Phillip Island to see penguins + visit the Chocolate Factory? Anything else to do in Phillip Island?

The second half (5 days +/-) will be to Melbourne. Too long? Too short? Any accommodations to recommend? I can probably try to figure out the places to visit in Melbourne City with the help of a good map. Any websites with good Melbourne City map to recommend?

Did some quick browse through on the top questions in the Melbourne forum. Do you think it will be better for this first timer to just spend a week in Melbourne, throw in one or two day tours out to Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island before visiting my friend in the northern suburb.

Appreciate any help and suggestions please.

Melbourne
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1. Re: First time visit, need help to plan

"Do you think it will be better for this first timer to just spend a week in Melbourne, throw in one or two day tours out to Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island before visiting my friend in the northern suburb."

In a word, yes.

What dates are you in Melbourne? The first week of November is Melbourne Cup racing carnival, which is a very big sporting event. Hotel accommodation will be more expensive than normal during this period.

If you search these forums you will get some good advice concerning tours. ATWAD and Go West are probably the two most recommended.

Here are some good web sites to visit to see what's on.

www.thatsmelbourne.com.au/Pages/Home.aspx

http://www.visitvictoria.com/

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: First time visit, need help to plan

November is a great time to visit Melbourne as the cold of winter has gone, but the heat of summer hasn't arrived. That said, the weather is changeable at that time of year so be prepared for anything! Do note that the Mornington Peninsula is not really that far from the centre of Melbourne - maybe 1 1/2 hours by car, bit longer if you take the train and bus. Also it's much easier to see the sites if you have a car - I believe there's a bus that travels the main road on the bay side but that's about it. Although the Peninsula is closer to Phillip Island, you might want to check whether tours leave from anywhere on the Peninsula, or whether they leave from Melbourne.

It might be better to use the 5 days not with your friend travelling around. If you have a car I would suggest 2 days on the Mornington Peninsula, another 2 on Phillip Island, and another potentially in the Wilsons Promontory area. Maybe treat it as a loop so that you can use the time effectively. Of course if you don't have a car then it's better to base yourself on the Peninsula and see if there's tours to Phillip Island from there.

singapore
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3. Re: First time visit, need help to plan

Hi Navy35, thanks for the links and info. Will be traveling from 8 or 9 Nov onwards. Yep, sounds good to base in Melbourne. Will start planning using these info.

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: First time visit, need help to plan

Another vote for staying in Melbourne as it is centrally located with many tours (in all directions) that leave from there. Also, if you don't have a car, staying along the Mornington peninsula is useless as many of the main tourist sites require a car or start from Melbourne CBD. If you have your heart set on a visit to the Mornington peninsula, then you could incorporate it into a day trip but in my opinion, the beaches along the GOR are much more spectacular so I would make the GOR your first priority and then Phillip Island if you want to see the little penguins.

Adelaide, Australia
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5. Re: First time visit, need help to plan

I thought I was going to see the country when visiting the morninton penisular, but its very built up and like suburbia....I stayed 2 days and left....far better things to see in victoria than there....plenty of train rides from the city to great historic towns such as bendigo, castlemaine, and ballarat, which has great museums and a fine art gallery....I dont know what people want to go to phillip island for? Perhaps because the state tourism promote it.

My advise is get a lit more ideas. There is a lot you can do on your own.

have fun♡

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: First time visit, need help to plan

The Mornington Peninsula is quite a large area with limited Public Transport options, so if you don't have a car, I wouldn't advise visiting. It is built up along the coast, with towns most of the way along. If you head inland though, there's a lot of farms & wineries & narrow country roads. It definitely isn't like suburbia once you leave the coast.

Phillip Island is popular for seeing the Penguin Parade as well as the Koala reserve. It is actually popular with locals for holidays also. Once again, without a car it's best to do a day tour. Work out what you want to see on Phillip Island then compare tours to find the best one for you.

The GOR is also best done as a tour if you won't have a car. With a car you could take a couple of days to self drive.

As mentioned, there are a few places which are easily visited by regional train. Bendigo has an art gallery which is well known for costume exhibitions. Ballarat has Sovereign Hill. Puffing Billy is easy to get to by suburban train.

The links Navy has given you in #1 will be really helpful in you working out where you want to visit.

singapore
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7. Re: First time visit, need help to plan

Hello hello, thank you all so much for the suggestions. Yes, unfortunately I don't drive so I will base myself in Melbourne then take up tours to GOR as well as Phillip Island. I'm very interested to see little penguins and to visit the chocolate factory on the island.

Due to some reasons, I have to shorten my stay to about a week so besides the two day trips out, the rest will be planned around the city itself.

Have not really read up much about Bendigo, Ballarat and Puffing Billy. Will see if I can fit those in or maybe keep them for another trip.

Thank you all once again. Hopefully I can come up with something soon so experts can help run through it.

singapore
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8. Re: First time visit, need help to plan

Hi, since I will be based in Melbourne for the trip, I will start asking questions over that forum

tripadvisor.com.sg/ShowTopic-g255100-i278-k7…

Thanks for all your help so far.

Gungahlin, Australia
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9. Re: First time visit, need help to plan

Unless you have any standalone questions about Melbourne city I do not see any purpose in starting a new thread, your link leads to a thread which talks about day trips outside Melbourne anyway, GOR, Phillip Island, Ballarat and Yarra Valley, the fact that you will return to Melbourne each night to sleep did not IMO require everything to start again on a new thread, relevant details contained on this thread risk being either needlessly repeated or lost, I now await the suggestion on your new thread by someone who has not seen this thread that you rent a car.

Edited: 19 May 2014, 07:59
10. Re: First time visit, need help to plan

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