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4 short days...trip report

Sydney, Australia
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4 short days...trip report

Our 4-day trip as I remember it.

DAY 1 - SUNDAY

• Arrived at Tullamarine airport at 10.15am. Purchased Skybus return tickets ($28pp) at ticket booth outside the arrivals terminal.

• Short walk to hotel from Skybus terminal at Southern Cross Station. Harbourview Apartment Hotel, 585 Latrobe St., advanced purchase - $104/nt for 1 bedroom Apt (pls. see separate review).

• Took the free tram (tram 35 - City Circle, 10a-6p Sun-W, 10a-9p Thu-Sat) to FLINDERS STATION.

• ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL

• FEDERATION SQUARE. There were a few activities going on and it was a festive atmosphere. We watched acrobats entertaining the crowd at the Swanston St forecourt, listened brieifly to a Greek choir (Melbourne-Thessaloniki sister cities annual festival) performing at The Square, and browsed through the Markit@Fed Square, located at Fed Square Atrium. Lots of people at this design market which is on only twice a year. Lunch was at a taco stand called Tacos Dos near the Russell St carpark entrance. They were tacos with a gourmet twist, creative combination of ingredients that you don’t usually associate with taco filling. The corn chips that came with it tasted delicious. Serving portions may be too small if you have a hearty appetite.

• VISITORS CENTRE 9a-6p daily, got maps and brochures. TIP: Various discount vouchers in the Official Visitors Guide, also in the ‘This week in Melbourne’ guide - 10% off Eureka Skydeck entry, 20% off Melbourne Aquarium entry, etc.

• SOUTH BANK ARTS PRECINCT

ALEXANDRA GARDENS

• SHRINE OF REMEMBRANCE. Free tour 11a & 2p daily. We joined the 2pm guided tour. Our guide, John, was a walking WW1 & 2 encyclopedia. The guided tour enhanced our visit. Highly recommended if interested in war history. TIP: If not joining the guided tour, make your way to the balcony for views of the Shrine gardens and the Melbourne bay areas.

• Walked to CROWN CASINO ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX via SOUTHBANK. Took pictures of EUREKA TOWER.

• Walked along Yarra River promenade

• Caught city circle tram to CHINATOWN PRECINCT. Stopped by Maxims Cakes & Pastry, 173 Little Bourke St, for its famous egg tarts and pastries for early breakfast the next day. Dinner at SAMBAL KAMPUNG, Malaysian cuisine (separate review soon).

• 6pm – caught the last free tram back to hotel.

DAY 2 - MONDAY

• 7am - walked to Fed Sq. via Collins St for GREAT OCEAN ROAD day tour with Down Under Day Tours/APT, cor Flinders & Russel Sts. TIP: sit on the left side of the bus, opposite side of the driver to see the coastline.

• Our tour guide/driver John had a calm & pleasant demeanour, spoke clearly and provided interesting and excellent commentary. Also did a magnificent job driving along the windy road.

• Despite taking 2 ginger pills in the morning and being seated in the front section, I still felt sick from the very windy road. We were told that the windiest section was the stretch between Cumberland River and Mt. Defiance so the driver needed full concentration (no commentary).

• FOOD - Stopped for morning tea at TAPAS café, Torquay (included in price). Best scones we have ever tasted – crusty outside and soft inside, served warm with fresh cream and delicious strawberry jam. Lunch (own expense) at Apollo Bay. No shortage of restaurants here. We settled on Georges Foodcourt for quick service. Didn’t eat much because I was still feeling queasy. Only 1 restroom for the ladies – be prepared for a long wait. Had time to browse through a couple of shops after lunch before returning to the coach.

• On to 12 APOSTLES (WOW!), Lord Arch Gorge, Razor Back, and London Bridge. Back to Melbourne via Colac. Thank goodness I didn’t have to go through the windy GOR again.

• Got back to Melbourne about 8.30pm and was dropped across the road from our hotel. After a brief stop in our room, we ventured out to look for a place nearby to have dinner. Came across KANAZAWA Japanese Restaurant in King St. (separate review soon) which opened until 10pm.

DAY 3 – TUESDAY

• A rainy morning. Took the free tram to HARBOUR TOWN Shopping Centre, Docklands. Stopped by the Tourism Lounge to pick up free Tourism Club Card for extra discounts on purchases.

• Lunch at GREAT TASTE KITCHEN, Chinese food. I love churros and always have one when they are available. Bought one from Costco, it was the worst churro I’ve ever eaten – tasted stale.

• Tram to hotel – caught the right tram, wrong direction. We got off as soon as we realised this, then walked the rest of the way to the hotel. By then, the rain had stopped and the sun was starting to come out.

• WONDERBAO, 8a-5p, M-F. Literature Lane. Caters mostly for takeaway. The place is compact with only 4 seats for dine-in. Seats with a view of the back doors of several eateries, their industrial sized rubbish bins and staff coming out to empty rubbish. Not a pleasant sight while eating. Their braised pork gua bao was yummy but one would need a few to fill up. The pork bun tasted good but it was much more expensive than what you get in other equally good Chinese restaurants.

• STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA to check out its interior and exhibits.

• Bourke St. Mall - MYER CHRISTMAS WINDOWS – magical, enchanting, captivating window displays. Wished we had the time and energy to return and view them at night too.

• Walked through THE ROYAL ARCADE and Block Place to THE BLOCK ARCADE. Beautiful heritage buildings and interiors.

• Walked along SWANSTON ST towards Flinders St. Got hot from all the walking, stopped by McDonalds on Flinders to have soft serve ice cream.

• PHILLIP ISLAND PENGUIN EXPRESS TOUR with Gray Line – departed at 5pm at Fed Sq. Driver/tour guide was David - patient and excellent driver, provided interesting and informative commentary on the way to Phillip Island. It was freezing cold while we were waiting for it to get dark and for the little penguins to come ashore. Thanks to TA we went prepared and weren’t cold at all. Saw a few tourists shivering and a couple placing umbrellas in front of them to shield them from the cold wind. Watching the little penguins waddle to shore one group after another was a fascinating experience. We followed them along the boardwalk and watched them go to their burrows. Many of the rookeries were far from the shore. It’s amazing how far the little penguins had to walk to reach them. TIP: Pay extra and get the Penguin Plus tickets – well worth it. Best seats are the corner sections of the second and third row bleachers closest to the boardwalk.

• Arrived back in Melbourne about 11.30pm. As the coach traversed the CBD dropping people off at different hotels, we got to see the grand buildings from a night time perspective which was a bonus. It was 12.15am by the time we got back to the hotel. We were one of the few who were let off last.

DAY 4 – WEDNESDAY

• Planned to sleep-in but the loud construction noise from the building site across the hotel woke me up (guests staying at the adjacent Atlantis Hotel would have had the same noise problem). Walked to the neighbouring William Angliss Institute Café for breakfast, but they only had takeaway and no seating, so we ended up having breakfast at Hungry Jacks at Southern Cross Station. Had a window seat with a view of the magnificent Mail Exchange Building.

• Walked to WORLD TRADE CENTRE, admiring the architecture of the grand VICTORIAN RAILWAYS ADMINISTRATIVE BUILDING on the way.

• VICTORIA POLICE MUSEUM in WTC – thought this would be a boring museum. Nothing to lose with free admission. Turned out to be excellent. It was surprisingly interesting. The exhibits were very well presented and displayed. There was a section of 9/11 photographs exhibit – very moving, almost got teary. Highly recommended if you are interested in Australian policing and crime history.

• DFO SOUTH WHARF, Convention Centre Place. Lunch at the food court.

WEBB BRIDGE – Yarra river next to Charles Grimes Bridge, Docklands. Fascinating footbridge. Loved the design - looked like a futuristic giant fish.

• Took tram to Spring St. and walked to FITZROY GARDENS. Looked at Cook’s Cottage, the Fairy tree, the miniature Tudor Village and the beautiful flowers in the Conservatory.

• Tried to take the free shuttle bus but couldn’t find the bus stop. Ended up walking to Spring St. to take the tram to the hotel for some respite from the heat.

• Pleasant stroll through Flagstaff Gardens to Queen Victoria Market night market – every Wed in summer, 5p-10p. Food galore – a feast for the taste buds. Cuisine from all over the world, including Afghanistan, Nepal, Trinidad and Tobago. We chose Vietnamese pork skewers for starters and Spanish seafood paella for mains. It was very busy and crowded. Vacant dining seats were hard to come by, many ate while standing. Enjoyed the experience despite the heat and the big crowd.

• Stopped by FLAGSTAFF GARDENS to see the Pioneers Memorial and the Separation Monument on the way back to our hotel.

Day 5 – THURSDAY

• Melbourne weather was going to be 38C. Since it was our day of departure, we escaped the scorching heat.

- Impressed with Skybus rides. It ran every 10 minutes, was air-conditioned, clean and comfortable, there were racks in front for big luggage and enough space in front of your seat for handcarry bags. Whoever thought of Skybus deserves an award.

- As for the free city circle tram, can’t complain. It’s free, frequent and does get you from A to B. Instead of a tape recording on a PA, some of the trams were manned to announce the stops but their voices were too soft and their announcements were often drowned out by the excited, loud chattering of passengers. However, it’s good to have the staff around since you are able to ask for directions. NOTE: The free trams are not air-conditioned and do get quite crowded.

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: 4 short days...trip report

Thanks for the great report! You certainly did a lot in 4 days, it's a good itinerary for anyone planning a taster trip to Melbourne. It's also good to get reports on different tour companies to the GOR & Phillip Island.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: 4 short days...trip report

Fab trip report - and what a lot of walking in four days!

Where is the Victorian Railways Admin building?

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: 4 short days...trip report

Thanks ellenwillow and kandn01. We certainly did a lot in 4 days - tried to fit in as much as we could. Needed extra days to do and see more. Well, there's always a next time.

kandn01 - the Victorian Railways admin building is on Spencer St. Same side as the Southern Cross Station if you walk in the direction of Yarra River. The building has massive entry doors.

Edited: 08 December 2012, 04:28
Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: 4 short days...trip report

kandn01 its the end side door of the Grand Hotel building.

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: 4 short days...trip report

Thanks, I'll check it out

Nick

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: 4 short days...trip report

Fabulous detailed Trip report which many will no doubt benefit from.

Thanks for sharing L2go I enjoyed reading it.

Ballarat, Australia
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7. Re: 4 short days...trip report

3 Days in Melbourne.

Day I : Free city circle, jump on, jump off tram. Begin opposite Flinders Street Station and do the full circuit for orientation, then select destinations that most interest you.

The Melbourne Museum, for background about the city's history, including the famous racehorse Pharlap, winner of the 1932 Melbourne Cup.

Walk along Finders Street and a few streets along will find you at a small lane known as De Graves Street, here you will find the rich cafe scene of Melbourne with a wide range of cuisines at affordable prices. This is where locals go for lunch.

After lunch, continue west along Flinders Street until you find the free 'Immigration Museum". Displays are excellent and it is impossible to understand Melbourne, without some understanding of the many cultures that have made the city the cosmopolitan centre it is today.

The Melbourne Aquarium is located across the road a few blocks further along, otherwise, head back and have a quick drink at the iconic Young and Jackson's Hotel, be sure to see the famous 'Chloe' portrait that caused public outrage when it was first hung in the 1880s!

If you still have energy after a meal, head to the Arts precinct along St Kilda Road and either drink in the atmosphere at the tram bar, or catch some of the theatre Melbourne is famous for either at the Arts Centre theatres or at the nearby homes of the Melbourne Theatre Company, or Malthouse Theatre. Try for half-tix in Bourke Mall if you want half price tickets.

Day 2:

Return to the Arts Precinct and go to either The Potter Gallery ( Australian Art), or The National Gallery, St Kilda Road. Both free but for visiting Blockbuster exhibitions.

Cross St Kilda Road and walk through the park to Melbourne's Botanic Gardens, or take the Yarra Path, by Federation Square and walk along the Yarra river. Along this path you will find The Melbourne Tennis Centre, home of the Australian Open Tournament, and a little further still, The Melbourne Cricket Ground, home of the 1956 Olympics, with an excellent sports museum and tours, operating most days.

Or, if you are not a sports fan, either catch a tram on St Kilda Road, to see the beach and the unique St Kilda Scene, or to the Domain, with the Shrine of Rememberance, or Botanic Gardens.

Later take a taxi or tram to Carlton and head to some of the best affordable eating in Melbourne.

Here you will also find the 8 Hour Day Monument, dedicated to the workers who won "8 hours work, 8 Hours rest, 8 hours leisure", in the 1890s, the first country in the world to achieve this. The monument is opposite Trades Hall, a magnificent example of 1880s architecture and heritage listed.

Further along Lygon Street you will find The Nova Cinema, one of the few places in town, to catch more than just Hollywood movies, as well as many fabulous shops and the cafes the street is famous for. Dine in Lygon Street tonight!

Day 3:

If Victoria Market is open today, head there in the morning and plan on having a good look around. Great for souvenirs and a cheap lunch. Very Melbourne.

Either, head to Melbourne zoo, if you want to see Australian Animals and others, or check out some of the shopping in the city centre, or head to Glenferrie Road on the tram, travelling through Melbourne's most prestigous real estate and shopping.

The magnificent State Library building is also worth a visit, with many interesting exhibitions and information about Melbourne.

Enjoy this wonderful city!

Melbourne
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8. Re: 4 short days...trip report

Fional, I'm not sure of the purpose of your post. The original post is 12 months old and the poster has written a very good and in depth trip report. If you are writing up a suggested itinerary for a few days, then either reply to some questions, or start your own post.

Ballarat, Australia
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9. Re: 4 short days...trip report

How do I start my own post, based on years of living and assisting visiting around Melbourne.

Some very good suggestions for 3 or 4 days in other cities, but not Melbourne and visitors do look at our sites when organising and planning a trip.

Need more than just forums.

Should be more proactive with itenary suggestions for prospective visitors.

That's what my aim was!

Melbourne
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10. Re: 4 short days...trip report

There are often posts that ask the question............. "I'm visiting Melbourne for a few days and would like some suggestions on what to see or do"............. When you see these posts, by all means respond with your thoughts and ideas. The problem in answering an old post is that it will not be viewed by many people as a new one.