Friday, November 9, 2018

MELBOURNE TRAVEL GUIDE : Things to Do and See with Itinerary & Budget

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Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city and is considered to be the cultural capital of Australia. It's the most populous city in Victoria and is home to different interesting tourist spots, restaurants, historical landmarks and elegent buildings. 

Melbourne Travel Guide



VISA REQUIREMENTS TO MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA


Philippine passport holders are required to apply for an Australian Visa prior to his/her planned visit. The process is now online so you can apply for your Australian Tourist Visa at the comfort of your home. The visa cost is AUD140 / Php5,500 and the processing time takes about 3 business days up to 30 days. Once approved, you can stay in Australia for a maximum of 3 months. Here's a step-by-step process of applying an Australian Tourist Visa in the Philippines.

HOW TO GET TO MELBOURNE FROM MANILA, PHILIPPINES


Cebu Pacific and Philippines Airlines fly direct to Melbourne from Manila. Cebu Pacific flies 3x weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays while Philippine Airlines flies 6x a week. Other airlines fly to Melbourne from Manila with stop over in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Sydney.

Flying with Cebu Pacific is much cheaper but of course it has its own disadvantages like you have to pay for inflight meals, pay for baggage allowance and smaller legroom. If you fly with Cebu Pacific I highly suggest that you pre-select a seat and pay for it so you'll have better and more convenient seat.

Tip: It might be cheaper to fly with airlines that has a stopover so it's best to check if you are looking for a cheap flight. I saw a Qantas return flight to Melbourne for only Php20,000 but I did not have my visa that time so I let it pass. It was a great deal considering the cost of flight to Australia. 

HOW TO GET TO YOUR MELBOURNE HOTEL FROM MELBOURNE AIRPORT (TULLAMARINE)


After clearing the immigration and picking up your luggage, you may proceed outside the arrival hall and take a Sky Bus to the city proper. The Sky Bus features a free WIFI on board so you can connect to the internet while on your way to your city hotel. The fare is AUD19.5 / Php750 / USD14 which you can book in advance online. Travel time is about 20 minutes. It will stop at Southern Cross station and you can take a train or tram from there to your hotel. The tram within the Melbourne CBD is free. If your hotel is outside CBD, make sure you buy a Myki card for AUD6.

You can also take a taxi if you want to. The cost is around AUD60-70 which can accommodate up to four people.

HOW TO GET AROUND MELBOURNE

Geting around Melbourne is pretty easy. Buses, trains and trams are widely available in the city so you are covered wherever you want to go. Taxis are also everywhere so you can easily get one although it could be more expensive compared to taking a public transport. Again, trams within Melbourne CBD is free so no need to tap your Myki card when traveling around the CBD. The good thing is, you will only have to pay a maximum of AUD8.60 if you travel around Metropolitan Melbourne (Zone 1 and 2) no matter how many times you ride a train/tram/bus in a day.

MELBOURNE TOURS


The Great Ocean Road Tour

The Great Ocean Road trip is one of the must-do tours when you visit Melbourne. It;s a scenic road trip along the historic Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. In this tour, you can learn how the Twelve Apostles were formed over time. This tour starts with a hotel pick-up at around 7am. You will have stops at Apollo Bay, Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge, and Port Campbell. It's a whole day tour which ends back in Mebourne around 8pm. Make sure you bring a jacket with you when you travel during the cold months. This tour costs Php4,817 / AUD125 / USD91 which you can book online here.









Phillip Island Day Tour

The Phillip Island Tour will bring you to the famous Brighton Beach Boxes as well as a chance to watch a Penguin parade. The tour starts at 11AMa dn ends at around 9PM depending on the season. This tour includes a visit to the Moonlit Sanctuary Conservation Park. The Phillip Island Day Tour costs Php5,203 / AUD135 / USD98. Book now!

Brighton Beach Bath Boxes | Photo by Bernard Spragg


Melbourne City Half Day Tour

This half-day city tour lasts for 3.5 hours and will allow you to see the best of Melbourne City. The tour starts at 8AM. The tour includes a visit to Parliament House Queen, Victoria Market,  Fitzroy Gardens, Cook's Cottage and Shrine of Remembrance. The tour costs Php2,463 / AUD64 / USD46. You can book here.



TOP MELBOURNE TOURIST ATTRACTIONS, BEST THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN MELBOURNE

Eureka Skydeck 88

Experience an overlooking view of Melbourne City at Eureka Tower. It's open from 10AM to 10PM, last admission is at 9:30PM. If you can go there around 6PM, it is much better so you witness the day time as well as the night time of of the city. Check rates and book.




St. Kilda Beach


St. Kilda Beach is one of the most gorgeous beaches near Melbourne CBD. It's about 20 minutes away from Melbourne CBD accessible by trams. If you decide to visit St. Kilda Beach do not forget to drop by at St. Kilda Pier and the infamous and controversial Gatwick Hotel.
Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
Entrance fee: Free
How to get there: Take tram 96 (direction St Kilda Beach) from Southern Cross Station or Bourke Street. You can also take the tram at the corner of Spencer St.





Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria


Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is a 36-hectare garden in the heart of Melbourne City, home to over 8000 species of plants. 
Opening Hours: Open daily from 7:30am to sunset. 
Entrance Fee: Free
How to get there: Use tram stop 19, which is the Shrine of Remembrance/St Kilda Rd stop. Via bus, take Route 605 to Melbourne Observatory/Birdwood Avenue.


Federation Square


The Federation Square is one of the most visited tourist spots in Melbourne. It is home to some of the major attractions in the city.
Opening Hours: Open 24 hours a day
Entrance fee: Free
How to get there: The Federation Square is within the free tram zone. Flinders Street train station is the nearest stop.


National Gallery of Victoria


The National Gallery of Victoria is Australia's largest and oldest museum. It houses art collection from around the globe including the masterpiece of Picasso, Monet and many others.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
Entrance fee: Free
How to get there: Take tram 16, 3/3A, 6, 72 and alight at stop 14, Arts Precinct.


Melbourne Museum


The Melbourne MUseum is the larget museum in Southern Australia. The museum was opened in October 2000.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
Entrance fee: AUD15 / Php575 / USD11
How to get there: Take any of the following: 

  • Tram route 86 or tram route 96 to corner of Nicholson and Gertrude Streets
  • Free City Circle Tram to Victoria Parade.
  • City loop train to Parliament Station.
  • Bus routes 250, 251 and 402 to Rathdowne Street.

Captain Cook’s Cottage

Captain Cook’s Cottage is the oldest building in Australia built in 1755. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Australia.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
Entrance fee: AUD6.5 / Php250 / USD5
How to get there: Take tram route 48 and get off at Wellington Parade


Shrine of Remembrance


Shrine of Remembrance is Victoria's national war memorial.
Opening Hours: Tours available daily from the visitor’s center at 11:00am and 12:45pm. 
Entrance fee: Free but donation is welcome.
How to get there: Take tram route 21 to Dallas Brooks Dr/Domain Rd


Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium


The Sea Life Aquarium is Melbourne's must-visit destination to discover over 10,000 animals from the depths of the ocean to the icy waters of Antarctica! 
Opening Hours: Open Monday to Fridat at 10:00am-5:30pm
Entrance fee: AUD25 / Php890 / USD17 [Get your ticket online


Werribee Open Range Zoo


Experience the African Savannah in Australia at Werribee Open Range Zoo
Opening Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm
Entrance fee: AUD37 / Php1,426 / USD27 [Buy ticket online]

ACCOMODATIONS IN MELBOURNE : Where to Stay in Melbourne?


It's relatively expensive to live in Melbourne so hotel costs is quite high. If you are on a budget, there are quite a lot of backpacker places and hostels within Melbourne CBD. Here are some of our recommended places to stay in Melbourne.


Budget Hotel / Hostel in Melbourne


Space Hotel
This is where I stayed and I highly recommend staying in this budget hotel. You can get a dorm room which costs around Php1,500 per night, even cheaper when you book in advance. It's a walking distance to City Loop tram stop 7. 
Location: 380 Russell street
How to ge here: From the Airport: Take the Skybus super shuttle to Southern Cross train station. From Southern Cross any city loop train to the corner of Russell and LaTrobe street. It's a walking distance from Melbournce Central Station. 
All St Kilda Road trams to stop 7, corner Swanston & La Trobe St.
Check rates and availability




Mid-range Hotels in Melbourne


City Center Budget Hotel
Location: Within Melbourne CBD
Check rates and availability

Arrow on Swanston Apartments
Location: Within Melbourne CBD
Check rates and availability

RESTAURANTS IN Melbourne: Where to Eat in Melbourne, Australia?

Melbourne is a great place to do a food trip in Australia. Here's our receommended restaurants to try in Melbourne, Australia.

The Kettle Black
Location: 50 Albert Road, South Melbourne
Opening Hours: Open Monday-Friday 7:00am to 4:00pm, weekends and public holidays 8:00am to 4:00pm

Loch & Key
Location: 34 Franklin Street, Melbourne
Opening Hours: Open Sunday-Thursday 5:00pm to 5:00am, Friday & Saturday 5:00pm to 7:00am

SAMPLE MELBOURNE ITINERARY AND EXPENSES

Day 0: Departure from Manila to Melbourne
6AM: Depart Manila to Melbourne via Cebu Pacific - Php9,600 including 20kg baggage and pre-selected seat.
5PM: Arrival in Melbourne (local time, 3 hours ahead of Manila.
6:30: Arrived in Southern Cross Station from Airport via Skybus AUD19.5
6:45: Took a City Loop train and stopped at Melbourne Central Station. Bought a Myki Card for AUD6 and loaded it with money to take the train. Fare is around AUD4.
7PM: Arrived in Melbourne Central. Took a cab to Space Hotel because I was too tired. AUD 11
7:15: Check in at Space Hotel Php5,500 for 3 nights
8PM: Dinner in a CHinese Resto AUD18
10PM: Sleep 

Day 1 : Melbourne City Tour + St. Kilda
9AM: Woke up late. I was so exhausted for some reasons.
10AM: Took a train to St. Kilda AUD4.30
10:30AM: Explored St. Kilda
12nn: Lunch at St. Kilda Pier Cafe AUD28 (I had kangaroo burger)
2PM: Explored St. Kilda Beach
3PM: Train back to the City
3:30PM: Meet my friend Knoll who now lives in Melbourne. She treated me for a drink and a Starbucks mug. Yey!!!
6PM: Took a train from Southern Cross to Casino Station and walked my way to Skydeck 88 for an overlooking view of the City. Stayed there until around 9PM. Entrance is AUD23
9PM: Dinner at a burger cafe AUD15

Day 2: The Great Ocean Road Trip (Whole Day) Php4,817 / AUD125 / USD91
7:00am-7:50am hotel pick up 
8:00am depart Melbourne
  • Pass by and learn a little about Victoria's second largest city, Geelong
  • Stop outside the town of Torquay to visit the beach and enjoy a complimentary morning tea
  • Set along the Great Ocean Road while the guide will provide an informative commentary about the road’s history and its place in Australian folklore. Plenty of scenic stops including course a photo opportunity at the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch at Eastern View
  • Make a brief side trip at the township of Kennet River into the sweetly-scented eucalyptus forest to locate some of the local koalas in the native habitat
  • Have lunch at the Apollo Bay with another photo stop at Cape Patton on the way
  • The Port Campbell National Park
  • The Great Otway National Park
6:30pm depart for Melbourne
9:00pm return to Melbourne CBD

Day 3 Off to Canberra
If you are staying longer in Melbourne, I I highly suggest to visit Phillip Island, Botanical Gardens and museums around Melbourne City.

MELBOURNE TRAVEL TIPS

  • Bring USD. The exchange centers get a fixed commission so it's better to exchange curreny in bulk.
  • You can withdraw local currency from your ATMs with visa/MasterCard logo 
  • Make use of the free tram within Melbourne CBD.
  • Stay in a hotel/hostel near the city circle trams so it's easy to move around.
  • Ride Uber if you must. It's cheaper than regular taxis.

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