Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne.  I LOVE Melbourne!  If you are traveling to Australia and you have a choice, don’t skip Melbourne.  I spent 3 days there and for 2 of the days, I took 2 separate day trips.  I wish I had at least one more day, if not two there.

Getting There

Melbourne is a 1 hour 30 minute flight from Sydney.  I flew Qantas Airlines and they offer daily flights almost every hour or two.  You can also try Virgin Australia or Jetstar.  United Airlines also offers a flight from Los Angeles that first makes a stop in Sydney then continues on to Melbourne.  As an alternative you can drive from Sydney, however, it is about a 10 hour trip.  Personally, I would take the flight and spend that time either renting a car or taking a tour of the Great Ocean Road (see details below).   Melbourne is 18 hours ahead of Los Angeles and the flight from Los Angeles is approximately 15 hours.  Thus if you depart Los Angeles on the evening if the 1st, you will not arrive in Australia until the morning of the 3rd.  Consequently, when you return to the States, if you depart around noon on the 7th, you would arrive in the States early morning on the same day, earlier than when you actually departed.

 

Itinerary

Melbourne Aquarium

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eureka Skydeck Tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Tourist Tram

 

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

Koala Conservation Center

 

Cape Woolamai

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nobbies and Seal Rock

 

Churchill Island

 

Penguin Parade

 

Maits Rainforest

 

 

The Great Ocean Road / Shipwreck Coast / 12 Apostles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Experience

Day 1 – Arrive around noon.  I had booked 2 full day excursions with a company called Bunyip Tours.  As a special for booking 2 tours, they were offering complimentary tickets to the Melbourne Aquarium, the Skydeck Tower, AND a river cruise.  I picked up my free tickets from their downtown office and proceeded to cross the street to enter the Melbourne Aquarium (a $35.00 value).  Now I don’t usually visit Aquariums and Zoo’s simply because there’s usually one in every city and the animals are generally the same.  However it had been a while since my last visit to an aquarium, tickets were free, and the location was right across the street.  I must say, I was thoroughly impressed.  It is a rather small aquarium but their main attraction are the penguins!  They’ve got a large viewing area for, I dunno, maybe 30 – 40 penguins, and they’re just sooo darn cute!!!  I found myself standing there watching them play for a good 45 minutes.  As I enjoyed the rest of the aquarium, I found that they had a lot of unique marine life that I never knew existed.  Overall, I would recommend setting aside 2 hours of your trip for visiting the aquarium.  It’s a bit pricey, a bit small, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

After the aquarium, it was just about sunset so I opted to use my ticket to visit the Eureka Skydeck Tower (an $18.00 value).  I’ve been up top to many of the world’s tallest buildings and generally, they’re all about the same; you see a big city and a lot of tall buildings.  I would say that this particular view, however,  seemed a bit different. There are different shaped buildings, stadiums, parks, the river, and overall, Melbourne is a colorful city to look at.  I would rate this view tower as the best one I have ever visited.  Again, it is a bit pricey but if you haven’t yet been to the top of a skyscraper to see the view or you enjoy aerial views, I would definitely recommend it.  They also offer a special “Edge Experience”.  Part of the building on the 88th floor is actually mechanical and extends outward from the main structure.  It’s like a glass box so you can see the world below you.  I didn’t do it. There was a rather long line and it cost an additional $12.00 but it might be cool?

Lastly, I had heard about a free tourist tram that circled the city, passing many of the major tourist attractions and gives commentary about the sites it passed.  It is part of the public metlink transit system and it is called tram number 35 – City Circle.  Attempting to get the most out of the day, I hopped on the tram and began the tour.  I quickly realized that this tram was also a popular tram for the locals.  Although the commentary did exist, it was extremely quiet and could not be heard over the other passengers.  I actually fell asleep.  So, I do not recommend the free tourist tram unless you are trying to get to a location on its route.

 

Day 2 – I booked the Phillip Island Penguin Parade Full Day Tour through Bunyip Tours.  I LOVED IT!!!!!  It is $130pp and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.  The tour included: Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, Koala Conservation Center, Cape Woolamai, The Nobbies and Seal Rock, Churchill Island and the Penguin Parade.

 

 

 

 

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