Travel Around The World: Melbourne Discovery

Another thing I can finally check off on my wish list:

() Touch kangaroo

Well, feel free to laugh at my silly wish list! Anyway, I’m super happy right now, I just had fun in Melbourne on a ‘5 days 4 nights’ trip. I will share my itinerary in this post:

General Information

Flight Kuala Lumpur Melbourne takes 8 hours. Even though it’s less time consuming compared to US or Europe flight, it’s still long enough to make my butt flat.
Early June, winter is just started, Australia weather is around 10 – 15 degree Celsius during the day, and drops to 5 degrees at night. So those who plan to go to Australia during this period, long john is a must, unless you have a high resistance to cold weather, which in this case, I don’t.
Airport and immigration rules in Australia is very strict, compared to other countries I had ever been, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China, and few countries in Europe. Each person can only bring alcoholic drink maximum 2 liters and cigarettes maximum 50 pieces. It is advisable not to bring any foods or beverages, especially fruits, vegetables, nuts, meats, or anything contains milk and eggs. Every food, drink, even medicine need to be declared. Medicine must be put in its original package, where all the ingredients can clearly be seen. In case you need to bring baby milk powder, it is advisable to bring the new and sealed one.

 

How if I bring something but I do not declare it? Just like what most people do when filling up a declaration form:

Are you bringing into Australia:
– Goods that maybe prohibited… NO.
– Goods obtained overseas or… NO.
– Animals, part of ani… NO.
– Have you visited a ru… NO
– Have you been… NO!!!

Straight away tick ‘No’ without fully read each statement.

In Australia, we must be very careful. Declaration form is checked and handed out together with the passport to the immigration officer. They will read through and sometimes question you for verification. Once they are done, they will hand back the declaration form to you and you need to give it to another officer when you are about to exit the airport.

In a very unfortunate case, like you forget to declare something you are supposed to, and there’s a ‘Hush Puppy’ is waiting next to your luggage. What should you do? Don’t even try to shoo the dog away. Just explain nicely and pray so you might not be stuck in the airport for hours or obliged to pay a quite huge amount of fine.

Declaration Form Australia
Pay attention to the picture above. In case you bring any medicine, you need to tick ‘Yes’ for the first question. Same goes to the others, fill up the form properly and honestly to avoid getting stuck in trouble later on.
 
How about living cost? Expensive, for sure! For example, mineral water 600 ml is AUD 3.5. Luckily, tap water is safe enough to be consumed. Normal food in normal restaurant costs around AUD 15 – AUD 20 per person per meal. Hotel? I’m not sure about this, but all I know, everything is expensive here. At least for Indonesian citizen like me!
 

Day 1: Melbourne City Tour

Commenced Melbourne city tour to St Patrick Cathedral, Fitzroy Garden, and War Museum. Along the way, we could see the Royal Exhibition Building, Town Hall, and few other brownish buildings. As our hotel was very close to Chinatown, almost every evening, we all walked and shopped in Chinatown.
St Patrick Cathedral
War Museum
Fitzroy Garden

Day 2: Great Ocean Road

The second day was a bit boring. The journey to Great Ocean Road took us 4 hours. However, along the way, we were entertained by the super amazing coastal scenery, villages, and small forest.
 
After 4 hours journey, we finally arrived and saw some things. There were… BIG STONES. Seriously?! But those stones are quite unique, beautiful and natural. And in fact, they don’t call it stone, they call it London Arch and The Twelve Apostles.
 
During winter, 6 pm is as dark as 8 pm. At 8 pm, we totally cannot see anything, and that’s what I really saw on the way back: Darkness. So I spent most journey sleeping in the bus.
Twelve Apostles
BIG STONES!!

Day 3: Victoria Market, Warrook Cattle Farm, Philip Island

If any of our friends is going for holiday, especially overseas, one thing we would never forget is to remind them: ‘Don’t forget my souvenirs!’  This seems to be part of our Asian cultures. So, for those who wants to buy souvenirs, Queen Victoria Market is the best place.

There are wide varieties of stuff, like boomerangs, lanolin body lotions (the cheapest one is in Chinatown), vitamins like omega 3 and fish oil, bags, watches, key chains, magnets, postcards, foods, drinks, and etc. As long as it has either Koala or Kangaroo or both design on it, it’s considered as a souvenir from Australia.

I spent 2 hours buying souvenirs as Victoria Market is quite big, then we went to Warrook Cattle Farm to have lunch and *drum roll* touch kangaroo!
 (Touch kangaroo!
Apart from playing with kangaroo, I also saw how a well-trained sheep dog directed sheep towards their home in few seconds, learned how to shear a sheep and milk a cow. All activities here reminded me of playing Harvest Moon: Back to Nature in PS1! Oh, I really miss the game now. 
Shearing process
Another amazing place is Philip Island Chocolate Factory. Unlike most of the chocolate factory, Philip Island Chocolate Factory explains how chocolate is being made in a super attractive and interactive way. They also have few toys miniatures made of chocolate. To make it more interesting, there are few mini-games that will give you a token if you win. At the end of the session, each token can be exchanged with a real chocolate ball for free. Nom, nom, nom.
 
With the stomach full of chocolate (yeah, I love chocolate so I tried as hard as I could to earn tokens!), we moved on to wine yard, where they kindly served us and taught us how to differentiate the old wine and the young wine, and how to drink a glass of wine like a pro. Aaaanndd, I fell in love with its white wine, Sauvignon Blanc. The red wine was also quite nice, but I still love the wine that I drank in Italy more. Too bad, I don’t really remember the name.
Phillip Island Vineyard & Winery
It’s 5.30 PM, perfect time for penguins to go back home. Wait, what, penguins? Yap! Phillips Island was our next destination, an island where the smallest penguins in the world are conserved. When I was there, there were 197 penguins in total.
 
Every evening 6 PM, penguins walk back from the beach to their home. In my opinion, for those little penguins with super tiny feet, the distance between the beach and their home is quite far. If I were them, I would just probably slept on the beach. I saw most of them even took few stops to rest, and few of them seemed super blur and got lost! They are super cute, especially the way they walk.

The funniest thing was, the officers blocked people from walking and crossing around, even making noise for about 10 minutes, just because there were 2 little penguins took a wrong way and wanted to cross the walking path, but very shy and afraid of humans. Unfortunately, it was soooo dark and we were not allowed to talk very loud, touch penguin or take any picture or video, because the flash or light would scare them.
Penguins walking back home. I really didn’t take any picture, so I got this from their website (Source: http://phillipislandwines.com.au)

Day 4: Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill
We were brought back to 1850s where all the gold miners worked in an underground tunnel to find gold. Yap, it’s Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, 2 hours from Melbourne city via bus.

Sovereign Hill was designed in such a way to make the visitors feel like stepping back in time to gold rush Ballarat during the 1850s. When you are there, don’t miss ‘Journey through the Labyrinth of Gold’ activity! It’s super cool and memorable. We went into the underground tunnel and I’m super amazed that they still maintain the way it was, we could even see a manual lift, few raw gold in the ground, and real gold bricks as well!
Entrance to underground tunnel
Gold… gold everywhere!
All are REAL!
I also went to the Gold Museum next to it, where I could find even more and bigger gold bricks! But nothing really special here, unless you are a fan of gold.
 
Back to Melbourne around 3 PM to shop in Direct Factory Outlet. For Australia brands, such as Cotton On, Billabong, Rip Curl, Quick Silver, are much cheaper compared to those which are sold in Indonesia or any other countries. But non-Australia brands are more expensive.
 
At last, we all were given a chance to Crown Casino to test our luck.
 

Day 5: Last Minute Shopping

It was our last day here. I still did a very last minute shopping in Chinatown before transferred to the airport and prepared my butt for another 8 hours flight.
 

Overall

Total tour cost me around USD 1,500. Airplane tickets, accommodation (4 nights in 4-star hotel), transportation (bus), foods and drinks, entrance fees to all those places are all included. For my own leisure and shopping, I brought USD 400 and it was more than enough unless you are a heavy shopper or heavy gambler.
 
If someone asked me if I would like to visit Melbourne again, I would need to think 5 times to say yes. It’s kinda boring, no night life except bars and clubs. Most shops, even shopping malls are closed at 6 – 7 PM. Everything is expensive, compared to Indonesia. The plus thing is people are very friendly here. If you’ve never been here, it’s still worth to try. But if I could go to Australia again for holiday, maybe I would choose Sydney or New Zealand (yeah I know it’s not part of Australia, but it’s just nearby).
 
Anyway, I heard Japan and Korea are fun.

( ) Go Japan or Korea for holiday -> Hopefully can check this off pretty soon! 

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