Last August 2018, I went to Australia for a week-long trip with my N9 friends, Shane & Leng. We spent days around Sydney’s heritage sites & country icons, tried the extreme rides in Scenic World Blue Mountains, toured Hunter Valley & had a taste of the best wines in the region & walked along the beautiful Bondi & Coogee Beaches. I also had the chance to spend a few days with my relatives in Brisbane. It was the perfect dry winter trip, away from the humid & rainy Manila.
We all got multiple entry visas on our 1st application (find out here how we did it) & we agreed to fly to Australia again before our visas expire. Fast forward to April 2019, we all flew back to Australia for another week of adventure.. But this time, in Melbourne! Yes, we went around Melbourne & Victoria in general for 8 days & oh boy, we had a great time. I cannot wait to share everything in this platform. This trip to Melbourne also means I’ll be reviving the N9 In Straya Series which started last year.
We were joined by my good friend, Lord of LordAroundTheWorld, for the first 4 days in Melbourne. Lord was the one who invited me to go to Its The Ship 2018 last November. We had the best party nights on board a cruise ship – good times. Anyway, I will be dividing the trip write-ups into 6 or 7 sections & I’ll try to remember as much details as I can.
Last year, I paid around ₱11,500 all-in for a return ticket to Australia. Yes, that cheap! We flew with Cebu Pacific Air, a low-cost carrier, for 8-hour trips to & from Sydney. The experience was alright, though nothing beats flying with a full-service airline. Given our planned dates fall on the high (Holy Week) season, we decided to fly with the same airline in their Melbourne route.
This time, I paid around ₱15,000 for a round-trip ticket to Melbourne, Australia. The ticket only included shared baggage with my friends, no in-flight entertainment or food. Both flights were on time which were good. However, the experience was terrible. The flight was full, we had no space to change seats & have a row of seats to ourselves. The cabin was noisy in general & the service was a bit slow. The crew were fantastic, there were just around 400+ passengers on board.
This Melbourne ticket is amazingly cheap considering higher fuel prices & taxes. I’d still take the same flights but not during peak seasons.
My friends & I stayed in Flinders Backpackers in the center of Melbourne. We got a 3-bed dormitory room (perfect for us 3 – Lord got his own bed in another dormitory room) for 8 days & 7 nights. I will talk more about the hostel, its location & our experience in my upcoming hostel of the day feature. Watch out for that.
WALKING AROUND MELBOURNE
Last year, my friends & I joined the I’m Free Tours in Sydney & we had a nice experience. We opted not to take the I’m Free Tours Melbourne because we already know about the history of Australia. It would’ve been nice to know more about Melbourne in that walking tour but my friends didn’t want to take it again. Instead, we explored the city on our own. Trams are free within the central business district plus everything in the area can be reached by foot. Today, allow me to share with you the list of heritage & historical sites, parks & gardens we went to in the city.
Flinders Street Station
Flinders Street Station is Melbourne’s main train station. It was built in the 1850s & then transform into what it is now in the early 1900s. It is Australia’s first railway station. The station serves the whole Victorian metropolitan network. Flinders Street Station also has one of the world’s longest train platform at 708 m long.
St Paul’s Cathedral
Located opposite Flinders Station & Federation Square, St Paul’s Cathedral is another heritage structure built in the late 1800’s. It is an Anglican cathedral in Melbourne, the cathedral church of the Diocese of Melbourne & the seat of the Anglican Primate of Australia.
Royal Exhibition Building
Royal Exhibition Building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Carlton Gardens, Victoria. It was built in the late 1800’s & has been used for events & exhibitions in the city. Up to now, the place is used for those types of functions. Note that this building is undergoing a multi-million renovation & is expected to be completed by 2020.
Carlton Gardens is a 26-hectare site located a few streets from the main city. This massive open space has the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Museum & IMAX Cinema in it. Just like the Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Gardens was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.
Shrine of Remembrance
The Shrine of Remembrance is a war memorial that is dedicated to all Victorians who served in the war, particularly during the World War 1. The shrine is located outside the Central Business District, but is only a few tram stops from Flinders Street Station.
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne is a 36-hectare botanic garden located at the south of the Yarra River. This botanic garden is home to thousands of plant species located along slopes, garden beds, lakes & lawns. This botanic garden serves as a breakout space & a bonding place for people who wanted to take a break from the busy city life. Entry to the garden is free of charge.
Fitzroy Gardens is another 26-hectare block of greens at the back of the Parliament Square. This massive parkland is another park that is located within the Melbourne CBD. The Cook’s Cottage can also be found in this park.
Parliament House of Victoria
The Parliament House of Victoria is the house or meeting building of the Victorian Parliament. This historical & heritage landmark is located along Spring Street, beside the Old Treasury Building. The building was under renovation during our visit last April.
Old Treasury Building
From the name itself, the Old Treasury Building used to house the Treasury Department of the Government of Victoria. This old but beautiful building has then been transformed into a museum of Melbourne History.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
St Patrick’s Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. It is also the seat of the Archbishop of Melbourne. The church was built in the 1850s but took a while to be completed. The cathedral is located in Cathedral Place, right at the back of the Parliament Building.
Old Melbourne Gaol
The Old Melbourne Gaol used to be a prison that held the country’s notorious criminals. It also had records of people being executed & hanged. It stopped operating as a prison after the world war & has then become a museum. Entrance fee to the museum is at AUD 28 per person, quite expensive to be honest. My friends & I decided not to go inside because it was out of our budget.
Queen Victoria Market
Queen Victoria Market, locally known as the QVM, is one of Victoria’s famous landmarks. It is an open air market that serves as the main trading hall for Victorians & for visitors. We visited the QVM on a Wednesday night & it was also the 2nd night of the Europa Night Market. This night market showcased different food, delicacies & drinks from selected European countries.
State Library of Victoria
The State Library of Victoria is the state’s central library. Built in the 1850s, it is Australia’s oldest public library & at the same time world’s first free libraries in the world. The library has various reading & collections room where locals & visitors can have a look. I’ve been to this library twice last April, 1st one with Lord & the 2nd time with my N9 friends. This is by far one of my favorite places in Melbourne. The view from the topmost floor of The Dome is just stunning.
This ends the list of parks, gardens & heritage sites we’ve been to in Melbourne. I’m sure we’ve been to more but I can’t remember the other ones. Melbourne is such a nice city. Its buildings are combinations of heritage listed brick ones & modern & contemporary ones. Its one of those cities where you won’t get tired of walking around.
Have you been to Melbourne in the past? What is the most interesting building you’ve been to? How was your visit? Feel free to send your thoughts & experiences in the comments section below. Do you have any questions about the matters above? You can also send them via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow me & please please please also help me in promoting my social media channels – Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Watch out for more Melbourne content in the future! Thank you for reading.
PS. Photos were taken using my HTC U11.