Friday, 11 May 2012

Melbourne, Australia (Day 3 & 4)

After breakfast with ready-to-eat Brahim's Beriani that we brought from Malaysia, we checked out of the hotel. This was the last pack left- it is really tasty, convenient and cost-saving as well.

Located just 14 km from Melboune CBD it did not take us long to arrive at the city. Initially we planned to pay a visit at one of the farmers market but since we arrived a bit late (we checked out from hotel later than planned), we decisded to scapped the plan. Driving in Melbourne city would be bit challenging if you are not a good driver, or good at reading signboard :). Over here, if you were going right, you can't straight away take a right turn. You need to go left a bit and then when traffic is clear then you can turn right. We were confused a bit at the beginning and the cars behind us already honked at us the first time we drove in the city.

We checked in ourselves at City Edge Elizabeth Apartment Hotel. As the name suggest, it is a studio apartment, equipped with cooking facilities and a washing machine and drier. Located at the central of CBD, it is very close to every where- when I say everywhere means to the tram stops and places of interest. The hotel is very nice, perfect for a small family like us except I found it a bit suffocated living in a city hotel unlike the previous hotels in the country side. The area is surrounded with lots of Asian restaurants and halal food.

In Melbourne, it is advisable not to drive as parking is really expensive. If I am not mistaken, parking rate at the building at where the hotel is located, is AUD26 per day. So do other places, parking is not cheap there. So we returned or car.

Our first destination was the Queen Victoria Market. This is a must-visit place in Victoria for leisure, eating and souvenir shopping. It is bustling with activities and people, and lots of food. It even offers fresh meat and fruit. Just name it, you will find it here!I got a pack of strawberries for 99 cents only!!

Long queue at this stall. We could not find any other food stall that was undoubtedly halal except for this stall and the food is goo. You should try especially if you are a kebab fan. 

Delicious food...tasted similar to kebab. I think it cost us about AUD9.

Cheap and sweet though not very sweet.

Shopping time...

These we could find back in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, including cacti, only that KL offers more options and much cheaper.

 Take a walk around Melbourne CBD. For the first time, I suggest that you go to Melbourne Visitor Centre at the Federation Square for some info and maps. The staff is more than willing to help but please do not take pictures of anything here. It is strictly no picture taking in there.

It is easy to go round Melbourne CBD because you can take a free tram that is available in every10 minutes and it is very convenient to travel with stroller or pram and even wheelchair. You need not worry about it in Melbourne as its transport system is very reliable to everyone. However you need to check the tram schedule so that you can plan your travelling more effective as the tram operates during the office hours and extended in certain days only. Buses are also available and it is frequent.

Some pictures taken around Melbourne.

Flinders Street Station- the central railway station

Miniature village at Fitzroy Garden

Captain Cook's cottage at Fitzroy Garden

Melbourne skyline from Fitzroy Garden

Yarra River

Melbourne skyline along the Yarra River

Free tram :) to take you around Melbourne city.

Federation Square

"Ah, what a relief..finally I get to be on my own feet"

This is the first time I set foot in Melbourne. I was expecting some metropolitan look and bustling cities but I was wrong.  It is a bit laid back compared to KL back home. In fact the first time I was on the street I was a bit confused- was wondering if I was in “Down Under”  or in Taiwan or Hong Kong. Well, I have not been to both places but by the number of Asians in particular Chinese-like and other Asian people, I felt very much in an Asian country. I saw more Asian people than the white people on the street, perhaps 60%...According to the taxi driver that we took from hotel to the airport, ethnic group in Melbourne is very diverse.

I think Melbourne is a safe and a tourist friendly city.Weather, surprisingly had been very nice compared to what I had been warned. If people had been telling me that I should expect 4 seasons in a day, very erratic weather with unexpected rain or maybe a small typhoon, well, our 4 days in Melbourne, had been a very great experience with weather. There was only a drizzle which lasted for half an hour when we were at Quicksilver factory outlet and nothing more. Even then, it did not hinder us from getting around without an umbrella. If you do not believe me, please come to Kuala Lumpur and you get to experience hot weather and heavy rain in the same day. Anyway, when you are in Melbourne, it is good to standby an umbrella or better still light rain coat, just in case. A good pair of walking shoes or slippers/flip flop is a must. And do not worry about wearing slippers here because you will not feel out of place here. In fact shoes are hard to find here. When my baby lost his shoes in the tram, I did not manage to find another pair that fit his little feet. In fact there were few shoe shop around in Melbourne as I saw shops sell mostly flip flops. Treat yourself to a pair of Quicksilver, Reef or Billabong flip flops because it will cost you an arm and a leg if you were to get it in KL. It costs you AUD20 per pair over there or only AUD10 at a factory outlet!

Shopping experience at Harbour town is nothing compared to shopping at Essendon factory outlet. Tourists could get discount vouchers from the Information Centre at Harbour Town. We used the voucher to get this whole chicken at Nando's.
Lunch at Harbour Town

Melbourne at night
Tomorrow we will take a morning flight to Sydney.

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