Thursday, January 30, 2014

Melbourne, Australia Day 1: Maiden Visit to Australia & Wandered around Melbourne's City Center

Date of Visit: 30 September 2012

I always wanna go Australia since I was 8 years old and after have been waiting for more than 10 years, finally I booked a ticket to Australia via AirAsia during their promo price was as low as RM640. For me, it was a great steal seeing that I bought 6 months in advanced, at least and this time around, I choose to travel alone. There are many places and cities in Australia to choose from for visiting and holiday purposes but I choose Melbourne mainly because one of my college hostelmates was staying there for her Master programme and she offered me to stay at her place for free. Thanks to her cause if not, for sure I will hurt my wallet badly as Melbourne is claimed to be one of the most expensive cities in the world. [Source]

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#1: Melbourne, Australia's second largest city and it is the capital of Victoria state.

Since there is no direct flight from Kota Kinabalu to Melbourne, got no choice but I had to fly twice for the connecting flight. I choose the night flight departed from Kuala Lumpur and reach Melbourne on the next day morning. After two different flights and more than 10 hours of flight, finally I seeing myself landed in "Land of Kangaroo", "Land of Koala Bear" or "Down Under" and without I realised, my tears were eventually falling out. Seriously, I was crying silently at that moment but then, it was cry of happiness. Imagine after more than 10 years, finally one of my childhood dreams came true. Despite the love and hate relationship, sometimes I really wanna thanks to AirAsia for making most of my dreams turned into reality.

For those who haven't been to Australia before just like me for the very first time at that moment, I thought the immigration and custom clearance were easy and hassle-free like the rest of the airports which I been to but technically I was wrong! Australian airports are pretty strict and you must honestly declare if you are carrying certain foods such as dried foods, packaged meals, herbs and spices and etc. If you fail to declare those items or make a false declaration, you could be fined AUD340 on the spot or even be prosecuted, fined more than AUD66,000 and risk 10 years jail and a criminal record. So don't play play when comes to fill in the declaration form. I almost brought along mooncake for my friend but luckily, I didn't. But because I didn't want to visit my friend with empty-handed, at the end I bought Sabah coffee in Kota Kinabalu airport as a token of appreciation. Silly me for didn't declare it all! I almost heartattack when the officer requested me to queue with few randomly selected passengers and within few minutes later, they were accompanied with detector dog. No, I wasn't afraid of dogs at all cause I am dog lover and I have few dogs back at home but the most scary part was in case being caught for didn't declare the Sabah coffee, I can't bear any of those consequnces. Thank goodness, I passed and from there onwards, I learn my lesson that I should declare next time (only apply for Australian and New Zealand airports, in case).

Right after done with the custom clearance, I immediately rushed out from the airport and looked for the Skybus which booked earlier by my friend. Skybus is an express bus service that serve between Melbourne Airport right to Melbourne's city center. My friend booked through online and it cost AUD24 for return. It stopped directly right in front of my friend's place and once I arrived the desired destination, I saw my friend was standing and waiting me patiently. And from there, my travel adventures around Melbourne began!
SkyBus offers an express bus service from the airport to the city centre - See more at: http://melbourneairport.com.au/to-from-the-airport/skybus/overview.html#sthash.pH5V9nHg.dpuf
SkyBus offers an express bus service from the airport to the city centre - See more at: http://melbourneairport.com.au/to-from-the-airport/skybus/overview.html#sthash.pH5V9nHg.dpuf

#2: Queen Victoria Market for foods hunting.

My friend brought me to Queen Victoria Market which was just few distance away from where she was staying. I was freaking hungry as I didn't buy any in-flight meals and the last proper meal I had was like almost 12 hours ago. So when I visited Queen Victoria Market, I feel like I wanna eat everything I saw - like seriously! Coincidentally when we arrived the market, there was this so-called Asian Foods Bazaar was held. [Will blog more about Queen Victoria Market in the upcoming post]

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#3: After round and round, finally we bought chicken satay, fried kuey-teow and fried carrot cake.
Conclusion: Malaysian foods back in Malaysia are still the best.

After done with fulfilling my hungry tummy, it's time to wander and snap around Melbourne on foot! Melbourne has a very large metropolitan area, but most interesting sights are within the city center. 

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#4: Somehow the architecture of Melbourne reminds me the one I saw in Europe. 

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#5: Interesting and unique architecture that I unable to help myself but took a snap of it.

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#6: Melbourne's State Library in Swanston Street - Another amazing city architecture

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#7: The Block Arcade in Collins Street - Truly a European style arcade.
This historic Victorian building is undoubtedly the most beautiful shopping arcade in Australia, with its magnificent architecture, majestic decorative arches and grand display window.

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#8: We had chocolate break in Haigh's chocolate before continue to walk more. I'm not a chocolate lover eventually but their chocolates were pretty delicious. Talking about price, it was indeed expensive, especially after the conversation but then, it's really worth to try at least once.

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#9: Side view of St Pauls Cathedral. Seeing somehow enjoy laying on the lush green grass somehow reminds me of my life back in United Kingdom where my friends and I always do so.

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#10: The front view of St Pauls Cathedral

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#11: Flinders Street Railway Station - the defining landmark of Melbourne.

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#12: Melbourne's Free City Circle Tram - It provides a free and convenient way for visitors to explore Melbourne. One can simply hop on and off as often as they like to visit as many as Melbourne's famous spots.

From Flinders Street, my friend and I hopped onto the free city circle tram heading to east side of Melbourne just to visit the Cook's Cottage but unfortunately, by the time we arrived, it was closed. Fret not, cause there is this beautiful and enchanted garden for us to do short sightseeing which is known as Fitzroy Gardens. It's really hard to imagine that such a magnificent garden that give a very peaceful and serene feelings do actually exist right in the middle of the bustling city.

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#13: Surrounded by so many colourful flowers and plants in Conservatory of Fitzroy Gardens.

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#14: Ended my first night by having Hanachi Japnese Fine Food for dinner at QV Square, Lonsdale St

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 #15: And look what I spotted in QV Square? Malaysia local restaurant in Melbourne - Papparich! Hard to believe it was fully occupied and long queue outside the restaurant compare the outlets back in Malaysia. 

20 comments:

  1. I've many friends who have migrated to Melbourne and I tell them the same; Malaysian food is still the best, in fact for me, the best in the world. Haven't been to Melbourne but from my visit to Perth, I gathered that Asian food bazaar is found in almost every corner, probably the impact of Asians to Australia.

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  2. Australia is so nice..
    I think I have to wait at least 1 year to visit Australia..
    Happy Chinese New Year to you...

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  3. Now I just know that the immigration in Australia so strict and even has detector dog.

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  4. One of my future destination :D RM 640.00 for return that cheap ..!!!
    That a good thing when we know someone to stay with.. u are so lucky ..
    by the way Qong Xi Fa Chai Diana Teo :D

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  5. You looks very nice with the flowers...
    Happy CNY

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  6. xIN nIAN Kuai Le!

    Wah, no queue in Malaysia but they are queuing in Melbourne. Haha

    But Melbourne is a famous city for Malaysians to visit and reside right? My friend just migrated there with her husband recently. Hehe

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  7. I think I'll have tears of happiness when I finally in Europe..or the States..and thanks for the info about strict regulation in the airport..will take note definitely..

    Happy Chinese New Year!

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  8. when u go there? i was in oz last week.. but i cancel my plan to melbourne.. wah i still havent been there yet,, must Go!! erkk paparich in malaysia not a malaysian cook la.. i saw all foreigner in their kitchen.. haha

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    Replies
    1. This is actually my backlog travelogue, like almost two years ago. Now only I have time to blog about this xP

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  9. Well... There isn't any good, cheap mamak stall in melbourne to compete with pappa rich....

    P/S: from memory, Australian custom is strict on banana products :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the info, Cubie. Will take note of that for future, in case going to Australia again ;)

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  10. Always wanna travel to Australia, but must wait for approval from "finance minister" of my family :P

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  11. wahh how come u go Aussie eat char koay teow one? hahahaha at least you tried the choco and coffee there..CKT must only eat in Penang one. hhaha

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  12. I had the same experience at the custom. I declared the food I brought but I still kena. They checked very detailed at every corner of my bags and even my handphone messages! So scary!

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  13. The Salvo Property Group provides unique and sophisticated residential, commercial and retail developments, adding an exciting feel to the promenades of Australia’s thriving capital cities and neighbouring centers. See more of the company's details here: Property Developer.

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  14. Hi there,
    Did you use the MyKi card during your stay in Melbourne?
    thank you

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    Replies
    1. Hi N Farah,
      Yes, I used MyKi card when I was in Melbourne.

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  15. Hi Diana, for the city center that you mentioned, tgt with the state library, block arcade, St. Paul's cathedral etc, are they within walking distance or have to take public transport? Pls advise. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Shan! All the places are within walking distance. I only took free city circle tram to Fitzroy Gardens.

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