LezGoMelbourne

A lesbian couple loving free, learning anew, and living in Melbourne


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Back to Regular Programming

A lot has happened since my hiatus from blogging. Life happened. That’s just one way of putting it. There were awesome days and not quite fabulous ones. And the latter is just an optimistic way of putting it. You see, I have had a terrible tooth ache that just made me want to shoot myself with a tranquilizer dart. It was so painful, I can’t help but think of crazy things just to keep my mind off of it.

And so, insane that I am or have become, I had a root canal scheduled on my birthday. Yes, you read that right. Nothing is more appropriate than being at the hands of a doctor, just like the day you were born eh? Lols. And at that instant, when the anesthetic kicked in, and all seemed a bit clearer in my head, I thought, “Wow. I am getting old.”

Anyway, I was able to do a lot of things and even tried out most of the cafes on my list. It’s a short list for now, but I assure you, the list is getting longer day by day.

Among other firsts, I was able to watch the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at Hamer Hall. It was an exceptional and truly eye opening experience into the power of music. If I had a bucket list, listening to a full orchestra would be one.

So,with this and that, I would just like to say “Hello! I’m back. And I will be seeing more of you soon.”


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10 Tipid Tips: Frugal Shopping in Melbourne

For a cheapskate like me, snooping for a bargain is second nature and is always a thrilling challenge. I love finding anything that I can buy with just a gold coin.

Of course, you’ll save more when you don’t spend. But when you have to, these tips just might be useful.

1. EOFYS
June is the start of the winter season. It is also the start of the end of financial year sale. Everywhere you look, stores are dropping their prices. This is the best time to take advantage of the huge discounts they offer on different merchandise, from clothes to small appliances, and of course furniture.

2. $2 Dollar Shops
If you see a $2 dollar shop in your neighbourhood, I am telling you it is well worth a visit. Sometimes, what you just can’t seem to find at the supermarkets is right there waiting for you. I was able to find anywhere from congee spoons and rolling pins to Halloween costumes here.
Sure it is not as organized as the aisles of a grocery, but I think that it’s part of its charm.

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Take a peek and take your pick. $1 bags of produce can yield a good haul from the market.

3. Markets
When you frequent a market enough, you get to know its inner workings. You start to notice when is the best time to come, what bargains you can expect, and what you can buy at a wholesale price. Don’t go ignoring the $1 bags they offer, because sometimes it isn’t as bad as you think, especially when you need a whole bunch of stuff to cook right away. You just have to scrupulous

4. Sales
It’s true what they say here; when you see it on sale, grab it. You don’t know when the price will go down again. It’s okay to stock up on the essentials like soaps and toothpaste and anything that just seems to run out in your household quicker than you think.

5. Catalogues
Some people don’t like junk mail, any unsolicited material that comes in your mail. But I love catalogues, and that’s where I can find and compare items up for sale. You can also look up at catalogues online, especially ones from supermarkets such as Coles, Woolworths, and Aldi.

6. Furniture
So, how do you furnish an empty house without breaking the bank? First, tell your friends and I’m sure they have stuff they want to part with. Second, look at classifieds on the internet like Gumtree. People would rather see old furniture go to someone else who may need them, rather than just dumping them. So, if you have the means to get them, then do so.

7. Op Shopping
One of the places where people can get a hold of other items at a much cheaper price is opportunity shops or op shops. The goods are donations from good samaritans and deceased estates. So yes, it’s like the “ukay-ukay” back home.

The stock on each store varies, but you’re likely to find heaps of clothing both new and used, furniture, books, and anything under the sun.

8. Free Stuff
You can get free stuff, if you give away stuff. You can visit Ziilch, a site dedicated to recycling and reusing items by giving them away to people who may need them.

9. Groupons
Take advantage of promotions and discount coupons or groupons. They can be worth it, especially when you want to splurge on something.

10. Bulk
The nice thing about supermarkets here is that the price also tells you how much you will be paying for each item. So, if you look closely, you will be able to see how much you are paying for each roll of tissue in a pack.

You can also see how much something is worth in kilos. For example, you might be paying $4 for 250grams of nuts from Brand A, which makes it $16/kg. But if you look at Brand B, it may sell 400grams of nuts for $5, which makes it only $12.50/kg. So, if you know what to look for, you can save where you need and make the most out of your purchase.

 

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.


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Melbourne Coffee Culture: 10 Cafés I Want to Visit

You probably know by now that one of the things that I love doing is making lists. But what you may not know is that I have a great, big appetite for good food too. (So be forewarned, there will be food posts in the future.) And in Melbourne, it isn’t hard to find.

But it being winter, I can’t help but think of a warm cup of coffee. Coffee culture is alive and vibrant here. Everywhere you turn, there’s a café or a hole in the wall just churning one perfect cup after another. For me, that’s a good excuse to just sit down and enjoy a good brew.

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So, what’s brewing?

I’m not going to pretend that I know a lot about coffee. What I do know, however, is that these cafes have caught my interest for quite a while now and I am more than keen to try each and every one of their special roasts and blends. The list can extend to 20, even 50, but for now, let’s make it short and sweet.

1. Seven Seeds
114 Berkeley St, Carlton
Mon- Sat: 7am-5pm
Sun: 8am-5pm

or

Brother Baba Budan (Also operated by Seven Seeds)
359 Little Bourke st, Melbourne
Mon – Sat: 7am-5pm
Sun: 9am-5pm

2. Silo by Joost
123 Hardware Street, Melbourne 3000
Mon- Sat: 6:30am – 3:30pm

3. St. Ali
815 Nicholson St,
Carlton North VIC 3054
Mon – Sun: 6am – 6pm

12-18 Yarra Pl,
South Melbourne VIC 3205
Mon – Fri: 7am – 6pm
Weekends:  7am – 6pm

4. Manchester Press
8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne
Mon – Fri: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

5. Marketlane Coffee
Queen Victoria Market
109-111 Therry Street
Melbourne 3000

Mon & Wed: 7am – 2pm
Tues & Thurs: 7am – 3pm
Fri & Sat: 7am – 4pm
Sunday 8am – 3.30pm

Prahran
Shop 13 Prahran Market
163 Commercial Road

Tues & Thurs: 7am – 5pm
Wednesday 7am – 4pm
Fri & Sat: 7am – 5pm
Sunday 8am – 5pm

6. Axil Coffee Roasters
322 Burwood Rd
Hawthorn, VIC
Mon – Sun: 7:00 am – 4:00 pm

7. Three Bags Full
Corner of Nicholson St and Mollison St, Abbotsford
Mon-Fri: 7am to 3pm
Weekends & Public Holidays 8am – 5pm

8. The League of Honest Coffee
8 Exploration Lane, Melbourne CBD
Mon – Fri: 7am – 5pm

Or

The Brunswick East Project
438 Lygon Street
Brunswick East 3057
Mon-Sat: 7am-5pm
Sun: 8am-4pm

9. Sensory Lab
297 Little Collins St., Melbourne
Mon – Wed: 7:30am -7pm
Thurs – Fri: 7:30am – 9pm
Sat: 8:30am – 7pm
Sun: 9:30am – 7pm

10. Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse
19 – 21 Leveson St., North Melbourne
Mon – Fri: 7am -4pm
Sat – Sun: 7:30am – 4pm

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.


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Moving to Australia: 10 Things to Know About Leasing a Property

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You can find some beautiful glasswork in well preserved houses. This one, however, can be found in the RipponLea Estate.

You can find a lot of literature about moving to Australia. That’s one of the first things you notice when you do your research online. There are brochures made by the state and local government which you can download. The wealth of information is out there if you know where to look.

But sometimes all the straightforward information you get out there is not enough. Some of us need to work with the details; some of us need some context so we know when and how we can apply such information.

I would like to think that I am one of those. So let me share with you a bit of what I know about leasing a property in Melbourne.

1. Referrals
Renting out a property includes a referral, either from your personal or professional network. So, it is best to know a couple or so people who know you and can vouch for you. Check with your real estate agency too it written referrals are needed.

2. Inspection Times
You may find yourself walking around a neighbourhood and saw a sign for a unit or house for rent. You don’t just barge in or try to snoop around the property. You have to contact the agent and get the details for an inspection time. Be sure to not be late though as some inspection times can be quite short.

3. Rent Rate
Apartments or houses are most commonly leased on a weekly rate. Don’t forget this as you compute and compare your options. The rent is also paid on a fortnightly basis or every two weeks, unless otherwise specified in your contract.

4. Lease Periods
Apartment units or houses are commonly leased on a yearly basis. Although, you may find some that allows you to rent a place from a monthly basis to a 6-month contract, especially in the city where a lot of travelers transit.

5. Location
Research and know what you are looking for in a neighbourhood. You can situate yourself in proximity to public transportation or to where you are looking to send your kids to school. It all depends on the needs of your family so it’s best to plan your priorities.

6. Furnished or Unfurnished
It all depends on your needs, really. But most of the time, the units or houses for lease are unfurnished so you may want to adjust your budget and expectations accordingly.

7. Utilities
Ask about the utilities you need to pay, the due dates, and where or how you can pay them. Depending on your lease or contract specifications, you may be billed for gas, aside from water and electricity. Other monthly bills you may need to pay are for those that you applied for such as internet, phone, and cable television.

8. Bond
A bond is similar to the security deposit we know back home. Typically, a bond is a month’s worth of rent. Knowing this, you have to allocate a budget for the bond and anywhere between 2 weeks to a month’s worth of rent to be paid in advance when you apply for a lease.

9. Always ask your agent
Do not be afraid to ask your agent anything regarding the house. It’s important to know the condition of the house, how certain amenities work, and what to do when something acts funny. Keep communications line open with your agent. For everything else, the real estate agency will update you if a new agent has been assigned to you.

10. Parking
If you see yourself buying a car in the very, very near future then you need to consider your parking options during your lease. If you leased a self-detached house with its own garage, I doubt you’ll be having problems. But in a crowded city where there is barely space for cars, you need to study your options and research the parking rules regulations in the city. It is best know what parking permits to apply for, what on-street parking rules are in your local area, and the terms in a strata parking in your building.

Resource: Melbourne Parking

 

Here are other links that you may find useful:
PDF Guide by the Consumer Affairs Victoria on Renting a Home
PDF Relocation Guide to Melbourne by the Government of Victoria
PDF Relocation Guide for Skilled and Business Migrants by the Government of Victoria
www.immi.gov.au
www.liveinvictoria.vic.gov.au
www.newcomersnetwork.com

 

 

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.


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10 Tips on Moving to Australia: Packing and Buying Winter Essentials Part 2

You remember Wency Cornejo’s song Next in Line that goes, “What’s there to look forward to beyond the biting cold?” Well, I finally get. What I mean is, I now know what the biting cold feels like. It’s so cold, you feel like someone is pinching your nose or your skin. If you don’t want to wake up to that kind of morning or to settle in for a really, really long and uncomfortable evening, then here are a few items that may just help you.

1. Bathrobe ($20 and up)
Fumbling out of bed, one of the first things anyone would reach out for is a bathrobe. Yes, you can either grab a bathrobe to wrap yourself with or drag the blanket out to the kitchen as you make the morning coffee.

2. Slippers ($3 and up)
I always go barefoot inside the house, I don’t know why but I do. However, nothing compels me more to wear a pair of slippers than the cold floor.

3. Quilt or Duvet ($30 and up)
Sometimes, a blanket is just not enough .

4. Heater ($30 and up)
You don’t have to have a fireplace to keep your house warm. Just plug a heater to the wall and you won’t be shivering in your sleep.

5. Mattress Topper ($40 and up)
If you have a foam mattress, then you’re in luck. You don’t have to be disturbed by the fact that every coil in a spring mattress feels like ice. The cold seeps through the fabric or the pillow top and it almost feels like you’re lying on the bare floor instead of the bed. The only thing I can think of to reduce this is by increasing the barrier between the spring coils and the skin, therefore a mattress topper.

6. Rugs ($15 and up)
There are houses that are carpeted wall to wall, but if you don’t happen to live in one of them, then maybe a good area rug will do. Anything that can ward off the cold helps, especially when you are still fumbling in the morning looking for your slippers.

7. Pocket Warmers or Heat Packs ($6 and up)
As the name suggests, keep these in your pockets to help you and your hands keep warm. Follow product instructions carefully to avoid misuse.

8. Door Draft Stopper ($2 and up)
Keep the cold wind from coming in by placing a door draft stopper. I didn’t know what it was until I came across one in one of our friend’s houses. You can buy one or if you’re crafty enough, you can make one. It is simply a cylindrical or tubular fabric filled with weights to keep it in place.

9. Heavy fabrics ($20 and up)
Choose heavy fabrics that will help keep or maintain heat in the house, from your bed sheets to your curtains. Wool, flannel, fleece and velvet are just some of the fabrics I know that insulates well.

10. Chocolates ($2 and up)
Chocolates don’t only ward off dementors, but the cold as well. For me at least, that holds true. Lol. Drink a hot mug of chocolate or maybe eat a couple of truffles and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it works.

With these tips, I hope I have given you a good idea on how much budget you should set aside for your home this winter and on what you should spend them on. The price range is a very rough figure and is only based on my personal experience. Expect the minimum price to vary from store to store.

Click here to read Part 1

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.


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10 Tips on Moving to Australia: Packing and Buying Winter Essentials Part 1

Brrr! Autumn is the season where you start piling one layer of clothing after another. It is also the season where you have to wrestle yourself out of bed every morning. And now that it is almost winter, it only gets colder and harder to wake up and leave the comfort of those warm blankets.

If you’re moving to Melbourne or Australia during this time, and if you’re not used to cool temperatures like that of Baguio and Tagaytay, then you must prepare yourself and pack some of these items with you. Sure, you can find and buy these items when you get here. It won’t be a problem if you have a budget allotted for winter clothing.

But then again, with temperatures of 7C – 17C, can you brave the cold with barely anything to keep you warm? Besides, you can buy all of these back home at much cheaper prices.

1. Beanies
In the Philippines, we call these bonnets although that may not be accurate. Anyway, bring some with you, especially when you are prone to getting headaches from being exposed to cold weather.

2. Gloves
As I am typing this, my fingers are feeling numb from the cold. If you’re like me whose hands turn to ice whenever the temperature drops, then bring a pair or two. You might want to buy a full finger glove and a half finger glove. Half finger gloves expose the tips of your finger so you can easily text or sms someone on your touch screen smart phone.

3. Scarves
It’s not just a fashion statement; you can keep warm with a simple scarf wrapped around your neck on a cool, windy, winter night.

4. Thermal undergarments
If you like to keep warm without putting on thick layers of clothing, bring thermal undergarments with you. I did because I don’t have any idea how cold autumns or winters can be. Others will tell you it is not necessary, but a pair is okay. I think it will help you adjust to the cool temperature better.

5. Umbrella
It sometimes rains in Melbourne; it doesn’t matter if it’s summer or autumn. You have to have a sturdy and reliable umbrella with you, especially if you don’t want to get soaked in freezing water.

Umbrellas here aren’t cheap and the cheap ones end up in the trash really quickly. So buy a really good umbrella and bring it with you. I’m not telling you to buy golf umbrellas since you won’t be able to put that in your luggage. Just buy a really good one, one that can withstand strong winds. It can be windy here so cheap umbrellas don’t last long.

6. Coats or Jackets
There are many kinds of coats or jackets that you can buy, but what you should be bringing with you is one that is thick enough to keep you warm. There are puffy jackets or vests that you can buy and bring with you. If that is not your style, you can buy a cape, a parka or any coat made of fleece or wool. There are also jackets that are thermal lined so you can keep warm without wearing too many layers.

7. Sweaters & Cardigans
You don’t have to bring a ton with you, just bring one or two so you can layer your clothes. Sometimes, when you attend dinners or parties, it can be too warm to wear a jacket indoors. You have to leave your jacket at the cloakroom, but still keep warm wearing your sweater or cardigan.

8. Boots
If you want to keep your feet and legs warm, then you have to wear boots. But I suggest you invest in a pair that you can wear to work or wear for hours on end. Let’s be practical here. You will do a lot of walking, so invest in a pair that won’t torture your poor feet.

You can buy a good pair of leather boots in the Philippines or you can buy them here for anywhere between $150 – $200. It’s your call. And while you may be able to find $10-$30 boots from big department stores, I don’t think it will be real leather. So, invest wisely.

9. Tights
Tights or leggings help keep you warm. I don’t know how or why but it acts like a second skin for me. So yes, you can wear your dress and keep warm by pairing it with tights or leggings.

10. Facial moisturiser
It doesn’t matter if it is summer or winter; I find my skin drying up like the dessert. There is very little humidity here so you have to keep your face and body moisturised. Buy some facial moisturisers to take with you and remember to choose one with a good SPF. Australia is near the hole or tear in the ozone layer, so you have to protect your skin.

On my next post, I’ll be making a list of items that you can buy to make you home more warm and cosy this winter. If you have other suggestions or questions, please feel free to comment.

 

 

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.


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Planning Your Melbourne Vacation: A 5-Day Itinerary (Part 3)

DAY 4
GAMES & GARDENS DAY

MORNING
Fitzroy Gardens
I don’t know about you but I haven’t seen gardens or parks like these back at home, so I am more than delighted to spend some time around Fitzroy Gardens. Sure there are lots of trees and farms in the Philippines, but there aren’t any parks in the cities. Sad but true.

You can also make a quick visit to Cook’s Cottage and other landmarks in the park.

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I wonder how many events this Royal Exhibition Building has hosted since it opened?

Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens
The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. So there’s more to this garden than meets the eye. The Royal Exhibition Building also currently functions as a venue for different events. As to date, there is an upcoming Love Vintage Clothing Show starting May 17-19, 2013 and Great Australasian Beer Spectapular on May 24-26, 2013. I think I just may drop by for a visit soon!

Before I forget, Melbourne Museum is just right beside the Royal Exhibition Building so may want to visit that as well.

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The perfect setting for high tea, especially on a nice, sunny day

Rippon Lea Estate & Gardens
If you want a see exactly how people, rich people, lived in Australia back in the day then this is the place to be. It’s like walking into a Downton Abbey film set where everything is as it was back in the day. Just click on the link and you’ll find details on admission fees, opening hours, and house tour schedules, among others.

AFTERNOON or EVENING
Melbourne, I think, wouldn’t be Melbourne without its love for sports.

Currently, it is AFL season. If you aren’t all too familiar with footy but loves sports, you are sure to enjoy game day. The moment you see the crowd boarding off the train with their team scarves, jumpers, and jerseys, you wish you’re watching with them. So, book a ticket and join the electrifying crowd cheering and chanting for their favourite teams.

DAY 5
SUNDAY CHURCH & MARKET

MORNING
St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one impressive structure to visit, especially for those of the Roman Catholic faith. From Melbourne Town Hall, you can catch the 109 tram and alight at Albert St.

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Am I the only one who loves going to markets?

MIDDAY / AFTERNOON
Queen Victoria Market
From Albert St., ride tram 109 going back to the city and alight at Elizabeth St. to catch tram 19, 57, or 59 and alight at Queen Victoria Market.

Here, you can have a good cup of brew at Market Lane Coffee, a warm pastry called Borek, and maybe a more familiar jam donut from the truck outside before embarking on a little souvenir shopping.

Once you’re past the butchers, the deli section, and the produce section, you have to make your way to the outdoor market where stall after stall of trinkets and other souvenir items are waiting for you. If you ask me, I love the Secret Gully Puppets with their adorable and well-crafted pieces. It’d be hard to miss.

Note: Queen Victoria market is only open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and weekends. Opening hours vary so check the website.

Well, that’s about it. I am still discovering Melbourne and I would like to know the city and the neighbouring areas more intimately. This is roughly the places where I would take my parents to; some of the activities I would recommend to friends with kids; or how I would introduce Melbourne to friends who are slowly getting to know this city.

Over all, it’s seems very “touristy” but once again, it’s up to you to edit out the parts you don’t want and shape the itinerary according to your interests.

Click here for Part 1 of the itinerary

Click here for Part 2 of the itinerary

P.S. A condensed version of this itinerary will follow shortly

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.

© LezGoMelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com 2013 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photos if any, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Planning Your Melbourne Vacation: A 5-Day Itinerary (Part 2)

DAY 2
DIY Puffing Billy

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One of the many steam locomotive trains running the show

Puffing Billy
Take the train going to Belgrave. Depending on the train schedule, you might have to take the train going to Lilydale, alight at Ringwood, and then take the train to Belgrave. From there, you just have to follow the signs to Puffing Billy. Don’t worry; it’s just a few steps away. It’s just like transferring from one platform to another.

Kindly check their website for fares and time tables as the train changes schedule on different days, depending on their calendar. They also post announcements here, in case there is a line disruption for trains going to Belgrave.

At Puffing Billy, aside from enjoying the ride and the scenery, you can spend an hour or so enjoying the different stops to your destination. Pack a picnic basket with you on your journey too and have a great lunch or snack outdoors. And if you go at the right season, say spring, you might even meet Thomas the Train.

If you decide to visit Puffing Billy, remember that it’s an hour travel back to the CBD. It might be early afternoon or late afternoon by the time you get back. You can make the most out of your day either with a short DIY visit to Puffing Billy and make plans for the rest of the afternoon/evening or you can go on a guided tour which allows you to visit nearby attractions such as Healesville Sanctuary, the Blue Dandenongs, the wine region of Yarra Valley, and maybe even Phillip Island to meet the fairy penguins. You can review your options with the tour operators you choose.

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I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of looking at the sea.

EVENING
St. Kilda Beach
Hang out at the beach and watch the sunset at St. Kilda where you’ll witness the city transform into a landscape of sparkling lights. The famous Acland St. is also nearby so you can have some coffee and cakes after dinner.

As it is autumn, St. Kilda Beach has somewhat limited attractions. Luna Park only operates on weekends this May and June, so it’s best to check their calendars. You can still visit the St. Kilda Pier but all access and tours to the fairy penguins living at the breakwater doesn’t resume until September because of the construction taking place.

DAY 3
Road Trip

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This is a great way to get introduced to a lot of good wines, great wines.

Wine Tour
I think one of the best ways to experience Melbourne is to go on a wine tour. There are many tour operators who offer this experience, so you are spoilt for choice. And they say autumn is the best time to visit, since the vines will be changing its hues from greens to oranges and reds.

The most popular destination are the wineries in Yarra Valley, although there are other wine regions too like Mornington Peninsula, Macedon Ranges, Gippsland, Bellarine Peninsula, and Bendigo among others.

Brewery Tour
If you don’t fancy wine but love beer, there are also private tour operators who can give you a microbrewery & craft beer tours in Yarra Valley.

But if you plan on staying in the city, other than hiring the services of tour operators, there are a couple of breweries I know where you can get a tour. One is the Carlton Brewhouse at Abbotsford which gives you a tour for $25 and the other one is Mountain Goat Beer at Richmond who offers free brewery tours on Wednesdays.

For everything else, you can sample a good variety of beer and cider on tap at a hotel or pub. Beer Advocate has a list that can guide you where to get a cold glass.

Road Trip Options:

Great Ocean Road
If you are staying longer or if you want to have more road trips into your itinerary, you can check out the Great Ocean Road. I haven’t been, so, I can’t give you any personal feedback.

Phillip Island
A road trip to Phillip Island too is a good idea on a warm, clear day. If I were to visit again, I would buy the 3 Parks Pass for the Penguin Parade, Churchill Island and Koala Conservation Centre. I would go and see the seals at the Nobbies Centre too and make sure you do too since admission is free. Some people say that Phillip Island is a tourist trap, but personally, I think it is well worth it to observe these wonderful creatures in their natural habitat (I’m pertaining to, of course, the undomesticated wildlife here). Make sure to visit the websites and stay informed of any announcements, especially when it comes to the penguins’ arrival time.

Note: These fairy penguins arrive at night so expect to finish late.

Click on this link for Part 1 of this itinerary

Click on this link for the Part 3 of this itinerary

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.

© LezGoMelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com 2013 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photos if any, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Planning Your Melbourne Vacation: A 5-Day Itinerary Part 1

If, for any reason, your visit to Melbourne is only limited to a certain number of days, then this itinerary just might be for you. It is also suitable to a modest budget where you can experience a little bit of this and a bit of that, so you don’t miss out on anything. The itinerary only involves one or two excursions out of the city, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out more and explore what’s out there. Again, you choose your own adventure.

You don’t have to worry much about getting here to there as Melbourne has a great and extensive network of buses, trams, and trains. But you do have to be aware of the schedules of these modes of transport so you can get where you need to be on time.

Hopefully with this, planning your Melbourne vacation or your visit to Australia becomes a less daunting task. You can easily amend this itinerary to make it more fun and interesting for the family, especially for the kids. You can even add more things and places to visit on this list if you have a faster pace than others. And if you like to eat out a lot, then, I may just have a few suggestions for you to try.

Also, there are certain activities here that you might want to change since there are festivals or events that happen in Melbourne on certain seasons such as the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, the Melbourne Comedy Festival, the Australian Open, and so on.

DAY 1
City Tour
Assuming that you have just arrived in the city and dropped your bags at the hotel, one of the first places you need to familiarise with is Flinders St. Station. It is one of the city’s most famous and familiar landmarks. From here, you can easily navigate the city streets and weave in and out of Melbourne CBD through the network of trams that runs right through it.

The trip begins here at Flinders St. Station where it is flanked by Young and Jackson’s Hotel on the left, St. Paul’s Cathedral up ahead, and right across is Federation Square where there is a Tourist or Visitor Centre, if you have exited to St. Kilda Road/Swanston St that is.

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Flinders St. Station really is a charming structure.

MORNING
Flinders St. Station
Federation Square
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia are both found here. The former celebrates the arts through films and digital media while the latter holds a collection of Australian art.
St. Paul’s Cathedral

Catch the free City Circle Tram or the Tourist Bus Shuttle and you can go to your next destination in the city. Or you can simply board the train or tram and you can be on your way.

The Parliament of Victoria
9:30am/10:30am/11:30am/1:30pm/2:30pm/3:45pm
There are public tours offered at the Parliament on non-sitting days. Kindly check out the calendar at their website to know if and when this is available.

Coffee Break?
Pellegrinni’s
66 Bourke St.
Near Parliament Station
Mon-Sat 8am-11.30pm
Sun 11am-8pm

Lunch?
Parallel to Bourke St. is Flinders Lane where a number of restaurants such as Chin Chin, Cumulus Inc., Coda Bar & Grill, Papa Goose, and Cecconis, among so many others, can be found. You can get a sneak peek at Melbourne Street Art/ Graffiti Art at Hosier Lane too.

Or you can go right ahead to Chinatown at Little Bourke St. where there’s also a lot of good eats.

Bourke St.
Walk it off and give yourself some retail therapy by visiting Bourke St. Aside from malls or department stores, here, you can visit Union Lane for another a look at Melbourne Street Art/ Graffiti Art and the Royal Arcade where you can meet Gog and Magog.

AFTERNOON
If you want to continue shopping, you can head out to Docklands where Harbour Town Shopping Centre is. But if you want to entertain the kids, then maybe a short stop to Wonderland, a small amusement park, would do the trick.

Royal Botanic Gardens
But if you want a change of scenery, head on out to the gardens by catching a tram and getting off at stop 20. If you go to their website, there is a free Autumn Discovery Walk available, except for certain dates.
Open 7:30am until sunset
Free Admission

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An inside look at the Shrine of Remembrance

Shrine of Remembrance
Nearby, you can also visit the Shrine of Remembrance that commemorates the courage, dedication, and the lives of all the brave men and women who served the country.
Open 10:00am – 5pm
Free Admission

EVENING
Southgate
If you still have the energy to walk around, a stroll along the river with a backdrop of the city lights is both scenic and romantic.

Crown Casino can also be found here, not because you want to gamble, but just because there is a light show inside every 15 minutes and a Fire display outside from 9pm on weekdays and 8pm on weekends. But hey, I don’t blame you if you want to try your luck. And if that doesn’t work out, you can always just go and eat.

Guided Tours:
If you want to experience a guided tour of the city, you can do anything from walking tours, bicycle tours, hidden laneways tours, beer tours, food tours, and even a silent disco walking tour. These ranges from an hour to three or more, depending on your selection and can cost anywhere between $20 – $100.

And then there are those who offer “free” walking tours but operate on a tips-only basis, so basically, you still have to show your appreciation through cash. I did, however, find a tour operator, Meltours, who claims to offer a completely free orientation tour of the city. I haven’t tried it for myself so it’s completely up to your own discretion.

Resources:
City Circle Tram
Melbourne Visitor Shuttle
Open House
Thatsmelbourne
VisitMelbourne

For more ideas on your self-guided tour, Thatsmelbourne.com.au has these:
A Walk in the Park
Secret Gardens
On the Waterfront
Arcades and Lanes

Click on this link for Part 1 of this itinerary

Click on this link for the Part 2 of this itinerary

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.

© LezGoMelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com 2013 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photos if any, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Planning Your Melbourne Vacation: Making an Itinerary

Time flies so fast. It’s May already and the temperature just keeps on dropping. I almost didn’t notice it until I saw how many weeks of blogging I’ve missed.

The thing is, I’ve had a couple of friends and family who came for a visit. So yes, I was out most of the time and drained the rest of the evening. That’s how many of us do it, right? Vacation for us means a lot of sightseeing, walking, picture taking, and so on. By the end of our vacation, we need another one. Lols. It’s funny how true that is.

So, days before, I have been researching. What is there to see or do in Melbourne? I asked this question multiple times. I haven’t had much chance to explore Melbourne very much so I had to do a lot of reading.

April is not as eventful compared to January, February or March where droves of people would go and see the Australian Open and Australian Grand Prix, celebrate Australia Day and Moomba, or watch the city light up for White Night. Still, April has its own merits and there are a handful of things you can still do and see in Melbourne. Even with the temperature dropping, even with the cloudy skies and bursts of rain, there are many ways for you to experience Melbourne.

So, if you are looking into customising your own trip, here are tips that I would like to share with you when it comes to planning your vacation.

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1. Interests
It’s best to cater your guests’ interests so they can have a memorable time during their stay. Some people explore the city, others want to experience the outdoors. Some enjoy knowing about a city’s history while others want to know it through food.

2. Budget
You can explore Melbourne in any way you want. You can do a walking tour, go on a bike ride, cruise around town in a top down convertible car, or even drive to the valley in a limo. It’s your choice how you do it, but there’s a price tag.

But, you can easily keep track by allocating a certain attraction or activity for each day. This way, you can stick to a daily budget and not go overboard.

3. Weather
It can definitely get hot in the summer, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a spell of rain the following days. The same is true when it’s spring or autumn. So, you have to prepare a range of activities that you can do indoors when the weather is too wet and cold outside.

4. Zone it
If you are to visit a certain attraction, it would do well to build an itinerary around that particular route or area. This way, you can easily reach different spots on your itinerary without tiring yourself. A good example of this would be a day going around the city on the City Circle Tram or the Free Tourist Bus Shuttle.

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Melbourne is littered with wonderful parks and gardens. Isn’t that grand?

5. Themes
I use themes in my itinerary to describe the type of activity that would be involved for that day, i.e. Parks and Recreation Thursday or Sunday Church St. Shopping. This makes it easier to compile and remember all our destinations and options.

6. It’s All in the Details
List everything that you can about the places you will be visiting; addresses, fees, train and tram routes, and even operating hours. These are all essential. You don’t want to waste your time and energy visiting an attraction that is closed for that day. Trust me, it happens.

7. Plan B
There should always be a Plan B and even a Plan C. Even with the most meticulous planning, it can be quite hard to stick to a schedule, especially when you are enjoying yourself. Having other options saves you time from worrying and deciding where to go next.

8. Group Size
Size does matter, especially when you are planning activities, making reservations, and juggling schedules. It might not occur to some, but the demands of a small group are different from a big one. Something as simple as a taxi ride can be tricky when you’re a group of five when the taxi only carries 4 and restaurant reservations might be tricky for more than 8 people at short notice.

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It’s not enough to watch just one show or two or three.

9. Booking and buying tickets
There are perks when you prepare a schedule ahead of time. For one, some offer discounts for online bookings compared to walk-ins. Second, you can easily guarantee a seat to a show or event without wasting time waiting in line.

10. Souvenir Shopping
I know you would have gone to a lot of places where you would have purchased a souvenir or two. But being Filipinos, souvenir shopping means we have to have some good stuff to bring home with us for family and friends.

Yes, it’s a tradition that you either hate or love. But I love it because it means shopping! So, aside from your personal purchases in stores and boutiques, remember to dedicate a day or at least half a day for your souvenir shopping. Remember, the markets and malls close early in Melbourne and wouldn’t stay open past 5pm on weekdays or 7pm at the latest.

However, there are still places for you to do your shopping. Grocery or supermarkets stay open until late, some as long as midnight so you can grab candies and chocolates here. Big name stores such as Big W, Target, and Kmart are also open for longer hours. Time, however, varies for each store so you many want to check them out before going.

Well, that’s about it. On my next few posts, I’ll be sharing with you an itinerary and a glimpse of the places we’ve visited the past few days. Until then, take care.

 

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.

© LezGoMelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com 2013 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photos if any, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lezgomelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.