LezGoMelbourne

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


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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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Phillip Island: A Day for Penguins, Koalas, and Kangaroos

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The open fields to Phillip Island

It was our first trip out of the city. Together with a couple of friends, we made plans to Phillip Island for a date with penguins, koalas, and kangaroos. Yay! I cannot tell you how much this trip made me feel like a kid all over again. I mean, we’re talking about penguins! If you have watched Happy Feet then you know the scale of giddiness that I am talking about. So, armed with smart phones for maps, we navigated the long and busy highway to our destination.

It was a smooth ride all the way to Phillip Island. We took the straightforward route, which we thought might be faster since we were driving on the freeway, and made an exit to Pakenham. From there, we proceeded to Koo Wee Rup and drove thru Lang lang onwards to Phillip Island. There were plenty of signs along the road to remind us we’re not lost or we’re nearly there, so the drive was fairly simple.

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Getting up close with these kangaroos is another unforgettable experience you can add to your itinerary

Our first stop was the Maru Koala & Animal Park, open from 9:30am to 5pm, on 1650 Bass Highway, Grantville. It’s not exactly in Phillip Island, but you’ll pass it on your way there. A short, quick visit here is really nice, especially when you can get up close and personal with the kangaroos. And I really do mean close since you can feed them with the palm of your hands. It is a quaint place with really friendly keepers, so it’s just like visiting a friend’s house and petting their animals.

And oh, did I mention that they have an albino kangaroo?

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This kangaroo looks just like a little lamb.

But, if you are keen on going to places where conservation is of the utmost importance and where you can view the animals in their natural habitat, then I encourage you to visit the Koala Conservation Centre at Phillip Island. Their address is 1810 Phillip Island Tourist Road near the attraction AmazenThings and opposite Rusty Water Restaurant & Bar.

The Koala Conservation Centre is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Here they have trails or boardwalks where you can watch and observe the koalas as you walk along, which can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 30 minutes or more to cover.

Next up was Panny’s Amazing World of Chocolate, otherwise known as Phillip Island Chocolate Factory. Boo was more than excited to be here and be surrounded by chocolate.

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Are these chocolate men? I still wonder to this day.

The exhibition showcased the origins of the cacao and how it is processed to produce chocolate. As you venture more inside, everything becomes more whimsical and interactive. You have plenty of opportunity to have a taste of their chocolate too.

Considering the scale of their operation, the exhibit was okay but their chocolate products are very limited. You could say I was underwhelmed. For a chocolate factory, they could offer more variety.

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I feel like I’m in a cartoon skit when I saw this.

A stop that is more for the kids and the kids at heart is Amaze’nThings. I had a great time here with all the illusions and puzzles it houses. I’m not going to say more unless I spoil it for you, but I do have to say Amaze’nThings has big potential. With better upkeep and maybe even more puzzles, it won’t be a surprise if this turns into a huge amusement park. I really hope they make further developments with Amaze’nThings.

We included other stops in our itinerary, hoping that we would have enough time to visit them all or in case the weather turns, sadly we didn’t have enough time and it was already raining. So, we decided to go to Penguin Parade.

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The real penguins are as cute and adorable as these stuffed toys, but more so.

Since photography is not permitted, I can only tell you how adorable the penguins really are. It was a cold and windy evening but no one was deterred from spending a considerable amount of time hanging out with the penguins. What made it even more delightful was the sight of fat, fluffy chicks coming out of the burrows, walking around and calling out to their parents. Awwww.

Penguin Parade is truly an experience in itself.  I would go again to Phillip Island again and visit other attractions and the surrounding towns as well. I’m sure there are plenty of treasures to be found.

 

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.