Melbourne. A Winter Holiday in June!
A quick Google Search will tell you that the best times to visit Melbourne are:
1. In the summer months (December to March),
2. In the spring months (September to November), and
3. In the autumn months (March to May).
The last choice will be the winter months (June to August).
However, for us, being Singaporeans, with the hot and humid summer months (January to December), winter time is the best time to visit Melbourne! We do not have to wait until the end of the year to enjoy a winter holiday! And for families with school-going children, the June school holiday is the perfect time to head down under!
Singapore to Melbourne
We flew with Scoot to Melbourne, Australia. The flight time is about 7 hours and 20 minutes. Scoot is the cheapest flight to Australia. However, there are no in flight entertainment. So be sure to bring your own entertainment; a good book, magazines, writing/drawing materials (great for kids!), downloaded movies/shows on your gadgets.
Time in Melbourne is 2 hours ahead of Singapore.
The city of Melbourne is beautiful!
The architecture consists of buildings, old and new. Among the modern skyscrapers, there are also Victorian architecture preserved in the city.
Melbourne City has been titled "Australia's most European city".
There are many choices of accommodation to pick from - hotels, apartments, airbnbs.
We stayed at a service apartment, the Docklands Private Collection - New Quay.
It is located in the city, and it is nearby public transports. There are convenience stores right below the apartment.
Places of interest nearby include:
Marvel Stadium, Docklands Stadium, The District Docklands Shopping Centre, The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Aquarium.
Book on Agoda.com.
It is a nice 2-bedroom apartment, with 2 bathrooms and a kitchen.
There is also a balcony with an amazing view of the pier.
Attractions in Melbourne
Lots of interesting places to visit in the beautiful city of Melbourne.
1. Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
Singapore has Singapore Flyer, Melbourne has Melbourne Star!
A huge Ferris Wheel in the city! A great place to catch the breathtaking view of the city from above. A good time to ride would be right before the sun sets, so you could catch the view both in the daylight, and the night time.
Visit the Melbourne Star website for more information of ticket prices and opening hours.
2. Eureka Skydeck
Eureka Skydeck is an observation deck on the 88th floor with panoramic views of the city, and also a protruding glass cube with glass floor called The Edge!
Do you dare walk on the edge?
Visit the Eureka Skydeck website for more information.
3. Brighton Beach
The biggest attraction of Brighton Beach is the colourful bathing boxes lined up by the shore. During winter, it is way too cold to go for a dip in the sea. It is also very windy and cold, so be sure to put on your sweaters and jackets! Great location for Insta-worthy photos!
Shopping in Melbourne
There are many places to shop in Melbourne: From shopping malls, to shopping streets, and market places.
1. The District Docklands
The District Docklands is a unique indoor/outdoor shopping centre. It has a modern design, with a relaxed and chill vibe.
Location: 440 Docklands Dr, Docklands VIC 3008, Australia
There are lots of shops at this unique shopping centre. Shop Australian and international brands including: H&M, Cotton On, Uniqlo, Fila, Sketchers, and many more.
The Reading Room
We came across this unique place called The Reading Room. It is a little "shop" in the shopping centre where you can just walk in, browse, read and even borrow a book! For free! A nice place to relax and take a breather after a day of walking around. Such a wonderful idea!
Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq
The TimeZone of the District Docklands. Play arcade games and collect tickets to redeem some great prizes!
We spent a lot of time at this particular shopping centre as it is nearest to where we stayed. Plenty to see and do here! There is a movie theater, and the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel is right next to the shopping centre. There are also a variety of dining options, with a couple of Halal restaurants.
District Docklands website.
2. Flinders Street Station
Flinders Street Station is the iconic railway station in Melbourne. Take a selfie or a photo under the clock at the front of the building.
Location: Corner Flinders Street and Swanston Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000
There are a number of places to shop around Flinders Street Station. Shops and restaurants can be found at every corner. You can also find souvenir shops for your trip.
Click here to see a list of top 10 Shopping near Flinders Street Station.
3. Degraves Street
Just across Flinders Street from Centre Place, is Degraves Street, a street famous for its street art scene. And also its coffee culture and alfresco dining options.
A nice place to explore and maybe grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate in the cold weather.
4. Melbourne Central Shopping Centre
This is a big shopping centre at the Melbourne Central Station. With a lot of shops and restaurants. There is also a big food court with a couple of Halal food options. And a huge Cole's supermarket too!
Location: Cnr LaTrobe and Swanston Streets Melbourne VIC 3000
One of the most popular attractions of this shopping centre is the KitKat Chocolatory. Where you can create your own KitKats, for yourself or as presents.
Melbourne Central's website.
KitKat Chocolatory's website.
Target is a big retail chain for clothes, shoes, home goods, electronics and more, at really good prices.
Located at Bourke Street in Central Melbourne, it is a must-go when visiting the country of Australia!
Visit Target website.
Kmart is an Australian chain of retail stores offering toys, home decor, furniture, bedding, and more, also at really good prices.
There are a few locations in Melbourne, another must-go when visiting the country.
Visit Kmart website.
7. Chemist Warehouse
Okay, okay. Chemist Warehouse is not a shopping mall or street. But it is still a great place to shop! It's a MUST-GO when in Australia! Shop for your toiletries, cosmetics, fragrances, vitamins, household products, and many more, for great prices! It is worth a visit!
Visit their website for store locations.
So... We only managed to go to those attractions and shopping spots, as we only had a few days in the city. Our plan for the next half of our trip is to drive up to Mt Buller.
Well, there are plenty of other places to check out when in Melbourne.
Visit Experience Oz for more attractions and shopping options!
Melbourne to Mount Buller
We took a road trip from Melbourne city to Mount Buller. The drive was about 3 hours. The journey was a very scenic one!
We just had to make a few stops along the way, to stop and enjoy the breathtaking views along the way. And also because the kids needed their toilet breaks, plus we needed a break from them asking on repeat mode, "Are we there yet?"
Mount Buller is a resort village in Eastern Victoria, Australia. It is famous for its magnificent views of the mountains, downhill ski slopes and terrain parks.
We arrived at Mount Buller Resort Entry Point quite late, and it was already dark.
There is an entrance fee to be paid, and we knew that. What we didn't expect was that we had to pay for overnight parking for every night we were there, and also for "taxi" service from the car parking area to our accommodation. We should've really done our research beforehand!
Overnight Parking: $58 for first night
Subsequent Night Parking: $10 per night (weeknight) & $35 per night (weekend night)
Taxi Fare: $18 per adult & $9 per child
Our bill was about $250!
Well, there is an online discount if you purchase everything at least 24 hours before you enter Mount Buller. And there are cheaper options of parking your car outside Mt Buller, and taking shuttle services to enter instead.
Source: Mt Buller official website.
You need wheel chains to enter Mount Buller during the winter!
Whether you need to use them will be determined by weather forecasts and current road conditions. They will check whether you have them at the entry point, and you are not allowed to enter if you do not have one with you. You may rent wheel chains at shops along the road up to the entry point.
We rented them at Merrijig Motor Inn (another $50 note bid goodbye to the wallet!) about 15 minutes away from the entry point.
Click here for more information about wheel chains.
Upon entry, we needed to drive about another 20 minutes up to the car parking area. That was where we would get a "taxi" service that can go up to the peak. Most of the way, it was total darkness in a winding mountain road. We knew then that we shouldn't have made too many pit stops along the way! We should've been there in the daylight. For a Singaporean driver who hasn't even driven up Mount Faber, it was a very nerve-wrecking experience! Luckily for us, it wasn't snowing at that moment, or the road would've been very slippery! It did start to snow the moment we arrived at the apartment! We were so excited to experience the snow, but at the same time so thankful it hadn't snowed any earlier!
We stayed at a service apartment from Buller Holiday Apartments. It is a cozy 1-bedroom apartment for 4, complete with a kitchen, dining area and living room.
Located at no.20 Stirling Road, it is about a 10-minute walk to and from Mt Buller Village Square.
We booked the apartment via Agoda.
Since we arrived after dark, there wasn't much to see outside of the apartment, and we were too tired to walk to the Village Square. So we had an early night's rest. Only to wake up the next morning and be greeted by a beautiful sight right outside our door!
Attractions in Mount Buller
There are a many things to do at Mt Buller; skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and other snow activities. Most of the equipment are available for rent at the various rental outlets in the Village.
For us, we were just in awe of the snow and the beautiful view, we just spent our time mostly outdoors, kids running around in the snow, and us running after the kids in the snow! There are a couple of snow play area where you can spend your time just playing in the snow. The kids only went indoors for meal times, to use the toilet, and to warm themselves up a little bit, before heading back outside. We got to experience the breathtaking sunset on the mountains.
We also took a ride on the scenic chairlift to capture the view of the picturesque slopes from above. Tickets for the chairlift cost about $20 per person.
For the full list of activities available, click here.
Finally, it was time for us to go.
If you are leaving, be sure to book your taxi to the carpark at least 1 day in advance. They will fetch you from your room, and drive you to your car. The car was frozen! We had to let it warm up for a good 15 minutes!
Remember to return the wheel chains on your way down!
The drive from Mt Buller to Melbourne Airport was about 3 hours. It was a very scenic drive.