Sunday, August 18, 2013

15 days in Melbourne - Week 1

We spent 15 lovely days in Melbourne during the Raya holidays.
Dinner at the Plaza Premium Lounge KLIA - free entry with Citibank Platinum Credit Card
As we were boarding the plane, we were told that Joy's seat had a faulty AV screen. The MAS staff at the gate apologized profusely and on board, the chief steward again apologized. We were alright with it since it was a night flight and the kids would be sleeping. But the chief steward offered a RM100 voucher for in-flight shopping and so we bought some toys for the kids as souvenir. 

The flight was delayed for 1.5 hours and we waited in the plane as it sat on the tarmac. Apparently one passenger did not board the plane and his bags had to be retrieved. There was also some damage to some cargo panel and engineers replaced it while we waited. Oh well, better late and safe. It worked out well for us because I managed to put Isabel to sleep before take off.

We also landed later the next morning in Melbourne which was good for us because we couldn't check in till 2pm.

Once in the city, we dropped off our bags and then went looking for food and groceries. We stayed at City Edge Apartments on Elizabeth St. Located on the corner of A'Beckett St and Elizabeth St, this was a very convenient location. 
We booked early and paid only AUD$85 per night. It had a queen-sized bed in the bedroom and a sofa bed out in the living room and comfortably slept all 5 of us. This tiny apartment was also very well equipped with a kitchenette (2 gas hobs, microwave, dishwasher, fridge, pots and pans, eating/cooking utensils, bread toaster, electric kettle) and a washing machine/dryer in the spacious bathroom. That was really important as I had to do laundry every day! Useful items like hair dryer, iron & ironing board (not that I used it) were also available. 

kids enjoyed the yoghurt - RM20 in Malaysia. AUD$4 in Melbourne.

Since this was a working visit for Daaling, he spent all the weekdays at the university while I took all 3 kids to parks and playgrounds. I googled for playgrounds around the city and dare say I'm quite an expert now at getting around. It was rather challenging getting up and down trams with a 28-week belly, Isabel in one arm and stroller in another hand but people were helpful and kind. 

I got around using the City Circle Tram to save cost. It's a free service that runs the perimeter of the CBD.

We spent most days eating packed lunch at playgrounds. The older 2 skipped their naps and slept early at night. Isabel slept in her stroller whenever she wanted to.

Monday 5Aug2013 - Birrarung Marr

After exploring Federation Square and the Birrarung Marr playground on our first day, we stopped by the Victoria State Library on Swanston St.
Yes, it's a library - but not a lending library. That means you can't borrow books. But you can play Wii for free!!!

Tuesday 6Aug2013 - We visited the Melbourne Museum. On the way there, the kids got distracted by some ducks in Carlton Gardens.

A nice lady gave them a bag of bread and they happily fed the ducks.

The Melbourne Museum is so unlike our Muzium Negara back home.

It really is a very fun place where you can spend the entire day.

Kids enter for free while it's AUD$10 for adults. I would say it's money very well-spent.

The kids really enjoyed the Children's Gallery...

I was surprised to learn that I currently weigh more than an emperor penguin!!!

Wednesday 7Aug 2013 - We explored Docklands and Harbourtown.

Joseph remembered this Cow in the Tree structure where we took a photo 4 years ago.
We had lunch at a playground known as Docklands Park. This is on the corner of Spencer St and Collins St and not as shown on google maps (slightly further north).

After lunch and some playing, we took the City Circle Tram to the City Library. Located on Flinders Lane, this is a lending library. I registered on the spot (with photo ID i.e. passport) and was issued a membership card enabling me to borrow items.

what I don't like about the cold - having to bundle up so many babies!

what I like about Melbourne - my favourite ice cream is cheap! RM34.90 in Malaysia, only AUD$5 in Melbourne!
Thursday 8Aug2013 - Joseph woke up early and threw up! He also had a fever. I think getting caught in the rain the day before + jet lag + getting really tired finally got to him. Thank God I brought paracetamol which came in very handy. We spent Thursday and Friday resting and recovering for a busy weekend ahead. 

Saturday 10 Aug 2013 - Joseph is all better and the weather forecast a sunny weekend. We visit Collingwood Children's Farm in Abbotsford. It's a short bus ride there. Normal entrance fee is AUD$16 per family but today being the second Saturday of the month, it's Farmer's Market day and kids enter free while it's only AUD$2 per adult before 1pm. 

We get there in time for the cow milking at 10am.

Joy did not chicken out and kept her word with putting her hand to the cow's udder.

They also had a good time brushing the cow.
How now brown cow....?

We checked out the other animals at the farm - the kids had a fun and very educational morning.

pigs are not pink and cute!
After the farm, we made our way by tram (AUD$3.50 per day gets you unlimited travel on all trains, trams and buses on weekends) to Albert Park for a picnic lunch.

After lunch the kids spent their energy at the huge wooden fort-like playground.

Isabel finally overcame her fear of slides and now goes "wheeee!!!" all by herself.

Sunday 11Aug2013 - We visit Melbourne Zoo.
On weekends, kids enter for free (AUD$13.20 on weekdays). You would have noticed by now that I did a lot of homework to ensure maximum savings of RM!
It was a very lovely day to explore the zoo - Thank God for great weather.

Joe and Joy were very tickled by the white imitated everything the lady did.

Joy overcame her fear of flying butterflies...

We also caught the penguin feeding at 3.30pm. This is so much more kid-friendly than travelling all the way to Philip Island and waiting in the freezing cold.

Lunch at the Carousel Park was followed by a run in the playground...but of course!
Four years ago we came with 2 kids. Hopefully....we can return in 2 years with 4 kids.

Monday 12Aug2013 - We visit Lake Mountain for a day in the snow.

This was our CafeBus. It's a cozy 18-seater bus with unlimited servings of coffee/tea/hot chocolate.

After a leisurely 1.5hour drive through the Yarra Valley and Marysville, we arrived at Lake Mountain Alpine Resort at about 10am.
...and boy, was it cold!!!!
am I supposed to look cute like this???
I had sewn some waterproof pants for the girls using leftover PUL material (the kind used for cloth diapers) so we only had to rent 2 sets of boots+PVC pants+toboggan. Joe had a blast!

It rained hail for a while. Joy was not too adventurous for long but Joseph really enjoyed himself.

For the record, I also sewed their beanies (those things on their heads) using old teviron (special keep warm material) knee guards.
At some point, it snowed. We got lucky I guess since it doesn't snow all the time.
This was my first experience with snow and I think I'll be quite happy in tropical Malaysia. Isabel didn't quite like it either.

On the way home, we stopped at the Yarra Valley Chocolate Factory where the kids had a good time helping themselves to lots of free samples. I think Joy ate enough on behalf of the entire Tan Family.

Thus ended our very enjoyable first week in Melbourne.


  1. Supermom la you, did so much research and handled three kids plus a big belly all by yourselves and with public transport. salute!

    1. Only by God's grace and strength!

  2. Will borrow some tips here from you when we go in November. But we will be staying with friends and it's a shorter trip so won't be able to pack so much activities in.

  3. Lovely! So much time to explore all the parks and playgrounds. We are going in November too, but have yet to start researching on free/discounted entries. Won't have the luxury of spending so much leisurely time there though.