Some weeks ago, I just spent almost two weeks in Melbourne, Australia, and it became one of the greatest times of my life. At first, I didn't really plan to go there, but then I realized that I really needed some time-off—looking at my barely-taken leave balance. My mom then suggested me to visit my cousin in Melbourne.
I have a cousin who lived there studying at Monash University, Melbourne. So, for almost two weeks, I kinda tagged along in her place near Caulfield. Actually, I took two full weeks to go on holiday in Australia, but I spent the last three days in Hobart, Tasmania, and the rest in Melbourne.
It's my first time to go to Australia and the second I arrived in the city, I just knew that I would really love it. Melbourne is quite a busy city like Jakarta, but ultimately more organized than the capital city of Indonesia. Also, Melbourne's more classic and alive. I've never been to European countries, but I think the city depicts those cities in Europe which what I've seen on films. No wonder that it became my most favorite city I've ever visited, and Singapore became the second.
What I did
Most of my activities in Melbourne are free of charge—even if it requires purchasing an entry ticket or a tour package, it's rather affordable and worth every penny. So this itinerary would be great for budget-travelling—because that was exactly what I did! And mind you, when it comes to traveling, I'm a more culture experience kinda girl.
Stroll around South Wharf. Recommended: Melbourne Maritime Museum (the former port suburb holds important maritime history), Polly Woodside ship (I took photo with this beautiful heritage!), Seafarers Bridge (pretty with lights at night), and Direct Factory Outlets (recommended shopping place for branded stuff, I bought a pair of Vans Old Skool sneakers here for a good price!).
Stroll around Melbourne CBD. Recommended: All that the Flinders Street, Bourke Street, Swanston Street, and Collins Street have to offer—including the shopping arcades, restaurants and cafes, bridges viewing the Yarra River (capture the city lights at night), and the State Library of Victoria. Also, don't forget to get on the vintage city circle tram, shop authentic Melbourne souvenirs at Queen Victoria Market, and appreciate creative wall paintings and graffiti arts at Hosier Lane.
Visit Melbourne Museum. Recommended: Science and Life Gallery (my favorites are the Dinosaur Walk, Marine Life, Dynamic Earth, and Wild), Mind and Body Gallery (my most favorite gallery in the museum!), Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Center (just EVERYTHING about the history and culture of the indigenous people of Victoria that you have to know). Don't forget to stroll around or take the tour for the Royal Exhibition Building too!
Visit the Parliament House. Recommended: Take photos of some insta-worthy and beautiful spots like the building entrance, the colonnades and steps facing the Spring Street, Queen Victoria's Hall, all the chambers (including the library) inside the building, and the nearby Hotel Windsor. To be able to go inside the building, take the free-guided tour!
Visit Fitzroy Gardens. Recommended: Cooks' Cottage (dress up and take photos), the whole Tudor village park eventually, and the St. Patrick's Cathedral nearby. Note: Fitzroy Gardens is just a block from the Parliament House.
Take a bus trip to Phillip Island. Recommended: Maru Koala and Animal Park (I befriended some sleepy koalas, friendly kangaroos, and a warm-speaking cuckatoo here!) and Phillip Island Nature Park (meet the cutest penguins at Penguin Parade and see breath-taking sights at Pyramid Rock).
Take the train to Brighton. Recommended: Brighton Beach (it's a MUST to take photos with the 82 colorful bathing boxes and walk along the bay trail to enjoy the sights of the beach + luxurious houses facing the beach)
Take the train to Ballarat. Recommended: Sovereign Hill (get to know the history of the gold mining town and dress up for photos), Ballarat Fine Art Gallery (lovely golden building, great art collection, and lovely cafe), Known World Bookshop (read more about it here), and the rest of Sturt Street.
Visit Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. Recommended: Shrine of Remembrance, National Gallery of Victoria (my favorites are International Fashion and Textiles, Australian Decorative Arts, International Decorative Arts, and Australian Multimedia), and the Queen Victoria Gardens (great to stroll around and have a little picnic moment).
Take the Great Ocean Road tour. Recommended: Port Campbell National Park (my favorites are the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, Archway, The Razorback, Dumpling Pots, London Arch, and Shipwreck Coast) and Apollo Bay (great scenery). Actually, the whole point of taking the GOR tour is enjoying the road trip and knowing the history about the road. So it's really recommended to take the tour.