Here’s what we did in Melbourne, Australia!
Travel Dates: 18-19 Nov 2014
Unfortunately our cruise ship was unable to make it to Tasmania due to rough waters in the Tasman Sea. Instead, we spent 2 days in Melbourne.
Transportation: Public bus or tram ($15)
When you get off the cruise ship, they will have a ticket booth in the terminal. You must buy a public transportation card that is refillable. For $15, you get 1 day of unlimited travel. The next day we paid about $7 each for a 2nd day of travel. They admitted it’s not the most efficient system since tourists are forced to buy this permanent public transportation “debit” card (for lack of better words). It was easy to use though. You can take the bus from the cruise terminal to downtown (specifically arranged for the cruise ship), or walk to the end of the harbor to catch the tram into town.
We took the 1030 “I’m Free” walking tour. If you haven’t heard of these tours, they’re great. They offer similar tours around Europe and in Sydney. The concept is simple. Typically college students will give a 2.5-3 hour walking tour around the town for no set price, just a tip. Our tour guide gave us some great tips and we walked around all of the main areas downtown. She pointed out some neat street art too. Melbourne is famous for street art (legal graffiti).
We stopped in the State Library to see the Ned Kelly museum and access the internet. It’s a beautiful library!
The federal building also has a free TV/media museum in the basement. The architecture of Fed Square was pretty too.
At night, we took the tram to St. Kilda. *Free Penguin Viewing* Our tour guide gave us this great tip! Instead of paying go to Philip Island, you can see the penguins coming back to their nests at sunset at St. Kilda pier! We saw a dozen or so penguins waddle on to the beach and back into their nests. It was very cool! We wish our camera took better pictures at night, but the catch was we couldn’t use our flash. There were a few local volunteers to explain information about penguins (and make sure we didn’t use our flash).
We took the $5 city tour shuttle around the city. It’s basically a hop-on/hop-off tour bus. It was fairly interesting and allowed us to see more areas of the city. We didn’t get off of it, but it was nice to learn and see.
We attempted to get on the free city circle tram, but it was way too crowded and didn’t seem to have commentary. We had heard it was a tour tram similar to the $5 tour, but we didn’t hear any announcements.
We visited the War Memorial too. It was a very impressive monument just a short walk from the Fed Center. There was a nice museum in the basement explaining all of the wars that Australia has been involved in.
Since our stop in Hobart was cancelled, we wish we would have booked the “In the Wild! Kangaroos and Koalas” excursion here. It would have been $170, but we heard they saw the animals in their natural habitat. There were also tours to the Healesville Sanctuary and Ballarat Sanctuary. Other options include the Melbourne zoo, gold rush tour, Melbourne cricket ground, or the Great Ocean Road.