Life, Money, Travel

Visiting Melbourne And Its Surroundings…While On Business

Visiting Melbourne and its surroundings! As promised in my previous post Would You Travel To Australia For Business? Here are the highlights of what I managed to see while on business in Melbourne with a few pics. Hope you enjoy it!

First of all, weather wasn’t that great. Australia is just getting into winter now and in Melbourne, as the locals will tell you, you can have four seasons in one day. It felt cold, probably because of the ocean wind.

A Few Fun Words From Melbourne:

A few fun words I learned (remember I am french so may not be so fun to you!),

  • Rubbish for garbage. Just love the way they say it!
  • Mate for a friend.
  • Take-away for take-out. It’s close but confusing at first. When I ordered Thai one night, the girl asked me “take away”? Like No you can’t take it away I want to take it home!

Food & Drinks:

I didn’t get a chance to test the beer…so no review! (forgive me and keep reading anyway please, cute pics coming up). I stuffed my face tried lamington* cake (oh so good!), tested vegemite* (oh not so good, maybe even disgusting!) and ate Tim-tam cookies (not my favorite even if the biscuit is covered in chocolate).

I did a junk food trip to the grocery store and may have brought back a bag full of junk food (banana split and lamington M&Ms, lamington cake, tim-tam, snowballs …). Am I the only one who bring junk food back from foreign places?

*Lamington is a sponge cake, covered in chocolate and rolled in coconut and I LOVED it (and again forgot to take pics!)

*Vegemite is a black food spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives. Apparently it is an excellent source of vitamin B.

So Beside Working 14 hours Day, What Did I Do??

I booked two tours (being alone and with little time, it seemed like the right formula)

First Saturday – Tour #1, The Grand Parade:

Feeding wallabies
  • Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park on the Mornington Peninsula. You can see all the same animals everywhere in Australia but at the Sanctuary you can get up close. I got to pet a koala and feed wallabies (small version of the kangaroo) and kangaroos. It was the highlight of my day (I know, I should grow up!)Koala
    • Fun facts: The female kangaroo can pick the sex of the joey (baby kangaroo), she can also decide when to start her pregnancy . Not sure how scientists figured that one out but sounds pretty cool.

    • Fun fact: Koalas are pretty much stoned all the time!!! I am exaggerating but they can sleep up to 22 hours a day. They need a lot of sleep because of the amount of energy required to digest the toxins from the eucalyptus leaves.

      He looks high right? He is the one I got to pet:)
  • Churchill Island – Working heritage farm with magnificent views over Western PortChurchill Island
    • Beautiful spot for the views.Churchill Island
  • The Nobbies – a rocky outcrop with an excellent boardwalk where you may spot Little Penguins’s homes and I did. Apparently not the season for them to be there but saw a couple in one of the burrows (can you see one?)Penguins burrow
    • Antarctic Journey at The Nobbies – Antartic wildlife via education tour and interactive experiences
  • Phillip Island Nature Park – a natural home for koalas, wallabies, seals and the Little Penguins Parade! Check out this video to see the little penguins come back at night, it is really cool. (You have to watch it!) I got so wrapped up in looking for them and following them, I didn’t film or take picture. Also pretty noisy.
    • Fun fact: Little penguins are the smallest of all penguins species and they spend 80% of their lives in the water. To find out more about the penguins , check out the Penguin Foundation.

Sunday – Visiting Melbourne

Melbourne Laneways

Took the city train (right beside my building) to Downtown Melbourne, spent the full day walking around. Weather was nice to walk around. I had to buy a Myki card to take the train (reusable travel card). You spend around $6 for it (no refund or return unfortunately). Otherwise fare was very reasonable. It took about 20 minutes to get downtown.

Once downtown, all public transportation is free on the week-end (tramway is free all the time in the business district). I went to:

I met a retired couple and talked about retired life in Melbourne, sounds like life as a retiree is pretty sweet in Australia! I plan to look more into it:)

Second Saturday – Tour #2 The Great Ocean Road

An amazing coastline to travel and stunningly breathtaking even with poor weather

“Great Ocean Road takes in spectacular coastal views of long sandy beaches, rolling surf, precipitous coastal cliffs and river inlets”. We stopped or drove thru :

  • Otway National Park – fern gullies and Eucalypts make up the Australian rainforest
  • Port Campbell National Park’s rugged coastline, “The Shipwreck Coast”
  • Huge stone monoliths of the Twelve Apostles from the boardwalk lookoutGreat Ocean Road
  • Tom & Eva and Razorback – grand architecture carved by surf
  • Loch Ard Gorge – site of the tragic shipwreck of the “Loch Ard”Great Ocean Road
  • Port Campbell – holiday resort and fishing village

Optional Helicopter ride? I did it! I had to. For once I only had to pay for one! Sad to say but when I travel with my kids, everything gets multiplied by four and becomes quite expensive. So I did the 15 minutes helicopter ride over the shipwreck coast and so glad I did it!Great Ocean Road


I feel I took full advantage of my free time. I loved the little I saw of Melbourne and its surroundings and enjoyed meeting new people. It was interesting to see how different it is when you travel alone.

So how much did all the extra stuff cost me? A helicopter ride, two organized tours? Not very frugal am I? Well, technically it didn’t cost me anything! Actually I cleared over $2,000 from the trip!! How? You will have to read my next post!

How about you, did you ever visit Melbourne and the surroundings? Anything special places your recommend I visit next time?

Melbourne Australia

16 thoughts on “Visiting Melbourne And Its Surroundings…While On Business

  1. I spent about 4 months in Melbourne for business a handful of years ago. Your pics bring back memories. For the great ocean if you ever get a chance to go back drive it. Stop midway somewhere and then hike in the Ottaways. Darling morning you see everything you saw in the sanctuary (been there too) in the wild.

    Weirdest thing I did in Melbourne? Cross country skiing.

    1. 4 months! Not sure I would want to leave my kids for that long:) I will keep that in mind,would love to go back.
      Cross country skiing? where?

      1. North east of Melbourne is a plateau area where it snows in the winter. Absolutely gorgeous.

        I can also recommend north east the grampians (reminds me a bit of landscape in crocodile Dundee) and my favorite tidal river National Park which is south east . Then again I prefer national parks.

  2. Always love checking out a new city when the opportunity to travel for work arises! Glad you enjoyed your trip to my home city 🙂

    Sounds like you really made the most of it, not much more I can recommend – other than sampling all of the incredible food you can get here from all around the world. It really is a fantastic city (apart from the completely random weather)

    And no, you’re certainly not the only one who brings back junk-food – I especially love stocking up on all the various treats the US has to offer whenever I’m there 🙂

    Cheers, Frankie

  3. So cute!!!!! What are wallabies vs kangaroos? Were there a lot of dangerous animals there? I think Melbourne is probably one of the coolest places with the most beautiful people. I heard it’s very expensive too! Glad you were able to go even if its a lot for work 😉

    1. Wallabies are a small version of kangaroos:) I didn’t see any dangerous animals but heard they may have venomous snakes (to be verified). The people were awesome, such a diversity.
      Housing in Melbourne is rising as the city is growing. Many areas had the average home around 1M. Food is not cheap but I went grocery shopping and was able to eat fairly cheap.

  4. Caroline, that’s a great trip. Those animal looked so cute, especially koalas. Helicopter ride sounds a lot of fun. I like to go there some day.

    Rubbish, garbage, that’s funny. When I learnt English at the beginning, I was confused by garbage and garage. Actually, in US, many garages do store garbage, not cars. When Arnold Schwarzenegger came to US first, he tried to order cabbage in a restaurant, but used the word garbage, and confused the waitress.

    1. Hi Helen,
      I didn’t know about Arnold:) Yes rubbish was cute and they have such a nice way to say it!
      I truly loved the place and can’t wait to go back…on business or leisure.

  5. I had no idea that Kangaroos can pick the sex of their baby!! Thanks for the fun fact.

    That koala looks like it’s winking at you!

    I went to Melbourne in 2009, had a great time. Have some aunts and uncles there. The Twelve Apostles are beautiful!

    Australia is EXPENSIVE. I think their minimum wage is like $20 there. I remember a bag of chips being $2. It’s probably now $3 with inflation haha.

    1. I thought that was pretty cool:) And yes I think the koala is winking at me!!!
      The minimum wage is now $25/hr and the cost of living is higher but I managed to eat for 10 days at a very reasonable price.
      The Twelve Apostles was beautiful but it rained a lot so ruined it a little bit. I will just have to go back!
      When are you planning to go back?

  6. ‘Take away’ does sound confusing at first but when you think about it, you are taking the food away from their establishment. I like the jargon from the Aussies, it makes them stand out.
    I like that first picture of the koala, looks like she(or he) is relaxing on that tree.

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