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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Discover Melbourne & Tasmania in 8 Days [Part I]


Places:  Melbourne City, Great Ocean Road, Hobart, Bruny Island, Freycinet National Park, Launceston, Mount Baw Baw, Brighton Beach.
Date: 16 August - 23 August 2014 (End of winter)
Suitable for: Groupies and Family Vacationers
Duration: 8 days 7 nights
Basic costs: AUD 912 (RM 2737) per person for the 5 of us including flight tickets (KL - Melbourne - Tasmania - Melbourne - KL), accommodation, transportation and activities. Bring extra cash for petrol, food & souvenirs depending on your need and preferences.

Day 1

Journey
Kuala Lumpur - Melbourne - Great Ocean Road


Activities
Road trip with A LOT of stops
Lunch at Lorne
Sunset at Twelve Apostles
Milkyway at Lord Ard Gorge

Tips
- For a day trip, start your journey early in the morning (us being the bad example because we head out after brunch time). Other attractions that you can enjoy in one day include Cape Otway Lighthouse and coastal attractions around the 12 Apostles such as the London Bridge, Gibson Steps, The Grotto and The Arch.
- For a leisure Great Ocean Road Trip, you can spend a night at Apollo Bay and continue your journey to 12 Apostles and surroundings on the next day. Other option for a 2-3 days road trip is to visit both Great Ocean Road and The Grampians. The example of itinerary can be found here.

Transportations
9-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne
AirAsia
RM 970 return + 20 kg of luggage

Tips
- VISA: You can apply here for SGD 11.95. Cheaper than Australian Government website and you can get approval within 48 hours.
- FOOD: To be safe, you'll need to declare for the food that you bring. You can refer to the list of food items here

Europcar Car Rental
$70 per day

Tips
- You can arrange car pick up at the airport or in the city. You will need to show your license, passport and credit card. For solo traveller, there are a lot of one-day Great Ocean Tour. Price ranges from $94 to $125.

Accommodation
Malaysian Hall 
$20 per person

Tips
- Malaysian Hall is only for Malaysians. Book at least 2 weeks earlier. You can find the form here. Prepare $200 for deposit and $15 for cleaning service.
- INTERNET: Only one of us bought Lebara simcard for $2 at 7 eleven and we shared the data. Data plan is as low as $5 for 250MB to $25 for 3GB. 

The best thing about Great Ocean Road road trip is there are plenty of lookout points you can't resist. We made sure we stop at as many lookout points as we can because we don't want to miss the opportunity to enjoy the mesmerizing views and beautiful beaches along the Great Ocean Road.

After all of the stops, we promised ourselves that there will be no more stop because we were pressed for time until we saw this. Ok what the heck, we stopped, we explored, we took photos, and we ran to the car. After all, YOLO!   This is the traditional land of the Kirre Whurrong, Gulidjan & Gadubanud people.

We didn't have time to stop so we just took photos from the car.  This was the result and you can imagine how fast the car went. Haha. Nonetheless, the view was amazing, worth of snapping and driving.

So we managed to arrived at the 12 Apostles just few minutes after sunset.  Magnificent view but we didn't spend much time here because we still need to see the Lord Ard Gorge.

Verdict

One thing for sure, you won't get bored driving along the Great Ocean Road. You can be entertained for the whole trip simply by just looking outside the window, dreaming, even without your set of playlist in your ipod. But that was not how we did our road trip. Despite the delay, our curiosity and the engaging spirit of Dora the Explorer inside us made us stop at every lookouts and beaches (this is not advisable, but hey if you have all the time in the world, why not? Unfortunately for us, Time was really not on our side..sigh..). Our main target was to watch the sunset at the 12 Apostles. We arrived right on the tick of time, we were running to the boardwalk to catch a glimpse of the sunset, snapped a few of mandatory pictures of the Limestone stacks and off we rush to the next stop,  Lord Ard Gorge.  

We drove to Loch Ard Gorge just to complete the trip although it was already pitch dark. Determination driven us to this must-go stop of the Great Ocean Road. We set the tripod, took photos of the vague Lord Ard Gorge with the help of Lisa's Samsung S3 torch light and few minutes later, there it was, the magical silver lining, the milky way. Subhanallah.  This certainly crossed off one of our wish list. All of us were speechless (literally). Although it was dark, quiet and somewhat scary (no one else left there but these crazy bunch of ladies), we spent some time there admiring the stars, taking individual photos with the milky way. It even crossed our mind to spend the night staring at the breath taking skies. Truth to be told, though this is not as what we planned and expected, witnessing the milky way was certainly one of our unforgettable memories of the dark skies. After all, beautiful things don't ask for attention.

The magical milky way appeared just after the sunset

We thought we knew the world until we witnessed this

Day 2

Location
Melbourne City

Activities
Camberwell Sunday Market (Every Sunday 7 am - 12.30 pm)
Hari Raya Open House at Malaysian Hall

Transportations
Tram & train
$7 (Myki card) + $6 (top-up) per person (Weekend price. 1 day unlimited ride)

Tips
- We bought Myki card at 7-Eleven for $7 not including the top-up. Only $6 if you buy at the train stations. Other option is to buy Myki Visitor Value Pack which you can get from the SkyBus terminals upon arrival at the Melbourne Airport or at the Melbourne Visitor Centre in Federation Square.

Accommodation
Malaysian Hall
$20 per person

Camberwell Sunday Market

Hunting for winter clothing in Hari Raya spirit. 

Malaysian Hall Hari Raya Open House


Verdict

Sunday was our rest day, shopping day and the day we experienced Hari Raya abroad (being local university students..it was a dream come true). We purposely set aside a day to shop in Melbourne since we heard that it was cheaper than Malaysia and it was absolutely true mate! We went to the famous Camberwell Sunday Market as we all love vintage, rare and second hand items. Little that we know that there were a lot winter clothes on sale. Quality leather jackets and sweaters only cost us $10-15 each. Branded sneakers and leather shoes for just below $10. Scarves were given to us free by one lovely Bruneian seller (yeah you heard it first from us). It was a top to toe affairs at Camberwell. As a result, we girls are one happy spender as you can see us wearing Camberwell products in most of our photos. We even cancelled our plan to shop at Savers, Brunswick (our initial plan to shop for 2nd hand winter clothing) since we had enough stock of winter clothing for a week.. haha


Day 3

Journey
Melbourne - Hobart (Tasmania) - Bruny Island


Activities
Roadtrip to Bruny Island with several picturesque stops
The Neck Look Out
Cape Bruny Light House

Tips
- How to get to Bruny Island: By ferry from Kettering. The ferry terminal is located about 35 minutes from Hobart. You can find the ferry timetable here. O ne day is sufficient to explore the island. I f you have extra budget, the 3 hour Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise (7  times winner of Tasmania's best tourist attraction) is a must do for  $125 per person.


Transportations
Taxi to Melbourne Airport
$18 per person

1 hour flight from Melbourne to Tasmania
Jetstar
$117 return per person (no check in luggage)

Tips
- Other cheap option is Tiger Airways
- FOOD: You can bring any food items to Tasmania. For more information, please refer to this website.
- LUGGAGE: We left our luggage with our friend in Melbourne and just brought hand luggage to Tasmania.

4 days car rental
Europcar
$186 for the whole 4 days ($37.20 per person)

Tips
- For car rental, arrange car pick up at Hobart Airport when you book. Nope.. we didn't pay for insurance (because we are carefree like that)

15 minutes Ferry to Bruny Island 
$30 return per car

Accommodation
Waterfront Lodge Motel (Family room - click to view the room)
$105 ($21 per person)

5/5 stars for the room!

Kettering Marine Ferry Terminal

We were blessed with cool beautiful Tasmanian weather

Bruny Island

The Great Bay - one of the 100 photos from this stop alone
The Neck

The stairs to The Neck Lookout

Full view of The Neck
Cape Bruny 


Luckily the lighthouse's caretaker was there, so she invited us to go inside the lighthouse
(only at the ground floor) and explained the history about the lighthouse

The magnificent view of Cape Bruny

Stay for a while, just a little while.

Can you feel the fresh cool breeze? Can you smell the sea?

Bruny Island Ferry Terminal

On the way to the ferry terminal

While waiting for the ferry

Verdict

We are all are geared up to fly to Tasmania. Our excitement does pay off, this humble one of a kind region is certainly a gem that we personally would get our passport endorsed again in the future. Tasmania has been named recently as number four region to visit in 2015 by Lonely Planet. This region is worth the recognition.The aim of this Bruny Island's trip was to witness The Neck, an isthmus of land connecting north and south Bruny Island. The stairs and viewing platform enabled us to enjoy the 360 degree views of both side of the Island. Can't think of anywhere else that offer this kind of view. It was a complete mind bender. Not to be missed for a trip in Tasmania.

Apart from the sheep bleating and the cows mooing along the road, driving in this island was very laid back, refreshing and serene. We only saw less than 10 cars during the road trip and encountered the same people at every stop of whom we made friends with. The light house was the second best thing of this road trip. As you can see from the map,  Cape Bruny is located at the end of Bruny Island. The walking pathways make it easier to walk around the lighthouse and the surroundings. With the combination of beautiful landscapes, great company, and the perfect weather, it was a beautiful day indeed.


Day 4

Journey
Hobart - Freycinet National Park -  Launceston


Activities
Sunrise at Mount Wellington
Hobart Waterfront
Freycinet Oyster Farm
3 hours road trip to Freycinet National Park with several picturesque stops
1 hour hiking to Wineglass Bay Look Out
Sunset at Honeymoon Bay

$17 Freycinet National Park entry fee

Tips
- There are many activities to do at the national park especially during summer. You can check the list of activities here. If you enjoy hiking, walking, snorkeling, diving and canoeing this should be included in your bucket list. 
- If you want to spend a night here, the accommodation in this area is quiet expensive. Other options include camping (in summer) or find accommodation at the nearest town, either in Swansea or Bicheno (don't miss out their blowhole). 
- For more awesome experience, continue your journey to Binalong Bay. The east coast scenery and beautiful beaches are to die for.

Accommodation
Riverside Hotel Launceston (Family room - click to view the room)
Booking.com
$120 ($24 per person)

5/5 stars for the room!

Mount Wellington sunrise

Shazlina's first snow experience

Only miss the sun when it starts to snow

Freezing -2 degrees at 1270m above sea level. Don't miss out the sunrise

Bonus picture from Meck's previous trip: Hobart City from Mount Wellington (in the afternoon), The bridge in the picture is called Tasman Bridge. It is a five-lane bridge crossing the Derwent River, near the Hobart City.

Hobart Waterfront


The town- Hobart

The waterfront

Perfect weather to kick start the day. We bought our breakfast here at 'Flippers' for take away and it turned out to be one of the best fish and chips we ever tasted.

Road trip to Freycinet via East Coast Tasman Highway



Talkative sheep. We spent 5 minutes mmbekkking at each other.

Somewhere happy.

One of the beaches in Swansea

Don't we all want to kick her into the water? Splash!

Seafood galore and our daily dose of zinc at Freycinet Marine Farm.

Freycinet National Park


Walla wallaby!! The closest we can get! They were everywhere! 

On the way to the lookout

The one hour of decent hiking

The Wineglass Bay Lookout

More than meets the eye. Worth every drop of our sweats

Ain't no mountain high enough

Honeymoon Bay sunset

Verdict

Let the pictures speak for themselves. From the mesmerizing 1271 meters above sea level sunrise, the most delicious fish and chips and best oysters we ever had to the magical view of Wineglass Bay, this day was the highlight of our Tasmania's trip. We totally recommend East Coast Tasman Highway as a must do road trip at least once in your lifetime!

Bonus picture from Meck's previous trip: This is Bay of Fires, a bay that extending from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point. About 2 hours from Freycinet National Park. The nearest town is St Helen, just 20 minutes away from Binalong Bay.

Read Part 2 and more tips  here.

Written by  Meck &  Shaz
Photographed by  IkinLisaMeckShazlina &  Yaya

50 comments:

  1. Keep on writing, your trip brings back memories of the girls-only trip I had with my cousins (: What camera did you use to capture the milky way?

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    1. Thank you!! I used Canon dslr 40D but I would recommend Canon 60D or 7D for clearer milky way.

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  2. Meck, the pictures are all amazing. Congrats and good job! And 12 Apostles + talkative sheep: I wanna be there!!!!!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Kak Leta!!! Actually the pictures were taken by all of us. Kudos to the team haha you can start planning now! :)

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  3. awesome :). really insipred me!

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  4. awesome pics!..did u spot any tasmanian devil (the cartoon character) here??

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    Replies
    1. No we didn't hehe. But if you're interested, there is Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary at Cradle Mountain.

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  5. great tips and info. guess i should start saving up to go to oz!nice pics!

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  6. what a lovely trip!!!!
    i wish sangat nak joined....

    pretty blog!!

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  7. Balas kunjungan ke sini..

    MashaAllah...cantik sungguh ciptaan Allah
    Teruja tgk pic semua...cantik sgt..thumbs up

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  8. Lot of tips and good job guys. Keep writing yo

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  9. wahhh , so jeles . satu hari nanti harap boleh jejakkan kaki kat sane .

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  10. Gosh... super awesome pictures.... keep it up... Love it...

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  11. awesome pics! teringin nk join korang holiday ni! hehe rindu lisa & syaz :D

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    Replies
    1. Aww ainiel thank you! Rindu u jugak!

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  12. Cantik gler gmbar sunset di 12 apostles tu! N milky way tuuuu....arghhh cunn!gmbar korg mmg meletops lah!hehe

    Ok nk start berangan ke tasmania...hahaha

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    Replies
    1. Thank you!! Baca komen ni sambil terjerit2 dalam hati haha

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  13. Tasmania - one of my blacklist. Beautiful pictures!

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  14. OH MY GOODNESS! All those picture so beautiful and nice. It was a good experience for me to scroll on your blog cause you picture can make me feels like 'yay! i've been there' LOL. Great blog...keep it up! :D

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  15. Subhanallah, that milky way!
    Nice blog, nice pictures and very informative!
    Gonna include Melbourne into my wishlist :DDD

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  16. Woww...amazing journey n superlike 1000x ur superb pics,keep on blogging..nak gather tips ke Melbourne gak ni :D

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  17. Jepretannya luas biasa, Kak.

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  18. Wow, a very informative blog indeed! Good job & keep going. selamat berkenalan :)

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  19. Part 2 please....;)

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  20. such a nice post..thanks for sharing...

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  21. Replies
    1. Sangat-sangat best. Kak Mahh bila lagi? ;)

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