Our trip to Melbourne

federation square

a.k.a. Huai Ling goes to Melbourne. smirk

Our flight was a really interesting one – there was a bit of a commotion when it landed coz someone was apparently sick in the plane and no one could leave.


It was boarded by health and quarantine officials before everyone was let out. The original arrival time is just after midnight so I had planned to stay at Tullamarine since it’ll be almost 2 am by the time we clear customs and immigration. Tullamarine is where Melbourne International Airport is and I reckon we’ll just crash there and head down to the city the next morning. I did have it in my mind to check out sites like https://buymelbourneapartments.com.au/ while I waited. I know how desirable that city is so I know what to expect. It’s going to cost a lot.

I asked for airport transfer (which was complimentary) but for some reason we didn’t see the motel shuttle. We stayed at Ciloms Airport Lodge Motel (about USD 130++ per night) and since it’s just 0.5 km from the airport, I hailed a cab instead.

ciloms lodge

The taxi driver was Indian/Sri Lankan (as is the trend in Melbourne) and really didn’t want to go for the short time. It was a crazy ride that had Ling fearing she would die in Melbourne. Haha!

Anyway, we reached the hotel with all of our appendages more or less intact and the fare was AUD 15. My smallest denomination was AUD 50 and the taxi driver couldn’t make change and finally gave us AUD 40 – a AUD 5 saving, at the risk of life and limb. πŸ˜‰

We walked into the motel and discovered that there was no one at reception. -_-

Luckily, there’s a 1800 free phone number listed and a pay phone beside the counter so I called and the person who answered said he’ll be coming in 5 minutes.

ciloms airport lodge

5 minutes later, a shuttle pulled in loaded with Malay passengers from the exact same flight as ours. It was a free service that we didn’t see.

ciloms melbourne

Ciloms Airport Lodge is pretty decent – the other option is Ibis Budget, which is really crap. Our room even had a spa! πŸ˜€

ciloms airport motel

We didn’t use it though, there really wasn’t enough time.


The next day, we took the complimentary shuttle back to the airport and caught the SkyBus for AUD 19 each.

skybus tickets

Tickets please!

skybus hotel transfer

The SkyBus took us to Southern Cross Station where we took another SkyBus shuttle – the SkyBus Hotel Transfer is a feeder service that they run for free.


Our destination was Rydges on Swanston, which is right in the middle of town

off ya tree

I noticed that Off Ya Tree is still around. It’s a headshop (called a smartshop in Amsterdam) that sells all sorts of stuff from blunt wrappers to Ecstasy test kits.

trams melbourne

I also remember some very familiar shops like Nelayan and Club X.

club x

Their sex peep-shows are still AUD 2! It seems to be recession proof. πŸ˜‰


I showed Ling the big Myer in the city. It’s to Melbourne what Harrods is to London.


There were still plenty of buskers around – the really popular ones are still the painted statues which I’ve seen 10 years ago when I was studying in Melbourne.

aussie pies

We had breakfast at Hardware Lane (more about that later) and got pies for dinner. There’s a Chunky Pepper Steak Pie and a Bacon & Cheese Roll.

tim tams

I also got some of the deals on offer – Buy 1 Big M milk and get another Big M milk for AUD 4 (about RM 12), a 1.25 liter Coke with Tim Tams for AUD 6 (about RM 18) and a candy bar for just AUD 1 (about RM 3) with the previous combo.

purse melbourne

The prices are really cheap if you don’t convert. The next day, we headed to Phillip Island via V/Line (a bus servicing outlying areas in Victoria).

melbourne us

Hereby ends the Melbourne 2013 trip report for Day 1. πŸ™‚

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44 thoughts on “Our trip to Melbourne”

  1. Oh! The fare of sky bus is exactly the same as Perth too! and strangely the CBD area looks alike to Perth too where they have a very big Myer there but i always find Myer is expensive and K-mart seems more affordable πŸ˜›

    • Yeah, it’s AUD 19 after GST per person. πŸ™‚

      Well, Myer is mid range, David Jones is supposed to be higher range and more expensive.

      Haha! Yeah, we have a K-Mart in Clayton. πŸ˜€

    • It was an awesome trip! πŸ™‚

      Our first one overseas together, we had a great time. We rented a car to drive around too, funny thing was, the lady who rented us the car said “If you can drive in Malaysia, you can drive anywhere”.

      Haha! I’ve driven in Melbourne when I was studying there though.

    • Yeah, cabs in Melbourne are quite expensive. It’s worth it for short distances in the middle of the city where a tram would be more expensive for 2 people though and where you can’t walk e.g. carrying huge bags of groceries. πŸ™‚

      I’ll rather go for a AUD 5 cab fare than a AUD 6.40 tram ride (AUD 3.20 x 2). Renting a car would be the way to go in Victoria though, if you want to go to the rural areas.

      It’s quite an adventure though, interesting first impression of Melbourne, that’s for sure.

    • Yeah, we didn’t even think it was that tiring, although we did feel the toll of just having a couple of hours of sleep at night after a few days. πŸ™‚

      It was a lot of fun to go together, especially Phillip Island.

  2. @ Ling- LOL… Huai Ling? Sounds nice ler, Ling, who says Ah Lian. πŸ˜› On a more serious note, glad to see you’re all smile in the pic. LOL… you’ve grown your hair quite a bit since I last saw you. πŸ˜€ Pretty leh. Wanna play some dye or not? Can pass you some when we meet and we can boria. Hahahahahaha!

    @ Huai Bin those were pies? Whoa… initially, I thought they are biscuits!

    • Yup, those are the long kind of pies – some people call them rolls instead but to be rolls are rolls, these are pies shaped in a roll. πŸ™‚

      The last Polaroid type photo was actually taken in:
      1. Koo Wee Rup
      2. Anderson

      I can’t remember which one, but I know it’s a small town on the way to Phillip Island and one of the V/Line stops. Haha.

  3. Oh dear! What rotten luck, being on the same flight as somebody sick. What sickness? How long were you all held back? That would spoil my mood already, if I had been me.

    • No worries! We weren’t bothered at all, although we did get held back for quite a while to wait for the health and quarantine officers to board. πŸ™‚

      I think it was 15-20 minutes but the luggage also can’t come off due before the health officer clears the plane so it didn’t really save any time.

      It must be some suspected contagious flu with fever, or they wouldn’t have stopped the plane and boarded.

      It’s all good, we were happy together on the plane. πŸ˜€

      The only semi disgruntled comment I heard was a bunch of Aussies joking there better not be a sickly infectious person carrying some new strain of flu coz they just got back (from Asia, I assume).

  4. What an interesting post! I love the way you describe the details and everything was so costly. What a rich man you are.

    I am very particular to choose landing hours in foreign countries as i had one bad experience arriving in US after on several transits non stop. I was a poor student then. Now I am wiser to choose the right hours in order not to waste hotels. I notice that Air Asia might be RM200 cheaper sometimes but its arrival hour could be midnight and departure at 7.00am!!! Goodness! I booked MAS instead and get earthly hours and free food & drinks!

    • Cheers bro! πŸ™‚

      I’m not a rich person, I just wanted this trip to be memorable. It’s just the exchange rate that’s a killer nowadays.

      Yeah, I know what you mean! You lose one day if you arrive at midnight. I noticed that the promo fares are always at odd hours of the day. You can’t arrive just in time, except in the case of London (before they started landing at Gatwick).

    • Yeah it is eh? 😑

      It’s the exchange rate that’s the killer – the Australian dollar is so strong now, while the US dollar is waning.

      All the best and have fun on your trip! πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, they’re pretty interesting! πŸ™‚

      I saw a stone santa when I was studying here. Very nicely done. I like the busker scene in Melbourne.

      Haha! I know right, I convert too, coz that’s the currency we earn over here. It’s 3.25-3.27 right about now.

    • Thanks Mel! πŸ™‚

      Yup, the bathroom is huge in Ciloms! My place in KL is a studio so the bathroom is very small too. I do have a small bathtub though but not that huge spa.

      I know, I don’t know what’s up with their expressions. Haha!

  5. HB, great blog and photos about my second home πŸ™‚ Wish I had known about your Melbourne trip earlier, I would really love to meet you and give you a high five and wish you all the best!

    • Thanks Jyannis! πŸ™‚

      Yeah, I would have loved to meet up with you too! I was staying in the city most of the time, except for when we went to Phillip Island – found a really nice place there that’s not in Agoda and off the lists so I booked a honeymoon suite.

      Very nice view – acres of land and the sea, with the wind blowing down the balcony.

  6. Sigh I’m starting to miss Melbourne so much. I’m going back for 10 awesome days in August. Gonna hit the ski slopes then too!

    • Nice! I wanted to go during ski season too, learned snowboarding in Mount Buller and have been meaning to go back to carve up the slopes.

      Melbourne is a lot of fun, always seems familiar going back after studying there for 4 years.

      Have fun on your ski trip Mell! πŸ™‚

  7. That must’ve been unlucky day for you and Ling, but glad to see that it didn’t hinder the trip around the CBD.

    I’m attracted by the 1st picture; are those reporters donning masks in the shape of a dog?

      • Haha! Nice one Clem! πŸ™‚

        I call them “Paparazzi Dogs” though – don’t know where I picked it up, think it was The Age (the paper) when it was first commissioned.

    • I always call them “Paparazzi dogs”. I think that’s the official name – read about it when it first got built.

      I like “Newshounds” too – nice one Clem! πŸ˜€

      Yeah, it’s a good thing the person was cleared by the health officials or it’ll be a bad start to the trip if we *all* got quarantined! 😑

      Anyway, the statues are art – supposed to be social commentary. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks buddy! πŸ™‚

      Yup, I only went back to Melbourne after 10 years (!!!) although I just went to Australia in 2011 (but to Byron Bay – basically NSW and Queensland instead of Victoria, where I studied).

      Have fun during your upcoming trip!

    • It tasted really good too! πŸ™‚

      I miss the pies in Australia, while my girlfriend is more about the fish and chips.

      Wanted to bring her to this place in QV Market but it was closed. Oh well, at least we ate some other fish and chips there. Heh!

    • Yeah, it’s been around for ages! πŸ™‚

      *ages meaning it’s been around for at least more than a decade – I’ve seen the purse since I’ve been studying in Melbourne

      I don’t know why a lot of people take photos of it – it’s just something they do, sit on it and take photos of it. It was one of the orientation tasks when I first went to Roberts Hall in the Halls of Residence – we had to fit the entire new student group *on the purse*. πŸ˜€


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