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My Travel Itinerary in Melbourne with ZERO COST for City Transportation

We can say that the holiday would be perfect if we spend our days in the place or destination that we can get the comfort feeling during the journey without any boredom. In that place, we also able to refresh our heart and mind during the time. I will choose Melbourne, Australia as the best city to visit every year during my break. I’d like to say that Melbourne gives the comfort feeling for me throughout cozy and safe environments, friendly residents, and there are a lot of lovable places that I can spend my days perfectly. I also feel very peaceful in this city because I might find less complicated news about politics, crime and other confusing news. Those are my main factors why I keep choosing Melbourne as the must city to visit every year to spend my long break.

There are numbers of interesting information about this city that you can find from any travel and tourism websites (such as Visit Melbourne, and others), travel bloggers and vloggers, traveling books, travel agents, colleagues, and other sources that give the updated information about the recommended places to visit in Melbourne. To complete those information, I will share to you my itinerary while visiting Melbourne. However, the different thing about my itinerary is it can be used if you want to spend your days in Melbourne with less budget and you just want to enjoy your time without any heavy travel. In this itinerary, I will talk about how to spend at ZERO COST from transportation in the Melbourne city.

Be SMART in choosing the flight time

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The first thing that I used to do is to keep my eye on the airline website or the e-travel 6 months to one year before I travel. By doing that, I able to get the best price instead of buying in a short period before traveling. There are two types of airlines that I regularly check them out, which are the low cost budget airlines (Air Asia, Jetstar or Scoot) and the regular airlines, which are Garuda Indonesia or Qantas. There is the updated news that Tiger Air is merged with Scoot since 25th July 2017 as it announced in their website. So, the Tigerair.com will be disabled since that date. I, personally, don’t mind about the airline company that I will choose for traveling though. The thing that I will consider in choosing the airline is the safety before and during the flight. That is the most important factor for me instead of the ticket price. However, it doesn’t mean that I will choose the most expensive ticket price to get the safe flight. It is a BIG NO! Here is the tips that I regularly do to get the reasonable price with any airlines:

  • Choose the first flight or a night flight — Usually, those two schedules will offer the best ticket price, which are based on the season. As an example, during the peak season, the airline ticket price usually higher than the normal season. However, they still offer the cheaper rates for the first flight or a night flight than the rate on the daytime. I used to fly on the night flight from Indonesia to Melbourne or other city in Australia. I prefer to have a night flight instead during the daytime, beside the reason of getting the cheaper rate, I also able to go to the airport straight away from the office at night and that might save my leave days as well. The flight around 22.45 to 23.45 might be the best time for flying as I can sleep on the plane during 7 – 8 hours flight and I will arrive in Melbourne at around 8.00 in the morning with a fresh feeling. It means that we will have our bedtime on the plane instead of at home. However, if you have a short flight, which are 1 – 4 hours flight, the night flight will be the second choice as you might arrive at the destination too early.
  • Be aware of the transit destination — In some flights, we need to transit in one or two cities for few hours before we fly to the the final destination. At first, we just think that it is only a transit and we can walk around at the airport to spend the time while waiting. However, based on my experience, there are some airports that might be closed at 12 PM and re-open at 5 AM. It means that I have to wait outside the airport or in the cafes surround. However, some cafes might be closed as well. My favorite transit airports would be Changi Airport (Singapore) and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (Kuala Lumpur) because both airports have proper waiting sections with lots of shops, waiting areas, restaurants and cafes. I feel very comfort and safe as well while waiting in there as we can go to the help desk easily, especially if we have any confusions or queries. In addition, if you are happened to do transit, you have to check about your luggage whether the airline will send them straight away to the final destination or you still have to pick them up in the transit airport.

After getting the reasonable ticket price, I continue to create the travel itinerary as the travel guidance. This is the fun thing that I love because at the end of the itinerary I can estimate my expenses during traveling. Please check my itinerary that can help you to create your own.

Day 1

  • Arrive at Tullamarine Airport at around 8 AM — Do the immigration check and pick up my luggage for about 45 minutes to 1 hour to finish all the processes. Before that, you have to ensure that you already fill the custom card on the flight to cut the time in the Custom Desk.
Melb Airport

The Exit Gate in the International Terminal (Arrival)

  • Have breakfast in Hudsons Coffee — I really love the hot cappuccino from Hudsons Coffee! I used to buy it after I finish up the immigration process before go to the city and it costs me around A$ 4 – A$6 per cup that depends on the cup size. I just need a hot coffee after a long flight. This cafe can be find easily as it is located in front of the exit gate and it is just beside Optus store. If you arrive in the morning, you may have breakfast in this cafe but sometimes the places is really full of people. The place is quite small though. That’s why I used to buy a hot cappuccino for take away and having it in the benches outside the terminal. Hudson Coffee offers recommended coffees with various variants, which are espresso, cappuccino, latte, flat white, short and long macchiato, long black, vienna, piccolo latte and other types of coffee. Besides a coffee, you may have some choices of foods, such as sandwiches, wraps, muffins, and other pastries.
  • Buy the sim card in Optus store — Actually, there are not only Optus that you can choose as a phone provider while in Australia. There are many providers that offer best plans, services, facilities, quotas, and also the best price, such as Telstra, Vodafone and others. The reason why I always choose Optus is I used to connect with Optus since I went to university in Melbourne and I really satisfied with the service. And I keep coming back to Optus every time I come to Australia. During my holiday, I used to check the phone plan that suitable for my needs during my stay in Melbourne from their website and usually I bought the $50 plan. That plan is more than enough for me for 1 to 2 weeks holiday as I still be able to add more money if I run out the Gigabytes. The best thing to do after having breakfast is buying the Optus phone card in Optus store in the airport. I prefer to do that as the Optus staffs are friendly enough to help us in setting and activating the phone card in our phone. They will ensure that our phone is already connected with Optus before we go. They also be able to give us the information about the plan or package that might be suitable for us based on the length we will stay in Melbourne.
  • Put the baggage in the storage — Actually, I rarely do this as I always go straight away to the hotel or apartment after arrival. However, if you have a plan to go to other city straight away after arrival in Melbourne and back to Melbourne in a few days, you are able to put your luggage in the storage room. I used to check SmarteCarte storage from their website during create the travel itinerary. They usually charge you based on the types of the bag that you want to drop in and the duration.
  • Catch Skybus to go to the hotel in the city — This is my favorite transportation in the airport. It is an express airport transfer from Melbourne airport to Southern Cross station in the city. You can check the information about the Skybus in this LINK. I really like this type of transportation as it is very easy to find in the airport. Its terminal and the ticket counter are just located opposite the entrance of International terminal (Arrival). You won’t missed it! I always catch Skybus from the airport as the ticket price is cheaper than a taxi, which it costs me A$38 for a return ticket. Other convenience factors are a very short waiting time, 24 hours service, safe, comfort and the bus drop us in the Southern Cross station. I used to stay in the city area while in Melbourne, so the Skybus has a free service to drop the ticket owners to all city hotels. We just have to tell to the Skybus staffs in Southern Cross station and they will direct you to the smaller van. Additionally, they can also pick us up from city hotels to Southern Cross station also for free on the day we want to catch Skybus back to the Tullamarine airport.
Southern Cross

Southern Cross Station

  • Check in at the city hotels — I didn’t mention the name of the hotel in this itinerary though, but I prefer to stay in the city rather than in suburb areas as it would be the strategic place to stay, especially during holiday. There are many stores in Melbourne city that still open until 11 PM and also lots of restaurants and cafes still open until late at night. There are also lots of places that can be visited in the city area. Therefore, anywhere in the city hotels would be better to stay and it will cut the expenses as well! In my last visit, I stayed in the apartment in Spencer street, which is just 5 – 10 minutes walk from Southern Cross station. Therefore, I didn’t take the free service from Skybus, but just walk instead.
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Spencer street

  • Flagstaff Gardens — It is the oldest park in Melbourne that established in 1862. From Spencer street, just take a short walk through La Trobe Street and passing King Street. The park is in the intersection between La Trobe street and King Street. Sometimes people just walk across this park or just sitting there. In this garden, you may visit the Separation Memorial, which you can take some photos of it and also the are surround for the documentation.
  • State Library Victoria — It is the cultural icon of the city with the historical types of building design. It is a beautiful building design that yo can take a lot of pictures. You can have a tour to see the interior. However, I used to sit in the lawn outside the library, where a lot of students sit there to relax. You can catch a tram from intersection between La Trobe street and William street and stop in Swaston street. Just take a note that all city trams are charged for free. So, you can save the time. Alternatively, you may take a walk from Flagstaff Garden by go through the La Trobe street until you reach Swanston street.
  • RMIT University — It is only a short moment to look at RMIT university, which is just located beside State Library. You may skip this visit. However, I used to visit here just to get my feel back as a student years ago.
  • Old Melbourne Gaol — It is a prison where the most dangerous criminals were held and executed in this place. I don’t know why I really love to visit the scary places because I feel really challenging. It is located in Russel street and it would be a short walk from RMIT University by passing through the La Trobe Street to Russel Street.
  • Walking around the Melbourne city — I spend the rest of the day by walking around in Melbourne city. There are many stores surround.

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Expenses – Day 1

  • Skybus Ticket: A$38
  • Local Transport: A$0
  • Food & Beverages: A$50
  • Optus Phone Provider: A$50

TOTAL EXPENSES DAY 1: A$ 138

DAY 2

  • Queen Victoria Market — You can call it Vic Market that is located in Elizabeth Street. This is actually just a normal market but it is a well-known market in Melbourne. You can find anything in this market from fresh food, meat, vegetables, clothing, accessories, animals, junk foods, food truck and anything you name it! I used to buy souvenirs in here as the price is very cheap and there are so many choices that I can choose. How to get there from Spencer street? I took the tram from La Trobe street and change the tram in Elizabeth street that goes to Therry street. I can spend half of the day in Queen Victoria Market just to shopping around or watching the life music that sometimes they perform during weekend.
  • Block Arcade in Collins Street — After spending few hours in Queen Victoria Market, I went to Block Arcade by catching the tram in Elizabeth street and stop in Collins street. It is the first shopping arcade in Melbourne city with a vintage and unique building design. I love the glamour of its design and it is very good for taking some photos inside of the building. The arcade consists boutiques and elegant cafes. However, I used to walk through this arcade just to go to the little cafe in Little Collins street. I like the cafe area even-though it is small but it is very comfort and warm.

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  • Degraves Street — It is like the Little Collins street area with lots of small stores, cafes and restaurants. Usually, people hangout in this area after work or during lunch time and there will be so crowded. The area is very happening but I don’t feel comfortable while having a coffee for more than one hour as it is located in Flinders Lane just nearby Flinders station with lots of drunk persons and homeless walking around.
  • Flinders Station — This is the main station that is located just in Flinders street. They have many train routes in every minutes. However, if you want to go to Sovereign Hill, you can’t catch a train from Flinders Station but Southern Cross Station instead. The building design is similar with Block Arcade that have antique touch, unique and elegant look. It is like you live in the previous years. Most tourists will take some photos in front of the station.
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Flinders Station

  • Federation Square — You can find the modern building with a unique design just opposite Flinders Station. That is Federation Square. I used to come to this place, especially to Melbourne Visitor Centre to book some tours. They provide numbers of tour providers that we can choose with variety of destination, such as Tasmania, Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island, Sovereign Hills and other interesting places. So, we can choose the tour provider that offer the best route with the best rate! In here you can also grab some maps of Melbourne and other cities of Australia as well as cute postcards. Other than Melbourne Visitor Centre, sometimes we can see some attractions in the outdoor spaces and a lot of people relax there to watch the show or just hang around with their groups. You also can visit Edge Theatre, Australian Centre for the Moving Image and some cafes in Federation Square. It is a very busy place but it offers some fun.

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  • Saint Paul’s Cathedral — It is just beside the Federation Square. I can’t say anything about the Church but I really love it. It showered a warm feeling to me. I just took some photos in front of the Church.
  • Hosier Lane — Actually, it is just a pedestrian street with groups of organized graffiti in the wall. A lot of people come here just to take some photos with beautiful background. Honestly, I never know about this area previously as this is just a short cut to save our energy and time. However, this pedestrian becomes well-known as one of tourist attraction.

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The second day journey is finished. I never want to put many places in one day because I had experience of getting tired without realizing in advance. Therefore, I limit my visit to only few places within one day as the body need some rests as well.

Expenses – Day 2

  • Local Transport: A$0
  • Food & Beverages: A$50

TOTAL EXPENSES DAY 2: A$ 50

DAY 3

  • Parliament House — This elegant building in Spring street, Melbourne city, has been serving as a seat of Victoria parliament since 1855. When I visited this building, I just took the photo from outside as I really like the building style, which is so historical and calm. To go to the Parliament House, I took tram from Spencer street go through La Trobe street and Spring Street. I stop just in front of the Parliament House building.

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  • Old Treasury Building — This is a historical museum that trace the Gold Rush-led development of Melbourne. It is a free entry museum and you can enjoy some historical photos and stories of people who lived in this area. It is located in between Parliament House and Treasury Gardens, which I continued to enjoy my walk in this garden. In this garden, I used to lay down just relaxing and some people did the same. It is really beautiful and organized garden with small ponds inside. I really love to do the exercise in this area as it is really tidy and safe.

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  • Cooks’ Cottage — You can visit two places in one time, which are Cooks’ Cottage and Fitzroy Gardens as the Cooks’ Cottage is located in this heritage-listed garden. I used to enjoy the garden only 1 or 2 hours and visit the cottage after. It is the oldest building in Australia as it is built in 1755 and it becomes a popular tourist attraction.

As I mentioned previously, I never put lots of destination in one day. Therefore, it is done for a third day journey as I able to spend my day with relax with no hurry.

Expenses – Day 3

  • Local Transport: A$0
  • Food & Beverages: A$50

TOTAL EXPENSES DAY 3: A$ 50

Day 4

  • Saint Patricks Cathedral — It is located in Albert street and I can walk through the pathway from Old Treasury Building. I know that I go back to this area but I need some times to enjoy my time and record the moments. It is a very beautiful and large Roman Catholic Cathedral Church, which was finished in 1939. I love the building so much and the complex is also big.
  • Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens — Actually, I never go inside this building and I plan to take a A$10 tour for my next visit. In general, I really like the building style, as always, and the dome construction was influenced by the famous Florence Cathedral style. You can take a short walk from Saint Patricks Cathedral in Albert street to Victoria Parade. The place is just in the corner of La Trobe street.
  • Walk around the city — I used to walk around the city just to do window shopping or some real shopping, hangout with my friends in some city cafes or had lunch and dinner in recommended restaurants. I could say that just enjoy our time to finish the day.

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Expenses – Day 4

  • Local Transport: A$0
  • Food & Beverages: A$50

TOTAL EXPENSES DAY 4: A$ 50

DAY 5

  • Princes Bridges — This bridge spans the Yarra River. It is just a short walk from Flinders station and Federation Square as it is just located beside the station. In my opinion, this is just a bridge but it built in 19th century bridge that means it has the historical value. The scenery from the bridge is so beautiful. You can see the Yarra River if you stand in the bridge. Usually people are passing by the bridge if they want to go to the Yarra River area or Crown Casino.
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Me at Princes Bridges

  • Arts Centre Melbourne — People usually know this as the Victorian Arts Centre or Arts Centre. It is the performing arts centre that consists numbers of theatre and concert halls. If you want to check what is happening in this place, you can check the information and schedule from the LINK. It is located in St Kilda road, which is in the same line with Princes Bridges and it only takes me about 5 – 10 minutes by walk.
  • National Gallery of Victoria — It is just beside the Arts Centre Melbourne, which is just need 5 minutes walk. It is so close. It is the art museum that is the Australia’s oldest and largest museum.
  • Crown Melbourne — It is just a casino complex and I never interested to play it. I just like the atmosphere inside the building with lots of boutiques and cafes. I used to hangout with my friends in one of the cafe in Crown and the ambience is so great. How to get there? You can catch a tram to go there from Flinders station but I prefer take a walk through Southbank Promenade and Yarra Promenade as I able to enjoy the environment surround by passing Yarra River and there are also many cute cafes that I can visit. The other thing that I like while taking a walk in Yarra Promenade is the bridges that have unique and creative architecture. You can see them in my photos below.

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  • South Warf — If you love shopping, this is the best place that you have to visit while in Melbourne. It is the Direct Factory Outlets that is located nearby Crown Casino. I love being in this place as they have lots of brands that I used to buy and also other favorite brands, which are Cotton On, Bags To Go, Billabong, Bonds Outlet, bossini, Calvin Klein Jeans, Clarks, Coach, Colette, Crocs, and other brands that you might love too. The prices are so great too! I spent around 2 – 3 hours for visiting one shop to another and it made me so happy!

Expenses – Day 5

  • Local Transport: A$0
  • Food & Beverages: A$50

TOTAL EXPENSES DAY 5: A$ 50

DAY 6

This is my last day in Melbourne. Usually, I just spend my days around the city for having some coffees, breakfast or lunch. I don’t like to be on rush to the airport. So, I prefer to have few hours in the city and more hours in the airport. It will be more reasonable for me. In this itinerary, most of places that I visited were located in the city as there are numbers of interesting places in the city area that sometimes forgotten to be visited. So, this 5 days journey will focus on the city travel with less budget and happy feeling.

Expenses – Day 6

  • Local Transport: A$0
  • Food & Beverages: A$50

TOTAL EXPENSES DAY 5: A$ 50

Therefore, the total expenses for transportation, phone provider and food and beverages would be A$ 388 for 6 days in Melbourne. This cost doesn’t include the hotel voucher and airline ticket though. But you can manage it to get cheaper tickets for hotel and airline.

Hopefully, it helps you to create your own itinerary. Thanks for reading.

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