Melbourne is three hours ahead of Singapore during daylight saving period (+1hr). By the time our flight arrived at the airport, it was past 8 a.m. Crown Metropol is so conveniently located that we just have to grab a map from the helpful reception before stepping out of the luxury hotel to navigate around the cosmopolitan city. Not forgetting to thank Andrew (from Jetstar) for showing us the direction to the city centre.

The Southbank skyline and Yarra River.

We made our first stop to Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square, that’s where you can get free brochures and maps, public transport information and metcard ticket sales, internet access, tour booking service, etc.

Getting Around

The very helpful volunteer at the Visitor Centre suggested ways to get around:

Take the Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle (FREE bus service) that stops at the main tourist attractions including Queen Victoria Market, Chinatown, Docklands, and Melbourne Museum and Carlton Gardens. The shuttle operates every 30 minutes from 9:30am to 4:30pm. The whole journey takes about 1.5 hour for 13 stops.

– Alternatively, take the free tram rides to tour the city centre.

– Explore the nooks and corners of the streets by walking. The volunteer marked out the street names clearly on the locality map to indicate the paths we can follow to get to arcades, cafe alleys and lastly, Queen Victoria Market.

(More tourist info at thatsmelbourne.)

You can’t miss this distinctive landmark of Melbourne – Flinders Street Station – the busy suburban railway station in Melbourne. “Let’s meet under the clocks!” You know it’s a Melbourne institution, i.e. to meet at the main entrance under the clocks.

The Elizabeth Street clock tower on the other end of Flinders Street Station.

The giant Public Purse at Bourke Street, Melbourne’s shopping heart.

The Neo-renaissance style Royal Arcade at Bourke street mall, with the mystical figures of Gog and Magog.

The Centre Place: a small laneway filled with cafes, a little corner to sip the delicious coffee in between shopping breaks while watching the passing parade. Here you get to appreciate graffiti street art that’s part of Melbourne’s “laneway culture”.

Graffiti wall art at Rankins Lane.

On the tramway. Melbourne has one of the largest tram networks in the world.

Rent a bike to travel around the city. There are 50 bike stations at the city.

Queen Victoria Market

The famous tourist attraction is listed as a historic place by Heritage Victoria and is over 125 years old. Divided into different market precincts, almost half the market area is designated for fresh produce such as meat, seafood and vegetables, and delicatessen, amongst other specialty stalls.

Here you can bring home some nougat for family and friends.

Very colourful macaroons.

I wish we have a meat market like this (clean, well organised, fresh and great variety) in our neighbourhood!

XX Large Bugs – that’s the fresh lobsters.

Even the vegetables and fruits market is huge.

Wine straight from the barrel.

Aboriginal didgeridoos and boomerangs – Australian souvenirs.

The Market’s food court where I chowed down some average-tasting fish & chips.

Around the city centre

Yes, you can still find horse-drawn carriages at the city centre in Melbourne. Tourists can catch a ride from Swanston Street.

Public toilet.

Left: The building with the spire that looks like a mini Eiffel Tower is the Arts Centre where it houses performances and exhibitions.

Right: The Eureka Tower (the building on the left) is one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. The observation deck offers a vantage point at a fee.

The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is within walking distance (across the road) from our hotel. DFO (Direct Factory Outlets) is located at South Wharf, directly next to the Convention Centre. We also visited the world-class Melbourne Aquarium on the first day.

The Crown Entertainment Complex with a casino near Crown Metropol where we stayed.

Of trams and cars.

A gondola cruising along Yarra River.

One classic shot with Andrew and my favourite Mr Brown!

Next, follow us to Melbourne Aquarium where we met the Happy Feet!