Melbourne: Things to do (for family)

Hi there! Our family just came back from cool Melbourne and I thought it would be useful to pen down some of the places we went and those that were recommended by friends who have been there.

It was the beginning of Winter in Melbourne (June) and we packed in warm clothing like down jackets (for Philip island), boots, and lots of heat tech tops from Uniqlo since we are often advised to layer and I don’t want myself to look like a penguin after all those layers. My Ugg boots still survived after these few years of being kept in the storeroom since we came back from Boston. Talk about quality! I regretted not bringing the stroller; this place is stroller-friendly! Nonetheless, we had an awesome time in Melbourne!

In planning the places to visit, we take into account the distance and whether our little bug would enjoy. We couldn’t cover as many places as I would love to but oh well…

1. Queen Victoria Market

How could you not visit this lovely market when you are in Melbourne? This is in fact our first stop upon arriving in Melbourne. After dropping our luggage at the hotel (too early to check in anyway), we walked to the market to have a cup of latte and a bratwurst from The Bratwurst Shop as recommended by friends. Yummy, I say! And I’m so jealous that the locals could enjoy such fresh produce! Just looking at the colouful fruits and veggies makes me happy! >> Spend a whole morning touring this large market and enjoy the many foods available! Note the opening hours.

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2. Visit a farm!

We visited the Collingwood Children’s Farm which is located within the city. Part of my goal for this trip is to get Faith to be close to the nature and the farmyard animals since she has often been reading about them at home. This one is great fun! Do take a break at the farm cafe as it provides healthy delicious food! Spend half a day here.

3img1402280408657. Philip island

You have to take a day trip out to Philip island because it is really worth visiting the penguins! The hubs and I booked a last minute day tour from this tour operator and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We travelled through the Gippsland region directly to Phillip Island and made our first stop at the Rhyll Trout & Bush Tucker Farm where we enjoyed a guided bush tucker tour and had our lunch. Then we meet the koalas at the Koala Conservation Centre before we proceeded to the delightful Phillip Island Winery. We also made a stop at Point Grant and The Nobbies where we enjoyed views over Westernport Bay and Bass Strait, including Seal Rocks, home to Australia’s largest population of fur seals. Lastly, it’s to the main attraction where we got up close to enjoy the Penguin Parade. It’s an amazing feeling, I assure you!

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4. Melbourne museum

This museum has stuff to cater to all age groups. We spent almost the whole day there, slowly savouring every bit of information that is on display. There is a children’s gallery for young kids and our little girl was just so entertained by every station. We had to drag her out of the gallery just so that we could continue with the rest of the exhibits. It’s truly a world-class museum, IMOH.

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5. Great Ocean Road

One has to visit the Great Ocean Road when in Melbourne, no? We took a one day tour for this but was told it would be easier and more relaxing if we could spend a night at one of the towns. Take it easy and enjoy the magnificent sight. It was a tad too packed an itinerary for us and we found ourselves fighting fatigue and couldn’t really enjoy the grandeur of the rock formation along the coastline.

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6. Royal Botanic Gardens

We love to get close to the nature and we have heard that this large garden is very well-kept. Even if we are not serious botanists, we found ourselves enjoying the slow walk among the fauna flora. A plus point is that there is a children’s garden too. Continue the walk through Alexandra Gardens and Queen Victoria Gardens and you will reach Federation Square in the end.

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7. City tour via the free city circle tram (route 35)

Melbourne is known for the maze of laneways that wind through the city. Start the day with a coffee at one of the many cafes hidden in Degraves Street and Flinders Lane. (Here is a list of lingo for ordering your favourite caffeine fix). Head to Bourke Street and Collins Street for the shopping and if you miss some Chinese food, there’s always the Chinatown! The Eureka Skydeck 88 is recommended if you want to overlook the entire city. We never made it there though. ;(

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8. St Kilda Beach 

I know it’s winter and it’s probably not the best time for a walk along the beach. But since we put up at a place near the area, we thought we should just head to the beach. I think it would be a worthwhile visit in summer.

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The days are short in winter with the sun setting around 5.30pm. We couldn’t do much then except to visit some of our friends. There are so many attractions that we have missed out like the Melbourne zoo and aquarium, Fitzroy, Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula which are recommended by friends. Of course, there are tons of other things to do in Melbourne but we just didn’t have enough time. We did have a very relaxing time and we are just contented that we have visited the above, considering the fact that we had a very young kid with us.

I will be blogging more in detail about some of the places that we have visited, just for memories’ sake. Those pictures need to be stored somewhere, ya?

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A visit to Blue House

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Yesterday, I attended a sharing on Positive Parenting for the Under 3s by Ms Shona Sanosi, the co-founder of Blue House International School. My main aim, however, was to have a look at the school environment. Nope, I would not enrol Faith in this school as the fees are exorbitant but I’m more interested in their Reggio Emilia approach to teaching.

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The school is located near Turf city and I thought I could pop by Pasarbella for a bite after that. After parking, I was greeted by this signboard which set me thinking, “Hmm…seems like a nice school!” I don’t think I have seen such a signboard in local preschools. Perhaps I’m just ignorant.

As I walked towards the building and entered it, I had a peek into their classrooms which are shielded by glass windows. They are much like the classrooms in the private school which I had interned in Boston. The rooms were neat and inviting and I couldn’t help stopping by each room to have a hard look at it. *Cosy feel*

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Leaving the premise, I posed myself these questions, “What kind of preschool would I enrol Faith in?”, “What are the important criterion that I’m looking for?”, “Would I want to homeschool Faith if I have the capacity to do so?”

*Need to reflect.