Australia Trip / Day 4 : A Day of Discovery in Melbourne

After traveling from Sydney on an early morning Jetstar – Australia flight, we arrived in Melbourne and checked in at the Miami Hotel on Hawke Street, which is about 1.4 kilometers away from the Southern Cross train station and within walking distance (Melbourne’s walking paths are more comfortable than those in our hometown). We chose this hotel because it was a very affordable three-star hotel, had en suite bathrooms, and a shared kitchen. Perhaps it was because it was not located in the CBD (or the Free Tram Zone), which made the price lower than other similarly located hotels in the city center. It was also very convenient to travel as the tram stop for line 57 was only 200 meters away and a five-minute ride to the heart of Melbourne. The area was peaceful and quiet at night but not deserted. It was a great value for money (if I may use this phrase 🙂 ) and received excellent reviews on hotel booking websites.

After settling in by deposit our luggage at the hotel, at around 11.30AM, we started exploring Melbourne by foot. We decided to walk from our hotel to the city center because we wanted to visit the Queen Victoria Market on the way, hoping to find some food to eat there. Unfortunately, we forgot that it was a Wednesday, and the market was closed. So, we had to look for food in the city instead. Our main goal for the day was to walk around and explore various attractions in the city and to book a one-day tour to Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island for the next two days.

Melbourne has a great city layout, divided into easy-to-navigate blocks. Walking is a great way to get around, or if you don’t feel like walking, you can use the train or tram services. There are trams running all over the city, and it’s important to note that if you’re travelling within the central city area, it’s free ! This is called the Free Tram Zone (grey area in the image below). However, if you need to travel outside of this zone or get on and off the tram outside of this zone, you will need to pay for the service. Melbourne has a Myki card, which is similar to the Opal card in Sydney, and you can buy it at 7-Eleven stores for 6 AUD per card. The card does not have any value loaded on it, so you need to top up the card yourself. You can do this at 7-Eleven stores or at the various Myki top-up machines at tram stops (they accept both cash and credit cards). We topped up our card with 10 AUD for our first trip. You can find more information on the Myki card and fares here.

If you’re in the Free Tram Zone, you don’t have to tap your card to ride the tram, It had only tram No.35 which is the only tram line that runs exclusively within the Free Tram Zone. Therefore, make sure to check the zone of the tram you’re boarding or alighting to avoid a hefty fine if you get caught. However, you don’t have to worry too much because the station signs and onboard announcements indicate whether you are in or outside the Free Tram Zone.

Mel tram map


Myki Card.jpg

Sample of MyKi Card

tap standing

Tapping station near by the door of the tram


After we had our first meal in Melbourne at McDonald’s, we walked along the streets in the city. We strolled through Federation Square, heading towards our first destination, St. Paul’s Cathedral. Along the way, we looked for tour agencies and compared prices. We followed the motto of not buying from the first shop we see, and took our time exploring before making any purchases.






About 1PM, we arrived at St. Paul’s Cathedral, an Anglican church or a Christian church based on England’s original practice. The church is located in the center of Melbourne at the intersection of Swanston Street and Flinders Street. The church was designed by English architect William Butterfield and completed in 1891. It is considered an important architectural landmark and a symbol of Melbourne. It is also a place for Christian religious activities on various important days.

Tourists could visit the cathedral for free, but there was a 5 AUD fee to take pictures inside, which helped maintain the building. The opening hours varied from day to day (To be sure, 11AM – 3PM is the ideal time to visit). Unfortunately, when we visited, there was a religious event going on, and the staff did not allow photography, but the interior artwork was stunning, including the murals and paintings. It was definitely a must-visit destination in Melbourne.

We didn’t spend a lot of time inside St. Paul’s Cathedral, only about 20 minutes, because it wasn’t very big. However, there was something else interesting that was equally impressive – the view in front of the church, which was a bustling intersection and the location of Flinders Street train station. The architecture around this area was originally English-style and many tourists came here to take pictures and capture the beauty of the scenery.


The side view of St.Paul Cathedral




In front of Flinder Station, opposite to St.Paul Cathedral


After we walked around St. Paul Cathedral and took some photos at the Flinder Street intersection (actually, there are many other interesting places around here, we will come back again on Saturday), at around 2PM, we decided to buy One Day Trip tickets to Great Ocean Road and Phillips Island from somewhere. Along the way, we checked the prices from many places, and the cheapest one was at Halftix, located not far from St. Paul Cathedral, just 5 minutes’ walk from where we came from. Another advantage of buying here is that they send us with the big tour company called Gray Line. (Actually, Halftix is not a tour company but a ticket agent who sends us to the tour company. However, the reason why their price is cheaper than booking directly with the tour company might be due to marketing to attract customers.) Another important thing is that Halftix only accepts cash, so don’t forget to bring enough cash. The ticket price was 61.50 AUD per person per trip.

For the Great Ocean Road trip, we made arrangements with Halftix to pick us up and drop us off at our hotel. We simply had to provide the name and phone number of our hotel, and they picked us up at 7.15AM. and dropped us off at 8.00PM. For the Phillip Island trip, we drove ourselves to Federation Square, near St. Paul’s Cathedral, where the tour started at 1.00PM. The tour brought us back to Federation Square at 9.30PM.


The front door of Halftix







After we had bought tickets for tomorrow and the day after (we could now relax and enjoy the trip 😛 ), we continued walking to the State Library of Victoria, which was about 600 meters away from Halftix. The walk was pleasant (on the way we passed through Chinatown, where we surveyed to look for some Thai or Chinese food for dinner tonight).




Chinatown in Melbourne


The State Library of Victoria is located on La Trobe Street in the heart of Melbourne. It is the central library of the state of Victoria and also serves as an art exhibition space. The library was built in 1854 and is considered the largest library in Australia and the first library in the world to offer free service. It houses over 2 million books, including handwritten manuscripts, maps, and over 350,000 newspapers. In addition to books and printed materials, the library also holds various exhibitions and art shows for visitors to enjoy. The State Library of Victoria is open to the public every day from 10AM to 9PM, except on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays when it closes at 6PM.





On the first floor of the library, it was a reading area where people could come to read books or find information. There were tables and chairs like in any other library, but it was very crowded and there were hardly any seats available. The upper floors were for exhibitions and art displays. When we went, there was an exhibition showcasing the history of books from their early origins to the present day. There was also an area displaying art exhibitions, which we enjoyed walking around and viewing.


La Trobe Room




The exhibition of history of the book in our world


The history of the book in Japan




The hand-written book in ancient era





We spent about an hour at the library to view the art exhibition and artwork (the main rule here is to keep quiet, just like any other library). Actually, there are many interesting things inside this library. Anyone interested in art exhibitions or artwork could spend the whole day here. In addition, the books and literature here are also fascinating. However, for us, seeing the art exhibition and the architecture of this library was satisfying enough. At around five in the evening, we walked out of the State Library of Victoria to find something to eat as we had planned. We started by exploring Chinatown and the supermarket. Then we remembered that the hotel had a shared kitchen, so we decided to buy something to cook for ourselves instead. This way, we could have more choices and save money. So we bought Butter Chicken with Rice (Indian food) and Macaroni and Cheese from the supermarket and went back to the hotel to cook and eat. It was delicious and satisfying even though we bought the frozen ones. 😝

After being full, we rested according to plan. Today was exhausting as we walked 10 km together, but it was more fun than tiring because we got to see new things that we had never seen in Melbourne before. It was a valuable life experience for us, and the vibe here was different from Sydney. We considered this trip a way to experience the different atmosphere of each day, and it was an amazing feeling. Tomorrow, we’ll meet again at Great Ocean Road !

Good Night….Sleep tight 🌠





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