My trip to The Land Down Under is my first trip outside Asia. Australia easily became special and overwhelming for me. What Oz offers just makes travelers want to go back to exeperience the totally different culture and environment.
I visited Sydney and Melbourne in July to experience the peak of the country’s winter season. Christmas in July was definitely the icing on the cake for this winter trip.
In Sydney, the open skating rinks at the Bondi Winter Magic, the Parramatta Winterlight Festival, and at the Cathedral Square by Air Canada are open only on July. I even got to pass by #BastilleSydney for “A Taste of France” on their last day at Circular Quay.
In Melbourne, the Queen Victoria Winter Night Market was open on the Wednesday we were there and the snow on the slopes of Lake Mountain were powdery and abundant on the day we visited.
My planned itinerary was surprisingly in sync with the availability of the places I wanted to visit, the sights I wanted to see and the activities I wanted to experience.
Enjoy my daily gallery below. My detailed itinerary and expenses is also at the end of this article.
Day 1. Bondi Beach, Bondi Winter Magic, Parramatta Winterlight Festival
Day 2. Manly Beach, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Town Hall
Day 3. Royal National Park, Hyde Park, Cathedral Square Skating Rink
Day 4. Green Square Library, The Grounds of Alexandria
Day 5. Lake Mountain Alpine Resort, Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery, Steavenson Falls, Queen Victoria Winter Night Market
Day 6. The Great Ocean Road Tour: Anglesea, Lorne, Kennett River, Port Campbell National Park, The Twelve Apostles Lookout
Day 7. Fitzroy Gardens, Brighton Beach Bath Boxes, Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, The Nobbies, Phillip Island Penguin Parade
Day 8. Flagstaff Gardens
Walking along the streets of Sydney and Melbourne already makes you feel and adapt the Aussie vibe. You got to see the city and its structures, the daily routine of the people, and the status quo that makes Sydney and Melbourne systematic and in order.
Sydney sets the bar high for quality living for me. I love how I could just walk along the coasts with the ocean just an arm’s reach from me and the urban bustle also very near on the other side. How everyone just seems so full of energy and greets everyone so happily got me in a culture shock that I can’t help but adapt and do the same.
Melbourne is a totally different city with a more laidback vibe. I saw Melbourne as a melting pot of different people from different countries. Experiencing the powdery snow at the slopes, the amazing sceneries along the Great Ocean Road, and witnessing the preserved wildlife and penguins just made walking within Melbourne CBD every night not tiring at all.
I won’t hesitate going back to The Land Down Under if I can. Australia encompasses a significantly huge area, houses a very diverse wildlife, and offers beautiful sceneries and experiences on both land and water for everyone.
It was an epic Christmas in July in Australia for me. You think I will be able to come back to witness the beautiful aurora australis and experience the island of Tasmania? Let’s see!
|Sydney and Melbourne Itinerary|
|On Conversion: AUD1 ~ Php36|
|On Time Zone: GMT + 10 (Australian Time is 2 hours advanced compared to Philippine Time)|
|Day 1||Bondi Beach, Bondi Winter Magic, Parramatta, Parramatta Winterlight Festival|
|10:00 AM||ETA at Sydney International Airport.|
|10:30 AM||Claim booked pocket Wifi in Klook.|
|Proceed to Sydney Airport train station. Purchase and load OPAL card at the train station for easier transportation transfers.|
|(OPAL Top up of AUD65 ~ Php2300 will be enough for this 4-day Sydney Itinerary)|
|Claim booked pocket Wifi at Sydney International Airport P7 Area. (~Php270 per day in Klook)|
|10:50 AM||Take the train from Sydney International Airport station to Sydney Central station (Line T8, 11 minutes, AUD17.39 ~ Php620)|
|11:15 AM||Walk to Big Hostel (400 m from Sydney Central Station on Elizabeth Street). Check in.|
|You can leave your bags at Big Hostel if your room is not yet ready upon check in.|
|11:45 AM||Take the train from Central Station to Bondi Junction Station (Line T4, 12 minutes, AUD2.52 ~ Php90)|
|Take Bus 333 from Bondi Junction Station to Bondi Beach bus stop (13 minutes, AUD 2.24 ~ Php80)|
|Bondi Beach is right across the bus stop.|
|12:15 PM||Lunch near Bondi Beach. (AUD14 ~ Php500)|
|Enjoy Bondi Beach! Take a dip if you want. Or skate at Bondi Winter Magic on winter.|
|2:30 PM||Take Bus 333 from Bondi Beach bus stop to Bondi Junction Station (18 minutes, AUD 2.24 ~ Php80)|
|2:50 PM||Take the train from Bondi Junction Station to Parramatta Station (Line T4 to Central Station then transfer to Line T1, 50 minutes, AUD2.80 ~ Php100)|
|3:45 PM||Enjoy Parramatta. Walk to Prince Alfred Square from Parramatta Station.|
|Turn right from Parramatta Station exit. Turn right on Church St and walk along Church St all the way to Prince Alfred Square passing by the bridge through Parramatta River.|
|Skate at the Parramatta Winterlight Festival at Prince Alfred Square on winter!|
|Dinner. (AUD14 ~ Php500). Enjoy a moment at the Parramatta River.|
|Take the train from Parramatta Station to Central Station (Line T1 or BMT, 30 minutes, AUD2.80 ~ Php100)|
|Estimated Expenses: Php2,100.00 (Excluding admission to skating rinks with skateshoes rental)|
|Day 2||Circular Quay, Manly, Manly Beach, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Town Hall|
|8:00 AM||Eat free breakfast at Big Hostel|
|8:30 AM||Walk around Sydney CBD.|
|Walk from Big Hostel to Circular Quay (2.3 km) or take the train from Central Station to Circular Quay Station (Line T2, 8 minutes, AUD2.52 ~ Php90)|
|10:30 AM||Take the ferry from Circular Quay Wharf No. 3 to Manly Ferry Wharf (30 minutes, AUD7.65 ~ Php270)|
|11:00 AM||Walk around Manly. Lunch. (AUD14 ~ Php500).|
|Enjoy Manly Beach. Take a dip or just stroll around.|
|A souvenir store along the block where Sushi in Manly is sells stuff at really low prices.|
|2:30 PM||Take the ferry from Manly Wharf to Cicular Quay Wharf No. 3 (30 minutes, AUD7.65 ~ Php270)|
|3:00 PM||Walk around Circular Quay. You might bump into an event at The Rocks like #BastilleSydney when I was there. 🙂|
|Walk to the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge nearby.|
|Enjoy the sunset.|
|Walk from Circular Quay station to the Sydney Town Hall (1.6 km)|
|Or take the train from Circular Quay station to Town Hall station (Line T2, 4 minutes, AUD2.52 ~ Php90)|
|Walk around. Marvel at the architectures including the Sydney Town Hall.|
|6:00 PM||Dinner. (AUD14 ~ Php500). We had dinner at a good Japanese restaurant near Town Hall station.|
|(By good, it means good food and low price at around AUD5. 🙂 )|
|Walk from Sydney Town Hall to Big Hostel (1.1 km)|
|Or take the train from Town Hall station to Central station (Line T4, 2 minutes, AUD2.52 ~ Php90)|
|Estimated Expenses: Php1,800.00|
|Day 3||Royal National Park, Hyde Park, Sydney Eye Tower, Cathedral Square|
|7:00 AM||Eat free breakfast at Big Hostel|
|7:30 AM||Take the train from Central Station to Cronulla Station (Line T4, 50 minutes, AUD2.80 ~ Php100)|
|8:30 AM||Take the ferry from Cronulla Wharf to Bundeena (33 minutes, AUD6.80 ~ Php240). OPAL payment for Cronulla – Bundeena ferry fare is not accepted.|
|9:15 AM||Warm up by walking from Bundeena Wharf to The Coast Track at The Royal National Park. (1.5 km)|
|Follow Brighton St then turn left to Loftus St on the fork crossroad. Turn right on Bournemouth St, the first corner you’ll encounter to your right.|
|Turn left on Reef St (third street corner to your left), then immediately turn right on Beachcomber Ave all the way to The Coast Track. Decide which trail/s to take.|
|9:45 AM||Recommended: Take the trail to The Balconies through The Coast Track (800 m) for an amazing view of the ocean and the cliffs from a few meters above sea level.|
|Enjoy The Balconies and the sea and the waves.|
|10:15 AM||Walk further to The Waterrun from The Balconies (1 km).|
|10:45 AM||Enjoy the view of the forest and the mountain.|
|11:15 AM||If you are up and fit for more adventure, walk further to The Wedding Cake Rock. (800 m with steep ascent and descent)|
|Take the steps down The Waterrun (a steep descent), cross the creek to the other side and ascend the steep steps.|
|11:45 AM||Enjoy the view at The Wedding Cake Rock.|
|12:15 PM||You can walk further to Marley Beach (1.6km) and Little Marley further ahead for more of the sea and the wildlife around.|
|Swimming is not advisable though. Currents are too strong and no lifesaving services are around.|
|Or Walk your way back to The Coast Track down to Bundeena for lunch.|
|1:00 PM||Lunch. (AUD14 ~ Php500).|
|Walk around Bundeena.|
|Take the ferry from Bundeena Wharf to Cronulla (33 minutes, AUD6.80 ~ Php240). OPAL payment for Cronulla – Bundeena ferry fare is not accepted.|
|2:00 PM||Take the train from Cronulla Station to St James Station (Line T4, 1 hour, AUD2.80 ~ Php100). Take a rest on this hour ride.|
|3:00 PM||Take the Elizabeth St Exit and take a leisure walk through and around Hyde Park. Enjoy the trees.|
|There’s a good view of the Sydney Eye Tower from Hyde Park.|
|Walk further to the Cathedral Square along College St for the open skating rink during winter!|
|Dinner. (AUD14 ~ Php500)|
|Walk back to Big Hostel or take the train from St James Station to Central Station (Line T8, 4 minutes, AUD2.52 ~ Php90)|
|Estimated Expenses: Php1,800.00 (Excluding admission to skating rink with skateshoes rental)|
|Day 4||Green Square Library, The Grounds of Alexandria|
|8:00 AM||Eat free breakfast at Big Hostel. Check out. Leave things near Hostel Reception.|
|8:30 AM||Take the train from Central Station to Green Square Station (Line T8, 3 minutes, AUD2.50 ~ Php90)|
|Cross the road from Green Square Station to the Green Square Library along Botany Road (190 m).|
|Read and enjoy the silence and architecture at Green Square Library (Free admission). Walk around the area.|
|10:00 AM||Walk from Green Square Library to The Grounds of Alexandria (1.2 km). Enjoy the city and the surroundings.|
|Turn right on Botany Rd from Green Square Library then turn left on Bourke Rd all the way to The Grounds of Alexandria.|
|You’ll pass through Perry Park along the way.|
|10:30 AM||Chill at The Grounds of Alexandria. Visit every corner for the themed areas.|
|Lunch. (AUD14 ~ Php500)|
|12:30 PM||Walk back to Green Square Station (1km) following Bourke Rd and turn right on O’Riordan St.|
|Take the train from Green Square Station to Central Station (Line T8, 3 minutes, AUD2.50 ~ Php90)|
|Return pocket wifi (Follow instructions). Go back to hostel.|
|1:00 PM||Take the train from Central Station to Sydney Domestic Airport Station (Line T8, 8 minutes, AUD17.39 ~ Php620)|
|Check in at Sydney Domestic Airport.|
|5:00 PM||Touch down Avalon Airport (Melbourne). Flights to Avalon Airport are significantly cheaper.|
|Take the Sky Bus from Avalon Airport to Southern Cross Station in Melbourne CBD (~Php700 in Klook)|
|Dinner (AUD14 ~ Php500)|
|Walk from Southern Cross Station to Nomads Hostel (1.3km).|
|Turn left from Southern Cross Station Exit along Spencer St. Turn right on La Trobe St, then turn left on William Street passing through Flagstaff Gardens.|
|Turn right on A Beckett St for Nomads Hostel beside Pegasus Hotel.|
|Claim booked pocket Wifi (Hotel Delivery) booked in Klook. (~Php270 per day)|
|Estimated Expenses: Php2,500.00|
|Estimated Expenses for 4 Days in Sydney: P8,200.00 (Excluding Pocket Wifi rental)|
|Day 5||Lake Mountain Alpine Resort, Steavenson Falls, Yarra Valley Ice Creamery and Chocolaterie|
|7:00 AM||Be ready for snow! (AUD119 ~ Php4200 booked through Last Minute Day Tours Australia)|
|7:20 AM||Wait for Wildlife Tours Australia shuttle at Pegasus Apartment Hotel right beside Nomads Hostel.|
|9:00 AM||Breakfast/snacks at Beechworth Bakery. Enjoy the pastries and the scenery. (AUD14 ~ Php500)|
|10:00 AM||Enjoy Lake Mountain Alpine Resort. Make a snowman, or go toboganning, or go cross-country skiing (the best for me! 🙂 )|
|Or just enjoy the scenery and walk around and to the summit.|
|Lunch. (AUD14 ~ Php500)|
|2:00 PM||Take a nature walk to Steavenson Falls. Enjoy the falls and the green and the fresh air.|
|3:00 PM||Take spoonfuls of chocolates (for free!) at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery.|
|Buy chocolates and ice cream if you want. Enjoy Yarra Valley and the surroundings.|
|7:00 PM||Request to be dropped off at Queen Victoria Market or the nearest shuttle stop to Queen Victoria Market.|
|Dinner at Queen Victoria Market. (AUD14 ~ Php500)|
|It is transformed to a winter night market on winter season. Sing carols, enjoy good food, enjoy the Christmas vibe.|
|Walk back to Nomads Hostel from Queen Victoria Market.|
|Turn right from Queen Victoria Market along Queen St, pass through the Franklin Street Reserve, then turn right on A Beckett St just one block away for Nomads Hostel.|
|Estimated Expenses: Php5,700 (excluding snow activity/equipment rental at Lake Mountain)|
|Day 6||Great Ocean Road Tour: Anglesea, The Surf Coast, Port Campbell National Park, The Twelve Apostles Lookout|
|8:00 AM||Eat free breakfast at Nomads Hostel|
|9:00 AM||Wait for Go West Tours shuttle at Nomads Hostel for your Great Ocean Road Sunset Tour! (~Php3700 in Klook)|
|Pass by Geelong, Anglesea, Lorne, and The Surf Coast.|
|Lunch at Kennett River Kafe Koala. (AUD14 ~ Php500)|
|Spot some koalas hibernating on the trees near Kafe Koala.|
|Do the Shipwreck Walk, Razorback Walk, and Island Archway Walk at Port Campbell National Park.|
|Stop by the Great Otway National Park before enjoying the sunset at The Twelve Apostles Lookout.|
|7:00 PM||You can drop off at Flinders Street to visit the Federation Square, the Yarra River, and walk around Melbourne CBD.|
|Choose to dine at one of the restaurants around. (AUD14 ~ Php500)|
|Walk back to Nomads Hostel (1.8 km). Enjoy Melbourne CBD at night.|
|Turn left on Flinders St from Federation Square/Flinders Street Station then turn right at Elizabeth St or Queen St (one block further) all the way to A Beckett St (9 blocks).|
|Turn left on A Beckett St for Nomads Hostel.|
|Estimated Expenses: Php4,700|
|Day 7||Brighton Beach Boxes,Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, The Nobbies, Phillip Island, Penguin Parade|
|8:00 AM||Eat free breakfast at Nomads Hostel|
|8:30 AM||Walk around Melbourne CBD and enjoy the daylight.|
|Pass by State Library Victoria, the Parliament Gardens, all the way to Fitzroy Gardens. (2.1 km)|
|Turn left from Nomads Hostel on A Beckett St then turn right on Elizabeth St.|
|Walk one block then turn left on La Trobe St passing by Melbourne Central Station and State Library Victoria.|
|Walk four blocks then turn right on Victoria Parade St passing by the College of Surgeons Gardens.|
|Walk one blocks then turn right on Nicholson St, walk one block for Parliament Gardens, then turn left on Albert St for Fitzroy Gardens just two blocks away.|
|Enjoy Fitzroy Gardens and Melbourne CBD.|
|10:00 AM||Walk back to Nomads Hostel following the same streets. (Use Google Maps to help you navigate around. 🙂 )|
|11:00 AM||Wait for Go West Tours shuttle at Nomads Hostel for your Phillip Island and Brighton Beach Boxes Day Tour! (Php4300 in Klook)|
|12:00 PM||Enjoy Brighton Beach and the Bathing Boxes.|
|1:30 PM||Enjoy Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park. Lunch (AUD14 ~ Php500).|
|Watch the 20-minute interactive animal show at their arena and get to know more about some Australian wild animals the sanctuary has preserved.|
|Feed kangaroos and wallabies. Watch a handful of koalas up close on trees. Enjoy all the animals around.|
|4:30 PM||Enjoy the sunset at The Nobbies in Phillip Island. You might be able to spot penguins walking to their homes as you go around.|
|5:00 PM||Get inside the Phillip Island Penguin Parade area. Dinner (AUD14 ~ Php500).|
|5:45 PM||Enjoy the ocean at your assigned viewing area as you wait for the penguin parade.|
Marvel at how the penguins get back to the shore after a day at the ocean and wait for one another as they parade their way to their man-made homes throughout the land area around Phillip Island Nature Parks.
|9:00 PM||Drop off at Nomads Hostel.|
|Estimated Expenses: Php4,700|
|Day 8||Flagstaff Gardens|
|8:00 AM||Eat free breakfast at Nomads Hostel.|
|9:00 AM||Check out. Visit Flagstaff Gardens on your way to Southern Cross Station for the Sky Bus to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport.|
|Turn right from Nomads Hostel along A Beckett St. Flagstaff Gardens is at the end of the street around 200 m away.|
|Sit down. Relax. Rest with your luggage at Flagstaff Gardens. Read or just ponder as you look around and watch people. 🙂|
|11:00 AM||Make your way to Southern Cross station. (850 m)|
|Turn right from Flagstaff Gardens along La Trobe St. Turn left on Spencer St (one block) for Southern Cross Station (four blocks).|
|Lunch (AUD14 ~ Php500).|
|12:30 PM||Board the Sky Bus to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport. (~Php550 in Klook)|
|1:00 PM||Return pocket Wifi booked in Klook.|
|Check in at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport.|
|In-flight dinner. (~Php500)|
|Estimated Expenses: Php1,500|
|Estimated Expenses for 4 Days in Melbourne: Php16,800 (Excluding Pocket Wifi rental)|
|Estimated Expenses for 8 Days in Sydney and Melbourne: Php25,000 (Excluding Pocket Wifi rental)|
Estimated expenses exclude our actual booking on promotional prices and travel tax:
- Accommodation in Sydney at Big Hostel (~P1,200/night per person x 3 nights): P3,600 with free breakfast
- Accommodation in Melbourne at Nomads Hostel (~P800/night per person x 4 nights): Php3200 with free breakfast
- Manila to Sydney: Php5999 via Cebu Pacific
- Sydney to Melbourne: AUD79 ~ Php2800 via Jetstar
- Melbourne to Manila: Php5999 via Cebu Pacific
- Travel tax: Php1,720
Expenses also exclude
- Pocket Wifi Rental: ~Php270 per day in Klook
- Snow activities/equipment rentals in Lake Mountain (See price list here)
- Skate shoes rental at Bondi Winter Magic, Parramatta Winterlight Festival, and the Cathedral Square Skating Rink.
This excludes all other expenses not specified in this itinerary.
Expenses on food is just an estimate and will vary depending on what and where you choose to eat.
Actual prices may also have changed.
AUSTRALIA TRIP NOTES
Keep left. When you walk on a busy footpath, stairs, escalator, and pretty much everywhere else, keep left. Their steering wheels are on the right side, so cars also keep left on the road.
On Sundays, your Opal card will only be charged a maximum of AUD2.80 for traveling the whole day through the metro, train, bus, ferry and light rail services. See updated Opal benefits here.
We just walked around Melbourne CBD from the Airport Sky Bus station at Southern Cross Station to Nomads Hostel to Queen Victoria Market to as far as Fitzroy Gardens along Wellington Parade and the Federation Square along Flinders Street. Google Maps is reliable and helps a lot.
Melbourne CBD is walkable so I didn’t purchase any transportation card. Well, one of the reasons also is that I booked the tour packages listed below for my Melbourne trips. Why? Commuting is not an option so you either drive or join a tour. The latter is more convenient and cheaper for me.
We already paid for our air fare, accommodation, and tour package before we traveled for this trip. See complete list below. Click each highlighted item to book or know the details.
3 nights in Sydney at Big Hostel (Before a dear friend invited to let us stay at her place in East Hills)
4 nights in Melbourne at Nomads Hostel
Booked Tours in Melbourne
Airport Transfers in Melbourne
Manila to Sydney and Melbourne to Manila via Cebu Pacific
Sydney to Melbourne via Jetstar
The following will also be essential for your DIY itinerary.
Opal Card in Sydney (Purchase at the Airport train station)
Pocket WiFi (Choose Options in Klook)
- Google Maps for real time navigation would be very useful.
- They greet with “Hi! How’s it goin’?”, “Hi! How are you?”, and the likes.
- Everyone talks to you with so much enthusiasm. (Quite a culture shock for me!)
- Trams in Melbourne pass where pedestrians and cars pass.
- Walk around. It’s clean everywhere.
- Sydney and Melbourne are two completely different cities that you will enjoy! 🙂
Travel Tips From Yours Truly
Natasha was a full-time banker who got to take a breather when she traveled. She loves the outdoors so much. She is currently in the UK pursuing postgraduate studies!