Australia is a nation that is in itself occupies a whole continent. Located at the south of Indonesia, Australia consist of the mainland continent, plus the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is also the world’s sixth-largest country by total area.
Australia’s climate varies throughout the different states and territories, with most of the states experiencing four seasons except for the tropical north that experiences only wet and dry season. Also, do take note that the seasons are a complete opposite to those in the northern hemisphere, December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring. We went in June last year so it was very very cold. The winter season also doesn’t necessarily mean snow, although in some areas in Sydney there was snow the night before we visited there (hello, Katoomba!) but the most we experienced was really bitingly cold winter wind, and on other days some rain showers.
We decided to divide our visit to 2 states, Sydney and Melbourne. We took the red-eye flight (12:15 am) to Sydney from NAIA Terminal 3 via Cebu Pacific and reached Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport at around 10:30 in the morning. Travel time is 8 hours plus 2 hours time difference, Sydney being ahead by 2 hours.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
The first order of business for us was to purchase a prepaid data simcard. We got ours from an Optus kiosk found at the arrival hall, paid AUD$ 20 for 10 days, 500MB per day. After purchasing the simcard, we planned on having a meal at the airport until we realized that we needed to go to the domestic terminal (T2) for our flight to Melbourne, so we took the Airport Transfer Link to Domestic Airport ($6 one-way).
Our flight to Melbourne via Tigerair was not until 3:15 pm but while we were checking in our bags we were given an option by the crew to take an earlier flight which we accepted so we just bought takeaway food and ate while waiting for our flight.
#MelbourneIdentity #Sydneyland #OzOzOzOyOyOy
The flight to Melbourne took around 1 and a half hours and we reached Tullamarine Airport T4 around 4:00 pm. Then we got tickets for the Skybus Airport Express for AUD$19 from Tullamarine Airport T4 to Skybus South Cross Station. From South Cross Station, we took the Skybus hotel transfer, (which is a service included in the Skybus airport transfer), to Nomads hostel located in 198 A’Beckett Street.
Melbourne’s public transport system is pretty straightforward once you get familiar with it, and Google Maps was our best friend most of the time. There is also a Free Tram Zone which is, well, free! 🙂 Most of the tourist spots in Melbourne are walking distance from the Free Tram Zone stops.
Our hostel was a short walking distance to the Flagstaff Station of the free tram zone. Just take note that if you do not have a MYKI card, be careful not to go out of the free tram zone. We did get a MYKI card eventually when we went to Brighton Beach which I will share in another post. 🙂
We stayed in Nomads Melbourne, which was near Southern Cross Station and also, as I’ve mentioned, is near to the Flagstaff Tram station. We got the Private Triple Room with toilet and shower for AUD$90 per night for 4 nights (AUD$30 per pax per night). The room had a bunk bed, with the lower deck queen size and the top deck single size, and a very spacious toilet with shower. There is a central kitchen at the first floor if people want to cook or heat up something or have hot water. Also, there is free tea and coffee as well as breakfast at certain times (usually from 8am to 10am) and varies daily (there was one time we had crepes). There is also a chance to socialize with other backpackers at the bar, and if you feel like watching a movie in big screen, the place has it’s own mini cinema. I’m not one to actually do hostel reviews but Nomads was pretty decent for me, it met the basic needs for a hostel so I would gladly recommend this place. It also has different branches across Australia.
BACK TO SYDNEY
Going back to the Tullamarine Airport, we decided to get a cab instead of taking the Skybus coz the cost is almost the same as the sum of 3 Skybus express tickets. Our flight back to Sydney was at 11:10 am, so we had a bit of lunch at the airport and arrived at Sydney Airport Terminal 2 around 12:30 pm. We then purchased an OPAL card, which we used for public transports (buses, trains and even ferries), worth $40 which we had to top-up at some point during our stay. The OPAL card is actually pretty cool because during Sundays it has a $2.50 cap, $15 cap on a regular day and $60 cap for a week. This means that on Sundays, you get deducted $2.50 only even if you used your card to travel for distances worth more than that. As for the $15 daily cap, the card will be deducted every time you use it but once it deducted $15, it will stop there and you can still go ahead and use the card without additional deductions. The same goes for $60 weekly cap. 🙂
Sydney Central Inn, located at 428 Pitt St, Haymarket, New South Wales and formerly known as the Chamberlain Hotel, is only a few minutes away from the Central Train Station. It is located in Sydney’s CBD and close to shopping, theaters, restaurants and all source of entertainment. There are a few other hostel backpackers along Pitt St but we chose this hostel because it was the only one among the few that has a triple room available on our chosen dates. This hostel has the basic necessities such as a pantry for us to cook, hot water, free wifi in the common area, and a laundry room. The thing to note though is that the room we had doesn’t have a private toilet and bath (probably the same all throughout the building), although there are 2 shower room/toilet per floor per gender. Another noteworthy information is that there is no lift and as we were staying at the 4th floor, you can imagine all the exercise we got. You can, however, ask for help in carrying luggage up and down the building. Once we saw the room and the view from the room, I already knew that this was my favorite hostel among all the hostels I’ve ever been to. There wasn’t any central heating in the building but when we asked for a heater, the staff gave us one right away! Now, doesn’t that deserve a very good recommendation :).
Going back to the airport was easier than going to the hostel. Airport shuttle services are actually available and can be arranged by either your hotels/hostels, or you can also do it online. We got our shuttle service tickets at 711 for $14 each and they picked us up at the designated area on time. For more information check this website.
Other Things To Know
- A Visa is required for Filipinos and other countries to visit Australia. Check out my post on how to apply for an Australian Visa here in Singapore.
- Tap water is safe to drink in Australia, so if you want to save on some expenses, bring your own water bottle and drink from the tap water.
- Australia, like Singapore, is a multicultural country, and that is reflected in the country’s food, lifestyle and cultural practices and experience.
- Tipping is not required but encouraged.
- Most cities have free walking tours available (of course you are very welcome to give a tip here) which is the best way to get the feel and vibe of the city so make sure to check it out.
Til my next post on this series!