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Need help to select accommodation and itinerary

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Singapore, Singapore
posts: 117
reviews: 8
Need help to select accommodation and itinerary

Hi all

I am planning to visit Melbourne in 1st week of June. As I never been to Australia, I will need help to select good and cheap hotel accommodation in Melbourne. My budget is less then A$200 a night. Also I am thinking of renting a car and driving to the hotel from airport. Any idea will the hotel charge for hotel guest parking?

I have heard abt the GOR, is it do-able by me driving to and fro on my own? Also there are factory outlets in Melbourne any idea where are they located?


Melbourne, Australia
posts: 12
reviews: 8
1. Re: Need help to select accommodation and itinerary

Hi Robin!

Melbourne has plenty of accomodation that is central and reasonably priced. I think your best bet is one of the chain hotels like Ibis, Mecure,

Mantra, Novotel. If you go to websites like hotels.com.au, lastminute or

wotif.com.au you will get a good online deal.

The best thing about staying in Melbourne is the trams because they

go everywhere in the CBD. There is also a free tourist tram and bus

that travel around a big loop, up to the Docklands and all the famous sites.

Most hotels in the CBD will charge for parking, usually $20 per night but you may be able to get a discount if you are staying a week. But perhaps consider the cost of public transport vs car rental. If you just want the car to get around to sightsee, trams/trains will be a better option. That way you could just get a taxi or shuttle from the airport and hire a car just for your day trip to the ocean road.

The Great Ocean Road is a long journey but very beautiful. It will take about an hour just to reach the peninsula from the city and the furthest point (Warrnambool) is about 3 hours from Melbourne. If you factor in stopping for photos/lunch, it will take most of the day. This website is fantastic to help you plan:


Finally, in regards to factory outlets, there a few to choose from. In the city is Harbourtown in the Docklands (free tram will take you there). Also there is a DFO in South Wharf in the city, close to the casino. Bridge Road in Richmond is another popular shopping strip, easily accessible by tram. These are all central but there are suburban ones too. I think Harbourtown and DFO are great.

Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions!


Singapore, Singapore
posts: 117
reviews: 8
2. Re: Need help to select accommodation and itinerary

Hi Hilary

Thanks for ur fantastic recommendation.

For GOR, will it be more relaxing to stay a night along the route so that I will not need to rush back to Mel before night falls. What's the best town to stay on GOR? Any hotel to recommend too?

As for Mel, I will search ard for hotels located in CBD area. Then rent a car to drive ard the city area as my wife will love it enjoying the views of the city at our own pace.

Btw, is early June or mid July peak season in Mel? What kind of weather shld I expect during jun and July as its winter there. Any chance of snowing in the city? Hehe

Thanks!! :)

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 2,035
reviews: 40
3. Re: Need help to select accommodation and itinerary

Um, the chance of snow in Melbourne is about the same as hell freezing over. Well, not quite, as it has happened in my living memory, but it is very, very rare.

It will very likely be cold and wet though. Maximum temperatures are around 17 degrees, and it's often under 10 degrees overnight.

If you wish to see snow, a 3 or 4 hour drive will take you to snow, or even 2 hours if you don't need to be at a ski resort (eg Lake Mountain).

It's not peak season, but the City area can be busy at times when the local Football is on.

If you are going as far as Port Fairy (a very long way), for something a bit different, stay at Mickey Burkes hotel in Koroit. It's a little out of your way, but it's an Australian experience. Port fairy is very nice too. Or even Warrnambool, if you want a proper, bigger town to stay in.

Otherwise I guess you'll stay in Port Campbell.

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 117
reviews: 8
4. Re: Need help to select accommodation and itinerary


I have roughly plan my trip for Melbourne 17 may to 26 may. I will be touching down at Melbourne airport at abt 0920hrs on 17 may. Planning to stay at CBS area. By the way, if I rent a car in Melbourne (plan to collect the car 1 day in advance before to go for my trip to Philip island and GOR) will the hotel provide free parking for hotel guest? And will hotels at Philip island, apollo bay and port Campbell provide free parking for hotel guest?

17 may: proceed to hotel for check in and catch some rest due to the overnight flight from sgp. Walk ard hotel area and hope to have a nice dinner. (will it be better to take the sky bus to my hotel or rent a car from the airport and self drive to the hotel?)

18 may: visit places in Melbourne city (any places to recommend?) and probably have a dinner at the tramcar restaurant (worth it?)

**Will it be better that I visit Philip island on 18 may and after viewing the penguin I drive back to Melbourne?

19 may: visit Philip island and spend a night there. Other than seeing penguins, what activities are recommended?

20 may: drive to sorrento and take the ferry over to queenscliff and proceed to Apollo bay for my night stay. What can I see and do at sorrento and queenscliff?

21 may: drive to visit the 12 apostles and stay over at port Campbell. Any idea what's the price per pax for the helicopter ride at 12 apostles? And it's duration? Saw people recommending the fish and chips at port campbell. Any idea what's the name and where is it?

22 may: drive back to Melbourne via inland route through colac. Any place to visit on my way back? Werribee zoo worth a visit? Or so I stop by ballarat before going to Melbourne?

23 to 26 may: eating, shopping ard Melbourne. And nice food places to recommend?

Is my itinerary ok? If not pls provide some recommendation.

Thank you very much.

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 12
reviews: 8
5. Re: Need help to select accommodation and itinerary

Hi Robin,

The hotels in the city don't generally have free parking, they tend to charge around $20 per night. The regional areas on the GOR will be free at the hotels.

I would suggest taking the skybus from the airport but it depends on how often you plan to use the car because parking will add up.

I haven't been on the tram restaurant but I do know you have to book quite far in advance. It might be a nice experience for you, but book ahead so you don't miss out.

Phillip Island is a two hour drive from Melbourne. Given that the penguins come out at night, you will have to spend the night there. There is plenty to do there, the koala conservation centre and the Nobbies are really good.

Sorrento and Queenscliff are typical seaside towns, if you are there over a weekend there might be some nice markets on, otherwise I'm not 100% sure of specific things to do there.

As for the helicopter ride, it costs $95 for 10 minutes. I don't know what fish and chip shops are in Port Campbell. Perhaps wait til you get there and ask a local.

On your drive home, Ballarat will be an hour out of your way so don't bother there. You could stop in Geelong for lunch along the waterfront, that area is beautiful. That means you will arrive back in Melbourne in the late afternoon...Werribee Zoo is ok but requires a few hours to enjoy. Don't try to pack too much in, your itinerary so far sounds good!

Shopping in Melbourne is great- see my first reply for outlet suggestions. Melbourne Central, Chadstone and the markets are popular. I won't even start with restaurants because there are so many good ones! Crown Casino is fantastic for all styles of food, Lygon St in Carlton for Italian, Chinatown is nice...you won't go hungry!

Enjoy your trip!


Singapore, Singapore
posts: 117
reviews: 8
6. Re: Need help to select accommodation and itinerary

Hi Hilary

Thanks a million for ur fantastic reply.

I am getting excited for my trip although its another 4 months away...haha

I think I should take the skybus from airport to hotel as I suppose I will be tired after 8hrs flight and save some cost on parking too. Does the skybus send me direct to the hotel? Or I got to take a taxi to my hotel after reaching Melbourne city?

Then I shall give sorrento a miss as I should be going to GOR on a weekdays..

as for werribee zoo, will it be better to head back to Melbourne and then travel to werribee zoo the next day as I will be driving almost 300km from port Campbell back to MelBourne. And u mention that it takes abt 3-4 hrs to complete the visit. Any idea what transport is available to take me to the zoo if I decide not to drive as I will need to pay extra to park at the hotel in the city.

U mention geelong, where exactly are the waterfall located where I can have my lunch?

Another round to refine my itinerary and I suppose it will be perfect.

Lastly, does Melbourne sells data plan SIM card so that I can have my google map on hand in case my gps fail on me. As for car rental will it be better/necessary to purchase the package that covers excess damage?

Thanks again..

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 12
reviews: 8
7. Re: Need help to select accommodation and itinerary

Looking back at your plans, I'm thinking about your drive from Phillip Island across the ferry onto the GOR... This trip will take around 4 hours of driving (not including 1 hour for the ferry). I think it makes more sense to do this as you planned rather than going back into the city overnight. You don't really need to stop in Queenscliff or Sorrento, they are just as nice to drive through.

As for the Skybus, a return ticket will only cost you $28 and they do have a hotel drop off service, but there are only some participating hotels (check the website). There are lots of hotels on this list but if yours isn't on it, the bus goes to Southern Cross station which is very central. The bus will be much cheaper than a taxi.

If you are keen to go to Werribee Zoo, I would suggest going there another day. If you do too much, especially with all that driving, you will be too tired to enjoy it. Did you know that Melbourne Zoo and the aquarium are closer to the city and easier to get to... To be honest, Werribee zoo is not that exciting.

I think you misread my post- Geelong has a waterfront, not a waterfall! :-) It would be a nice spot to stop for lunch.

In the city, St Kilda and WIilliamstown are nice beachside areas too. You can get a ferry from Docklands to Williamstown if its a nice day.

My best advice would be, keep those last couple of days free to decide what you feel like when you get here. There is heaps to do in the city depending on your interests and you will see so much more if you stay in the city rather than getting out to the suburbs.

You won't have any problem finding a sim card here, the airport should sell them or get one in the city. As for insurance, well that depends on your budget and your confidence driving in Australia! The roads are safe but it might be a good idea since you will be doing a lot of driving especially on the GOR.

Hope this all helps!

P.S. A friend did the helicopter ride at the 12 apostles and absolutely loved it!

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 27
8. Re: Need help to select accommodation and itinerary

Hi Robin

The skybus will take you into the CBD, stopping at Southern Cross Station. If you're hotel is in the CBD it will be walkable, but it could be a longish walk uphill, depending on which hotel you choose. EDIT: Just saw Hilary said the skybus stops at some hotels. I didn't know that because I've only caught from the station and it went directly to the airport.

As for werribee zoo, it really is on the way back from GOR/Geelong. You hardly need to detour - I've seen the animals from the highway while driving past sometimes! But yes, you'll be tired from driving. So if you really do want to go there, consider staying at the hotel attached to the Werribee mansion which is right next to the zoo. The mansion/hotel is quite nice and would make a nice stop. There's a winery next door too. Then you could give back the car when you get back to Melbourne. Otherwise, as Hillary suggested, you could go to Melbourne Zoo instead. In case you don't know, Werribee Zoo is all African animals, safari style, not Australian natives. You can't really get to Werribee Zoo on public transport and a taxi would be very expensive.

I haven't been on the tramcar restaurant, but many people I know (locals and visitors) have done it and they say it's very good. There's so much good food in Melbourne. If you like any particular type, let us know and maybe we can give you better suggestions.

Enjoy your trip!

Edited: 7:04 am, January 19, 2013
Singapore, Singapore
posts: 28
reviews: 10
9. Re: Need help to select accommodation and itinerary

Hi Robin,

Just to share from a fellow Singaporean who's also planning her trip to melbourne but I'm going end-Feb.

- Airport to hotel: If there's 2 of you, I wonder if taking a cab is a more convenient option? It's AUD28 per pax for Skybus and you still need to take a connecting tram to your hotel. I might be wrong so please correct me. I'm opting for cab also because I have 2 small children 3 and 1 yr old. Not driving straight from airport or parking charges at hotel and also driving in Melbourne city is an art because of the "hook turns". Check if the Queen Victoria market is operating on your arrival day. It's open till 2pm so consider that for lunch options.

- Best to spend the night at Phillip Island after the penguins as it ends late abt 9-10pm and it's a 2hr drive back to Melbourne. Besides the penguin parade, consider the Koala Conservation Centre (can only see, cannot touch the koalas) and Churchill Heritage Farm (there's a bundle ticket with the penguins for all 3 attractions). But if you want to hug koalas, try Maru Koala Park instead and skip the other 2 as Maru is a bit further away but still on Phillip Island.

- Ferry btwn Sorrento and Queencliffe: I've read that rental cars are not allowed on this ferry as if there are scratches, the insurance won't cover so don't risk it. I read this was what Hertz and Avis ruled, Thrifty might be okay but pls chk. And on car insurance, please get the maximum insurance coverage to $0 liability. I had experience in Gold Coast where there was a tiny scratch and I had to pay the full $350 liability. I changed my itinerary to do the GOR first so I wouldn't need to get on the ferry. I'm doing Melbourne city - GOR overnight in Apollo Bay - Drive inland via Colac and overnight at Geelong - Healesville Sanctuary - Puffing Billy steam train and Yarra Valley (good for wines but I don't drink) - Phillip Island - back to Melbourne city.

- I would have done Werribee Zoo if only my kids were older! There are age limits for the safari bus so Im opting out.

Just sharing!

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 117
reviews: 8
10. Re: Need help to select accommodation and itinerary

Hi mellenur

Thanks a lot for sharing.

I have change me plan to do Phillip island stay a night as u mention it will be quite late to drive back to mel vity. the next day then drive to Apollo bay to do GOR and will skip sorrento and also miss the ferry over to queensclift. Just wondering if the drive will be too long from Phillip island to Apollo bay.

U stay at Geelong overnight and the next day u visit yarra valley, puffing billy and healesville. Are u staying at either of the places of just day time visit and return back to Mel city to stay for the night?

Any hotel to recommend in Mel city, Apollo bay, port Campbell, Geelong and Phillip island? Also which car rental u will be renting ur car from?