Travelogue | Tips on Graduation Trip - Melbourne

As you might know that I have just graduated in August 2014 and went for a short 6D4N trip to Melbourne because my university is there. Have a look if you haven't. Mostly my photo shots and I simply love it.

So in this post, probably I can share with you some tips on how to get this graduation trip of yours going. I have to emphasize that I based lots of my experience in Melbourne so just wanna give you a rough idea what you can do from the most basics, even if your uni is not from Australia.

1. People

First, find a person to go with you. I find it meaningful if you go with your classmates as a celebration of your milestone/achievement. So either in group or your partner-in-crime. Also you might want to share your joy with your loved ones by going with them.

For me, I went with my best friend for this trip because we graduated with the same degree from the same university (+RMIT University is in Melbourne) so this is absolutely meaningful.


2. Plan and Budget

So now, once you find the person to go with, start planning early. Time to decide if you want a Free & Easy trip or Tour Packages. Initially we thought of the former choice but after some consideration, we go for Tour packages. Reason being that it may be easy if we stay in Melbourne City but we don't drive thus it will be hard to reach places like Phillip Island which is like hours of drive from the City. We just want a hassle-free trip. 

And we have our own budget, we set it at around SGD1500 for the package. We managed to find Nam Ho Travel  that has packages to Melbourne within our budget plus minus. 

Credit: Nam Ho Travel
Let me share the Melbourne itinerary with you peeps. See if it is good enough for you peeps. Nam Ho will change as and when. So expected some slight difference from mine.

- Queen Victoria Market
- Harbour Town Factory Outlet
- Eureka Tower
- Ashcombe Maze
- Penguin Reserve at Phillip Island
- Twelve Apostles 
- Enroute The Great Ocean Road 
- Loch Ard Gorge
- Amaze N Things
- Maru Koala Park
- Pannys Amazing World of Chocolate
- Warrook Farm
At The Great Ocean Road
At Maru Koala & Animal Park
At Warrook Farm
I have like 1.5 days of Free & Easy from this package so we were able to explore more on our own. Esp finding your universities.

At Swanston Street
At La Trobe Street
Also I'm not saying that you should be going to Melbourne. It all depends where your universities are from. Esp for those studing foreign universities in Singapore (like SIM), some universities are from Australia, USA or UK. So it all depends. Just in case your university is in Melbourne only, if not you may just want to treat it as a holiday trip. Anyway, wherever you go, just enjoy the trip even it is like mostly touring around the country and only about 10% is exploring/finding your universities.

Also you can check out other travel agencies like Commonwealth Travel (CTC) (my Okinawa trip is with them and service is good) or Chan Brothers too. The bus guide for our Melbourne trip is a Malaysian living and working in Melbourne. He is good. His name is Mr Sandy.

3. Airlines

You probably wanna travel on budget yet a nice trip out. Various budget airlines fly to Melbourne like Jetstar, Tigerair and AirAsia. For me, my flight is with Singapore Airlines. So do your homework well. Once there is any promo, grab it! Only if you have a rough plan on when you wanna head there.

4. Money aka Expenses

Check on the currency between SGD and AUD/USD/Pounds/Euro. The better money changers are usually in Chinatown. But then that's not really the case. Some money changers in shopping mall can give you quite good rates. There is once my dad helped me change Japan Yen at City Square Mall one of the money changer and seems like the rates is reasonable. Sometimes you really need to compare. 

On top of the money spent on the package, you may want to consider how much to bring with you. I brought about SGD400 worth of AUD for this trip because it is just me only and most of the meals are included in the package and I don't have to worry or trouble over meals, except on that 1.5 F&E days. Expenses in Australia is expensive which is already known to us way before that. So if you can't find something that is unique or special to bring back as souvenirs for friends or colleagues, then probably you should consider going to Queen Victoria Market for some cheap and normal buys as souvenirs because it won't burn your pocket. 

But on the other hand, I will still recommend you bring about SGD500 to SGD1000 worth of Aussie dollar if you want a worry-free trip. Then you won't be worrying over not enough to spend on food or purchases that attracts you so damn much.

If you are heading to USA or UK or Europe, you have to bring even more. The above is applicable for Australia.

5. Melbourne Custom

Read up more of their custom stuff if you are heading to the country for the 1st time. And please fill up your arrival card honestly. Whatever you bring along on your trip, please declare. I usually neglected this part when I travel because to me, it doesn't really matters that much. Do not bring food with you or say goodbye to Melbourne even before you step out of the custom. I watched Border Security and though in my mind, some might be just enactments (not saying it isn't real situation most of the time) but abiding to their laws/regulations is a respect to their countries. Like you won't want other foreigners to break the law in Singapore and harm our country and people. Anyway, this applies to all countries around the world.

6. Bring appropriate clothing

Check the weather of the country you are heading for your graduation trip. From June to Sep/Oct, the weather in Melbourne is cold. So call their winter season. Very different from USA/UK/Europe right? Please remember to bring thicker clothings if you know is going to be cold/freezing or even snow. And also bring along a bottle of moisturizer during cold seasons because you will get dry skin. Simple as that. If the weather is going to be damn hot, you know what you can wear now since Singapore is usually hot season through out, though we have rainy/cooling season too.


Bought mine from +Uniqlo at about SGD70. Now is the season where you can find winter clothings at Uniqlo. Please go to their bigger stores to find.

If you wanna take OOTD (outfit of the day), pls bring more and nicer coordinates.



7. List of Universities in Melbourne

These universities with campuses in Melbourne are:
  1. Deakin University
  2. Monash University
  3. RMIT University
  4. Swinburne University of Technology
  5. University of Ballarat
  6. University of Melbourne
  7. La Trobe University
  8. Victoria University
  9. Australian Catholic University
8. To-Do-List

Camera
First of all, please bring your camera along with extra batteries for photoshoot. Take more photos outside or inside your university. I brought my Canon EOS M along. Love it. If you haven't see my post which is full of my wonderful shots, please do so here. The deep blue sky and green grass patches plus sunny weather in September is just so awesome for all photos. Or is it out of Singapore, everything seems just so beautiful? Haha...Take more photos please. I just love Melbourne so much because they have lovely heritage buildings all around and I just can't finish snapping them all.

Photoshoot
What about engaging professional photographers to take a graduation photo with your friends overseas? Probably any beautiful locations plus outside your university (please find out if you need to seek for permit to have the photoshoot taken inside the uni premises and etc). You may want to consider engaging Melvin from Multifolds Photography as I personally think he takes nice portraits photography and he is like always flying around the world for photoshoot engagement. Check out his works on Instagram too. Lovely.

Tram Ride
Catch the free City Circle tram around Central Melbourne. A superb nice and old vintage tram. I like. It is a round trip so you won't get lost. Basically you won't get lost in the city. Cos the bus guide told us that Central Melbourne is like a tic-tac-toe model.

Taken inside City Circle tram
The other tram, Yarra Trams needs you to pay for your ride. Conveniently at their tram stop. There is a machine where you can buy your myki pass to travel more in depth Melbourne. Feels just like our EZlink card. Oh ya... Get a copy of the visitor guide on board the tram. I got it on board City Circle. 


Tour around your University
Probably you want to walk around the campus, take a look how different is theirs as compared to Singapore. Mostly the same I guess. I suggest if you can find their bookstore, go for it. Probably you can find some souvenirs to bring back. We unfortunately didn't make much effort in finding but I saw it on Pinterest that they have mugs, jackets and etc. What a waste!

And if there is any cafeteria inside the campus, probably you can have something there. I don't know how to explain but it just feels like everything is so meaningful when your presence is there at your university which you have planned for months to a year just waiting for this day to come. Get a feel of having your meals there. Take a selfie of your presence there. Or a welfie with your friends. Must do it okay?
Inside Building 80
Last of all, take as much photos as you can because you may not be travelling there anytime now after the 1st trip. 



Food
I understand and feel for everyone who has been to Melbourne or any parts of Australia, that everything is so expensive due to our currency exchange. Seriously, it is! I think if you travel to US, UK, it will still be the same too. And again, if you haven't see my post on Melbourne Foodies, please do so now here. As our hotel is located in Melbourne Chinatown, we are just within reach from many eateries. You can find Mcdonald's, Hungry Jack, lots of Chinese eateries/restaurants, Japanese food and etc. I personally love walking in to their mini mart which is just opposite our hotel. Will always look at their potato chips varieties. I saw most of them are Smiths Potato Crisps. Yes they have Pringles but I just can't find the flavour Honey Mustard that my bro brought back from Perth. 

Oh ya... there is KOI and Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken from Taiwan. I find that this trip, I had lots more Chinese cuisine than Western. Seriously. But to me, it doesn't really matter. 

Or how about making a trip to their market like Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne as they have nice baguettes, sausages n many more. Go to their Poultry section. There is a donut van which has this long queue on Sun. And there are large fruits stalls which you can find exotic fruits which you don't get to see in Singapore. Can't remember what are those. But definitely NO in SG.




Experience 
Because they are 2 hours ahead of Singapore, imagine sleeping at 10 or 11pm Melbourne time which is just 8 or 9pm in Singapore. Boo... so early sleep. I usually the earliest slept at 11+pm in Singapore or mostly 12-1+am. If places like Japan which is just 1 hour ahead is still not so bad. I can't imagine if I go to further places with a time zone difference of a day or so. Wah... never been through that yet. Quite looking forward to it. 

I guess because of their tram lines, I find that Central Melbourne is full of slopes. Up or down slopes, high or low, it doesn't matter. The sight of tram travelling along the street is just so fulfilling. We don't have much slopes in Singapore so in Melbourne, I find it unique. I think I should go US too. They have that too as seen on movies. I can imagine going to US is yet another photoshoot trip. 

Runners. I can see runners on the road on cooling weather. Great job. Esp when you have slopes, it makes your run challenging and training you on your endurance. Woot... Bravo.

I saw lots of immigrants there, or probably everywhere in Australia you will see immigrants. Just like Singapore. Lots of immigrants flowing in, setting up business here. And students studying here. 

THANK YOU FOR READING!

Thank you for reading this long lengthy post and I guess it somehow helps a little for those who are just like me. And for those whom their uni is local Singapore ones (NUS, NTU, SMU), is okay. You can just gather few or a group of classmates of the same cohort to go for a trip out of Singapore too. But I superb envy that they have this Student Exchange thingy which they can travel to Europe esp. 

Anyway, to me a graduation trip is to commemorate your days in university and getting that degree on hand. Whatever reason it can be, my 2nd reason for this trip is that I itch for travelling. Will update this post if I feel that I left anything out. Or probably a revised version. See how. Bye! 

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