Saturday 11 March 2017

Melbourne II Day 1: South Yarra & Prahran Market

We took advantage of Emiratesspecial sale and booked a trip to Melbourne for just SGD640 per adult, SGD457.50 per child (much cheaper than our previous trip). As usual, we departed from Singapore Changi Airport, Terminal 1.

All excited to depart from Terminal 1

I was less excited than the kids for this trip as we've been to Melbourne before. The boy was the most excited as he was only 1 year old when we visited Melbourne previously and couldn't remember any of it.

Clockwise from left: Excitedly watching the aeroplane;
The shiny Emirates logo of their new A380 plane;
The boy immediately started watching his favourite shows.
A group selfie before we departed
The new super wide HD screens! So awesome!
I managed to catch Trolls and La La Land on the way there
(and I watched Moana and Big Bang Theory on the way back)

Emirates also updated their kids meals, which were the cutest thing ever!!! *swoons*

Clockwise from left: Spaghetti with meatballs for the main meal with various snacks in the super cute snack box. My kids finished everything in the snack box!;
The side dish and dessert were less appealing to the kids;
My adult meal was so boring in comparison. Why can't we have the kids meal?!? *sad*

Our only complaint was the noise! On top of being seated right in front of the toilet and hearing the loud whoosh of the flush every few minutes, there was also the crying of toddlers who were seated around us (seems like they had grouped all the parents of young kids in the last cabin of the plane). The hubby and mum-in-law could not sleep at all on our red-eye flight!

Luckily for the girl and I, we were heavy sleepers who can sleep through the storm so we weren't as affected by the noise as the hubby and mum-in-law. The girl didn't even wake up until we had arrived at Melbourne! For me, it was the boy using me as a human bed (he didn't like the uncomfortable seat!) that caused me to be sleep-deprived! I was so exhausted by the time we arrived at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL), approximately 7 hours and 10 minutes after our departure from Singapore.

As it was still early, we had breakfast at McDonald's before heading to the bus bay to wait for the mini bus that will take us to the car rental office. We had booked from the same rental company, Apex Car Rentals Australia, as our previous trip so you can read more details on where to wait for the mini bus and other information in my previous post.

This time, however, we rented a Mitsubishi Outlander instead of the Hyundai Imax since there were only 5 of us. The horsepower of the Mitsubishi Outlander was nothing like our powerful Azura the Forester but it was the best they had. We chose the package that had zero excess and had free GPS (although we ended up not using it as Goggle Maps was so much better!).

The white Mitsubishi Outlander that we rented

However, we had to pay a one-time fee of AUD12 per car seat this time (it was free previously). It is compulsory for all kids to ride in a car seat or booster until they are 12 years old or 145cm tall. Australia is very strict about this and failure to comply could mean a heavy fine or a void of your insurance in the event of an accident. This applies to Singapore as well although our law enforcement is not as consistent. It can be quite a squeeze for an adult to sit between 2 car seats so the nice thing about the Mitsubishi Outlander is that there is a third row of seats which you can pull up.

The total cost for renting the car for 8 days was SGD517.35, including rental of 1 car seat and 1 booster seat and e-tolls. The e-tolls reader is installed in every car and will automatically charge the tolls to your credit card each time you pass through a toll gate (very convenient!).

As we had an hour to kill before we could collect the apartment keys, we headed to our favourite Prahran Market to buy the ingredients for our meals for the next few days. We had loved Prahrah Market so much the last time we were here! The prawns from Prahran Seafood are really THE BEST!! So sweet and juicy! Yum!!! (See my previous post for more photos).

Our favourite stalls at Prahran:
Prahran Seafood (left) for fresh prawns, fish and oysters
and Cester's Poutry & Game for the best chicken kebabs.
Buy from Neil's Meats for the best Wagyu beef and pork! Sooo yummy!

According to our host, we needed to collect our keys from a self-collection box a few streets away from our apartment. If you don't have a car, I suggest not booking our apartment as it can be pretty inconvenient.

Followed the host's instructions and managed to find the very unassuming white box hidden in a corner
(lucky I've got sharp eyes!). You need to enter a password then press the green lighted button on the screen before the key is released.

We booked a different apartment from the previous trip but from the same host and in the same building, i.e. Vogue Apartments. We liked staying in this building previously so we wanted to stay here again.

Clockwise from left: Dining leads to the living room with full glass doors that lead to the balcony;
My rowdy kids climbing the sofa to get to the balcony;
There's a barbeque pit in the balcony if you ever want to have a BBQ.

There are no grills in the apartment so you have to be very careful with your younger kids who might climb up the chairs or table in the balcony and lean out of one of the open windows. I was very strict in not allowing my children to enter the balcony and making sure that my boy was supervised at all times (was not difficult as the apartment wasn't very big).

Living area with TV
The balcony near one of the rooms
The kids trying to enter the room from the balcony and getting a warning from me that they are not allowed to do it again for the rest of the trip
The first room with a queen bed, full wardrobe and air-conditioner
Second room with queen bed and full wardrobe but no air-conditioner. You have to switch on the air-conditioner in the living room and leave the door open otherwise there's no ventilation.
However, if you've got people in your group who's afraid of the cold, this room is perfect.
View of the living, dining, kitchen and main door
Very simple kitchen with basic appliances such as an oven, microwave, dish washer and toaster provided
Only one common toilet
The laundry cabinet which houses the washer-dryer and iron

The host does not provide the following so you'll have to bring from home or buy from the Woolworths downstairs if you need it:
  • Rice cooker (more details later)
  • Asian sauces
  • Spatula for frying
  • Garbage bags
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chilli
  • Cooking oil
  • Bedroom slippers
I had diligently collected all our unused bedroom slippers from the various hotels we stayed at previously for such a time as this!
Was so useful! =)

As you know, there are no toiletries provided except for the shampoo and bath so I've had to dig into my inventory of unused hotel toiletries that I've amassed during all of our trips. My collection has finally proved its worth! =)

There is also a pool on Level 2 of the building and you can see more photos of it in my previous post.

We had a simple lunch at a Shuji Sushi, a fusion Japanese restaurant at the ground level of our apartment. It was affordable but don't expect authenticity or quality.

Shuji Sushi

After lunch, we did some shopping at Big W and Woolsworth, which were also conveniently located in the same building as our apartment. They were so convenient that we shopped there almost every day!

I got these light up letters from Big W for AUD10 each for my sister's upcoming wedding
More wedding decoration I bought from Big W for my sister's wedding

The hubby also found a portable dual-screen car DVD player with two headphones and a remote control for just AUD159! The kids love it!

If your kids are angsty in Woolworths, there is free fruit for all kids to munch on as the parents shop!

My boy eating the banana he got from the basket of free fruits

Finally, we ended the day with Chef Grandma's homecooked dinner, made out of the ingredients that we had bought from Prahran Market and Woolworths =)

We bought this rice cooker at Woolworths during our previous trip 2 years ago for AUD20 and used it to cook rice and steam fish for both trips. It was bought in Australia so we didn't even need a universal plug =)
Our chicken with carrots soup, vegetables with seafood, fish, garlic prawns and mix brown rice for dinner! So yummy!
The super tasty chicken kebab from Cester's Poutry and Game, best eaten with Nando's sauce *grin*

It was a long day for all of us so we slept super early! Looking forward to more adventures as we go along =)

Continue to >> Melbourne II Day 2: Naturipe Fruits Picking & DFO Essendon


Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on Melbourne, Australia 
as well as other travel itineraries!

You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)
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