Just thought of summarising my free & easy 11-days Tasmania and Melbourne holidays, now that I am done with the blogging. I hope the posts are useful and you enjoy reading them. :) Below is a recap of my trip and some afterthoughts that I did not write in the previous posts:
Day 1: Arrived at Launceston airport via transit at Melbourne airport. Checked in to Balmoral on York hotel for 3 nights and explore Launceston city for few hours. Joined the Low Head Penguin Tour in the late afternoon;
Day 3: Joined the Cradle Mountain Day Tour which took us to the little towns enroute to Cradle Mountain in the morning, followed by hiking in the beautiful Cradle Mountain National Park in the afternoon;
Day 7: Time for Salamanca Market – one of Australian’s largest and most vibrant outdoor markets open only on Saturdays. In the late afternoon it was time to say goodbye to Tasmania as I flew to Melbourne for the last leg of my holidays and checked in to Fraser Place Melbourne for the last 4 nights;
Day 10: Took the awesome Great Ocean Road Tour where we focused on the beach and coastline scenery in the morning half of the tour, then proceeded inland for some rainforest walk and the Port Campbell National Park with the famous Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge sights in the afternoon half of the tour;
Day 11: After checking out of the serviced apartment, I had brunch at the nearby Flipboard Cafe, then some last minute shopping in the city as well as Harbourtown factory outlets. Bought some chips from a popular Aussie burger joint called Grill’d as I was a little hungry after all the walking :P
I liked the chips as they were thick-cut with herb mix taste. The snack size is like our regular size found in fastfood restaurants here, filling for me! They pride themselves for their “most delicious and healthy burgers with grass-fed beef”, frankly the burgers looked good too, but too big for me I guess.
After the snack, took the SkyBus to Melbourne airport for my flight back home that evening.
Just some comments about the airport shuttle service I experienced at 3 airports – Launceston, Hobart and Melbourne. I would say the service at Launceston and Hobart were great. Both provide door-to-door service, in fact no reservations required for the service at Launceston, I just hopped on to the mini bus outside the airport when I arrived. For the Hobart service, the hotel helped me to book my seat 1 day in advance and I only paid cash to the driver when he picked me up, very convenient. Both shuttle buses were spacious and comfortable, with the luggages stowed in a carton trailing behind the bus. I regretted buying the SkyBus return tickets when I landed at Melbourne airport, because it is like our SMRT bendy buses in Singapore, and everyone had to lug and park their own luggages up the bus luggage compartment. Furthermore, the SkyBus drops everyone off at Southern Cross Station, then you will need to transfer to their complimentary hotel shuttle service to get to the hotels, and they do not stop at all hotels. Only when I arrived at my accommodation – Fraser Place Melbourne, that I realised that they partner with StarBus to provide door-to-door service at similar pricing like SkyBus. Even the bellboys at Marriott Hotel told me that StarBus is more value-for-money, when I was waiting outside the hotel for my complimentary hotel shuttle to the airport. Too late for me! :(
Another useful tip I gathered from this trip was that it was worthwhile purchasing a Telstra Pre-paid $30 SIM card as it includes 400MB of bundled data and $30 credit for calls and SMS within Australia. Particularly helpful if you are on a free & easy trip and need some directions on the Google map or some travel advice while on-the-road.
At first I was worried if 400MB would be sufficient for 11 days, but it seemed just nice for me as I just used slightly over 300MB for the entire trip. Maybe staying in hotels with free wifi connection helped to save my data usage too. :P The Telstra network coverage was also very strong, it only failed in a small part of the Cradle Mountain, but so did the other networks that my tour mates were using. When other networks failed, my Telstra network was still working, woohoo!
Last but not least, this was really a carefree and happy holiday with many highlights throughout the 11 days. The first highlight was the Low Head Penguin tour, the second was the Cradle Mountain, then Bruny Island, Salamanca Market and of course the Great Ocean Road, which was like the grand finale to round up my trip. :) This has become one of my best holiday so far, and I will definitely love to visit Australia, especially Tasmania again! ^-^