yep.. it's only 2-3 weeks after we got home from japan and we had to fly again, this time to melbourne. my little brother was graduated, so the whole family took the trip to melbourne. my family plus my mom and dad flew from surabaya, while both my sis flew from singapore. unfortunately, we had some misfortune during our departure, we trapped in traffic jam when we headed to airport, and then we were late. we still could go in, but our baggage couldn't. but we still could bring our cabin bag. fortunately.. since it had our warm clothes and a pair of new clothes, enough for one day. but the rest was in our baggage. so when we arrived at denpasar, my husband called gojek driver to buy baby formula and essentials since we might couldn't find it in melbourne. but he didn't have enough money to buy medicine too. so we had to choose, and we chose to find another medicine in melbourne.
anyway, we arrived safe and sound at melbourne on saturday morning, and the first thing on our agenda was to buy clothes. and groceries. and luggage. so we spent most of our first day shopping. thank God for target.. we were able to buy clothes with decent price. and my hubby was happy too, since he could find his favorite instant ramen in one of the asian supermarket. hahaha.. he was searching for it while in japan, but couldn't find it, so he was excited and bought all the stock in the supermarket. hahaaha..
day 2: it was sunday morning, and we were supposed to go to the church. but all of us were exhausted and overslept. so we were late. and then my dad decided we could skip church for this week and went to victoria market instead. we had snacks.. there were a lot choice to pick from. oh, let me tell you about the market first. it was separated into 4 parts, the first one was indoor, mainly for selling raw meats and seafood. it smelled fishy.. just like the ordinary market back in surabaya. the other indoor part was the food court. they had various food there. ah, there were high chair for kids, but only indoor. the other part was the outdoor, where the fruits and vegetables stands were, and stuff like knitting wears, jackets, bags, and souvenirs. the other part is the ground where most of the food trucks were. you can pick whatever snack you like. we tried their doughnuts, twisted chips, hotdogs, and fish and chips. perhaps we were starving, or not picky, and most of them were okay. even my kids like them.
day 3: it was raining lightly, but luckily today plan was going to scienceworks, so we didn't have to walk. we arrived quite close to the planetarium show, and unfortunately, since we couldn't find the toilet quicker, we didn't get to go inside. but then the rest of the family came out since my little one was afraid of the dark, so i couldn't tell anything about the planetarium show. but luckily, it was free. then we had lunch there. unfortunately, the meal options were limited to western only, mainly light snacks like sandwiches or sushi, so if you're asian, better you bring your own kids meal. luckily, i did. but both my kids had to sit on ordinary seat since there were no high-chair. quite disappointing though, considering it was an attractions mainly for kids. there were only one baby changing station on LG level and one baby room, for you to make baby formula or baby nap, or baby dining. i guessed the baby chair was there, but since both my kids ate together with the rest of the family, dining separately wasn't an option that time.
okay.. now move on to the exhibition. mostly, it was similar to science center, but more child-friendly. most of the display were at kids height so both my kids could turn the handle and watched what happened at the display. even at the sports exhibition, they had this running simulation, even my little one got excited with the race simulation. i think there were more exhibition upstairs, but we didn't go there since everyone felt enough walking around. so we headed back to our apartment to take a rest.
oh, i forgot to mention that there were two options of dining, indoor and outdoor. the outdoor one, you have to be careful since there were birds. they will look at your meal and hoping to peck if you leave it. and there was a small playground, enough to keep the children running around and burning some fuel while the rest of us took some rest after eating lunch.
and if you're curious, yes, it's stroller friendly, but everyone there seemed to bring their own strollers, so the traffic is quite busy inside. you had to be careful walking around, especially if your stroller is a tandem or quite bulky.
day 4: time to out of town and see some kangaroos!! this time we went to ballarat. it was 2 hours drive to ballarat, so when we reached the town, we headed to lunch first. unfortunately, my brother didn't plan exactly where we could eat, so we walked for some time to find the city center in windy day and got lost. so we browsed tripadvisor, and after failed twice (some of the dining places were closed on tuesdays!), we found a nice restaurant. it was small but cozy. it was owned by a couple (the husband served us in front and the wife cooked the meal, they have a daughter a year apart from my boy), and the food was amazing. although the portion was quite big for us. but it was normal, since we, asian, didn't eat that much compared to western.
after that, we headed to the wild life park. i was quite surprised that it was quite small. i was imagining big zoo.. the one that we often encountered in asian cities, but this one quite small. even smaller than pandaan safari. but it was stroller friendly. the first thing that you will notice was the kangaroos could walk freely inside. my boy was excited to pat the kangaroos, but my little one was afraid after her shoes being sniffed by one of the kangaroo. hahaha.. and we were lucky 2-3 koalas were awake at that time. my husband has been to australia couple times, and every time it was scheduled to see koala, the koalas were asleep. you can pay extra to experience koala feeding, but we thought it was overprice, so we just watched while the other visitor feed the koala. there was not many varieties of animals there, only kangaroo, koala, wallaby, storks, fox, eagle, and reptiles, and some of them were nocturnal, so they were in a closed cage. if you want to see them, you have to peek inside. i was pregnant and my husband didn't stand the smell, so when my boy asked to peek inside, he couldn't peek at some since it was higher than him.
there was only one kafe there, mainly snacks. no high chair. and the toilet was also disappointing. my husband said i wasn't rational when comparing it to japan, but i couldn't help it. the toilet was clean but indonesian-standard clean. and the cubicle was small. i couldn't bring the stroller in so i had to ask my husband to take turn to go to toilet. plus there wasn't any baby room so i had to wait until we were back to the car to change the diaper. again, disappointing considering the one that might interested in kangaroos and koalas are little children, who might still use diapers.
day 5: another city tour, this time to melbourne museum. but we didn't go to see the whole museum, only the jurassic world exhibition. the tickets were separated from the museum entrance, but if you bought the exhibition ticket, you can still go see the museum freely. now about the exhibition, it was animated and it was a great show for both my kids (they didn't know the movie..) but they were amazed by the moving dinosaurs. none of them were afraid of the exhibition. there were bits from the movie played through some small screens here and there, but since my kids didn't watch the movie, so they had no idea at all. unfortunately, the space in front of each animated figure was quite cramped so my boy couldn't take a pic in front of them. oh, and there was this scene with the loose t-rex, but somehow it wasn't scary at all. perhaps because it wasn't quite engaging. the background sound explaining the story was not clear, and my kids didn't understand english that much, so they just saw t-rex moving out and going back in after a few roars. hahaha.. even the scene where the indominous rex was out, it wasn't scary at all. somehow people didn't realize that it was supposed to be scary since it was in one room with the other dinosaurs with the gyro prototype. and though it was quite entertaining, it ended pretty quick. the indy one was the last animated exhibition. and then it was only a few displays and shop.
then we went to eat lunch at ying thai. it was thai food. the food was nice but the space was quite small. they provided high chair. definitely a must visit if you like thai food. and then nearby there was this gelato shop. my cousin recommended it, but somehow i didn't like it. it was nothing special about it. then we went to DFO. if you didn't know what DFO, it was an area like a shopping mall with lots of shops. mostly branded shops. it was huge, so better walk one way. although there was sales, but the price was still expensive, perhaps since it was branded. we only bought winter necessities. the good thing about shopping there is the refund policy. you can return the item as long as you still have the receipt and the tag is still on the item.
day 6: this will be our longest day trip ever in melbourne, since we were going to phillips island. it was 4 hours drive, but you didn't have to rush. we departed from the apartment around 9.30 am, and it was enough (keep in mind that we are a large group, consisted of 6 adults, 2 elders, and 2 toddlers, so it was quite impressive to leave at that time). my brother told me that we'd better had lunch before crossing to phillips island, so we got lunch at san remo, and it was wise. we just searched for it from tripadvisor, and it was worth it. sorry that i forgot the cafe name, but it was lovely. not too big, but not as cramped as ying thai. it had outdoor dining table, but it was windy. so we decided to keep warm inside. it had different menus, breakfast, lunch and probably dinner. again, the menu was limited to sandwich or similar like sandwich. they had kids menu, but my kids couldn't eat that. western menu. no pasta. and the portion was big enough. me and my husband shared a steak sandwich, and it was enough for both of us. it was delicious. my sis had a BLT and it was huge. her fiance had this taco, and he said it was delicious too. high chairs were available, and there were kids toys too. i had good time feeding my kids there. my toddler ate rice that i brought from the apartment and fried chicken that we bought along the road. while my baby had her usual oatmeal, and then she asked the bread of our sandwich. overall, it was satisfying.
then we crossed to phillips island. we had this ticket pass for 3 parks, the heritage farm, the koala park, and the penguin sightings. the first one, the heritage was basically a farm-alike. it was an office with park entrance at front and then a small cafe and toilets. no baby changing tables available, so it was irritating to change diapers there. then you could walk towards green pastures. it was huge. kids love running around. and then you could see sheep, horses and cows. you could pet them if they were near the fence. and there were several shows, the earlier one started around 2 pm, so it was enough time to run around before watching the show. the first one was cow milking. children got to milk the cow along with a parent after watching the demo. and right after the cow milking, it was a sheep shearing demo and dogs show. but we didn't stay around until the dog show. the smell of the farm was irritating my mom and husband, and my kid was bored, so we decided to move one to the koala park. you could bring your stroller, but having the kids running around was better, and it wasn't a long distance, so if your kid can walk, let them walk.
the koala park was quite boring too. it was plain. again, office and entrance in front with a small cafe, only serving hot beverages, ice cream, and croissant-like stuff. no hot food whatsoever. and it was only around 5-6 tables, very small. toilet didn't have kids changing table. now, i suggest you bring the stroller, but if your kids had lots of energy, then let them walk. you could bring your stroller inside. there were 3 walks inside the park. the first two was quite short, and there were few koalas in each walk. but all the koalas were way up high on the tree, so my little one couldn't see it clearly since she didn't know what to look at. but my boy was happy trying to find the sleeping koalas. there were other animals, local to australia, but we didn't know the name so just happy seeing our boy happy watching the animals there. but really, nothing more than walking around the park with koalas sightings. if it was raining, perhaps you might want to skip this. unless you brought umbrella. it was open park without any seats to rest except for the cafe.
the last one was penguin sightings. it was the big end of everything. the other park was closed at 5 pm, and the penguin sightings was started at 6. so you will have enough time to eat early dinner, or have hot drink, and took some rest. i fed both my kids because my brother said it would be very windy and they always had early dinner, but they were fussy. perhaps they were exhausted, but at least they managed to eat something. the toilets were big, but crowded. luckily, here there was kids changing room, but i didn't try it since we decided to change the kids in the car. my boy was excited to see the penguin, but it was very windy considering it was on the beach. and the penguins were small. and you had to wait for a while before the penguins were back from the sea. now, let me give you some tips. bring lots of blankets, or foil to encounter the wind if you're willing to sit and wait for the penguin on the deck. but, there were penguin houses on the side of the road to the beach. and you could wait there while the penguin walked toward their house from the beach. my boy wanted to pee after he saw the penguin, but he managed to stop to peek at the penguin while they were walking to their houses. a warning though, you CANNOT take any picture since the penguin would be afraid of the flash or the sound of your camera. and there was an officer that walking around, making sure that you didn't take picture with your camera or cellphone. oh, and about the cafe, though the food was warm and had variable options, it didn't have any high chair. really. i was pretty annoyed with this. it was a tourist spots! why couldn't they provided proper toilet with baby changing table and high chairs? do they expect us to feed our kids on our stroller? while the space wasn't enough for stroller go between the tables. ah well.. definitely don't go there if you couldn't stand the harsh and cold wind, or you brought tiny baby with you. my little one didn't understand so my husband brought her back inside after a while. and that's the end of our long day. kids were asleep in the car on the way back. and some of us stopped by at the rest area to get another hot meal.
day 6: since we had nothing to do and the weather was nice, so we decided to go shopping. i was planning to get some baby clothes so we headed back to target. and then we headed to daiso, but since we brought stroller, we couldn't ride the escalator because it was too narrow. so my brother asked the staff there about the elevator. unfortunately, since it was hidden quite well, we had to tell them if we wanted to use the elevator. quite bothersome. and then since my mom was worried about my kids, we had lunch nearby at some ramen restaurant. it was okay, but the broth soup was too thick and too salty for my taste. but both kids could eat well, so i had no complaint. and being a japanese restaurant, it was a kid-friendly. they had high chair and even kids eating utensils, the one that similar with the one in japan. and my boy remembered that. and he was excited getting his own bowl and spoon and glass. hahaha.. and then, we headed back to the apartment to rest. in the evening, it was nice so we decided to take a walk around flinders station. it was a nice walk.. the kids get fresh air and chance to walk around. after getting a late snack, we went back to the apartment to rest.
day 7: this was my brother graduation day! my parents and my sister went to the campus to attend the ceremony. but we didn't have to arrive that early. we decided to stroll around the campus area first and get lunch before headed to the university. we walked at some park, and the kids were having fun chasing the birds. then we had lunch at don-don. it was a small japanese restaurant. fast-food type since there weren't a lot of menu, and the seating table was quite small. each table was set for two. even they had high table set just like pub. considering it was in university area, it was no wonder that the price was very reasonable. but luckily, the taste was good. okay, since it was supposed to be college-student dining, obviously it was not for family. narrow seating arrangement, fortunately we arrived very early so it wasn't crowded that we could keep my little one in her stroller to eat. no high-chair. toilet available but no kids changing table of course. but other than that, it was quite satisfying.
we didn't do much that day since the next day was sunday, and we had to go to church. hahaha.. no more skipping.
day 8: we managed to go to church and luckily i was well prepared. kids could eat in the sunday school, so i was quite happy that i brought their lunch with me. and then we all went to chinese restaurant nearby. once more, i'm sorry that i couldn't remember the restaurant name, but it was across the victoria market. their famous dish was their salted egg yolk chicken. but their duck plum was delicious too. we had a very satisfying meal and then we headed back to victoria market to buy souvenirs. after that we went back to apartment.
day 9: we went to brighton beach since we decided to skip mount buller. turned out my belly was too big to handle long trip, so we decided to skip it. the rest of the family wasn't interested in going if it isn't a full team, so i guess we keep something else for next trip, eh? talking about brighton beach.. i suddenly realized that it was the first time my daughter went to beach. no wonder she was excited running around. my boy was always fond of beach, so even though it was windy and cold, he was very happy. we took lots of picture in front of the colorful houses there. and then we had lunch at some cafe. it was really crowded. and most of the menu was cafe menu. i ordered a steak sandwich and my husband a steak, it was listed as special menu, but on tripadvisor, i found out that their special menu wasn't special. it was there quite some time. they had baby chair, and kids menu, but i completely forgot what my boy ate that time. after that we went to chadstone. one word about it: HUGEEEE.. it was a very huge shopping mall complex. from branded brand to target, it had them all. and we decided to shop at toys r us. it was huge just like the one in japan. but here we didn't rush so my boy had time looking around and bought some toy. then we bought some takeout dinner at thai restaurant. it was good too. in fact, i like their pineapple fried rice better than ying thai's.
and that's the end of our trip. the next day we spent it for packing and moved to airport hotel since we had to leave very early. we had lunch and dinner nearby the airport and at the airport. and on our departure date, i was quite pissed. usually, we could bring water bottle and hot water to make formula for kids, but my husband got delayed and had to throw them out. he has explained that he brought that for my kids, but since we were separated, perhaps it wasn't enough. and i was pissed that i had to bought the hot water at the cafe. we had to buy breakfast and hot water before the flight. luckily, it was just enough time before the boarding time. really.. this trip has annoyed me. i thought melbourne was supposed to be kids friendly, but most of the public area didn't have toilet with kids chair or even baby changing table. even the tram station was outrageous. it was in the middle of the road without any border. my boy was very active, so it was quite hard to have him stand still while waiting for the tram. and i had to be cautious getting on and off the tram since once i caught him wanted to touch the tram just seconds before it departed. talking about heart arrest... really. and then the homeless around flinders station. on friday nights, some of them were drunk and i was worried that they might get upset since my boy was quite loud himself. anyway, comparing to my japan and melbourne trip, i could answer quickly that i prefer japan if i were about to bring my kids. it was waaayyyy more comfortable there except for the difficulty in finding baby food and chocolate milk.