You would have surely seen the cute AirAsia’s Ah Ma In Melbourne trailer on YouTube by now – what a fun idea of featuring a senior citizen with her grandchildren going walkabout all over the glorious city of Melbourne and its surrounds, all of which looked incredible in the short trailer!
Melbourne is, in fact, a great city to visit with loved ones. Many Malaysians probably already have family and friends there so it will give you a chance to reconnect with old mates, while exploring new sights and sounds and immersing yourselves in new, quality experiences Down Under.
Though situated in one of the most compact states in Australia, Victoria has so much diversity to share, and the best part is that you can easily self-drive to Melbourne’s surrounds to get a 360° of what the south-eastern state has to offer – from cosmopolitan city centre to amazing coastal drives and national parks.
Flying in on AirAsia is a cinch these days, and you’ll land at Avalon, from where you can easily access not just Melbourne city but regional Victoria, especially if you’re heading to Geelong and The Bellarine Peninsula or Torquay, the official start of Great Ocean Road, one of the world’s most spectacular coastal journeys!
Whether it is adventure, lifestyle or nature experiences you’re looking for, from now till Nov 30, it seems only wise to make Melbourne your preferred destination.
Pedal through it
If you’re a cyclist, why not try cycling on the Geelong Waterfront? The weather is so conducive for cycling, and the Geelong Waterfront – an hour and a half away from Melbourne city – is one of Australia’s most stunning waterfronts, dating back to when Geelong was founded as a port in 1836.
The whole area is a hive of activity with cafes and restaurants and landscaped gardens. Enjoy amazing views of the Corio bay while you pedal your way through the Baywalk Bollards. Wait, what?
The “bollards” are over 100 giant painted figures (by artist Jan Mitchell) which guide visitors along the walking/cycling track by the waterfront. They represent the fascinating story of the city’s past, focusing on unique characters like English explorer Matthew Flinders. Definitely an Insta-worthy spot!
From Geelong, keep on driving down to the Great Ocean Road and head to Lorne, a seaside town on Louttit Bay, which is a popular tourist destination for surfing, pier fishing and the Great Otway National Park.
Now Lorne has something thrilling and new to offer – a shockwave zipline in Live Wire Park (livewirepark.com.au) offering electrifying outdoor experiences.
Live Wire Park, a family-owned business run by locals, is the first completely off-grid elevated adventure park in Australia. Adrenaline junkies who love nature will be impressed by the fact that the park has been thoughtfully designed to have a minimal impact on the environment and is fuelled by solar power, and uses harvested rainwater treated on site.
There are various circuits to suit your fitness levels, with ziplines, amped climbing walls and heaps of challenges to entertain you. There’s also a specially designed circuit for children and teenagers below 15.
And if you’ve got someone in your group who is not as adventurous as you are, fret not. The Canopy Circuit offers views of the entire park and is a nice way to enjoy Live Wire Park at a slower, easier pace.
Need more to whet your appetite? Why not learn to surf at Torquay or take a helicopter ride over the majestic Twelve Apostles?
Jump into my car
If you prefer the outdoors to the city, and love those long, scenic drives, then you have to plan a road trip along the Great Ocean Road, where you’re likely to discover lots of hidden gems and local quaint townships.
Set off on a thrilling journey with a campervan and be enthralled by the spectacular sight of lush forests, the rugged coastline and breath-taking ocean views.
Look for glamping options so you can chill out under a canopy of stars, download one of those sky map apps and spot the Milky Way! It’s so much fun, and the view of the sky from Down Under is like none you’ve seen anywhere here in Malaysia.
This epic drive is also famous for its rock formations along the way – at Port Campbell National Park; Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and Gibson’s Steps – you won’t be short on things to map out and look for.
If you’re looking for those gorgeous shots to brighten up your Instagram profile, head on over to Brighton Beach’s Bathing Boxes, just 30 minutes out from the city.
You’ll surely have heard of these 82 distinctive multi-coloured beach huts on the shoreline of this exclusive neighbourhood. It’s a great way to spend a sunny day with the family on the beach, and get a bunch of unforgettable photos while you’re there.
While you’re in Melbourne, don’t forget to soak in the colourful world of its Laneways. The street art here is something you’ll want to experience in the flesh, as are the rooftop bars, coffee hideaways and juicerias.
Spend time appreciating these larger than life works of art in every nook and cranny – and don’t forget to look for the little surprising details in those modern day works of art! Hey you may bump into an artist or two while you’re there!
When you’re in town, don’t forget to enjoy the local produce and fresh juicy oysters at the South Melbourne Market, or catch some theatre magic – book tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child 2 which is playing at the Princess Theatre.