We made our initial entry in Australia last September 2015. When I was scouting for flights in Singapore Airline site, I saw a multi-city option and decided to try it out. I was surprised that it was cheaper compared to a round-trip ticket. Booking SG-Melb and Syd-SG was only 700 sgd/pax compared to roundtrip SG-MELB-SG which was over 1k sgd.
So me, my mom and my daughter flew to Melbourne for our entry. We were really excited because it's our first trip outside Asia, plus its our chance to finally see and feel our future country (naks!). Though I know my future is in Australia, I still had mixed feelings prior the trip. I was not yet sure if it's really the right decision since I still had this very strong attachment with Singapore. I very much love it here! Also, there were few people who were questioning our decision, trying to discourage us by saying negative stuff. It seems they were not able to believe why we decided to leave my good life here in SG. It added to my growing fears, which lead me to think I may regret choosing Australia over Singapore. Moreover, I was not sure if I will be able to adjust with Australia's culture since its so different from Asia.
My fear and doubts gradually faded when we reached Melbourne Tullamarine Airport, and finally in the presence of our Immigration Officer. She was very friendly (unlike most poker-faced Immigration Officers I had encountered during my travels) and seems ecstatic when she learnt it's our first time there. Her smile became wider when she discovered we are PRs already. She welcomed us as if we are part of the family. That's how she made us feel and I started to relax.
We boarded the shuttle to CBD located outside the airport. It costs us 18AUD per person and the drop off point is Southern Cross station. Conveniently, our hotel, Alto on Bourke is just few mins walk from the station. Though, it was the start of spring, we were still shivering in the cold...but we loved it! It was a nice change from the hot, humid weather in Philippines and Singapore. Our hotel is just a short walk from the station and the staffs were very friendly. We certainly loved our room! It's a one bedroom unit and seems more like a service apartment to me. The unit was also very spacious!
We rested a bit and I wasn't really expecting for us to go anywhere right away since I'm with a Senior citizen and a kulet kid. Surprisingly, both were still on high energy and were very excited to start the tour. As I deposited most of our trip money in my Australian bank account in NAB prior leaving SG, heading to NAB branch in Melbourne CBD was the first order of the trip. While we were on our way to the bank, we couldn't help but be in awe of the buildings we saw along the way. We felt like we were in mini Europe. The place was also very laid back and I felt homey right away.
After we're done activating my bank account and withdrawing our pocket money, we had our yummy lunch. We then headed to Brighton Beach to see the famous Brighton Boathouses. The boathouses were quiet a walk from Brighton Beach train station so I got worried for my mom. Luckily, she endured and we also had lotsa fun with the boathouses. I find Brighton beach beautiful! There were few people there so the place was very serene. The colorful boathouses also adds to the charm of the place. Baby JJ was the happiest as she thought the place was a big playground. She never got tired running around and knocking on the boathouses. After ton of pics, we headed back to the train station to return to CBD. If you're with older people, I don't suggest taking the train. I think driving a car or taking a bus might be better options.
I am a Filipina, formerly based in Singapore and is now living permanently in Melbourne. Yet, I am really a global citizen at heart. :)