[Travel] Melbourne 2015 – Travelling with a Toddler
Before we go for our next overseas trip, I thought I better get some of my Melbourne posts out of the way!
If you recall reading about my blog post prior to our Melbourne trip, we took a long while to decide on the destination for our first overseas trip with Laurent and finally decided on Melbourne because we thought Aussie is a rather child-friendly country and Melbourne seemed like a place where we could experience nature and enjoy the convenience of the city at the same time. Furthermore, by the time we decided on our travel destination, there were few places left which were not in Winter season.
Now that we’re back from our trip, I can personally vouch that Melbourne is indeed a really child-friendly (or family-friendly) place to visit and Laurent had almost no problem adapting to the place and its culture.
If you’re considering Melbourne for a family trip or having the first overseas trip with your young child and still having some nagging thoughts, let me first share with you some issues which we anticipated before the trip and how it worked out for us.
Laurent’s First Flight
We’ve all came across little children on board who brawl their lungs out, refuse to sleep a wink or throw a massive tantrum and the tired and apologetic parents who had to manage the distraught child, try to be comfortable within the already constrained space of their seats and deal with the nasty tsks or sympathetic looks from other passengers. For 8 hours.
We knew we had little control over what would happen on the flight but we made sure we did what we could to make it a better experience by choosing a relatively good airline to fly on, booking a flight timing close to Laurent’s bedtime and PRAYING.
Our flight on Emirates started at 1025pm and I was ELATED when Laurent fell asleep even before we took off! He was still on pacifier then so I think that kind of helped him to alleviate the discomfort he might have experienced in his ears due to the pressure difference when the plane ascended.
He remained asleep for most part of the journey (despite us moving him in and out of the bassinet due to some mild turbulence), and only woke up when we were a couple of hours from Melbourne airport. He was easily entertained by his surroundings, the other passengers and the in-flight entertainment for the next 2 hours so his first flight concluded with me heaving a huge sigh of relief 😀
Melbourne is 3 hours ahead of our local time, which is not that bad, so we didn’t think Laurent will have too much problem adapting to it.
It did take him a couple of days before he could fall asleep before midnight but having a full day of activities helped to get him to sleep more easily subsequently.
We have to drive pretty often in Singapore so we seldom choose to drive when we are overseas. However, driving is indeed a more convenient mode of transport in Melbourne since we will be visiting places of interest which are far apart and not easily accessible by public transport. And what’s a Melbourne trip without driving up the Great Ocean Road right?
Driving in Melbourne is quite a stress-free affair because their rental companies have many kiosks which are conveniently located, booking and picking up the car is easy, GPS is always there to help with the directions and they are on right-right hand drive system like Singapore. That said, there are still a few things to take note of if it’s your first time driving in Melbourne:
1.Speeding – Unlike driving in Singapore where we have traffic lights all over and there is almost always a jam on the express ways, driving in Melbourne, especially out of the city, can be a smooth and unobstructed ride for mile and miles. But keep the speed limit in check because we heard that their speeding ticket is pretty pricey!
2. Take a Break – Most of us are not used to driving long distances so plan suitable toilet breaks before hand and switch drivers if you can. Your little ones will also need those breaks to stretch their limbs and move around to expend those pent up energy!
3. Entertainment – Not for you, but for the kids! We made a terrible mistake of not having things to keep Laurent occupied during the car rides because he has always been ok with his car rides here so it never really occurred to us that he might get bored. What we didn’t take into account, is that our journey in Melbourne are easily 2 hours long – double the time of our usual commute in Sg!
Laurent was about 16 months when we went to Melbourne so we were a little worried that he might not be used to eating the food there. The great thing is, similar to Singapore, Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures and there are a ton of food options around!
We didn’t have much problems with getting Laurent to eat the food there and there’s always the option of buying food pouches from reputable brands like Bellamy’s and Rafferty’s Garden which are easily available at their supermarkets 🙂
I found that the best way to travel around the city with Laurent is to have a baby carrier on hand. It’s light and easy to bring along, and because we’ve been baby wearing Laurent back home, he would gladly settle into it when he’s tired from all the walking. It’s especially convenient for going up and down the trams because we didn’t have to fiddle with carrying a stroller up and down, and Laurent could easily nap in the carrier and we still go about our activities as planned. If you are at the malls, you can also try asking their Customer Service counter if there is a stroller for loan. The only down side of not bringing a stroller is that you’ll need to carry all the barangs on you and it can get quite tiring.
I hope this sharing is useful in highlighting some common issues to consider when planning for your first overseas trip with your little one! I’m sharing an overview of the itinerary for our 8D7N Melbourne trip below before I share more about our daily activities in greater details in subsequent posts. Keep a look out for the next post where I’ll be sharing with you guys the 3 amazing AirBnB accommodations that we stayed at during our trip!
8D7N Melbourne Itinerary for Families
If you are looking for more travel tips on travelling to Melbourne, check out this post for a list of links to Melbourne travel posts by other mom bloggers.
If you are looking for places to shop for kids’ stuff in Melbourne, check out this post for a list of great shopping spots.
Some of the photos here are taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens. Being handy and packed with awesome features, the E-M10 Mark II makes for the perfect travel camera and the wide-angle M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens allows you to capture all the wonderful view without having to place your camera too far away! Check out this review post to find out more about the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II.