Travel to Melbourne, Australia – Episode 261

categories: australia travel


The Amateur Traveler talks to Andy Dye about his adopted hometown of Melbourne Australia. Andy grew up in England but fell in love with Melbourne.

Sure the weather was better but Andy also discovered a city with street art, vibrant cafes, culture and sport. Melbourne is the home of Australian Rules Football which was apparently invented by people who thought that rugby was too tame.

Andy talks about wandering around the Central Business District (CBD) and discovering out of the way cafes. Melbourne has museums (like the Melbourne Museum, the Australia Center for the Moving Image), galleries (like the National Gallery of Victoria) and an aquarium.

Melbourne is a multi-cultural city and no places show it off better than Queen Victoria Market or Sydney Road Brunswick. He also talks about side trips such as going to see the penguins at Phillip Island.

right click here to download (mp3)
right click here to download (iTunes version with pictures)

Show Notes

Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne Museum
Australia Center for the Moving Image
Federation Square
Melbourne Festivals
Australia Day
Lonely Planet
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Phillip Island
Shrine of Remembrance
Queen Victoria Market
National Gallery of Victoria
Sydney Road Brunswick
‘Crocodile’ Dundee
Outback Steakhouse
Melbourne Cup
Melbourne: Public Transportation
Hook turn
Yarra Trams
Melbourne City Transport Schedule
Half-Price Tickets


Two excellent options for visitors getting around Melbourne are the City Circle Tram and the Tourist Shuttle Bus. Both operate in loops around the central area, the tram roughly East-West and the bus more North-South. Together, they allow you to get to most major attractions in and around the central area without costing a cent.


Another good money-saving tip is to visit HalfTix, the discount ticket service, located on Swanston Street near to the Town Hall. As well as offering discounted tickets for lots of shows around town, you can also buy nearly all the day trips at reduced prices as well. So, if you fancy seeing somewhere outside Melbourne, like the Yarra Valley, Great Ocean Road or Healesville Sanctuary, buy your ticket the day before at HalfTix for significant savings.


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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

11 Responses to “Travel to Melbourne, Australia – Episode 261”



Nice Job Andy and Chris.

I’ve been doing my trip planning for Melbourne and Andy confirmed about 99.9% of what I have read from various sources. What really sold me to visit was the ‘first world’ public transit system. It may not be perfect, but with an extensive tram and rail network and capped fares it should be easier to get around that any other major Australian city (Sydney!!!!) and easier NOT to get lost.
Thanks for the tip on Philip Island.



tom lohrmann


If you make it to Melbourne – go 90 minutes NW to Ballarat. They have a wildlife park there. You can pet and feed kangaroos and koala’s. We petted a wombat that they pushed around in a wheel barrow (it was that large). You get to see Tasmanian Devils and spend the day in an old gold mining city. WORTH THE DRIVE.

tom lohrmann


Ferry penguins, i thought, were worth the trip. Living in Michigan we don’t get to see them here. It smells REALLY BAD, and the make A LOT of noise, but how many times do you get to see penguins in their natural habitat. I should add – we are huge animal people. Cute city to stroll the streets if nothing else.

Sue Davies


Hello Chris,

Thankyou for alerting us to the mention by Andy Dye about the Penguin Parade – but I must say we were disappointed with his description of it. Any chance we can do something on your program also, to correct a couple of things – and perhaps give a little bit more information about the conservation and education work which is undertaken by the not-for-profit Phillip Island Nature Parks?

Andy referred to the penguins as ‘Fairy Penguins’ – they are actually ‘Little Penguins’.

The Little Penguins don’t ‘ on the beach..’ Their burrows are actually on land, and a lot of the revegetation work being undertaken by the Nature Parks is to help protect and rehabilitate their natural habitat. To this end, we have a Penguin Protection Program which sees volunteers and rangers build Penguin Boxes which are then placed in revegetated areas (revegation work is also carried out by volunteers and rangers), to ensure a safe habitat for the Little Penguins – in particular during breeding, hatching and fledgling times. There is now a colony of 28,000 Little Penguins on Phillip Island.

Andy called the Parade a ‘circus’ – disappointing to hear that. A lot of work has been put in place to ensure the safety, protection and comfort of the Penguins as they come over the beach. 80 years ago people would just sit on the beach, almost touching the Penguins – not the most comfortable environment for the Little Penguins. But since then, and working with rangers and researchers, the Parade now comprises raised boardwalks and specific seating areas, so the Penguins can come out of the ocean and walk/waddle unhindered to their burrows. Visitors can watch from the roped off seating, and then walk along the boardwalks too. But at no stage can anyone actually touch a Penguin.

There is also a maximum limit to the number of people who can view the Little Penguins on any night.

Regarding photos – we absolutely enforce a ‘no photo’ policy, and 99% of the people would abide by that, respecting the Little Penguins. If a Ranger sees someone taking out their camera or phone/camera – they are politely asked to put it away. I have never seen a ‘.. blinding load of flashes…’ (as Andy said) – and I don’t believe that is correct.

We are pleased that Andy visited – but as I said, I don’t think he gave a totally accurate account of the Penguin Parade. And the comment that perhaps people should ‘skip the Penguins’ is very disappointing – particular for a not-for-profit organisation such as the Nature Parks is.

It is Victoria’s number one natural eco-tourism attraction, and is one of the four major attractions managed by the Phillip Island Nature Parks. But we also manage a total of 1805 hectares on Phillip Island, so also look after many other wetlands and conservation areas. Funds generated from the attractions are reinvested back into environmental and education programs – to ensure the sustainability of the wildlife and environment under the Nature Parks care.
Cheers and all the best
Sue Davies
Communications Executive
Phillip Island Nature Parks



Hey Chris

Very much enjoyed the podcast about one of my country’s nicest cities. (As a Sydneysider, my favourite will always be Sydney though!)

Just two points:

1. Australia Day, January 26 is the celebration of the landing of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove in 1788 (not Captain Cook, as Andy said). See for more.

2. The photos you flashed up while discussing AFL, or Aussie Rules, were of soccer, not actually of the football code you were discussing! For photos of Aussie Rules, see You can see that the short-sleeved uniforms are very distinctive and the ball is the same shape as a rugby ball.

Thanks again for a great episode and keep up the good work!





Having seen the Little Penguins in 2002 I can attest that I was puzzled by Andy’s description, and totally agree with Sue’s response

All I have to add:

– They call them Little Penguins, but it’s surprising to see them in the flesh and see just how *little* they are
– I felt the no photography rule was motivated by profit-making considerations (postcard, video sales etc) since they ban not just non-flash photography but also videography

Darren White


Hi Chris
I would like to thank you for you effort to produce great podcasts.
Now the bite.
The Sue Davies comments on the Fairy Parade missed in point about the name of the penguins. For 43 years of my 48 year life they have been called Fairy Penguins and in strange, overly politically correct and miss guided effort to not offend the gay community the state government changed the name. It was strange as a spokesman for the gay community said it was dumb. Sue, I would guess has been there for only a couple of years. I do want to thank her for her work the help the little Fairy Penguins.
I have done the Philip Island day tour with the Fairy Penguin Parade(it was called that then) was wonderful and although a few people flashed the penguins with there cameras it was a not intrusive.


Andy Dye


It’s now around six months since the podcast, but I was interested to read the following letter in this week’s Travel section of The Age (Melbourne’s broadsheet newspaper).

Penguin turmoil

I took my daughters, aged seven and four, to the Phillip Island penguin parade on Easter Sunday. Expecting crowds, I booked in advance but going to the parade we were caught in a traffic jam and got there later than planned.

When we finally got inside, the stadium was already overcrowded, there was no seating and barely any standing room. The excuse given for these conditions was a high tide, restricting access to seats on the beach. I found this ridiculous, since the tides are clearly known in advance.

Given the extreme conditions in which people found themselves – pushed, crammed, squeezed and having paid for what they assumed would be an orderly, pleasant evening – tempers understandably became frayed.

I’m not sure what was worse, the abuse from fellow viewers if my children got in their way in the vague hope of seeing a penguin or the excuses of staff as to why they had overfilled the stadium. The German tourists next to me left in disgust, unable to view the beach, a penguin or anything else except the wall of bodies in front of them.

If this is one of the premier tourist attractions of Victoria, I am ashamed to say that greed and profit has turned it into a circus.

– Danielle Clayman


This visitor (nothing to do with me) also felt that the organisation of the Penguin Parade left something to be desired, even using the same “circus” description as I did.

As I said on the show, it was my personal opinion, and people are welcome to ignore it!


Geoff @ VicBus tour Melbourne


The penguins at phillip island are amazing. Thats a good podcast. Have you been to Great ocean road or Yarra valley winery? They are also lovely places around melbourne.



Never been to Melbourne but i always wanna be there to see the Penguins. Any other place i must visit?



Cool! I love Melbourne and i plan to move to live there if i have chance in the future. Unfortunately i don’t know anyone there but i am sure to get some locals to guide me when i travel there again.

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