Family Travel Guide: Sydney & Melboune

In just a week, we’ll be heading to Sydney & Melbourne for a family trip and since this one isn’t quite as impromptu, I’ve had time to put together a proper travel plan.

A friend was just commenting that we love traveling to Oz an awful lot and it’s true, we do love the place. It’ll be our third trip down in 3 years so I guess it’s safe to say that it’s turning out to be a family favorite. To borrow the words of Dr Seuss, “it’s opener there in the wide open air.” There are mountains and rocks to be discovered, quaint little shops, farms, playgrounds, markets, beaches and the coffee…seriously, I have sweet, sweet dreams about the coffee in Melbourne. Plus it gets cold in winter and the crisp, cold air is a welcome change from our ridiculous heat.

I know it can be costly to travel with the entire family so imma share some holiday planning secrets for all you family travelers on a budget.

1. Flight tickets.

Airfares take up a large chunk of the travel budget and there’s no way around this so act fast when there’s a sale. The moment I have travel dates in mind, I start monitoring the various airlines for promos. Scoot was having a 30% off flights to Sydney and we got our tickets for $357 per person including taxes. Shortly after, Tiger airways was having a domestic flight sale for AUD $44 each way. And if you don’t already know, Jetstar has a system called the price beat guarantee where they’ll give you a 10% discount off the lowest price you can find on any other airline. Make use of it.

2. Accommodation.

With kids, it makes the most sense to go with an apartment instead of a regular hotel. We can get really gorgeous 2-bedroom apartments from Airbnb and Roomorama for under $200 per night and we have access to all the comforts of home like a washing machine, dryer and kitchen facilities. Like this charming artist warehouse turned apartment that I booked for our Melbourne leg was $170 a night.

fitzroy apartment

photo by airbnb

3. Driving.

We usually drive when we’re in Australia because between taking public transport and driving, I’ll take driving any day. No waiting for buses, struggling with bus routes or squeezing with everyone else on a crowded train. With a GPS installed on the phone, navigation is a cinch and we can take day trips out of the city to explore surrounding areas any time we want. All we need to do is just get in and go.

On this note, car rental prices can fluctuate quite a bit so you’ll need to do some homework and book when prices go down.

4. Food.

Ok, eating out in Australia is really pricey. There’s no $2.50 bak chor mee available and the average cost of a meal is about $15 per person on the low side. So the first thing we do when we settle in is head to the nearest Woolworths to stock up on supplies like bread, milk, cereal, egg, fruits. And then we go to places like Queen Victoria market to get some of that delicious free range bacon. Lots and lots of bacon. And maybe some wagyu beef to throw on the grill for dinner.


Some days, you’ll want to eat out so plan your itinerary and stalk the group buying sites like GrouponOurDeal and Living Social for restaurant discounts.

5. Activities.

If you like doing touristy things, get the iventure card so you don’t have to pay full price on all the attraction entrance fees. Alternatively, group buying sites will also have discounts on various attractions.

melbourne activities

6. Other activities. 

When you’re done doing the touristy things, there are lots of other fun stuff that are free of charge. Keep a lookout for events and street performances (so excited that we’ll be there for the Vivid Sydney Doctor Who light up on 1 June), explore weekend markets, visit playgrounds (Australia has some unbelievably awesome playgrounds), have a picnic, feed the birds, there’s so much to be done.

vivid sydney doctor who

photo by vivid sydney

I’ll be posting updates about the trip on the fly when we’re there so check back next week for itinerary plans, aight?

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  • Reply Yiwei | Foodeology May 26, 2013 at 12:45 am

    You made me miss melb. :'(

    • Reply Daphne May 26, 2013 at 11:11 am

      Haha you can always go back for a visit. :)

  • Reply Ruth May 27, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Daphne, how accessible are the apartments from Airbnb and Roomorama? And for cars, where do you rent them from? Thanks!

    • Reply Daphne June 12, 2013 at 12:45 am

      Hi Ruth, it depends on the location you pick. Some of them are right smack in the city and very convenient but they’re usually a little pricier or smaller. If you’re renting a car, some of them offer free parking, which helps as parking in Sydney and Melbourne is like daylight robbery.

      For cars, I use third party brokers to search for the cheapest options available. So far I’ve used Ace and Atlas, both are not bad so just keep a lookout for those that are having discounts or promos. Also, some of the prices include insurance which is really important because the excess for car rentals in Australia is $3,500.

  • Reply JJ December 13, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Hi Daphne, can i ask for some advice for my upcoming trip to melbourne in mar. its my first time there, so am doing a lot of research. where did u stay while in MEL? any other advice would also be appreciated. tks!

  • Reply Nosara Costa Rica February 26, 2014 at 5:32 am

    Just see the photos, I see that it was an incredibly good trip. It is one of the best ideas that we can do as parents, travel with our children opens the horizons and the mind to new cultures and lifestyles more out of the city in which to live

  • Reply Sapa Viet May 6, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Very cute, i really like this photos. thanks for sharing
    Sapa Viet´s last post ..Bac Ninh – the homeland of famous temples and pagodas

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