Hi, friends! As you all may know, I went on a 2-week trip to Melbourne last month! It was my very first time to Australia, but I was lucky enough to have a local tour guide take me to all the cool spots while I was there. That local tour guide just happened to be my boyfriend, Justin, and he actually was kind of obligated to show me around since the only reason I went to Australia was to visit him. Obligated or not, I’m sure he was more than thrilled to drive me around every day. Right, Justin? RIGHT?! Hopefully I didn’t annoy him too much.
Today’s post will be the first of my 2 Weeks in Melbourne series, in which I will detail every little fun thing we did during my visit. I decided to break it up into multiple posts because 2 weeks’ worth of fun would make one VERY long post and we all know that you’d get sick of reading before you even reach the middle. I know I would!
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
[Warning: Anecdote ahead. If you don’t really want to read my anecdote of my actual trip (like when I was on the airplane) to Melbourne, you can just skip down to Day 2. 🙂 ]
I left Honolulu early on Sunday morning. It was an 8 am flight, so can you imagine what time I had to wake up in order to put my makeup on and get to the airport to check-in 3 hours prior to departure?! VERY EARLY. I woke up at 3:30 am.
And get this, I don’t even live in Honolulu. I live on MAUI. For those of you that don’t know, Maui is a completely different island. Honolulu is a city on the island of Oahu. So, I had to take a plane from Maui to Oahu first. The earliest flight from Maui to Honolulu is around 6am, which means I would’ve never made my 8 am flight to Melbourne if I traveled from Maui to Honolulu the day of my Melbourne flight. SO, I was forced to fly to Honolulu the night before and stay at a hotel near the airport for the night.
I took the very last flight from Maui to Honolulu the night before, which was at about 11 pm. I had to take this flight because I had a wedding to go to that evening. And in true Liana fashion, I drank all the free beer and wine I could LOL. I managed to make it to the airport on time (thanks Mom) and to my gate without a problem. BUT, I fell asleep while waiting to board at the gate and ALMOST missed my flight. I woke up just in time and was literally the last person on the plane. WHY DIDN’T ANYONE WAKE ME UP?
Anyways, I got to Honolulu perfectly fine, I called the hotel to send a shuttle to pick me up from the airport, checked into the hotel, took off my makeup, changed my clothes, and went straight to bed. It was about 12:30 am by this point. I had about 3 hours of sleep. And thank goodness my sweet mama called me many times in the morning to make sure I was up (in addition to the alarms I set) because I definitely would have went straight back to sleep if she didn’t. For those of you doing the math, yes I woke up at 3:30 am to give me enough time to put a full face of makeup on.
I left the hotel on their 5 am shuttle (just barely made it), checked in at the airport, made it to my gate, and got onto the plane safely with a sigh of relief. It was honestly a stress fest up to that point.
I flew on Jetstar and for a budget airline, it wasn’t all that bad. They really get you on all of the added costs because EVERY SINGLE THING is offered ala carte. So, I guess if you fly light and don’t need a lot of extras, it’s a good option. I honestly don’t fly light and I need a lot of extras (because I’m extra) so the cost was probably the same for me as it would’ve been on a non-budget airline. I would’ve flown with Hawaiian Airlines if they flew direct to Melbourne, but they only fly to Sydney and Brisbane. Get it together Hawaiian! I want to fly with you!
I sat next to a nice older couple that coincidentally lives in the same suburb as Justin does! How crazy is that?! Melbourne is huge! They even offered me a ride to Justin’s house if he wasn’t going to pick me up. How sweet of them!
Fortunately, Justin was able to pick me up from the airport. Reunited at last! We drove back to his house and I got my first glimpse of the city during the drive. I love big cities. I’m just such a city girl that it felt calming to be in a city again after being on Maui for the last year.
We didn’t do anything for the rest of the day as it was almost dinner time and I was in dire need of a shower. (I hadn’t taken a shower since before the wedding the previous day. TMI?) I was also super drained from the 11-hour flight I just endured, so I just wanted to relax for the night.
Justin’s parents made dinner for us – Nasi Lemak, which is Malaysian curry with anchovies, peanuts, boiled egg, cucumbers, and sambal (hot sauce). I love curry. Japanese curry. Indian curry. Thai curry. Malaysian curry. Curry of all kindssss. Malaysian curry is pretty spicy and I absolutely love it!!
After dinner, we just chilled and went to sleep super early. I was all tuckered out!
Bahn Mi at Bun Bun Bakery
Our first stop of the day was for breakfast and being the Asians that we are, our breakfast of choice was Bahn Mi at Bun Bun Bakery! Even though neither of us are Vietnamese LOL.
In the Springvale area, there are a handful of shops that sell Bahn Mi, but Bun Bun Bakery was Justin’s recommendation (and also the most busy), so we went there. We both got the Roasted Chicken in Lemon Grass Bahn Mi with everything on it (except green onions for me).
Interestingly, the Bahn Mi there is so different than what I get back home on Maui! (I assume this one is more authentic because restaurants on Maui tend to adjust their recipes to suit the local taste.) The biggest difference is the addition of pâté. It was my very first time eating it and I didn’t even know what it was! I still don’t really know what it is, but it was noms!
Bun Bun Bakery Information:
1/288 Springvale Rd
Springvale VIC 3171
Mon – Sat: 6 AM – 6 PM
Sun: 7 AM – 5 PM
(03) 9547 8289
Shopping at Chadstone Shopping Centre
It’s currently winter in Australia and I didn’t bring a lot of warm clothes with me because there are pretty much no warm clothes that I would actually wear being sold on Maui. And sadly, all of the warm clothes that I had from when I lived in Japan no longer fit me. 🙁 #chublife. So, I had some shopping to do.
We went to Chadstone Shopping Centre, which is a massive shopping center that’s the biggest in all of Australia (and claims to be the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere).
According to Wikipedia, Chadstone contains about 530 stores and can see up to 68,000 visitors a day. Crazy, right? I was in such awe of such a huge shopping center that I really didn’t get much shopping done. I wanted to check out all of the designer stores we don’t have on Maui (I’m talking about you, Givenchy and Saint Laurent!) and honestly, I just felt totally in my element at this shopping center. I want to live here.
There are also SO MANY places to eat and drink with two food courts – one casual dining and one with actual restaurants. We didn’t have a chance to eat anywhere (besides grabbing some boba), but I’m not exaggerating when I say that you could probably find any type of food you want here.
See a full list of the stores and restaurants at Chadstone on their website, listed below.
The only thing I bought was a sweater from Zara. So much for shopping for warm clothes to wear! I was too busy lusting over items too expensive for me to buy. I ended up just wearing one of Justin’s jackets for much of the trip.
As I mentioned earlier, we grabbed some boba while at Chadstone. I’m a boba fanatic. I love boba so much. So I was so happy to see a Gong Cha store there. Gong Cha is a very popular boba chain that I’ve actually been to in both Japan and Korea. I got a black sesame boba, which was something new they were offering. (It was pretty good, but the large was too much – it gets too rich after a while). And Justin got some kind of passion fruit drink with all kinds of stuff in it, but I can’t remember what exactly LOL.
Chadstone Shopping Centre Information:
1341 Dandenong Rd
Chadstone VIC 3148
Sun: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Mon – Wed: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Thu – Sat: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
10,000 free parking spaces on site. Parking map can be viewed here.
There is a free shuttle bus from federation square daily and you may arrange a shuttle bus from your hotel. View more info here.
Mrs. Kim’s Grill
After shopping at Chadstone, we met up with a few of Justin’s friends for dinner. We went to Mrs. Kim’s Grill in Carnegie for some Korean BBQ!! I love me some good Korean BBQ.
I didn’t have the chance to take photos of the menu, but you can view the menu on Mrs. Kim’s website here.
We ordered 2 sets for 5 people – I believe it was the Butcher Cut Set and the Moo Set – along with a few other orders of ala carte meat. All sets are advertised as enough for 2 people and each come with a plate of veggies, the soup of the day, and rice (2 separate dishes of rice – 1 for each person).
Although the menu on the website describes the exact type of meat each set comes with, the physical menu at the Carnegie location did not. Instead of the exact name of the meat, it said something to the effect of “select marinated meat” or “select butcher’s cut.” I can’t remember exactly what it said, but it led us to believe that we could choose the meat in each set from the options listed in the ala carte portion of the menu as long as it fell in the right category of marinated meats, butcher’s cut, etc.
Because of this, we ended up accidentally ordering 2 sets PLUS additional plates of meat. When we ordered, we said, “___ set with ___ and ___” which led the server to believe we wanted the set AND extra meat. It was a huge misunderstanding which we felt the consequences of when we saw our bill and it was way more than we expected. We were so confused during the meal when more meat kept being brought to our table. We didn’t question the server at the time, but had an “a-ha” moment when we saw the bill.
If you visit this location, don’t make the same mistake that we did! Hopefully they will have changed the menu by the time of your visit. As we were walking out, I did notice that the exact names of the meat included in each set were displayed on the wall, so make sure you read the signs on the walls!
I unfortunately had a bad blogger moment and didn’t really take photos during our meal. Too busy stuffing my face. This is the only photo I took:
Mrs. Kim’s Grill Carnegie Information:
136 Koornang Rd.
Mon – Fri: 12 PM – 2 PM / 5:30 PM – 10 PM
Sat – Sun: 12 PM – 3 PM / 5:30 PM – 10 PM
*Lunch Trading Carnegie ONLY
(03) 9563 4424
After dinner, we just hung out at Justin’s friends’ place for a bit then went back home. We were heading on a road trip down the Great Ocean Road the next day, which will be covered in my next post! So stay tuned. 🙂
Thank you so much for reading and until next time! <3