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My mum & I had planned a girl’s family weekend to catch up with my aunties & cousins who all live in Brisbane so what better place to have a girls trip than Melbourne.

We booked into 2 apartments at the Mantra on the Park. Good location for a reasonable priced accommodation, it is on the edge of the CBD but within close walking distance to all the shops & the free city centre tram goes right passed the door. All apartments have full kitchen facilities & most have a small balcony as well. But perfect size for relaxing in that late sun with wine & cheese after a long day of shopping.

Melbourne is a great place for shopping & dining. The main CBD is so accessible by foot or trams. There is a free tram that runs frequently round the outer square of Melbourne. A trip to Melbourne wouldn’t be complete without dinner out in Lygon Street for some Italian. Just a short stroll from the city. We spend the first part walking up & down looking at all the menus. Where all the door men of the restaurants try to compete to entice you into their restaurants with free bottles of wine or garlic bread. Amazingly enough I always seem to walk up & down but end up back at the same place I have been to over the last 10 years of visiting Melbourne.

A must shopping experience to do in Melbourne is visiting the Victoria markets on a Friday or Saturday if you can as the full markets are open. It is such an interesting place to go to see all the bargains you can find in the markets from shoes, to souvenirs to leather Jackets. Then you have to go check out eth fruit & vege stalls & into the meat section. I always love wandering see all the butchers shouting out their prices trying to be the guy next door on a sale.

A great way to see the city from above is to go up the Eureka Skydeck 88. It is the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere. Once you are up the skydeck if you are brave enough you can also go in The Edge. The Edge is a glass cube which projects 3 metres out from the side of the building with you in it suspended almost 300 metres above the ground. Was a great experience to do but not to do if you were not into heights.

Next on our agenda was a day trip to Phillip Island to see the penguins with AAT kings. One of my aunties loves penguin so this was her dream request for our girl’s trip. In the afternoon you are picked up from your hotel & transferred by bus to Philip Island which takes approx 90minutes drive. Once there you get to explore the educational centre & have dinner at the café before sunset, just before sunset we wandered down to the Exclusive Penguin platform an added bonus of doing it on a tour. Then on sunset, wild Little Penguins emerge from the sea and waddle across the beach to their sand dune burrows. After they have all gone off to bed for the night you hop back on the bus to be transferred back to your hotels in Melbourne.

Another of our days was filled with a Melbourne factory shopping tour. We were again picked up from our hotel in a bus & taken round the factory and outlet stores of Melbourne. Ranging from bags to shoes to clothes to kitchen equipment. Plenty of bargains to be found on a shopping tour which also included a 2 course lunch at a local pub.

As our girls trip was coming to an end what better way to enjoy our last night together than doing the colonial tram car dinner. You board a historic tram which travellers around Melbourne as you enjoy a lovely 3 course meal complete with beverages included. The food is amazing & the staff were wonderful making it a great experience that I would defiantly do again and great way to end our stay in Melbourne.

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