Towards the end of 2016, JETGO Australia launched their first direct route from Essendon Airport in Melbourne to our beautiful hometown of Port Macquarie, located on the East Coast of Australia. JETGO fly this route four times a week and we were lucky enough to pick up some amazingly priced flights in their early bird sales! The planes hold approximately 40 passengers and the flight is really quick, taking just an hour and forty minutes! After flying budget airlines in Europe the last few years it was a lovely surprise to board the comfortable JETGO plane and receive warm, friendly service from the crew as well as complimentary snacks and drinks during the flight!
We left Port Macquarie on Friday afternoon after work and arrived at our hotel in Melbourne by 9pm! Because our trip to Melbourne was fairly close to Christmas and we'd only booked a few weeks earlier there wasn't a great deal of accommodation available in the city. We were lucky enough to find a fantastic deal on Groupon for the Melbourne Parkview Hotel, a luxury, 4.5 Star hotel that was ideally located on St Kilda Boulevard and offered stunning views of Melbourne's Parks and the city skyline.
Our room was on the 9th floor of the building and had fantastic views of the park, cricket pitch below and the city skyline! We really enjoyed relaxing in our comfortable lounge chairs watching the cricket below, and later on watching the city come to life as the sun set!
On the top floor of the hotel is the Atrium which boasts a spa, plunge pool, gym and sauna...oh and breathtaking views of the city! If you're regular readers of the blog or follow us on Instagram then you'll know that any chance we get to take a swim in a pool, a spa or sweat it out in a sauna then we jump at the opportunity! The facilities were fantastic and the views unforgettable.
We loved our stay at the Melbourne Parkview Hotel and felt it really added to our entire experience in Melbourne. We particularly loved the location, the rooftop spa, pool and sauna facilities and the city views from our room. The staff were also really friendly and helpful which ensured we enjoyed our stay. The hotel was fantastic and we spent two wonderful nights there for an amazing price of $300 (for a stay that was normally worth over $800)! Obviously we got our stay for a fantastic price through Groupon, but on a future visit to Melbourne we would certainly return to the hotel and would be more than happy to pay full price as we felt the hotel was worth every cent!
You can read more about our stay here: A Romantic Anniversary Weekend at The Melbourne Parkview Hotel
Once we were all checked in, we headed back downstairs to jump on a train into the CBD. Our hotel was ideally located with a tram stop just across the road and it was just a short, scenic tram ride right into the centre of the city. Melbourne is beautiful both by day and night and we loved strolling across the bridges with the reflection of all the lights on the water. We strolled around the city listening for a good band. Watching live music is an absolute MUST in Melbourne and it didn't take us too long to find a fantastic band that kept us entertained for a good few hours, over a good few wines and beers!
After a wonderful sleep in our very comfortable bed and a hearty buffet breakfast at the hotel, we jumped on the tram and headed in the opposite direction towards St Kilda this time. St Kilda Beach was less than 15 minutes by train from the hotel and we enjoyed wandering through the streets admiring the street art and strolling along the beach and famous, iconic St Kilda Pier!
The St Kilda Pier and Pavilion are a historic building, built in the early 1900s. An iconic Melbourne landmark, the cosmopolitan St Kilda Pier offers panoramic views of the Melbourne skyline and Port Phillip Bay. The cafe on the Pier also serves up a delicious coffee and if you visit late in the afternoon or evening you may be lucky to spot some of the 100 penguins who call the St Kilda breakwall home.
After a lovely morning in St Kilda we headed back to the hotel for a refreshing swim and a sauna before heading back into the centre of the city. We spent our afternoon wandering through Federation Square, Bourke Street shopping mall and admiring the beautiful architecture and buildings. Dan remarked how "London-like" Melbourne is, just with completely opposite weather! As we visited in December we also loved seeing the city decorated with beautiful Christmas decorations. It almost felt strange to see such festivity when it was so sunny and hot as my last few Christmases have been in the freezing cold UK!
We headed to Chinatown, a distinctive and well known area of Melbourne which dates back to the gold rush days of the 1850s! We were surprised to learn that Chinatown Melbourne is the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the Western world! We found the busiest restaurant and headed in there for lunch which consisted of dumplings and sweet and sour chicken and it was delicious! Whilst we aren't fans of big crowds we do know one thing and that is if a restaurant is packed like the one we went into, then it will be extremely good food!
We were blessed with a lovely, sunny weekend for our visit to Melbourne! As we were strolling around the city we spotted an awesome bar under the pedestrian bridge that was absolutely PUMPING! We headed down to discover Ponyfish Island, which very quickly became our favourite bar in Melbourne! We spent a few hours relaxing at the bar enjoying the awesome music, delicious food, yummy cocktails and great view! If you're looking for a fun, unique place to enjoy a few drinks then we definently recommend Ponyfish Island!
Afterwards we strolled along the Yarra River, admiring the buildings and view! There were quite a few rowers about too so it was lovely to watch them racing up and down the river!
By this stage we were exhausted after a big day of exploring and so we had a final drink along the Yarra, picked up some delicious dinner in the Greek Precinct which we then took back to our hotel to eat. We had a relaxing evening watching the sun set over the city from the rooftop spa and pool at the hotel and then watched movies in bed before our early flight home the next morning.
We had an amazing weekend in Melbourne and love that we can now fly there direct with JETGO Australia! Whether you are looking for a city break to Melbourne, or you are a Melbournian looking for a coastal escape to Port Macquarie, then JETGO has the flights for you! We'll certainly visit Melbourne again soon as we haven't even scratched the surface on this amazing city and we will definitely fly with JETGO!
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Have you been to Melbourne? Do you have any tips for us for next time? x