23rd April 2013 21:11
I did something pretty idiotic at the airport flying from Sydney to Melbourne. I wasn't going to include this in the blog, as it makes me look like an utter retard, but I reckon you would all enjoy laughing at my stupidity. See how nice I am to you guys?
In my defence – the flight was very early in the morning (read: cheap), and I was still half asleep. Ok, now I've made my excuses... I arrived at the airport and walked into the hall with all the check-in desks. I looked at the nearest monitor, to see where I needed to go to to check in for my flight. 38a..... perfect. I walked all the way along the desks looking at the numbers, but they only went up to 36 or something like that. That's odd, I thought. I asked the nearest attendant where 38a was. "Through security and straight ahead". Odd, why are the other desks in a different place? I wondered.
I proceeded through security, having my scissors thrown away in the process, ate my customary (healthy) McDonalds breakfast:
And wandered down to the gate. GATE 38a. No check-in desks down at the gate funnily enough. I was directed back whence I'd came, out into the hall I started in, walked along the desks again looking more closely at the screens above them, only to find two lonely Tiger Airways desks nestled in amongst Qantas and Jetstar. Checked in, went through security AGAIN, and walked back down to the gate AGAIN. I do worry about myself sometimes.
The "hostel" I stayed at in melbourne came highly recommended on the review sites I use. The Bendigo Hotel is conveniently located near to a train station to easily get into the town center, cheap, lots of friendly people running it, and above a pub... ahhhhh ok, now I see why it's so popular. It really was good though, it's not your stereotypical hostel as it's just a couple of dorms above the pub with some shared facilities. But a lot of the people staying there are working in the area or even in the bar downstairs at nights. It was a very cool place with live music at night, and a really friendly, family atmosphere with the owners. Highly recommended.
While I was in melbourne I was keen to visit the Great Ocean Road, particularly The Twelve Apostles. This meant hiring a car as it was some way out of melbourne, but still the closest place to it. Damn you Australia for being so big! It wasn't all bad news though... I got to drive this BEAST of a car for a couple of days.
That's a Nissan Micra with a 6 litre, 500bhp engine inside. It can reach 0-60 in 1 second and pushes 200mph (I wished). I picked the car up in the afternoon and drove straight down to the Twelve Apostles to get there for sunset and the best photo opportunity. The astute amongst you will notice there are considerably less than twelve apostles left now – that's due to the others being claimed by the sea as the limestone rock is steadily eroded. In fact, that's how the apostles were formed in the first place – the sea slowly erodes the rock either side of them, then behind as it pushes further up the beach – the harder rock in the column takes longer which leaves it stood in the middle of the sea while the rest of the coastline recedes.
Due to my hanging around there until well after sunset, by the time I made it to my hostel they'd shut up shop for the night and it was fairly late when I arrived. Luckily I'd phoned beforehand and they'd stuck my entrance card in an envelope on the front door, and I was able to get in and grab some sleep before getting up extra early the following morning, this time for sunrise! I think it's probably the shortest length of time I've ever spent in a hostel! Sunrise was nice, but in my opinion not quite as pretty as sunset. I was glad I'd made it down in time the previous day to catch that.
After enjoying sunrise, I had the enjoyable task of driving back to melbourne via the Great Ocean Road, in beautiful sunshine and clear blue skies. Even the woefully underpowered Nissan Micra couldn't get me down with a road that nice to drive along, it was incredible. I would love to do it again in a nice car or on a motorbike, that would be amazing.
At one point along the road, there's a lighthouse which you can visit, and the sideroad on the way to it has a reputation as being the place to spot koala bears in the wild. Sure enough, a short drive in that direction and I soon saw a few cars pulled over by the side of the road, with a horde of eager tourists snapping away at the treetops with their cameras. I had seen koalas before at the sanctuary in Brisbane, but not yet in their natural habitat.
I was warned not to stand directly under them, as apparently they've been known to poo on unsuspecting tourists. Welcome to Australia! Have some poo.
Back in melbourne, and what is quite possibly my favourite place so far. It’s not any one thing that causes me to say that, it’s just a very pleasant place to spend time in. It’s very clean, nice architecture, easily to walk around in the town centre – but still with good public transport if you do need it. Felt safe at night wandering around, and nice being down by the south bank at night with all the street performers and bars. Oh, and the street art is something else! It’s actually legal, and commissioned by the government in dedicated lanes around the city centre. How cool is that?
Nearby (a short ride on the tram) lies St. Kilda beach, another tick in the box for melbourne as far as I’m concerned! It’s not the nicest beach I’ve been to so far in Australia, but hey, it’s a beach. And it’s a damn sight better than Brighton beach in the UK anyway... I was there for sunset too!
My flight out of melbourne was at stupid o’ clock in the morning again, something like 6am. I had intended to get an early night to get plenty of sleep for it, but that went out the window when I got dragged out of bed by one of the guys working and staying in the hostel to celebrate his 18th birthday. Of course this couldn’t be ignored! I didn’t protest too much anyway...! We spent the night with all of the other "housemates" down in the bar playing pool and drinking (among other things) free birthday shots poured by the owners due to it being a birthday. Very cool place indeed.