We left little old sleepy Palm Cove for the airport at a spritely 7am, except we were everything but spritely, even after an essential morning brew and pan au chocolat to wake us up! In all honesty, nothing can brace us for the dreaded packing…
Knowing we had to get some fuel for the rental car, and drop it off at the airport all before 8am was a bit of a squeeze but relief hit us when we finally arrived and the kind man in the high-vis jacket said the car was fine.
Today we were flying with tiger air, a company neither of us have flown with before. Passing through the small domestic terminal, we joined the short queue for check in onto our flight to ‘MELBOURNE’ as displayed in huge white letters above the desk. Organisation was a little misplaced as we seemed to wait about an extra 30 minutes in the line for people on the ‘SYDNEY’ flight to check in before they missed their slot, pushing to the front of our Melbourne line. Today was to be a waiting game. On approaching the smiley blond woman perched behind the counter, we hoped and prayed we could be lucky enough again to score the extra leg room seats but alas, memory kicked in that we had already priorly selected the seats together on row 10.
After spending a tedious 3 hours 20 minutes practically in a bean tin (the aircraft) with our knees up to our ears, sore backs from the knees of the passengers behind and hunger pains, we finally touched down, but not before Becky questioned the pilots ability to fly the plane, being aware he kept pushing the nose down to rapidly pull up again. On seeing Leigh’s panic stricken face, she quickly dished out some dismissive reassurance.. It took all the positive willing in the world but we finally touched down (possibly lost a tyre in the process) and we had arrived to some warming, not sticky (hoorah) sunshine in Melbourne. The airport, as deshevelled as it was, reminded us of being back in Blackpool, with the same empty, warehouse posing to be some kind of luggage re-claim area, and as grotty as Blackpool is, we welcomed memories of home.
After what again felt like a lifetime of waiting for the bags to be slam dunked (we could tell as we could see the angry looking man doing this) onto the conveyor belt, we dragged ourselves and our bags about a mile down the road to the main terminals in search of our pre-booked transfer, direct to the guest house we were staying. Jet Bus, the company we had been recommended to book through via the accomodation we supposed to be waiting for us at the bus stop outside terminal 2. Being presented with several bus stops, literally about 12, all with different names - some for public pick up, the skybus, the buses dedicated to only crew members and then a group/chartered section. Logic being something us ladies perform well in, we decided it must be at the latter stop, where we arrived and waited at the scheduled time of 3:30pm…
4:00pm rolled around and we had seen several “Jet Buses” zoom past, all dropping/picking up other passengers, everyone it seemed but us. Getting a little worried and impatient, (probably due to the early start we had earlier that morning), a call to the hostel (and probably about 7 pounds later for the priveledge of doing so from a UK mobile number), physically running back and forth in and out of the airport (to use their free wifi!) and several emails later, the mini van had arrived! A lovely, spacious mini van with comfy seats and air con, and a moody driver thrown in for free too. The drive to our place took about 30 minutes, passing around the main city over to the south of Melbourne, specifically South Yarra. The minivan suddenly came to an abrupt halt before a rather grotty & old looking double fronted building with the medievil looking sign boldly stating we had arrived at “St Arnaud Guest House”. Walking in, we didnt look at one another knowing we had the same opinion. It was like walking into an extremely dated old persons home, the carpet, the decor and also the smell… Luckily, we had lightened our mood by this stage and began to see the funny side. After getting through the rude and tedious conversation with the receptionist, we hauled our bags upstairs to the room. The door opens outwards, which depicts quite nicely the size of it. Squeeky but surprisingly soft bunk beds sit in one end of the room and in the other a fridge, a TV they dug up from the 80’s and a balcony.
At this stage, we realised that we had not eaten since breakfast that morning and decided it was about time we feed ourselves so went in search of the nearest supermarket which happened to be a Woolworths. Whoever said it was “down the road” sincerely misjudged as we hiked for nigh on 20 minutes, studying hard over the map questioning that we must have passed it as the receptionist was adament it was only “down the road”, but our frustration was purely bred from hunger.
Shopping done and out of the way with, we headed back to the hostel to cook up a delight of FREE pasta (provided in the communal kitchen) and a sauce we bought to accompany. This and some corn on the cob filled us up perfectly.