So the day was finally here, we were leaving the UK with a one way ticket to Oz for the second time in two years. With visas, flights, bags etc we’d probably spent around $1500 AUD before even leaving home; this time we’d managed to save a little bit more money to bring with us and were entering Australia with around $4500 each.
We landed at Melbourne Tullamarine on a rainy Friday evening, following our 24 hour Etihad flight from London Heathrow; after being pulled up by airport security for filming (vlogging) in the airport and being asked to delete everything I had recorded since getting off of the plane. We stood staring blankly at the baggage carousel as the endless line of bags, suitcases and backpacks tumbled down (none of which were ours), after about 45 minutes and a good amount of questioning if we should have collected our bags at Abu Dhabi and put them on our second flight to Melbourne ourselves, they finally appeared.
After handing our landing cards to airport security we made our way out of terminal 3 towards the Skybus stop to catch the $20 Skybus (which I had already booked online) to St Kilda. On our way out we noticed a Vodafone shop and thought that it was probably easier to get our Aussie SIM card ASAP, $35 each for 1000 International minutes, unlimited Aussie texts & calls and 8GB of data and we were good to go. Surprisingly we both felt reasonably fine after our journey that had begun almost 3 days ago. After finding the right Skybus stop (as there are a few) we boarded the bus for our 40 minute ride to Fitzroy Street, which was the nearest stop to where we were staying on Queens Road.
I had spoken to my friend Ryan who is from the UK and has been living in Melbourne for the past two years; he had told me that his friends were moving in to a new apartment and had a spare room. Ryan confirmed with his mates James and Ben that it was ok for us to stay and I canceled our air BnB in Thornbury for their place; somewhere a little bit more central, between St Kilda and the CBD. It was strange to get off of the Skybus and recognise streets that we had walked down only 18 months earlier; it felt as though we had never left Melbourne, such a conflicting feeling of leaving home in the UK and arriving home in Australia.
The 20 minute walk seemed much further as the tiredness started to kick in and our backpacks became heavier and heavier. We made it to James and Ben’s with no troubles though; Ben was at home visiting in England but James was just as lovely and easygoing as I hoped he would be, which is just what we needed after that journey. It was a complete parallel to arriving in Oz for the first time last year at Base hostel in Melbourne, sharing a room with 8 other people and the girl who checked us in telling us in detail about how she was always ‘white girl wasted’. We loved the experience of hostel life last year but this time a friendly face and a private double room was exactly what I wanted as a welcome back to Oz.
We unpacked, showered and chilled with a beer as we chatted to James. I managed to last until about 10.30pm before the jet lag took hold and I basically passed out on the sofa. Having been defeated, I went to bed and was totally shocked by the realisation of how cold it was. I knew Melbourne would be cold this time of year (Spring) but I had wrongly assumed that it would be cold for Australia, not cold even for a Pom’s standards. Then I realised that we had only spent two weeks in Melbourne last year (in the summer) and spent winter and spring going further and further up the east coast in Queensland. Nevertheless, I was excited to experience Australia without it’s famous warm weather – is it the country that I love or the guaranteed good weather? … We’ll find out soon enough!