The best part about having friends all around the world is the free accommodation. So when life got a little stressful last December because of my deadlines from school, I decided to take a quick trip to Melbourne, Australia to visit one of my best friends.
I’d originally planned to visit Melbourne last June, but due to my flight ticket only being valid for departure back to Hong Kong from Brisbane, I decided it’d be too costly to fly back and forth from Brisbane to Melbourne then back to Brisbane. Hence, Melbourne finally being able to happen in December was very, very exciting and something that kept me motivated everytime I’d cross an item off my list of deadlines that semester.
So I guess you could say my trip began when I got to HKIA at around 8pm on a Thursday evening. My flight was scheduled for midnight, a red-eye flight. Something I definitely regretted as soon as I got to Melbourne. I thought I’d be able to sleep but nope, as per usual, I only got around three hours of sleep and ended up watching movies for the entire eight-hour flight.
Upon landing Melbourne Airport, it was exciting to be back in Australia again. I really enjoyed my month in Australia last June so it was nostalgic to hear the Australian accent again! I travelled on a Visitor visa (subclass 600), so big surprise, the immigration queues were quite long for non-Australian citizens. But what I found most interesting was before clearing immigration, they force you to go through “last chance” duty free stores – which was quite the walk, if I may add! Especially for someone running on three hours of sleep. In general, the Australian immigration is nothing to stress about at all, they’re very friendly and make quick chit chat while going through your documents. Definitely nothing compared to the American immigration.
After finally making it past immigration and collecting my baggage, I then had to pass through another queue at customs and quarantine. Australia’s pretty strict on this as they have tight regulations on bringing in food. Aware of this, I was an innocent traveller and had nothing to declare but just like my first entry into Australia last May, I was inspected! Again! As in, they opened my suitcase and went through all of my clothes. Pretty frustrating considering how long I spent packing!
Eventually and finally making it out of the Melbourne Airport, my friend had told me to look for signs for the SkyBus, a bus that takes you straight from the airport into the city, specifically, Southern Cross Station. It was really easy to find and it’s located between the International and Domestic airports. A one-way ticket cost AUD$18 at the time, but I just found out that they’re now AUD$19. Which if you ask me, is quite expensive for a 20-minute trip. Especially because I’m so used to the affordability of the public transportation back home! But as soon as I purchased a ticket, a bus was already waiting for passengers as the trips were very frequent. The bus was modern, clean and well-maintained. With free wifi too! And excellent customer service as the bus driver helped me with my luggage. Funny enough, no one bothered checking if I had a ticket or not so I guess I could’ve easily snuck on. But…don’t do it. Better safe than sorry!
Overall, my trip to Melbourne was very stress-free. Slightly regretted the red-eye flight as I barely made it awake that entire first day, but lucky enough, Australia’s three hours ahead so I was able to head to bed earlier that evening. The airport wasn’t so much of a hassle besides the long queues and customs inspection check as everything was easy to find and get through. Amazing airport to city link on the SkyBus, extremely convenient!
This is just the first of my travel series on my Melbourne trip. So definitely look out for more exciting posts on some of the great places I got to visit in Melbourne! Meanwhile, watch my trip here!