After class ended on Thursday I frittered away the afternoon until I realized I had a plane to catch at 10pm and frantically packed at the last minute and met up with Lyndsay, Seth and Jordan to fly to Melbourne for the weekend. We flew with a small company that is a subset of Quantas called Jet Star. It is a budget airline, and we got a roundtrip ticket to Melbourne (pronounced Mel-bin) for under $200, which is pretty awesome. Our flight left Sydney at 9:50 and the flight time was about an hour and ten minutes, putting us at Avalon Airport in Melbourne around 11 pm. The airport we flew into I don’t really feel justified in calling an airport. Really it was more of a very large shed with a parking lot for airplanes. It was a budget airport, which means there were only four terminals, the parking lot was gravel, the boarding passes were printed on the paper they use for receipts, there was only one food option inside, and it was located 45 minutes outside of the city so once we landed we had to get a bus into Melbourne. But hey, it was cheap!
Once we actually got into the city we walked from southern cross station to our hostel, which was called Nomads. We had booked ahead of time, and the four of us were sharing a room with four bunk beds and our own bathroom, we were lucky to get this because rooms can sometimes have 10-20 beds to one bathroom. We plopped our stuff down and then went out in search of food and an ATM because were going on a bus tour of the great ocean road the following morning at 7:30 am and had to pay in cash. Melbourne around 1 am on a friday morning is a ghost town. It might have just been the area we were in, but things were eerily dead. There seemed to be a lot more chain restaurants in Melbourne though. 7-11s were on just about every corner, along with McDonalds, Subways and a sprinkling of Starbucks. Once we had eaten and gotten money we crashed because we had to be up in about four hours.
The next morning we were up bright and early and waiting outside our hostel for the tour bus to come pick us up. It was dark and chilly out and I was having serious flashbacks to waiting for the bus in middle school. The bus came by, we payed, boarded, picked up some other passengers and we were off to the Great Ocean Road! Our tour bus was not full by any means. Aside from the four of us there was a family from the states and a few other families, but we each had two seats to stretch out across which was really nice.
The Great Ocean Road is a 151 mile stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia that links the cities of Torquay and Warnambool, which are both in the state of Victoria. The road was built by soldiers who returned from war between 1919 and 1932 and is the worlds largest war memorial, dedicated to the lives lost in WWI. When you see pictures of it most often you will see pictures of the Twelve Apostles, which are limestone stack rock formations. Our bus tour was not going to run the whole length of the road, but it was going to take all day. We left in the dark and by the time we got back at the end of the day it was dark again. The tour took us about seven hours out along the road, and then drove us back, stopping several times at major landmarks along the way. Our first stop was a beautiful beach.
So after a long day driving the Great Ocean Road we were all exhausted but still wanting to check out what nightlife Melbourne had to offer. As luck would have it Jordan had some friends from his pre trip that were studying in Melbourne, so we went back to the hostel, grabbed a quick dinner, showered, changed and met up with Jordans friends at their apartment which turned out to be right down the street from our hostel. Jordans friends showed us some great Melbourne hospitality and Lyndsay even met a guy who went to Maryland and was involved in greek life there, so they had plenty to talk about. After about an hour hanging out at their apartment we all headed out in search of clubs and bars. There was a group of about 15 of us which made getting a cab or making any decisions very difficult. This was compounded by the fact that a bit of wine had been consumed so energy was high and rational productive thinking was low. The activities of the day were really beginning to catch up with me, and since we weren’t that far from our hostel I opted to sit this evening out, and head back to the hostel to go to sleep early. Jordan, Seth, and Lyndsay went out with Jordan’s Melbourne friends and we all got to enjoy sleeping in a bit the next day.