It’s what you’ve all been waiting for (she says with abundant sarcasm), the breakdown of the M’s flying visit to Melbourne!
Before our Samoan honeymoon, it had been quite some time since I’d travelled internationally – circumstances keeping our travel closer to home. But hey, we live in New Zealand, so who’s complaining? After our honeymoon, which I absolutely adored, I was bitten by the travel bug hard! Not enough to do the quintessential kiwi O.E. (overseas experience, usually living and working in Europe), but I definitely was keen to tick some more of the countries off our bucket list.
By serendipitous timing, the one sick day I have had this year coincided with receiving an email from Air New Zealand with a wicked 24 hour deal to Australian destinations. A few back-and-forths with Papa M at work, a text to one of my lovely Aussie aunties and a trip to Melbourne was locked and loaded! Flying in on the first Monday of the school holidays and flying out that Friday worked best for us – events on both weekends meant we unfortunately didn’t get to experience all that a Melbourne weekend has to offer. Free lodging in Prahran meant more money for shopping – LOVED that! It was a little funny when we’d talk about holiday plans and people would say “Didn’t you guys just go to Samoa?” – we did, but we’d paid for that ages beforehand as we were originally meant to go in October of 2012. I have to admit though, it felt nice to considered jet-setters, hehehe.
About the only downer to discounted flights is that they are usually flying out at times that involve getting up long before you usually would! Combine this with the fact that I had given up on caffeine the week prior and I was definitely feeling a little rough around the edges. Papa M’s parents kindly dropped us at the airport and by the time we had made our way through check-in and airport security (just the ordinary this time, no premium check-in – boo!) I was starting to feel a little more human. A decaf coffee and a pain au chocolat really started to pick me up and after a quick stint in a auto-massaging chair, we were ready to board the flight. I was so excited to get the Air NZ plane with black livery – I’ve seen pictures of it on social media and was thrilled that it would finally be our turn.
We’d booked specific seats on the flight over – we’re both relatively broad across the shoulders (at 5’9″-10″ and 6’0″, we’re not small people) and the 777-300 has six sets of two seat rows at the back of the plane. Some people have complained about the slight misalignment of the seats to the seats in front but we loved it. It’s perfect if you’re a couple, you can flick up your centre armrests and have your own little snuggly couch! Three episodes of Call the Midwife later (hooked!), we were there!
After a surprisingly quick shoot through customs – we found out later that this was due to the other plane arriving at the same time crashing into it’s own air bridge – we were picked up by my lovely Aunt H and whisked to her place in Prahran. She’d arranged for Mykis for us, the card system for all Melbourne transport, and after dropping our bags off it was off to one of my aunt’s favourite local cafes, Spoonful. We caught up on all the family goss and then Papa M and I headed off for our first exploration of Melbourne, catching the tram to Flinders Street Station. I think it dawned on me when we alighted at Federation Square that we were finally here. A quick stop at Spanish Doughnuts for a Black Forest churro was in order while we worked out what to do next.
We began meandering along the Yarra river, just soaking up the atmosphere. We found out where the Eureka Tower was, although with the cloudy, grey weather we decided to leave our visit for another day. We made our way all the way down to the DFO – an outlet mall on steroids – and did our first wee shop of the trip. Wandering back, we had a text from Aunt H telling us to come and meet up with her and N at the bar they were at. Still getting our bearings, we accidentally got on the right tram, going the wrong direction! Luckily we realised our problem – Papa M would argue that it was unlucky that I realised this after we were crammed in a peak hour tram – corrected ourselves, and were finally off in the right direction. We would soon learn that funnily enough, The Botanical is actually right near the Botanical Gardens. We had an amazing dinner here and both of us were feeling a bit lush-like – I was downing cocktails and bubbly and Papa M had several of his new beer-friend Peroni… when in Melbourne, right? A cab ride home and we both collapsed in bed, having been on the go from 5 a.m. to what amounted to 1:30 a.m. NZ time.