Day 39 and 40: The long way home

It is always a sad moment when you realize you have to leave, and as always: all good things come to an end. This is also the case with our trip in Australia, and today is that day. It however will take a full two days for it to end, as we leave the country tonight at 9 and will have to sit through nearly 24 hours of flying.

As it is not nearly 9PM yet, we’ll have the entire day to drive from Glass House Mountains to Brisbane International Airport. We briefly thought about going into the city prior to our flight, but were held back by the logistical hassle of it all as we would have to get rid of our car in the city somewhere and afterwards drive back to the airport.
Instead, we opted to lazily make our way down the coast towards Brisbane. Lets say we’ll wing it. 🙂

This proved to be the best idea so far, as it is just marvellous up here. No wonder they call this part of the country Sunshine Coast!
We actually didnt drive South from our lodge, but North instead towards Mooloolaba. They have a great Esplanade over there, and we have spent quite a few hours there sitting around in the sun and generally procrastinating until after lunch.

After that, we drove South towards Brisbane via the small beach communities along this coast until we found a place calld Shelly Beach, where we have spent the rest of the afternoon on the tidal flats and amongst the tidal pools searching for shells, fish and crabs. What a great way to spend an afternoon lazily!

We had to go back to the airport, and be there by 18:30 as we were to hand in our rental car by then, and so we did. As Brisbane is quite the city, we actually drove on proper highways for te first time in weeks! Multi lane, and with a separating barrier in between it was quite different from what we have become accustomed to. I’m only glad we have a Camry over here, and not the FJ Cruiser as that car is clearly not meant to drive on roads like these.

Travelling back to Amsterdam actually was quite uneventful, as we took off on time, landed on time in Dubai and got our connection right on schedule. The only misery was back in Amsterdam, where the recent opening of a more streamlined customs experience actually meant standing in line for about 45 minutes where we are usually done within 5. Oh well, is has been a good trip nonetheless.

Australia, you have been good to us. Maybe we’ll be back, but probably to visit the parts we have not visited yet: WA!

Day 1 and 2: That’s a big plane!

Apparently, it is that time of year again, the time in which we are leaving for a far away destination to go see and experience the way of living somewhere else. This time, it is Australia, and we’ll be there for a nice long time.

We are leaving one Kingsday, and luckily the traffic going to Amsterdam is not as bad as we anticipated. This meant we arrived at Schiphol feeling very relaxed and feeling confident about an issue with the seating in our plane. We don’t know where it went wrong, but somehow our tickets were not marked as travelling together, and we got seats in Two different compartments of the plane altogether. Luckily, we were able to resolve this with the friendly lady at the check-in counter. She got us two adjacent seats right next to an exit. This meant we had loads of space all around us!

The flight with Emirates took place in the biggest plane of them all: the Airbus A380-800. This thing is huge! Up until now, the biggest plane had a 3-3-3 or a 2-4-2 configuration, but here we have 3-4-3 for a total of 10 people per row, and the row numbers go to 88! Naturally, loading and unloading this beast takes time, so boarding starts around an our before flying. The 6,5 hour flight to Dubai was quite uneventful, but the 90 minutes layover was a bit short. We barely made it in time to the other terminal where our second and longest flight would commence. By the time we boarded, it was already Tuesday (local time)

The flight to Melbourne is by Qantas, and took 13,5 hours. Also, this was an Airbus A380-800, but our seats were less spacious as we only had as regular row. We did however not have a third passenger on our row of 3 seats and were able to get at least some sleep on this flight. Waking up after this was quite odd though, as the free left the lights off for the vast majority of the flight only to flick the switch mere hours before landing. And as we would land around 9PM, waking up to the evening is not the best way to get rid of your jetlag quickly. As we did not sleep long, our rhythms were not messed up that badly.

All of our bags made the trip safely, and were available to be picked up at conveyor 6 in Melbourne. The transfer to the hotel went via a thing called Skybus, a dedicated airport shuttle to and from the centre of the city. They even dropped us off at the front door of the hotel. Tired, and feeling well, we tucked in for the night. Tomorrow, we’ll start exploring the city on foot!