A Trip to Melbourne
After a good year or so of waiting, the girlfriend and I landed in the fantastic Melbourne, Australia. Nicely planted by the Port Phillip Bay and the country’s second largest populated city, Melbourne has plenty of life to keep us busy for the next year or two.
Getting over here was plain sailing, our flights were two legs Etihad and Qantas (avoiding the much loathed China Southern Airlines). With a 2 hour stop off in the swanky Dubai airport, we hopped onto the second leg of the flight, which was around 13 hours, taking total travel time to roughly 24hours all in. With a few bad movies and a few worse in-flight meals, we landed down under.
Despite traveling frequently, the stress of immigration always gets my palms-a-sweating. However our visas meant we could sail through customs with only the smallest of glances from the immigration officers.
Because the economy in Australia is still very bouyant, the work opportunities out here are just too enticing to miss. The national wage for adults over 20 is currently $15.59, so around 70% higher than what you will find back in the UK. One thing we have noticed quickly however is the higher living costs for most things in particular, food, bills and entertainment is roughly 30-50% higher than back in the UK. Although admittedly, coming from London the increase isn’t too painful to bear.
Somewhere to stay
Having a base to rest your weary head is extremely important, not only to shake off the jet lag but to get you close to the action when you need to be. When we arrived, we stayed in an AirBnb flat in Fitzroy, which is just to the north of Central Melbourne. AirBnb lets you rent whole or parts of someones home, just like you would a hotel room, but at a reduced cost when compared to a traditional hotel or B&B.
My first experience of AirBnb was a good one. Our host Toby was a contractor, who worked in the Melbourne CBD. He was very helpful in answering our questions about the city, but also gave us our space within his flat to allow us to relax and do our own thing. We were also well placed at the top of Brunswick street, with good transport links. There’s something very comforting about staying in a real home rather than a drab hostel or the like.
The main street that cuts through Fitzroy is Brunswick Street, which runs in a straight line up through a bustling collection of shops, cafes and restaurants. During the week things are pretty quiet, but at the weekend things start coming alive with the local hip-crowd and young revellers descending on in. The area is classed as quite alternative, but from that i guess people mean a touch on the younger/trendier side, so it may not be for everyone.