Sunday, June 19, 2016

Melbourne Travelogue 01: SIN > MEL

Our virgin visit to Australia was in 2007, where we did our first road trip (after graduation) with the Uni gang. Then, I went for a touch-and-go 3 days business trip in Sydney. Fast forward to present days: we headed back to Australia on a 8 days road trip in Melbourne. Australia is moving up the ranks on my list of favourite countries. The country is so big that every visit brings much surprises and delight!

I applied for our visas online, made payment via iBanking and got the confirmation within 3 working days. The whole experience was easy and fuss-free. The visa is valid for 1 year, hence we made use of it and headed to Perth as our next holiday destination. So tempted to make another trip back now that I'm blogging about our Aussie adventures. 
On the day of departure, Mummy and lil bro came over and sent us to the airport. After checking in our luggage, we headed over to Poulet for dinner.  It was my first time having a meal at Poulet *suaku me* even though this french-themed casual dining chain has an outlet near my workplace. 
 
We started off with 2 bowls of soup: french onion and mushroom soup.
  
Leecher ordered these for sharing: braised pork belly, duck and their signature poulet. Boy, we were so full after the meal that we walked around the airport, hoping that it will help with digestion. 
Goofing around with the exhibitions, which were part of the SG50 trail exhibits at Changi Airport. Naturally, we had to take picture with the iconic Changi Airport's Control Tower! Soon, it was time for us to board the flight. We said our goodbyes and headed towards immigration. I even had time to do some duty-free window-shopping, mentally noting down the prices of the skincare that I intend to buy when I'm back.
I managed to secure the red-eyed flight, so we will get to catch up on some sleep before landing at Melbourne when we wake up. Night peeps. 
 
 Enjoying the view from my window seat before preparing for touch down at Melbourne airport.
 
We touched down at Melbourne at 6AM, which meant we get a whole day to explore. At 7 degree Celsius, we were severely under-dressed. I was in a tank dress overlaid with long sleeve shirt while Leecher was dressed in T-shirt and Bermudas, lol! I guess the Aussies must have thought that we were mad
 
Thankfully, clearing immigration was a breeze, despite the slight hiccup when the machine couldn't scan my ePassport. No more joining the long immigration queue. We collected our luggage, washed up and changed into warmer clothing. Once we were all set, Leecher went off to sort out the data card as well as the car rental.   
 
There are a couple of data SIM plans available and we decided to buy $30 for 4GB whole of data since we'll be staying for 8 days and missed the 1GB data ($10 for 7 days) by 1 day! Leecher got the Optus SA to help load the card into our iPad and that became our hotspot
 
 Grabbed a hot drink to warm my body from Hudsons Coffee.
 
Leecher, at the Hertz counter settling the admin stuff. We opted for Hertz for a fuss-free experience, even though their car rental might be slightly expensive. We enjoyed member discount for renting with them, so might as well! Once Leecher signed off the bill, we walked towards the huge car park opposite the airport for car collection.
Collecting the car was a breeze too. Boy, I love Australia for their efficiency! Since we had already topped up for max insurance, we don't have to check the exterior for any bump/damages. However, if you did not purchase any insurance, please do a thorough check before leaving the car park as you don't want to be liable for anything which you did not cause.
 
KIA Sportage, our trusty ride for the next 8 days. Leecher chose this for our road trip and since he is the designated driver, he gets to pick his car. I must say the car is really comfortable and spacious.
Porter Leecher loading our luggage into the boot and we are ready to head off for our road trip, yeah! The main highlight of this road trip was The Great Ocean Drive, which we have been wanting to do but other bucket-list items took priority over it - the cons of having a massive travel-related bucket list :( Nevertheless, we managed to make it happen and I'm so excited to buckle up! I'll be back with more of our Great Ocean drive adventures - stay tuned! 

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