Return to Oz – Day 3 (of 18): Arrival in Melbourne, then onward to Hobart

THURSDAY the 21st, 6.30am local time.

Morning loyal Reader…

At last, we’ve arrived! But although we’ve reached Australia, we’re not quite done yet!

But before any more travelling, a quick fuel-stop was required!

A Quickie Brekky!

That’s better! Now back to the globe-trotting. It’s now just one more hop (I think I AM turning into a kangaroo!) and the holiday can officially begin.

melbourne to hobart flight

We’re bound for Tasmania but first we need a virgin!

Well, a Virgin flight that is (the VA1320 to Hobart, leaving at 11.20am and arriving at 12.35pm). And although we didn’t plan it, we actually walked about 5 miles in the airport due to THREE gate changes Gate 1… Gate 5… and eventually Gate 13!

I don’t know much about Tasmania (or ‘Tassie’ as the locals call it – the ‘s’ is pronounced as a ‘z’) so here are a few factoids…

  • Half-a-million inhabitants
  • 26000 square miles in size
  • Located 150 miles south of the Australian mainland
  • Its slogan? “The Island of Inspiration”…

The highest temperature ever recorded here was 42.2°C (in 2009) and the coolest -13°C (in 1983). Somewhere around 25°C would do us nicely for the next few days please!

“Phew! Not quite a Scorcher!”

…but that’ll do nicely thank-you!

12.30: With the flying finally over for a while (it’s felt like we’ve lived on planes these past few days) we’re switching to fewer wheels for our short stay here – we booked a trusty Hyundai Tucson SUV we were given a newish Nissan X-Trail, courtesy of Budget Rent-a-Car. Although it wasn’t what we were expecting, it drove well and was very comfortable  and only cost £174.33 for 6 days.

And then it’s just a short 10 mile road-trip to our first accommodation of this break: The Zero Davey Boutique Apartments.

1.30pm, Arrival: Ann‘s booked us one of their Studio Apartments with a view overlooking the Harbour…

Victoria Dock, Tasmania

We made it! Hello Holiday! 😁 👍

Our Studio Apartment (room 21).

More about the local area tomorrow, but for now a bit of unpacking and then some sleep! 😴😴

Blog Extra! – Three Hours in Jakarta

Oh, the irony of it! Probably one of the most palatial rooms we’ve ever stayed in (it’s certainly one of the largest – I think the whole of Corby would fit in here!)

..and we’re only here for a few hours. 😒

We’ve just landed in Jakarta and it’s around 11am local time – it’s already 30 degrees, but the humidity is ferocious, and it feels more like 130! Why are we leaving the comfort of an air-conditioned Airport? Well, because of the long gap between the connecting flights, good old Trailfinders bagged us a free hotel room (Well, it IS better than five hours in the Airport surely!)

That’s the GOOD news!

Now the bad…

The Hotel is situated just 2km from the Airport, but the traffic was totally grid-locked. Our pre-booked Taxi therefore took an age to arrive and by the time it did, we were both doing very good impressions of damp dish-cloths! 😁

We’ve not been to Jakarta before and our car journey (at an average speed of around 2mph) took in some contrasting views. One minute we were on a well-made road and the next minute, it was just a track. Poverty was all around us… and then it wasn’t, with towering modern office buildings filling the skyline.

One thing that was familiar, was the driving-style! We’ve seen it so many places we’ve travelled to – and closer to home! 🤔 Turn-indicators are an optional extra and a heavy right-foot is the order of the day. The white line in the middle of the road seems to be there for decoration only, and the local police-force are everywhere attempting to bring harmony to a state of complete car chaos.

Our spines just about survived the journey (note to self: send the taxi-driver a voucher for shock absorbers – preferably FOUR!), and after passing a building that was surrounded by used pallet-boards (nice!) we arrived at our Hotel!

The FM7 Hotel, Jakarta

‘Wow!’ doesn’t even begin to describe it! No expense spared (apart from the name!) – and that was just the Reception! Luckily, we’re back here as part of the same arrangement on the way home, so hopefully, we’ll be able to take in more of the facilities. 😊

The Reception staff were super-friendly and ultra-efficient – they even gave us vouchers for a free Lunch each AND they also upgraded our room. 😊👍

So, just time for a couple of hours shut-eye (in spite of a business-class bed on Singapore Airlines we’re shattered!) before we’re back in the bone-shaker and heading for the Airport and our next flight at 7.25pm.

Update: 3.00pm (local time). Our Taxi arrived on time and once on-board heading for the Airport, we noticed that the traffic conditions had reversed! Gone was the massive gridlock, and instead, a more-or-less open road appeared before us. Helped in some way by our Driver taking a slightly different route and sticking to the bigger, wider roads. Some things don’t change though: the locals were all driving like it was a rally stage! We also noticed that clearly Indonesia has massive plans for this area to sort out the traffic-flow – there were plenty of half-finished bridges and roads adjacent to the ‘old stuff’ all being tended by about a gazillion workers.

It’ll be interesting to see what it’s all like round here in say, five years’ time!

We’re almost there Melbourne!