From New Zealand to Australia; from Auckland to Melbourne and from there further to Sydney and back. That was the program of the last two weeks and all of this without the bicycle. However, I will soon be back on the road. This time in Tasmania, in the south of Australia.
After my return to Auckland, I had first to organize a cardboard box for my bicycle. This is normally not to complicated because new bikes get delivered that way to the shops. The question is always only, if I would get a box already at the first and closest shop or if I would have to search longer. I was lucky this time and got a box right away. After returning to the hostel, I had to clean my bike thoroughly because it would get checked well at customs in Australia for dirt and other suspicious things. And then I took it apart and put it into the box together with some other stuff. After finishing the packing, I wanted to know how heavy all my luggage was and organized a scale from the hostel: 23kg and 24kg. So one bag was 1kg above the weight limit. Tim from the hostel said, that this wouldn’t be a problem but I wasn’t that sure even if it isn’t most of the time. We would see.
I took a shuttle bus to the airport the next morning and went straight to the desk. Check-In wasn’t really a problem except that I was told to go to the special desk because my second already paid piece of luggage didn’t show up in the system. I did as told but got informed that the problem was actually not the second piece of luggage. It was the 1kg above the weight limit. And for this single kilogram they wanted to get 41$. I couldn’t believe that because the second piece of luggage only cost 35$ and this includes 23kg. However, the staff wasn’t helpful at all and I had no choice than to pay. I guess I’m not going to fly Qantas again in the future… Just to be clear: Qantas isn’t a low cost carrier and I didn’t have a cheap ticket for Auckland to Melbourne. I paid around 500$ for it… But that’s another story… Next stop was the desk for oversized luggage to get rid of my box. There the luggage also got scanned and the lady at the machine saw my metal drinking bottle and also my empty gasoline bottle. And this gasoline bottle she wanted to see to be sure that there is no gasoline smell. I therefore had to open the box again, to search for the bottle and show it to her. As expected from my side, there was no smell (I had to let it air out for several days) and I could close the box again. As a last thing, she asked me, where the stove was and I told her that it was in the checked luggage. In this case, she told me, there would be a chance that they would call me when they would be searching for the gasoline bottle… Luckily that didn’t happen. I didn’t have such a complicated check-in since a long time…
Auckland – Melbourne
The journey itself was painless, except that I ate by far too much because I didn’t know that there would be lunch served on board and therefore spent my last NZ$ on food… Neverthless, after consuming all the interesting stuff in the onboard entertainment system, we finally arrived in Melbourne in Australia.
After the complicated check-in, I was a bit nervous about the immigration process. However, it was completely painless and even the quarantine office believed me, that my bike was properly cleaned and I didn’t have to open the box again. I continued with a shuttle bus to the city where I could gratefully stay for a few days with Julian, which I met in Japan a while ago. Together with him, I discovered Melbourne before going for a few days to Sydney. But first I had to wait till my new camera arrived :-).
Melbourne – Sydney
Because I was already in Australia and had a bit of time, I decided to take the chance and to visit Sydney. However, I didn’t want to fly there because I fly already more than enough. Therefore, I decided to take the night train. For an additional fee (1st class) I could have gotten a sleeper seat but I opted for the cheaper option. As most passengers I had two seats available, which made it a bit more comfortable but not really comfortable. But I already had worse nights than this one.
We arrived in Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, the next morning. The weather was good and I therefor went straight to the harbor to see the Opera House. Around lunch time, I finally went to the hostel and had an extended nap…
Manly Beach and Vivid Sydney part one
After a rainy day, I took the ferry towards north to one of the famous beaches of Sydney: Manly. The ship journey was a bit adventurous because of a heavy swell on the way, which pushed the not so small boat around as it would be a toy. On the beach, I finally got the chance to use my new camera to take some pictures of the surfers. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t that great and I returned therefor to the city where the next event was awaiting me: Vivid Sydney. This is an event with a lot of light installations and also some concerts. Pretty spectacular and especially photogenic which was great. Only Petrus wasn’t that happy with it and sent some heavy rain. A first test for my camera… I decided to get back to the hostel. This also because I didn’t feel 100% healthy.
The next day it got clear that I probably got a light version of a flu. Not that great if you have to change hostels with fever and headache. However, I didn’t know that when I booked the hostel at Bondi beach two days before…
Bondi Beach and Vivid Sydney part two
The change of hostel was hard but I did it and spent the next 24 hours in bed… When I felt a bit better again, I visited Bondi and the neighboring beaches and enjoyed the surfers. My original plan was to hike further down along the coast but I was way to weak for that.
After two nights, I returned back to the center of Sydney. And because I heard in the mean time that you can walk and cycle across the Harbor Bridge (Hello Auckland: It’s doable!), I had to do that too even if I actually wasn’t really healthy enough. Nevertheless, it was worth it. The Vivid festival was still going on and I wanted to take some pictures from the other side of the harbor. I had just put up my camera and started to take pictures for a time lapse movie when it started to rain heavily again. After waiting for a hour, I finally gave up and took the the train back to the hostel.
I returned to Melbourne by train (the day train this time) the next day and continued by ferry to Tasmania (where there is already almost winter) a few days later. More about this in the next entry.
All the best from Melbourne,
PS: Pictures of Sydney can be found in the Gallery.