So we have arrived and I cannot believe what an enjoyable 23+ hour flight that was!
Bearing in mind before I boarded the plane I was uncontrollably emotional from saying my goodbyes to my family.
In fact, I was really bloody struggling. It is very unlike me to decline a meal and a cocktail at the airport – but for some reason, I had no appetite and 7 buckets full of tears. (Sorry Rick!)
To be honest, it had been a very long day AND night before. The day before our flight, I had the scare of my life…
My passport was missing. Can you believe that? I left it until checking in for our flight to look for my passport, and it was no where to be seen. NO WHERE.
I won’t bore you with too much detail, but I had my family up until 2am turning our house upside down looking for it – I even had to wake Rick up and have him drive to mine to help – and just as we were about to give up searching, we found it. Between the depths of my bed headboard and my carpet (my carpet is the same colour as my passport may I add! So it was virtually impossible to see it unless my whole bed was moved.) Thanks to Rick. It sounds like we didn’t have to look far for it, but believe me – it was not under the bed the first time we looked! I was already looking at a Plan B; which would have meant waiting 7 days for a replacement passport which would have completely messed up our arrangements and plans, not to mention the money we would have lost.
ANYWHO, after a tearful, sleepless and emotional night thinking that my travels were postponed – I was up and getting ready for a day out in London with our family ahead of our 10pm flight!
What a beautiful day that was. We started off in a lovely traditional London pub in Covent Garden before moving onto one of our family favourites Italian restaurant; Pasta Brown.
The food was wonderful as always! I opted for Gamberoni (Shock! #PrawnAddict.) Time flew and before we knew it we were paying the cheque and were off to a fantastic Irish bar/pub called Waxy O’connors in Leicester Square.
I still can’t get over this place. Waxy’s is well hidden just as you reach China Towns main entrance, through a small double door located between 2 stores on the left – you make your way down wooden stairs and then the place opens out into a fantastic old fashioned chapel like bar with endless spaces and areas to sit. The venue almost reminded me of something from Harry Potter, it was unbelievably characteristic. The drinks were flowing, but in the back of my mind I knew that it would have to come to an end and we would soon need to say our farewells.
Our plan was to begin making our way to Heathrow at around 5pm giving us 5 hours as well as some well needed time to relax after our emotional day.
Leaving my family was a lot harder than I expected. Even though I knew we were always going to be seeing each other again – it was the thought of not being able to just walk through my parents front door and physically see them or just to have a cuddle as and when I pleased – but I guess this is all part of growing up, right?
As stated above, I was quite unhappy whilst awaiting our flight which is very unlike me – I think I was overwhelmed with everything that had happened that day. Saying goodbye’s over the duration of two weeks to friends AND family was really quite draining, and I think it had started to take its toll. (Not to mention Rick losing his card wallet on the Heathrow Express and it being found on a naked homeless man jumping on someones car 4 days later, but thats a WEIRD story I won’t go into.)
ANYWAY, on a more positive note – after a very comfortable 14 hour flight to Manila, Philippines; and an amazing 10 hours sleep, I was feeling like a whole new person. Thankfully my mood had completely shifted and I was back to feeling excited for what was ahead! We spent our 4 hour stop over in Manila eating Filipino food as well as face timing our families… There was only one negative, MANILA NINOI AIRPORT HAS NO BAR! We were kind of distraught. I was finally feeling up for a large glass of Sauvignon, but alcohol was nowhere to be seen. So, Orange Juice it was. Time was flying and before we knew it we were boarding our next flight for a further 4 hours to Darwin – engine refuel and a stretch of our legs, then we were onto our final 3 hour stretch from Darwin to Brisbane! The flight really did fly by. It was comfortable and thankfully I was exhausted, so I actually slept for 15 hours out of a possible 23 – which is amazing! For anyone who feels that a 23 hour flight is too much, I seriously think that it wasn’t bad at all. The stop-off’s really broke the journey up and it gave us a chance to move around and have a change of scenery!
We had arrived!
It was a seriously smooth pick up from Brisbane airport too. We were slightly worried because our agent at STA travel had actually booked our transfer for the wrong day! So they were not actually expecting us which was just great – but thankfully our very helpful driver was happy to let us hop straight on and they sorted all of the mix up out themselves! It was a short 25 minute drive to our hostel. We are staying at Base Uptown in an 8 bed dorm; I will be doing a full review on our stay at Base once we have finished our 7 day stay!
We really have loved every minute so far. It hasn’t even been a week but we have found our feet pretty quickly. We are a little bit obsessed with South Bank and Street’s Beach, I think we have spent almost every day there so far. It is where beach meets city – I cant explain how beautiful it is! Laying on the sand whilst looking out to the city really is something else. Streets Beach is a manmade beach surrounded by restaurants, bars, beer gardens, live music, markets and much more – it is impossible to get fed up of this place!
We truly are loving our Australian experience so far. The first week has been all about finding our feet and sorting out the important stuff such as setting up our bank accounts, tax codes, Medicare, sim cards etc. As stated in my previous blog, we paid extra for the STA Travel starter pack – this is where somebody meets you and physically takes you through all of the details of what we need and where to go in order to set up all of the important stuff! So far everything has run smoothly and we have actually sorted everything that we have wanted to! I will go into much more detail in my STA Travel Experience Review blog – so keep an eye out for that, especially if it is something that you are interested in or unsure about!
Australia truly is a beautiful place;
We are here for the long run!