I’d intentionally booked a midday flight so I could sleep in a bit, so made my way to the airport nice and leisurely. There were some incredibly classy tourists sharing the airport bus with me today:
Check-in…well it was fun! From what I could tell there were absolutely no Qantas agents working behind counters in Melbourne, they had the whole process entirely automated. Checked in at the kiosk which I was used to, but then the kiosk also spit out my bagtags…which it then gave me instructions how to put them on my own bags. Whee, my chance to play airline employee! Then, it was off to the scales in front of the baggage belt, where you scanned your boarding pass, weighed your bags one at a time, and threw them on the belt. In fairness, there were quite a few Qantas employees hovering around being very helpful if you couldn’t figure it out, but I was mainly puzzled just because I’d never seen the whole process so automated!
Next stop, Qantas lounge, for a proper breakfast since all I’d had earlier was coffee. First mission: try the automatic pancake machine! Not bad, not bad at all!
Still a little bit hungry I decided to try the sandwich press too, taking some extra ham and cheese from the buffet to make a nice gooey sandwich. Yum! I wish US airlines could take a page from this playbook…but then again classy US passengers would probably bring doggy bags and treat it as the typical “get my money’s worth” opportunity. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!
Boarding right on time, and a completely full flight up to Brisbane today.
Qantas flight 616
Melbourne, Australia (MEL) to Brisbane, Australia (BNE)
Depart 12:05, Arrive 13:15, Flight Time 2:10
Boeing 737-800, Registration VH-VYD, Manufactured 2005, Seat 3C
There was a choice of some sort of salad, or a tuna melt. Yes, seriously, a tuna melt on a plane. I had to have it just for the novelty. It was actually pretty good. The tomatoes were marinated in balsamic before grilling and were actually super tasty.
Landed in Brisbane a few minutes ahead of schedule, and took the airport train downtown to the central station. Few block walk to my hotel, the Four Points. Upgraded (I guess you can call it that, they did) to a top floor room with a nice view of the city. One of the more modern Four Points I’ve ever stayed in, and almost felt more like an Aloft. I was in a rush, because I wanted to get to the Lone Tree Koala Sanctuary before it closed at 5pm.
Only option to save time was to take a taxi out there, which was $50. Ouch.
Cool lizard greeting me at the entrance:
…and this rather unusual bird, which I forget the name of:
Then, it started. Loads and loads of adorableness. Sleepy koalas:
…and a very hungry Tasmanian devil:
Speaking of hungry, managed to catch this Kookaburra immediately post-kill. He was cackling the whole time with this mouse hanging out of his mouth. It was hysterical.
Hide your babies! It’s a dingo!
OMG there was a kangaroo play area. Complete with little joeys:
What YOU lookin’ at?!
Then, the highlight of the show. Pay your money, get instructions, and a koala is plopped into your waiting hands for cuddling. You pay for them to take a picture, and then they’re more than happy to snap some more of you with your camera since you’ve already paid. I’ll admit…I didn’t want to give him back!
Since I had a bit more time, I took the bus back to the city, which at about $8 was a much better deal. It took over an hour due to rush hour traffic, but I wasn’t in any hurry to get anywhere so it was a much better choice. Plus, everyone on the bus was sharing koala pics with each other, it was pretty hysterical.
After resting up a bit headed to a restaurant near the hotel called Verve which I’d found on trip advisor. It was billed as a cider bar and restaurant, and the cider selection certainly didn’t disappoint:
Had a few very tasty Australian ciders from New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia and all were decent to good. Had a very tasty and very spicy pizza to go with them.
The owner of the place started chatting me up after dinner, and tried to tempt me with the sticky toffee pudding. He recommended the Lobo cider to go with it…and promised if I didn’t think it was amazing it was on him. Needless to say, it was amazing. Yum.
Despite the sugar high I managed to get back and crash right after dinner, because I had to be up at oh-dark-thirty to fly to Nauru!