The bad news: I only had about a day in Australia. Only one day! How sad! To come so far, for such a short amount of time…a travesty.
I had waited too long to purchase plane tickets and ended up having to get to Australia the long way. The really looooong way. Instead of a direct flight from LAX, my route ended up being: LAX > Hong Kong > Singapore > Brisbane.
The good news is, I got to hang out in awesome places like Hong Kong and Singapore for a day each. Then, when I finally did arrive in Australia, it was dinner, a few hours of sleep, then back to the airport to travel to the least-visited country in the world: Nauru–which was absolutely incredible, by the way. It was back to Brisbane a couple days later, with only half a day to enjoy Australia before I had to get back home. I can’t believe I had such little time here…but I knew I’d be back, so I wasn’t trippin’.
Brisbane was a beautiful city, and a great first experience in Australia. There was so much to see and do, all in walking distance. What a neat town! I only had about half a day, and I spent it gettin’ in some serious steps–trekking all around the city, seeing as much as I could in a short amount of time. From buildings to bridges, from parks to pools–it was a mad race to get in as much as possible in just a few hours.
I checked out City Hall which was beautiful! The building included a grand auditorium, a really cool museum with all kinds of exhibits about Brisbane, and a free elevator right up into the clock tower for stunning views of the city. I loved the way the city of Brisbane was so welcoming to tourists. This was a proud city that enjoyed showing off their treasures to visitors.
The sun was already starting to set and I had so much more ground to cover! I walked across a bridge and down beautiful pathways along the Brisbane River. I kept thinking, “Damn, this is one well-planned city!” The parks and trails were fantastic!
My mind was officially blown when I ran into absolutely the coolest public pool I’d ever seen in my life! Streets Beach: an inner-city, man-made beach, with a sparkling lagoon surrounded by white, sandy beaches and sub-tropical plants. Streets Beach is free to all and is under the supervision of lifeguards all year round. So cool! I was now even more depressed that I had to leave soon.
On the way back to the hotel to grab my bags and head to the airport, I strolled through the City Botanic Gardens. Clean, green and massive, you could spend a whole day just wandering the gardens. Giant trees, countless trails, lakes and fountains…I forgot I was in the middle of a major city; the gardens really are spectacular.
By the time I arrived at my hotel to gather my things, I was downright angry that I didn’t have at least one or two full days in beautiful Brisbane. To be so rushed in such a marvelous city was a sin. What a welcoming place that made you feel as if the whole city had its arms around you, every step, around every corner.
Unwelcome in Melbourne
If Brisbane was hospitable, Melbourne was the extreme opposite. Granted, I shouldn’t hold the entire city accountable for a couple arsehole taxi drivers…but what dicks!!!
I had to fly from Brisbane to Melbourne to catch my MEL-LAX flight home the next day. After landing I headed out onto the curb to grab a cab to my hotel. The first cab driver seemed to have a really tough time figuring out where my hotel was–at least, that’s how he acted. He kept telling me he couldn’t find the destination’s address. I’m like, “Dude, it’s right here,” as I showed him the hotel on my iPhone. How could a cabbie not know how to get to a nearby hotel? Before I knew it, he was removing my luggage from his trunk and kicking me out of his cab, for reasons I didn’t understand.
The second cabbie was worse! I didn’t even get inside the taxi before the dude opened his trunk and literally threw my luggage out onto the ground before speeding off like he’d just robbed a bank. As soon as I’d given him the name and address of my hotel, he didn’t want to have anything to do with me! What the heck was going on?!
I later found out that these douche-nozzle cab drivers didn’t want me as their customer because of the “short fare;” that is, my destination was only a few miles away, and these guys were in search of longer, more lucrative rides. First of all, that’s messed up; but if you’re gonna be like that, just tell me the truth! Don’t leave me on the curb making me wonder what I did wrong!
I finally was able to convince a cab to take me to my hotel, four miles away, for $40. It was cold, late, and now I was hungry and crabby. I’m sure Melbourne’s a great city, but their cab drivers can eat a dick. (sorry Mom).
I sent an email to Melbourne Airport’s customer service, with no response.
Brisbane: 1, Melbourne, 0.