Life After Hamilton Island

My final day at work couldn't come soon enough. I thought the last week would go over quickly but it seemed to drag on. On my last day I got to jump into one of the pools, in uniform. Unofficially of course. After work Chris had bought some cheese and wine and we walked up to One Tree Hill to watch the sunset. Afterwards, we had a punch party and said goodbye to everyone. The next few days involved cleaning the apartment and packing, enjoying coffee and breakfast at the marina, meeting friends for a buffet breakfast, lazing on the beach, lunch and cocktails and saying goodbye to the people we had spent the past 8 months with.

We went to a small town called Mackay to do some shopping and sorting before our flight to Melbourne. Nothing much to tell here. We then spent one night in Airlie Beach. Chris said he had organised a surprise for me but hadn't heard back about whether it was going ahead or not. We were sat having a late breakfast and so he told me what it was. As he was finishing telling me, his phone started ringing and it was the company to say we had a slot for 1pm. I was so excited, we were doing a flight over the Great Barrier Reef. We folded ourselves into the tiny 6-seater plane, fastened our seatbelt and off we went. It was incredible! The pristine turquoise ocean shimmered below us, tiny sail boats were dotted around and white sand beaches curved along the edge of lush green islands. We flew over the reefs, including the famous heart-shaped reef. We also went down the length of Whitehaven Beach, seeing Hill Inlet, a swirl of sand created by salt water meeting fresh.

We arrived in Melbourne in the evening. After dumping our luggage and freshening up we went to meet two friends from Hamilton Island. We went for dinner at a really cosy pub and caught up on the past few weeks. Next morning we sat in the hostel kitchen and chatted to our friend before she caught her flight. It was sad to say goodbye all over again. After that we walked around the zoo for a few hours. Once back in the city we wandered around the cafe lined backstreets. We found a cosy ramen shop tucked away but it was about to close. We really wanted ramen after that so we found another place, The Little Ramen Shop, which was packed. They seated us at a table nestled in the back corner and handed us the menu. We ordered gyosas, ramen and beer. I was happy and full by the end. That evening we went to a comedy show and had a few laughs.

Our second day in Melbourne started off rather dull as I hunted out a hairdresser. It ended up being a bit stressful as they changed the price from what they first told me due to the way my hair had been done previously. I was told if I didn't get the toner done then my hair would likely turn green. I told her I couldn't afford the extra $90 on top of the $200 I was already paying. So I sat stressed for 2 hours while they put the foils in wondering whether to be ripped off or have green hair. They did it anyway even though I'd said I didn't want it. I also said I didn't want it drying because that would cost more. They dried it for free in the end, which was embarrassing but I'd worked hard to save and was rather upset at the amount of money this was going to cost me. It turned out okay in the end, they didn't charge much more than the first price given. And it looked pretty good :)

After this unnecessary stress we went for food at a nice Vietnamese place and then hunting for a bikini, which was more stress. I'd had enough by the end of the day so we went back to the room to relax for an hour before going to the night market. The market was busy and vibrant, with lots of food stalls and handmade goods, indoor bonfires, mulled wine bars and packed full of people. Too many people. The queues were an hour long at least. We grabbed a chilli spiced hot chocolate and left, deciding to go visit the skydeck. This is the largest viewing platform in the southern hemisphere and also the tallest residential building in the world. The views of the city lit up at night were breathtaking. They also had some binoculars. I liked this because they were so strong you could look in people's windows.

Our third and last day we went for breakfast with one of my housemates and his girlfriend I'd met in first 4 months living in Australia. In the afternoon we went to the Melbourne Museum. We bought tickets to the Jurassic World Exhibition. It was actually amazing. It was set up to be as though you were walking through the park and one of the dinosaurs had escaped (just like in the film). The dinosaurs were animatronic and were incredibly realistic, so much that it freaked me out a little and we both felt uneasy. The best part was when the t-rex 'escapes'. The room went dark, except for flashes of lightening. The sound of rain filled the air and then a huge dinosaur comes roaring out of nowhere.

We went to an amazing restaurant for dinner called Punch Lane Wine Bar. Chris won an award at work and got a $150 restaurant voucher which he used to treat us both. Ah, the food! We had cocktails to start, dates wrapped in pancetta and stuffed with blue cheese, duck and quinoa croquettes with homemade duck ham and plum puree, and roast pumpkin, toasted pumpkin seeds and pomegranate. My main meal was pork loin with port poached figs, roast baby carrots and pancetta accompanied with a glass of wine. Then we shared a dessert of caramelised brandy apple, nut crumble, rhubarb and vanilla bean ice cream.


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