soul searching road trip oznz – day 16 (21/06/2010)

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» soul searching road trip oznz – day 3 (08/06/2010)
» soul searching road trip oznz – day 4 (09/06/2010)
» soul searching road trip oznz – day 5 (10/06/2010)
» soul searching road trip oznz – day 6 (11/06/2010)
» soul searching road trip oznz – day 7 (12/06/2010)
» soul searching road trip oznz – day 8 (13/06/2010)
» soul searching road trip oznz – day 9 (14/06/2010)
» soul searching road trip oznz – day 10 (15/06/2010)
» soul searching road trip oznz – day 11 (16/06/2010)
» soul searching road trip oznz – day 12 (17/06/2010)
» soul searching road trip oznz – day 13 (18/06/2010)
» soul searching road trip oznz – day 14 (19/06/2010)
» soul searching road trip oznz – day 15 (20/06/2010)

the final day started quite early as we had a flight to catch. everybody woke up at 2:30 am and by 3:30 am, after zack, aina and ija hugged kak maz, we left hamilton to auckland international airport with diman. the 7 seater stream was fully utilized as i sat in front with diman driving, zack with the two kids (sitting on borrowed child seats) in the middle while ija and aina sat at the back. diman, with the asisstance of his gps managed to arrive at the airport carpark at 5:15 am. from the car, we walked slowly towards the departure hall in the cold weather, it was 8°c. it was then that i realized we were bringing with us an extra box, weighted around 10 kg. zack told me that it was kak maz’s friend’s stuff whom they met the night before and successfully tricked kak maz and zack to bring back to malaysia with us. i was quite furious when i was told because now it became our excess luggage to look after, just because some random lady wanted to save a few dollars herself.

at 5:40 am, after checking in our luggage, we bid farewell to diman and entered the boarding area. we were there for more than an hour waiting for our flight. yomi slept on zack’s lap while alif excitedly looking at the busy runway. at 7:30 am, we boarded air new zealand nz123 departing auckland to melbourne and at 7:45 am, it took off. an hour later over the tasman sea, we left new zealand airspace.

during the almost 4 hour flight, i spent most of the time tried to keep alif entertained by watching the interactive movie and playing games with him. zack also did the same with yomi. we also had our breakfast of vegetarian food. later the pilot announced that the flight was coming to an end as it began its descent towards tullamarine airport; and he also mentioned that the weather was cloudless blue!

the plane duly touched the ground at 9:30 am and we had no problem getting past the customs. feeling energized again by the pilot’s announcement, we almost ran to the luggage storage to put our bags for the whole day. i paid almost aud45 (including that wretched box) just to keep them safe for the day. we got out only with our backpacks and had them queued at the skybus booth while i puffed a few much needed smokes.
not more than 10 minutes later, our bus came by and we hopped on and sat at the back of the bus. we just stood there watching as the bus left the airport area through tullamarine freeway and entered the 2nd most populous city in australia (after sydney). the weather was truly glorious but a bit cold. the 40 minute trip ended at skybus terminal, southern cross street station, where we walked out towards the sunny street of melbourne cbd.

we started our day trip by walking to the left of the station towards the north along spencer st. then we crossed over the road and turned right into lonsdale st where we proceeded to walk for 2 blocks before we turned left again into william st., another 2 blocks later we came to the edge of flagstaff gardens and we turned right again into la trobe st. and later turned left into queen st. facing north again. by that time both kids were already on our shoulders and my body began to ache and sweat, i also realized that the pedestrian was also getting fewer and i began to wonder whether we took the right direction. on reaching the junction to franklin st. we stopped at a convenience store where we bought some choc bars, potato chips and drinks and since i’m out of cigarettes, bought a 25s mild pall mall for aud14. we met lots of trams along the way, much to the delight of alif and yomi. further along the road, later, we arrived at our first destination, the queen victoria market. surpisingly we found that the area was deserted and when i asked one of the workers there we were told that the place was opened 6 days a week and only closed on mondays! everybody was frustrated with the bit of info and we just sat on the benches aimlessly eating our junk food. when everybody had regained their strengths back, we skirted along therry st. until we reached and entered a mcdonald’s where the road converges with elizabeth st, which by then was getting crowded again. we spent more than an hour there having our lunch of fish fillets, fries and cokes, and rechecking my small free folded map of the city.

once everybody had eaten and had the will to walk again, we left mcdonald’s and walked along elizabeth st. facing south and the streets was getting heavier with crowds. when i had the chance to turn left again, i did so at little lonsdale st. where we walked alongside melbourne central with its famous 84m high conical glass roof (but i didn’t take any photo as alif was still on my shoulders!). finally we reached swanston st., claimed by many as the most happening high street in melbourne cbd and it was rightly so. people of all colours walked on both sides of the street and it was adorned with rows upon rows of shops and restaurants.
▼▼ views along swanston st.

▼▼ a short break in front of melbourne town hall building

▼ melbourne town hall clock tower

▼▼ st.paul’s cathedral

the day before, back in hamilton new zealand, i had an opportunity to surf the net and what i searched was to find a friendly local game store (flgs) within a walking distance of our planned route in melbourne cbd that particular afternoon. and the search came with only one result, the mind games at swanston st. which was then right in front of me after zack happily pointed to the door after locating it for me. the flgs was small but enough for me to browse through the stacks and shelves of addictive boardgames and i think it was considerably cheaper than the ones in malaysia. after spending like 30 minutes there, i decided to buy nexus ops, a 2-4 player wargame with rubber miniatures and archaeology cardgame, also a 2-4 player, all for less than aud45. the staff was friendly enough for me to call the store an flgs and i told him that i came all the way from malaysia just to lay my hands on the boxes and feel it and spent my hard earned cash at the store. he was grateful and when zack asked him the nearest store for us to get supplies of chocolates, he was more than helpful in telling us the direction (still along swanston st.) to big w, a superstore a few blocks to the north from where we were at that time.

at the big w, we bought chocolates, chuggington diecast trains and a novel (on sale) by bernard cornwell. taking the escalators up to swanston st., our backpacks and hands were full with stuff that we bought and we strolled slowly towards the south where we stopped at a bench near the town hall building, and a bit further down the road we came to st. paul cathedral. crossing the road on the west side of swanston st., we stopped at subway for another serving and later zack, ija and aina went into some souvenir shops down the road while i walked towards the intersection with flinders st. to capture some photos of the famous flinders st. station.
▼ street performers

▼▼ flinders street station from the intersection of flinders st. and swanston st.

when everybody got what they wanted, we all crossed flinders st. and went to federation square across the road where we just sat on the steps overlooking the cathedral and the station. the newly built civic centre is controversially hated by the melburnians as an eyesore of its ugliness and a pimple among the heritage landscape of st. pauls cathedral and flinders st. station. we spent there like hours getting colder as the sun also descended and i left them once walking alone towards the yarra river and stopped only at the railing of the said river. satisfied with the pics of the river, the princes bridge and the southbank precinct, i rejoined them at the steps, where we all went to the toilet and decided later to walk towards flinders st. station and to hop on the free city tram.
▼▼ federation sq. from flinders st.

▼▼ speacial broadcasting service headquarters at fed sq.

▼ eureka tower with an 88th floor viewing skydeck

▼▼ queen victoria gardens across yarra river and the white spire of the arts centre, southbank precint

▼▼ resting at fed sq.

▼▼▼ watching people, trams and the cathedral

getting on the city tram at flinders st. station was ok as the tram was still empty and we can be choosy but being free, the following few stations added more people until it was packed with people getting off after work and it became uncomfortable. we just stayed inside the tram and didn’t get off even when it stopped at the newquay docklands. we only got off when we passed flinders st. station again near batman park, 4 blocks south of southern cross station. again, the kids were already exhausted and we had to carry them on our shoulders again. it was dark when we reached the station and we waited less than 10 minutes before the skybus arrived to take us back to the airport.

back at the airport, all of them went back inside the airport prayer room to wait for our flight, which was still some 5 hours away. i just sat at one of the metal benches and tried to read the newly bought novel but proved unsuccessfully as the seat was not the most comfortable and coziest around. giving up, i just walked at a 30 minute interval to the departure hall to check whether the counter for airasia was open for check in. at 9:30 pm, i found out that the queue was already long and all of us rushed with our trolleys and joined the queue. i think it took us 30 minutes queuing and that was the time that alif decided to sleep and i had to carry him and my legs and body ached in supporting his 15kg frame. when we reached the counter, everything went smoothly except our luggage weight went over the limit because of the damn box and we had to pay aud300 just for it. i told them that i will throw the stuff away and didn’t check in with the other luggage. while waiting near the boarding entrance, i decided to unbox it as we couldn’t leave the box anywhere or risked triggering a bomb scare and an airport shutdown. inside the box we found religious and text books, some clothes and a pair of running shoes. although almost everybody was pissed, we took everything inside our backpacks and even tied the shoes by the shoelaces dangling to aina’s bag. at 11:00 am, we left the departure hall, got our passports stamped and waited for our airasia d72723 to kuala lumpur.

our plane took of at 12:45 am on day 17 of the trip. saved for some toilet breaks and late dinners/breakfasts, i think everyone just slept during the 8 hour trip. it was fun.

▼ yes it was fun.