My diary Down Under – Day 6 – Melbourne – Brisbane – Gold Coast

This is going to be the shortest post in the Diary Down Under series since I didn’t do anything that day. Our flight was at 6 in the afternoon. I thought I could use some time to go shopping and maybe visit the Royal Botanical Garden, but the weather ruined everything. Temperature that day dropped to about 13 degrees, wind was blowing like crazy, and there were scattered thunderstorms causing heavy showers.

We did go to the Queens Victoria Market – a truly huge market with lots of different goods. There were the clothes section, the souvenir section, the farmer section (fresh veggies, raw meat and stuff), the antiques section, and more. The veggies there looked sooooo fresh and delicious. They sold everything that was in season.

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I tried to find some cheap macadamia and chia seeds to bring home. Macadamia were never cheap, the cheapest one I could find there was 42 AUD per kg. The price could range from that 42 to 60 or more though. There was a guy selling organic chia seeds for 20 AUD per kilo, and it was sold out within half an hour. I finally had to give up on the macadamia and felt content with the next cheapest option for chia seeds – 35 AUD. Wonder why such a huge difference in prices of the same goods among stalls that were just a few steps apart.

I could have wandered in the market for the whole morning, if I hadn’t been freezing cold. The rest of the day was spent in the lobby of the hotel where we already checked out until flight time.

We didn’t take the convenient SkyBus from Melbourne downtown to the airport this time. We had plenty of time to explore the cheaper option of train combined with bus – taking the Craigieburn train line from Flaggstaff station to Broadmeadows, then change to the 901 bus taking you to airport. This option I learned from an article on Traveller.com.au.

We got to Brisbane a bit past 9 in the evening. Now we had to take the Airtrain all the way to Surfers Paradise. Yes, I should have stayed in Brisbane that night. Yes, I should have just left Melbourne at 2 pm instead of changing the flight to 6 pm. But there was nothing I could do at that time. In fact, I wasn’t so bothered with traveling a long time back and forth between Gold Coast and Brisbane, but my mom seemed so annoyed by that. She constantly bugged me about my poor planning on the 2-hour train to Surfers Paradise.

We got off at Nerang station. Bus number 740 would take us directly from there to the hotel, Raffles Royale, but I chose to take a taxi. It was almost 11 at night. Gosh knows how long would we have to wait for the bus. Plus, it wouldn’t take long from the station to the hotel, and thus wouldn’t cost much. It cost us AUD 27, not bad compared to taking the bus, which would have been AUD 11.20

Raffle Royale Hotel was in fact an apartment for lease type, located in North Surfers Paradise at corner of Ferny and Cypress Avenue. Perfect location, just 1 block, or 50 meter from the beach. Once you reach the beach, you could immediately see the coast line of Surfers Paradise, looking just like in any postcards. The bus station was merely 20 meters from the hotel, the bus that would take you directly to Nerang station. The Cypress Avenue tram station 5 meters from the hotel. A small park located across Cypress Avenue. Cavill Avenue only 10 minutes walk. Honestly, everything in Surfers Paradise was close by.

I rented a studio apartment with 1 bedroom, all the way on the top floor. There was no elevator, so my mom had more reasons to mumble and complain.

At 11:30, I still went out to the 7-Eleven across the Ferny Avenue to get some food. Felt just like my college time, walking from my dorm to the convenience store/grill and deli to get a cheese quesadilla or a crispy chicken sandwich. I still couldn’t handle how much Australia reminded me of the States. Most people would disagree, of course, but compared to other places I’d lived and visited, nowhere else resembled Australia as much as the US state of Pennsylvania.

Encounter of the day: The conductor on board the Airtrain. When I stepped on the train, there was an announcement “This is the Brisbane city train, stopping all stations to abc, then running express to xyz, stopping only at station-I-don’t-care-about and station-I’m-not-getting-off.” I freaked out. What does that even mean? I frantically looked out the platform for a map, but the electronic board showed only 1 minute until departure, so I sat back down on my seat. The conductor, maybe she saw me looking lost, showed up from out of nowhere and asked if I had any question. “Is this train going to Nerang station?” I even mispronounced that name, it should be Neh-RANG, not NE-rang. “Is it stopping there also?” She showed me a map, right on the car, not outside on the platform. And guess what, when the train was coming to Nerang station, she even went to our seats to remind “It’s your station next.” Aww!!! How come I met really nice and kind people all the time?

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