Royalty Tours USA

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Royalty goes to Melbourne, Australia!‏

Virgin Australia Airlines
Airport Bus
After the King & I spent the first six days of our visit Down Under in Sydney, we woke up at 4AM Friday morning, March 28th so we could take a cab which cost us $50 to go from our hotel to the airport. Mind you it wasn't a long ride & it was early in the morning with no traffic. With that being said, we arrived there with plenty of time to catch our flight on Virgin Australia Airlines to Melbourne. Our flight departed at 6:30AM & we arrived in Melbourne at 8:05AM. As for breakfast, we had a snack on the plane. Upon arrival, we wound up taking a shuttle called the Airport Bus to our hotel in the southeast suburb known as St. Kilda. It cost us $68 round trip to do so. As the dispatcher told me, it would cost that much to go one way by cab. It didn't doubt it. It turned out to be a brilliant decision. We got dropped off right by our motel where we were staying for the night since we were leaving Saturday morning to return home. It was called Easystay Motel. When we went to check in, it was too early so we did the paperwork & we had to leave our bags in a special room they had that was locked up until 2PM. The person who assisted us gave us directions on how to get to the CBD aka Central Business District. In order to get there, we needed to take a tram which was located in the middle of the street right in front of the motel. 

Easystay Motel in St. Kilda

Next Generation Tram
In order to get on the tram, we had to go to 7-11 which was practically next door. In fact, there were two of them. One was to the left of the motel ‎& the other one was to the right. We wound up going to the one to the left when we walked out of the motel. We went there because they sell a smart card which is called a myki card. It's the new ticketing system there & you need one in order to ride the tram, trains and/or buses aka Public Transport. It costs $6 for the card itself & it's good for four years they told us. In addition, we had to add money so we could ride around for the day. They have a cap aka top off if you will for the day so it wound up costing us $13 each. That way we didn't have to worry about transportation the rest of the day. 

Flinders Street Station
City Circle Tram
We proceeded to wait for the tram which came shortly thereafter. We wound up taking it to Federation Square which is the heart of the CBD. When we got off we walked around Flinders Street Station, which is Melbourne's railway station. It reminded me of Central Station in Sydney. Once we had a better understanding of the area, we decided to take a free tram ride that circled around the CBD. People got on ‎& off. It was very crowded as we went around. We rode around the City circle until we came across the stop for Etihad Stadium which is a retractable dome. It's an entertainment venue & it's one of the stadiums where the AFL is played. Five of the teams play their "home" games there. AFL is Australian Rules Football which they affectionately call footy. It's similar to American football but they have different rules & the players don't wear equipment to protect themselves. Melbourne has nine different teams in the AFL. 

Etihad Stadium
Me inside Etihad Stadium
We wound up walking around the outside of the venue. I was even able to get a peak inside. As I walked around I found an open door. I walked inside. I wound up taking an elevator up three or four floors. When I got out, I was on a luxury suite level. I saw someone who worked there so I asked him if I could take a look inside the seating area. He let me in a room & I was able to take a picture. I thanked him then I went back outside. As I walked around the exterior of the building I got to see the Victoria Harbour which was on one side of the venue. Just like in Sydney it was a beautiful view as you can.

Victoria Harbour
When I finally got done walking all the way around, I met up with the King who took a walk in a different direction. We waited for quite some time before we finally got back on the tram around the City circle. We decided to go back to the area by Federation Square. By doing so, I was able to get some WIFI which enabled me to get in contact with fellow ballpark chaser, Ken Liu who had spent five days in Sydney ‎& he now was in the midst of spending his last five days in Melbourne. He asked me if we wanted to meet up at 4:30PM. I told him we'll meet at a bar that was nearby. In the meantime, the King & I decided to stay in that area instead of going back to the motel to get our room. We decided we'll go back there later when it was time to get some sleep.

We wound up walking around the area so we could get a feel for Melbourne. Since we were only there for the day, we didn't get too see that much. Before we knew it was time to meet up with Ken.

Stay tuned for a special post that will go into detail about our meet up.

Thank you for reading ‎& following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman