Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 1 in Melbourne - Understanding the Transport System

I stayed at a quieter area located south-east of Melbourne's city center. It is reachable by both trams and trains. The only bus I rode on was the one that reads Melbourne Visitor Shuttle on it which is free! Else all other transport needs a myki card to access.

My journey in Australia started with me purchasing an OPUS simcard from Sydney's international airport before flying off to Melbourne a few hours later. I paid AUD 15 for unlimited calls and internet connection for the next 8 days. I thought it was a perfect deal! And I needed a local simcard to contact my couchsurfing host in Melbourne.

Once I reached Melbourne, I took the SkyBus situated some where outside the arrival hall. $17 one way from the airport to Southern Cross Station.

Just look for the red box like the picture above for a ride into town. :)
While on the bus, surprisingly, a man of Cambodian ethnicity sat beside me. I knew this after we started a conversation. He told me of how he escaped Pol Pot's cruel regime via boat and washed upon Malaysia's shores before being deported to Australia. He told me that Malaysian ringgit was equivalent to Singaporean dollar at that time. I was also filled in on how Australia helped refugees like him get an education, a job and citizenship in Australia. I was spellbound and deeply touched by his story and respected the government of Australia more for helping people like him :)

In all retrospect of things I've learnt from my 8 days stay in Australia is that in one sense, Australia is a country made of and by refugees. Where-ever I went, I'd see Asian/Middle East faces here and there. Even the earliest white settlers were in chains, sent there as convicts because the prisons in their original country were too full. Later-on, many later settlers were people who were either in flight from a hostile country or in search for a better future. It is said that about 650,000 'sponsored' refugees resettled in  Australia after World War II. This proves Australia to be very generous in providing a safe haven for refugees. While doing some history check, I also found this interesting site on Refugees Who Have Made a Difference.

20 minutes later... I reached Southern Cross Station. It was humongous!

Southern Cross Station, the third busiest major railway station in Melbourne.
I later contacted Soo Ying Oi via SMS and she sent me directions to where we would meet. Before using the trains here, I first had to purchase a myki card and reload it. Unlimited usage per day to any stations in Zone 1 costs me AUD 3.50 and AUD 7.00 for Zone 2 during weekdays. And during weekends, all stations in both zones will cost only AUD 3.50. 

This card enables me to use all the trains in Zone 1 in one day. 
I bought the card at a ticket counter in Southern Cross Station and it comes with a booklet that contains the train network map. You could also see the zones as denoted in yellow and blue respectively in the picture below.

Map taken from here. 
After getting my bearings sorted out, I then headed to Clinton Hill Train Station to meet up with my host. That will be on my next post. :)

Till then, happy traveling tweeps!

3 comments:

Aj Sangkalang said... [Reply]

ya..ramai orang Asia ke sana... sebab drg cakap more peaceful di sana walau cukai dia tinggi... Aborigin sana ndak payah kerja dapat elaun tu.. dari bapa sampai anak.. dan satu lagi... Aborigin dia tidak bayar cukai walau sesen pun... tapi masih drg cakap tidak adil walhal aborigin dia ramai yg isap dadah sama mencuri.. LOL..... kau ndak jumpa orang Malaysia keturunan tionghua di sana? ramai tu... baru cakap English masih ada chinese accent sama mcm cara cakap Bahasa Malaysia...

hlga said... [Reply]

agak bingung kali ya kalo pertama kali pergi ke aussie gitu.

tapi yang jelas biaya disana mahal semua ya kak..

*ngitung duit

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ aj.. ohhh.. thanks for the info AJ.. I didn't know about that tax exemption for the aborigins. :)

@ hlga.. hahaha. nabung yukkk hel!