3 weeks since I moved to Melbourne. I wrote the below post on a passenger car ferry, Spirit of Tasmania, across the unpredictable and at time rough sea of Bass Straits that separate the island of Tasmania from mainland Australia.
Like anyone who has been through packing and moving to a new city and starting a new job, it takes time to settle down – moving into a new place, unpacking, getting to know the new area, getting to know the job and new people at work. There is no difference in my situation, except the first week was a bit difficult.
The new 1-bedroom apartment that I moved into was unfurnished. I had to coordinate the purchase of a new sofa with a chaise cum bed, a new queen size mattress and a new bed frame. All organised 4 weeks prior to my solo big move. All these were coordinated when I was back in Penang, visiting my mother and family. This included securing a new 6-months lease for the apartment.
The sofa and bed frame were purchased from Ikea, and they require precise order/payment on the previous day before delivery! Anyone who has purchase from Ikea will know that the items come in several flat packs kit set. It took me 3 hours to assemble the bed frame and 2 hours to assemble the sofa! I surprised myself! Quite impressive actually to be able to do those 2 bulky items on my own!
I am now living in the new place, a tiny shoe box of 48 sq metre! This is the smallest place I have stayed since I started work. But, it is brand new. Sparkling new and smack in the middle of trendy and up market South Yarra, and the popular shopping strip, Chapel Street. The location is superb, with shops, Tram stops and train station at the door step. I chose the place because I knew the easiest and quickest way for me to settle down is to have a place with everything around me within walking distance, including my new job, which takes me 25 minutes to walk each way. And, I love the walk, which is quite flat here in Melbourne.
The only thing I missed most is my little family of my significant other half and our little scottish terrier. Each time when I walked to work or back and see someone walking their doggie, it makes my heart shatter a wee bit thinking of my wee “Bonnie”. But, life goes on. We will be reunited hopefully in the not too distant future when my partner transfer to Melbourne to work. We only hope that our 14 year old “Bonnie” is able to cope with the big move and change.
Exactly 3 weeks ago on Sunday 25th October 2011, 13:00 hour I made the move…..
…..the below is my unedited post written on the ferry.
The beginning to my long journey to start a new job in the number one most liveable city in the world – Melbourne.
About a month and a half ago, I received a surprise call from a recruitment agent in Melbourne, asking if I will be interested to relocate to Melbourne for a permanent job. It was like a god send. I went for an interview after a couple of phone screening interviews. I got the job offer within 2 weeks. The job is a project management role with an established public listed Australian company with international presence. It is lucrative enough to lure me back to the mainland.
To start my journey, I packed my small little Mazda MX5 two seaters with all my kitchen essentials in the boot, and my clothing in the passenger seat plus two of my favourite pillows. Leaving very little window space on the left side and rear for road visibility. I know this is not ideal, but I had to packed as much as I can.
I had mix feelings of excitement of starting a new job in Melbourne, but sad to leave my other half and our little scottie. I felt it was a bit selfish for me to leave them behind, but Melbourne is only an hour flight away from Hobart. I love them both and very dearly. It’s sad for me that we cannot be together for a few months until I settle down in Melbourne, and hopefully I can adapt back to the fast pace of life again. It is definitely going to be very different from my past eight years working in Hobart, where people are very relax and layback on their jobs.
There are two ways of getting to Melbourne. One is by flight. The other is by ferry, The Spirit of Tasmania, which is a vehicular passenger ship. My new job requires me to travel. I had to have a car. That means, I had to take the ferry. It’s not cheap. I think it is more expensive to travel by sea, and definitely more time consuming. To get to the ship, I will need to drive to East Devonport, on the northern coast of Tasmania. I was not sure how long it will take me to drive there from Hobart. The ship is scheduled to depart at 7:30 pm. I decided to leave my house at 1 pm and take my time to get there.
The highway was pretty quiet, after passing Bridgewater. Took an hour to pass the historic town of Oatlands. Another half an hour later the historic town of Ross. I decided to stop at Campbelltown, which was another fifteen minutes later for a bit of stretch and took photos of the town hall and churches.
Twenty minutes later I reached Perth. I stopped at Utsi Cafe for a pot of Earl Grey tea and a piece of cake, to say hello to Colette. It was nice to catch up with her briefly before I continue my road journey.
An hour later, I reached East Devonport where the Spirit of Tasmania had berthed. I bought a recliner seat for the overnight sea journey. I didn’t buy a cabin ticket, which I thought was quite expensive, and it was a shared two, three or four type cabin. As a lone traveller, I would find it quite uncomfortable to share a cabin with a total stranger.
The ship was not busy during the low season. Someone that I knew asked me to look for his brother who works on the ship. That he may give me a free upgrade to a cabin. His name is Ken, I was told. Look for him at the Purser’s. He will be wearing a red overall with a black T-shirt.
I attempted to look for him. Twice I asked a different staff at Purser’s and both claimed there was no one by the name of Ken. Neither could I find anyone working there with a red overall and black T-shirt. It was not a big deal. The recliner seat was actually quite alright and comfortable.
The ship is not a luxury cruise ship, but a passenger ship. There are some basic facilities – tourist information, souvenir shop, game room, bar, keno machines, theatre, cafeteria and a restaurant.
The cafeteria served buffet style food with a fix price. The dishes didn’t interest me. Also, I was not about to stuff my face on a ship. I decided to dine at the restaurant, The Leatherwood. They offer either a two courses or three courses dinner, with a selection of three choices for the entree, main and dessert, with complimentary coffee or tea. Other drink is additional.
I went for a two courses dinner, and selected an antipasto as my starter and steak for main with a glass of Tasmanian’s Ninth Island Pinot Noir. The total bill came to $65. I have to say the food was surprisingly good for a passenger ship. The steak was a bit bland, but it was a good Tasmanian meat.
I think I am getting a bit dizzy writing this post. I can feel the motion of the ship moving right to left to right and again and again. I still have 7 hours to go! Hope I can make it
through the night on this ship.
…..That was the last sentence that I wrote on the ferry.
To be honest, the ferry is the last mean of transport I will ever take between Tasmania and mainland. Unfortunately, that is the only way if you want to take your own car. And, I had to. It was far too long to travel and the sea can get pretty rough. I was lucky that it was a good sailing.
I had to say this for those who has never travel on the ferry. Do not expect to see a clean toilet! I had to go when I woke up by a big bang (probably the engine noise). Another hour to go before reaching Port Melbourne. I went looking for a toilet. It was disgusting and dirty! I went to look for another toilet. Same thing! There was no staff working. No service. All asleep. Then I saw one of them at one of the smaller counter. I guess he was the watchman. I asked if the toilet gets cleaned. The answer I got back was a”No”! I was told they only clean the toilet once before midnight! If any truth to it. So tough if you had to use the toilet. Unless, you purchase your own cabin.
Arriving at Port Melbourne, early dawn at 6 am.