Pending Aussie Visits

Well, it turns out I am a bit of a carp son as I found out on Sunday my mother hits a milestone birthday.. So I am off to Melbourne, leaving here on the 12th, arriving at 5am on the 14th (QANTAS, of course) and departing on the 17th to return to work on the 18th. Managed to get car hire (mid-size - Commodores don't seem to be on offer anymore!!) for £17... Not bad... It will be a blur to say the least, but obligation done. I will try and get a class 2 medical done so I can lodge the application for an ASIC and be good to fly in Aus..

Next planned trip is with Daughter in March.. Probably two weeks but I am going to try and make it three (missus will hit the roof)... Will get a VFR ticket (either certificate or to the air law exam and sit a test to get the Aussie ticket), hire a plane and take daughter around Aus - wife will absolutely hate it, but I want her to see more of Aus than she bargains for and as I recall, March is good for flying (usually) for most of the country.

Something to look forward to!
I'm working on it, @Old Koreelah (reason for wanting the aircraft ticket ;-))...

And I thought I would look up Richard Clapton's tour dates and guess what - Feb and April he has gigs - not bluddy March!

Checking out Aussie day events.. There looks to be a good one at Noosaville.. Suppose I could get to Mooloolabah airport easy enough (haven't looked at ERSA for years)...

[edit] And Glenn Shorrock is performing at an RSL club around the same time.. Not sure I can take a 12 year old girl there, though...[/edit]

[edit again] and then I realised - I either have dimentia or have been away too long.. what on earth (except this fine bottle of Jacobs Creek Ressrve Shiraz)made me thing Aussie day was in March and not January!!!! [/edit]
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
ISuppose I could get to Mooloolabah airport easy enough (haven't looked at ERSA for years)...
Close Jerry, but no cigar. The Sunshine Coast Airport is several k's north of there, across the river. Used to be called Maroochy Airport or Maroochydore Airport.

I've got a vague memory of a grass strip being out the back of Mooloolabah many years ago, but if it was there, it would be all houses now.


Well-Known Member
Jeez, you'll be in for the next lot of jet lag before the first hits.

Travelling for 50+ hours to spend 3 days with your mother doesn't sound like a bad son to me. Insane, maybe, but not bad!


Well-Known Member
Close Jerry, but no cigar. The Sunshine Coast Airport is several k's north of there, across the river. Used to be called Maroochy Airport or Maroochydore Airport.

I've got a vague memory of a grass strip being out the back of Mooloolabah many years ago, but if it was there, it would be all houses now.
Caloundra is near Sunshine coast and is under the 4500 step. A good asphalt strip and the Queensland Aviation Museum is across the road.
Maroochydore! That's it... I though Maloolabah didn't quite sound right..

I had a great aunt who lived in Caloundra before the days it was developed (actually a bit of my more distant family lived there).. I occasionally flew up to see her.. Loved that flight...

@Marty_d - the beauty about such a short trip is that one never leaves their current timezone and doesn't get jet lag... Bit tired for a day and that's it! And it won't be 50 hrs.. just 46.5 assuming no delays ;-)
Jacobs Creek isn't fine wine . You have been there for too long. Do they drink wine in Queensland? XXXX doesn't spell wine. Nev
Out here, for the money (and, strangely, it is cheaper than in Australia - from what I could see), and compared to the French sludge they try and sell us, it is a premium. Of course, I used to drink Petaluma and Coldstream Hills Reserve, but haven't seen them here for years... And have kids so can't afford them anyway...

And, while most Qld'ers wouldn't know a good wine if they got imbibed on it, Qld, has some decent wineries. Warwick area is renowned as a great microclimate, but look here:
Well, I picked up my Aussie dollars (or as I prefer to call them, Dingo Dollars).. Was strange - first time i have ever picked up Aussie Doillars from a currency place. I have my bag packed and ready to go..

Tomorrow (Weds) full day at work - Heathrow Express to... guess where... Off around 9pm Weds (if on time). and then Melb 5am Friday. By the time I have picked up the car, it will probably be 7am or thereabouts and I have to go from Tulla to Burwood - peak hour - great!. Ship, shower and shave at the bro's house, then off to the Yarra Valley to a winery (which one, I have no idea) for lunch.. Back to Burwood and maybe.. sleep.. If I have a second wind, I may check out the Somalia gang scene (OK - bad joke; maybe head off with bro to the Sandringham Hotel for a quick view of Port Philip Bay with a coldie.. frothie or whatever.. ahh yes.. I remember pots (schooners) - will need two at a time ;-))

Saturday is all to myself - was thinking of sneaking away for a glide (haven't done it in years), but the bloomin weather is looking pantsie. My bruv has my old fishing rods so may hire a boat out of Mordialloc (low pressure system maybe?) and trapse old fishing grounds looking for a snapper... If I had a day longer, I would head north to Tocumwal and try and catch up with my old flying instructor.

Sunday is the official celebration of mum's birthday - so back to the yarra valley.. then back to Burwood. Monday morning, a quick visit to the Melbourne office of my current "client" to discuss a couple of things and then onto Tulla for a 2pm flight out... Back at Heathrow around 5am from memory - maybe 6 and back to the office...

I canned the Aussie medical - I can do one here about £70 cheaper... what the furgurgles?

Then.. plan for the March trip...
The first time I brought my parter to Aus was late 1997 - rained the whole time she was here (2 weeks). I was out the previous two weeks as well and the wx was perfect. She called us all a bunch of liars.

Lived in the UK for 20+ years now. Have only owned one pair of wellies (gumbies) while we had out small holding. Never owned a brollie yet...

Frankly prefer the rain a bit... keeps the flies away and the heat under control..

@storchy neil - slip ons and elastic trousers - bring back the '80s - yeah!
Well, I'm back in Blighty... My time in Melb was appreciated by my mum and it was good to get back to the golden (well, red) soils girt by sea (or a sunburnt country - which it wasn't, at least in Melb - it did rain on and off fr the whole weekend - but it was cool and kept the flies away, so not all bad).

You may have remembered I was a little forlorn at some of the changes to Melb I stated about my last trip - partciluarly the plastering of roads all over the landscape and the removal of a playground/BBQ at YMMB that overlooked the field so CAE could plong a big office block there.. like there was nowhere esle to plong one. Well, here is a round up of thoughts that I picked up in the one free day I had (plus those poicked up on the others):

The Good:
  • Although the roads have been plastered and are probably a bit much, they sort of make sense and there seems to have been some intelligent design to hook up the main arterials. Granted, I only braved peak hour once and it was not partticularly bad.. but the roads are of a good size, relatively good condition (most are pretty new) and wide. However, even the ones that have been there for years (and this includes residential streets) are nive and wide - even those in Brunswick, Northcote, etc... which seem narrow by Aussie standards, but afford great visibility, allow two cars to pass when there is only one side of the road they are parked on and are generally in pretty good nick.
  • CASA: A quick trip to my local flying clun corrected what was on the CASA web site re international licences and flying them in Aus. It appears that, despite their website information, CASA effectively allows a piggy-back style licence as per the US FAA. Once with notarised docs, they will issue an Aussie PPL (for a fee); Although I still think this should be subject to passing an air law exam, it isn't. Of course, one will need an Aussie medical (booked in for early January over here) and a BFR equivalent to fly, but this is very progressive compared to what it used to be and their European counterparts.
  • ASIC: (OK you can pick yourself off your seats now).. To say it is good is definitely an overstatement, but apparently recent changes means that instead of waiting 3 minths, the process can be as little as a week as long as the correct, notarised docs are provided and pre-vetted by the aero club. This is vast improvement over the previous incarnations.. so I am lumping in the good category as an improvement rather than just good.
  • Food: The city is resplendent of cafes and bistros that offer some very decent food alternatives, Cheap they are definitely not and I would see how an average double income family with all of the other financial pressures of mortgage, kids activities, holidays, cars, etc would get to eat out at these often, but they seem well patronised and very chic. The restaurants, too are pretty pricey, but the local Thai was streets ahead of the posh Thai restaurants here. A moderate Aussie/European restaurant we ate at was pretty darned good and even the pub meals have lifted their game. I managed to get a chicken kiev and it was very nice - thick but moist chicken breast, well seasoned, chips could compete with the best British pubs and the salad was, well, there... Also, the epicurean scene in the Yarra Valley goes from strentgh to strength despire what would normally be saturation and not too price-appealine.
  • Booze: Well, you all know I am not only an Aussie wine drinker but a firm advocate and have converted a couple of Francophile drinkers to the nectars from downunder. So, I am going to be biased here, but it was great to find some good old favourites not available in the UK still going strong and also some newbies doing well despite what must be an oversuopply of grapes. The craft beers have added a new dimension to going out, although they are pretty pricey. I had a VB for nostalgia's sake and I have to say I enjoyed it.. Obviously getting old with what appears to be tastebud insensitivity.
  • Tree-lined: I am lucky in that my accommodation courtesy of my brother is in a reasonably leafy Melbourne suburb. However, I did take the time to drive through some of the less leafy neighbourhoods (one I gre up for a few years in that is notable for the wrong side of the tracks) and all but one still have decent nature strips and lots of trees - it is amazing how positive the effect is of trees and grass in an otherwise concrete jungle. There was one neighbourhood that was decidely bereft of such flora and it had the issues to match.
  • Apartments and other buiolding development; Why is this good? Well, Melbourne' population was about 3.6m when I left in 1996 and is now nearing 5m and the fastest growing city in Aus, if not the western world (I believe population increase was a state election issue). Ans to handle it sustainably, they need smaller licvng spaces, closer to the employment centre (so less travel/pollution) and really have to go up. When they were firsy developed, they were forecast to become inner city crumbling ghettos. However, I wil give you most of them a drab, but at least not ugly; they are not ghettos and despite the woory their construction methods and quality would see them crumbling, they seem to be doing OK (despite a couple of notable issues over the years).
  • Speed limits: Still 60 in most urban streets that can handle it...

The Bad (or not so good):
  • Drivers: Melbourne drivers still seem to be zombie like - they appear to have drilled into them as long as one maintains the speed limit, nothing will ever happen to them. Stopping suddenly in the middle of the road withut warning - no problems, apparently. Cralwing off at the lights causing a srteam of road-rage behind you - again no problems. Cuttung the corner in a turn seems to be a city-sport. And drifting across lanes a pastime. Thank god parking on the opposite side of the street is an offence or there would be head-ons every 5 mintues. They really seem to be pretty poor drivers. Although,they weren't as bad as last time I was here.
  • Nanny state: My god, there are so many signs warning of things that could go wrong, one will end up having an accident (on road or foot - like biumping into a post) as one is distracted so much trying to absorb all of the dangers that the can become a victim of. Then there is those variable speed limits that have you down to 40k's on an urban road with a tramline going past a line of 5 shops or 80 on the airport freeway when the traffic volume was not bad.. Lane closures that were far excessive for the roadwork being done and two men frantically waving slow signs as drivers past - already going slowly. There was a feelign that the government didn't believe people had the capcity to assess and react to anything.
  • Milk bars: There has been a faster decline of the humble but iconic milk bar than there has been of the amazon rainforest. And what is left seems, generally of little qulaity that I cannot see them surviving. Obviosuly 7-11, Coles Express, longer supermarket hours, petrol stations, etc have taken their toll. However, most have been converted to these chic cafes, or phsyiotherapy clinics. But it is getting harder to do my standard ritual on arriving in Melb - heading to a milk bar for a piping hot four 'n twenty pie (even 7 11 have their own cheap imitations now - thank god for Coles Express!).
  • Prices: While supermarket prices seem to have steadied, conveneince store prices are astronomical - I had a flavoured milk and packet of chips form a 7-11 and it was over $11.. wtf? I am not kidding when I say I would struggle to buy like for like in the UK at an airport shop (most expensive) for more than £3.00 (< $6) and at most convenience stores, would struggle to pay more than £2.50 (< $5).. And while I could get a packet of tim tams in a supermarket for about $3.95 (itself expensive - similar biscuits in a London supermarket will set you back about £1), in the airpiort duty free they were $6.99/packet (Sydney and Melbourne).. WTF! Aussies do have a higher salary base but not 4 - 6 times higher than every other country. Yes, economies of scale are a factor, but not that much.. The problem I think is two fold.. First - an average of supplying a small population over a vast continent. And secondly - profit greed.
  • Lack of sustainable development: will all the new houses/apartments that have been build over the last10 years, it is a croime that not more has been done with the available technology to make them sustainable.
The national airline
I have absolutely no comment other than I would not recommend them at this stage.
It got me both to Aus and back and yes, safety wise, there aren't too many better.. but in the modern day, there are others who are just as safe. I am not worried about in cabin service in economy (too much).. but when things go wrong and you're not in Aus, it appears you're on your own..

old man emu

Well-Known Member
Australian motor car drivers have developed the self-preserving habit of waiting for 10 - 15 seconds before moving off after they receive a green light to ensure that all tipper and dog trailer combinations have rocketed through their red light. Australian drivers are unable to make an accelerating right hand turn from stationary at traffic lights.

Nanny State:
State Governments rely very much on the revenue obtained from breaches of the road rules. High on the sources of revenue is that from fines for exceeding the speed limit. Speed limits seem to be rigidly enforced in Victoria. Therefore, drivers there travel at indicated speed about 5 kph below the signposted speed limit. Since car speedometers are known the under-read by approximately 5%, actual ground speed is likely to be about 8 - 10 kph below sign posted limits. Try driving to the speed shown on a GPS device and see how many vehicles you flash by.

With all young people being urged to remain at school to complete the HSC, Australia now has a highly educated workforce. The reduce unemployment amongst the young workforce, governments now require contractors to provide comprehensive reports on the conduct of works specified in contracts. This has resulted in the creation of a multitude of Quality Control positions.


Well-Known Member
Thanks Jerry. You are dead right about wine. Australia was way ahead of the French in making wine-making scientific. You would find that Orlando ( where they make that good Jacob's creek stuff ) has a real lab and they rely on measurements and not tradition. Also, Australia used refrigeration ( well we had to ) but that meant ferments could be closely controlled.
It would actually take some talent to buy a bottle of bad Australian wine. In fact you can mortify your wife by asking the waiter for a bottle of their cheapest local red in safety. Try it next time you are here.

Australian-trained winemakers are in demand in France and California. Of course this has already lifted the quality of wine where they work, so the whole world is drinking better stuff and it will get cheaper.

Please keep up the good drinking work and let us know when you will be near the Barossa.
Top Bottom