Traveling to Tasmania (and the Longest Sleep Ever)

Not all goodbyes are to humans. This is Biff. [Photo: July 22, 2008]
For my age, I’m a fairly seasoned traveller. I’m not Michael Palin, but I’ve seen my fair share. However, the trip from Northern Ireland to Tasmania was my longest continual journey so far. Here’s a little insight into what it was like, just so you know what you’re getting yourself in for if you ever do it yourself.

Last weekend was spent making final visits to family and saying our goodbyes. The Sunday was deliberately relaxed; staying at my mum’s house and enjoying the last few hours there. Last-minute checks were made, and we went to sleep around 1:00 AM.

Belfast

The flight out of Belfast was scheduled to leave at 6:45 AM, so to be there in time to check-in, we had to leave the house around 4:00 AM. So, after two hours of sleep, we set off.

Just by-the-way, if you’re ever getting a flight around 7:00 AM on a Monday morning from Belfast City airport, get there fairly sharp. The queue through security is long and slow!

London Heathrow

Arriving in Heathrow, we had time for coffee at Costa, before preparing to once again board the gigantic A380 with Singapore Airlines. Herein lies another plus with flying via Singapore. This plane is comfortable, and if you like to avail yourself of in-flight entertainment, you’re greeted with a large screen to watch from and good leg room and seats.

This is needed. 12-13 hours on a plane is not the most desirable of experiences, but it helps if you are fairly comfortable. We also had the added benefit of arguably some of the best economy class seats; right at the back (row 63). Here the toilet is accessible, and no one is behind you (which has a number of benefits).

Singapore

When we landed in Singapore, it was straight to the gate for the departure to Perth. We had not time to enjoy Singapore airport again. But that wasn’t the main issue. The main issue was traveling to Perth. This is not ideal at all. For a journey to Tasmania, you want to be traveling from Singapore to Melbourne or Adelaide. However, because we had booked return flights beginning in Perth, we had to return to Perth. If we hadn’t spent two weeks in Perth (not that I’m complaining, I just mention it to enlighten you), the return flights would have begun/ended in Adelaide.

Perth

Anyway, the flight to Perth was a sleepy five hours. It was interesting to compare the recent aerial images of the luscious, vibrant green fields of Northern Ireland, with the barren, parched plains of Western Australia. Such a difference!

Perth’s airport isn’t exactly the most accommodating for international to domestic transfers. Terminal 1 is isolated from Terminal 2/3, and if you need to move between the buildings, it necessitates waiting for a bus which costs AUS $8/person and takes about 10-15 minutes. An extremely odd and inefficient layout. By the time we got to Terminal 3, it was about 3:30 PM, and we then had to wait in the uneventful terminal for our flight, which (wait for it) was departing at 12:05 AM!

By the time we were getting on the plane in Perth, about 36 hours had passed since we left my mum’s house!

The flights from Perth to Melbourne to Hobart were with Virgin Blue, so if you want entertainment ($4.90 for a short flight, and $9.90 for a long flight) or food/drink, you have to pay. That’s how they keep their prices down, or so they say.

Hobart

We arrived, finally, in Hobart around 9:30 AM, and got to our new home in Kingston for around 11 AM on Wednesday. So from home to home took 46 hours (if my calculations are correct).

The result?

We went to bed after getting settled in and slept for 17 hours. Yes, you read that correctly. Neither Melanie nor I moved for 17 hours straight. In fact, I woke up at 5:00 AM on Thursday morning believing it was 5:00 PM on Wednesday afternoon, and thinking I could get ready in time for the prayer meeting!

I think it’s fair to say that we’ve never been more exhausted in our lives. It’s probably as much emotional and mental as it is caused by the physical aspect of our travels.

So there you have it. If you’re planning to travel across the world, this gives you a brief insight.