The drive from Northcote to the airport took about 40 minutes and checking in was fairly simple. Even though we'd bought quite a bit of stuff and moved a lot from our hand luggage to the main suitcases we were still well within our limits. Knowing that we would probably spend a fair amount of time sleeping I ditched the colouring books and reading materials and packed them in the suitcase. Shaun had packed our Western's wine glasses in his hand luggage and of course we had coats to carry. We'd packed our "refreshing kit" in our hand luggage for the stopover at KL. At the airport I made sure we had a large bottle of water each for refilling during the flight (wasn't going to make the same dehydration mistake again!) and some snacks in case we got fed up with the salted peanuts that are in abundance on the flight.
The 8 hour flight on the smaller plane seemed better this time, much more leg room for some unknown reason. I managed to get my hand luggage in the overhead and Shaun, being the keeper of the precious wine glasses, put his on the floor under the seat. The food on this part of the flight was much better - a lovely baked aubergine and ratatouille for lunch and a pumpkin & spinach wrap before we landed in KL. I managed to stay awake for most of the flight and watched 3 films - The Second Best Marigold Hotel, The Big Lie and Kingsman Secret Service.
4 hour stopover in KL - time to get freshened up.
Boarding the Airbus our seats were in the Upper Deck Economy section - the flight was packed so no laying down which was a bit uncomfortable, but at least we had the 2 outer seats and not the middle of the 4 seat row, and there were no children - all the families had been seated in the main economy below! I'm not sure how much sleep I got but I did manage to sleep through Legends (the Krays film with Tom Hardy). Again the food was good, can't remember what I had but it was edible, all I can remember was breakfast before we landed at Heathrow was a bizarre Tofu dish with potatoes! Shaun had shrimps and rice with an egg! It was a very long 14 hours in the air with lots of getting up and stretching and not much sleep, I did remember to drink lots of water this time so no problems with dehydration.
Once we'd landed we were very quickly through Immigration and baggage reclaim (when the bags finally showed up) and thankfully the pick up service was waiting for us in arrivals to take us back to my parents to pick up the dog and car! Archie was so pleased to see us.
So the big question - would we do it again? Too bloody right we will.
All in all we had the most amazing holiday (or trip of a lifetime). I've experienced some things I never thought I would - the highlights being that climb over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and being immersed in Aussie wildlife at Halls Gap. I've cycled and walked and spent some proper quality time with the hubs. We've eaten well and drunk lots of superb wines. The weather was amazing and just what we needed to get us through the British winter months, and we've ticked off another UCI Tour from our "to-do list".
Of course there's still so much to see in such a vast country after all we've only done a small part of 3 states. We need to return to Sydney and visit the Blue Mountains and spend more time at Manly and some of the other areas of the City.
The flight wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, yes it's a very long time to be travelling but if I can manage it anyone can! Flying Malaysian was a great decision - the cabin staff are fantastic, the cabins are clean (including the toilets if that's a worry to anyone) and the food is edible and well presented - coming back from Aus was better than going from the UK so perhaps it's the UK suppliers that need to up their game!
I hope you've enjoyed reading about our Aussie Adventure.