I went to VALA and stopped blogging. VALA was good. Also exhausting. Even getting there was exhausting. A downside of moving to the Highlands is suddenly airports are no longer easy to get to…especially on a public holiday. VALA was moved from February to mid June which meant I spent the public holiday Monday travelling to Melbourne.
I left home at 10.30 Monday morning and 8 hours later, made it to my hotel in Melbourne. That’s a long commute. Part of it is the 2 hour train ride to get to the airport on a line where trains run every hour or so and because it was a public holiday, they were two hours apart at the crucial time. Qantas was encouraging folk to get to the airport 2 hours prior for domestic flights. Due to vagaries of train timetabling, I arrived around 2 hours 40 prior and was airside with 10 minutes. All their queueing problems of a couple days earlier had been resolved. Then the plane was half an hour late as they had to change a tyre…at least it wasn’t cancelled which seems to be an increasingly common occurrence.
I normally fly home from VALA on the Thursday night but that would have meant touching down at Sydney airport around 9-9.30pm and a 2 hour+ commute home. Work instead recommended I stay Thursday night in Melbourne and fly back in the morning. That worked well and I went from the airport to the office.
Next time I do this I might look at other airports. I did explore other options but stuck with Mascot this time round but did note for a 4 day trip:
- Shellharbour Airport: 1 hour 15 min drive – free parking
- Mascot Airport: 1 hour 20 min drive or 2 hours on train – $100-250 parking
- Canberra Airport: 1 hour 50 drive – $108 parking
There’s a few variations on this eg I could drive to Stanmore in Sydney’s Inner West and park near a friend’s place then get a train to Mascot, reducing the reliance on the vagaries of the Highlands train line. The Shellharbour option is interesting as there’s a smaller company that does flights twice a day to/from Essendon. The flight home was too early for a VALA departure but would have worked for a Friday morning flight. I’m a little surprised that Canberra is a viable option. The only question is how comfortable I am leaving a car at the airport for a few days.