Guestblog provided by Mark T.
I travel a lot for work, and consequently spend a lot of time at airports, particularly Melbourne airport (MEL). As I am not one for sitting patiently and waiting for my flight for hours while staring blankly at walls or people, I try to have as much fun at the airport as I can. As time flies (no pun intended) when you are having fun, here are my top tips for having a good time at Melbourne airport.
Before you depart anywhere, familiarize yourself with the airport so that you know exactly how much time you need to go somewhere and get back in time. There are a lot of fast food restaurants in the airport, but the airport club is hands down my first choice for a top notch pub style meal, a pint of beer and a game of pool. The club is situated close to the airport and is a prime location for plane spotting or gazing at the stunning views of the Outback.
The thing I like most about the club is its outdoor garden and barbecue area. Soaking up the sunshine while enjoying a hot meal and a cold beverage in this prime location is definitely a better alternative to sitting in a neon-lit waiting room. The club is always vibrant and full of fellow travelers, as well as locals and airport workers. The food is hearty, the beer cold and the staff friendly, as it should be.
Airport lounges are open to people with frequent flyer cards, and having to constantly fly, you may imagine I have them all. From time to time I enjoy the Melbourne lounge, especially if I don’t have too much times on my hands.
Melbourne Airport Golf Club
As an avid golfer, I have come to relish long layovers at Melbourne airport. The airport golf club boasts a fully equipped 70 par, 18 hole, 6000m golf course. With immaculate water features and a whopping 37 bunkers and elevated greens, the golf course wants for nothing and will satisfy even the pickiest golfer. The highlight of the golf course is definitely the 16th hole. The green’s location places you less than 60 meters below the flight path of aircraft, and is a unique and powerful experience. The golf club also features a licensed club house, practice nets, fairway and putting green as well as a fully equipped pro shop and rental service. The golf club leaves both pros and rookies satisfied.
Aircraft Viewing Area
Just outside the airport you can find several airport viewing areas. They offer unsurpassed views of aircraft landing right above your head. Often there is even an ice cream van on sight. I like to go there on hot days, buy an ice cream, have a seat and watch the show. There is something magical and powerful about watching a speck on the horizon become two dots of light and rapidly transform into a huge aircraft that zooms over your head. These little known locations are truly a plane spotter’s heaven.
Woodlands Historic Park
Just outside the airport is the beautiful 150 year old Woodlands Historic Park. You can visit homesteads from the 1840s and see the world through the eyes of the original European settlers. The park offers many outdoor activities such as horse riding, bike rentals and hiking trails. My favorite part of the park, though, is a fenced area called the “Back Paddock”. It is a great place to see kangaroos, various colorful birds and other wildlife in a pristine grassland environment. The park is opened seven days a week, but closes at 4pm which is quite early, and a shame for when you have to be at the airport in the evening.
When I have some serious time to kill, I like to take the airport’s Skybus shuttle service to go into town. A return ticket costs less than A$30 and the buses are clean, fast and reliable. Once in town, your entertainment options are limitless. Bars, shops and stunning architecture all compete for your attention.
If you have a lot of time on your hands, I would definitely recommend going to the Melbourne museum. For around A$8 you will have access to the largest museum in the Southern hemisphere. Another option is to take the skybus to the nearby Crown Entertainment Complex. From bowling and cinemas to live shows, casinos and shopping malls, it truly will suit anyone’s entertainment needs. The only problem is that you might lose track of time and thus risk missing your flight.
In summary people usually hate waiting, especially at the airports, where the wait is usually long and characteristically tedious. However, if you plan and use your imagination to keep yourself occupied, you almost won’t notice when the boarding time comes.
[Photo from Wikipedia - some rights reserved]