Friday 9 March 2012
Airport Reviews: Melbourne International
Or my new home away from home. I do seem to be clocking up a lot of hours in this place. Good news for you because I have hints hints hints!
(View from Cafe Vue)
There is one terminal for all international departures from Melbourne. Once you get past the troika of check in, security, immigration it’s actually pretty nice – you just have to get past them first.
The business end
There are plenty of shops and restaurants beyond security and I would advise getting airside with despatch as a) there’s not much to do landside (spell check wants to correct that to ‘landslide’) and b) as well as security you have to clear immigration/customs and the queues can be slow moving. You have to fill out a departure card before you get to the head of the queue – you might want to do this at the desks provided. Juggling your handbag, carry on, passport, boarding card and trying to fill out the form is an Olympic-level sport.
The fun (?) part
The good news is that once you’re through, the terminal is pretty nice. Mimco is good for girly presents (costume jewellery, handbags, hair accessories), Witchery for clothes basics (again for girls). There are several shops peddling Akubra hats, Uggs, souvenir t-shirts, plush kangaroos, didgeridoos, merino wool jumpers etc. Dreamtime Journey has some interesting indigenous-designed souvenirs. There is also a shop called Australian Produce Store which, as well as selling confectionery, stocks the all-healing magical Paw Paw ointment.
For food, if you have time, I recommend Café Vue, an offshoot of Vue de Monde, one of Melbourne’s fanciest restaurants. This is a café/bistro version, but you can get a decent meal and a glass of wine. It is a bit pricey, but then by the time you’re leaving Melbourne you will have had to come to terms with your Melbourne sticker shock. Café Vue also do lunch boxes to take away – an excellent option if your airline charges for food (even if it doesn’t). A memorable picnic on Air New Zealand to Auckland contained cold chicken, potato salad and a lemon tart whose memory makes my mouth water.