The plane ride to Melbourne was relatively shorter than all the other flights we have been on throughout this trip, however there were some factors that probably made it the worse. Like the screaming baby and being constantly kneed in the back for the duration of the flight, but other than that it was a smooth flight and we arrived in Melbourne ready to eat!
We arrived at the hotel around 3:30 and had not eaten since that morning, we did not stay long in the hotel room before heading out to find a place to eat. All 15 of us ended up at an Irish pub that was kind of small for a group our size but we made it work. There I had one of the best fish and chips I’ve ever had and a pint of Guinness for the first time ever (I liked it but nothing I’d drink all the time). Also Mike dumped his fish and chips all over the floor and on me, we all were a bit shambly at the restaurant.
That night we went on a grocery run for breakfast food and got some what of an idea of the area between the hotel and the mall that the grocery store was in. Throughout that first day in Melbourne it was interesting and definitely a different pace than Cairns. Everyone pronounces it as ‘Melbin’ and overall the city was beautiful and very clean city.
Sunday was our only full day off in Melbourne, and all of us went on the Great Ocean Road tour that we booked the day before in the airport that was an adventure in itself. All 15 of us gave the woman on the phone our individual credit card numbers to book the trip. It went a lot smoother than I expected. The tour was honestly the most amazing thing I have ever seen it was breath taking I could have stayed at the 12 Apostles all day. But we could not, we continued on and it did not disappoint. We got to see Koalas in the wild, have birds land on our heads, and see kangaroos on the golf course. We ended the night on a surf beach in Torquay where Rip Curl, Billabong, and Quick Silver were founded and had a lot of pizza!
On Monday, we had our first business meeting with IBM, we were taken on a tour of the office space that was set up as an aggregate office space that is much more free flow space than the traditional office space. Following the tour, we met with and executive of IBM who talked about her career and what IBM is currently working on. IBM is working largely on artificial intelligence, that was very fascinating to see where AI could go and help our society.
Following the tour, we broke up into groups and started the scavenger hunt! The scavenger hunt, really helped understand the city a lot better and the tram system. My group's scavenger hunt took us to the Old Melbourne Goal, the oldest building in Melbourne that is now a pub that is haunted, a coffee shop underneath Flinders Street, the Library of Victoria, and then find where the Ormsbees’were. We ended the hunt at the Old Mill a really cool restaurant / pub on Flinders Lane that had great pizza.
The following day was a very long day with a lot of walking. We went to the Toyota manufacturing plant that is closing in October. It was cool to see from start to finish how a car is produced, but it was a lot of walking and standing on concrete floors.
After Toyota we went to Monash University to meet with Professor Kevin Tant and a group of his students to learn and trade stocks on a mock system called Stock Trek. A lot of what we were doing went right over my head, but Channy, our student from Monash who was helping us did her best to explain but a more in depth class on the subject would have been needed. A group of us went to the Surf and Turf bar for dinner and Melbourne honestly did not disappoint when it comes to food, the food was great and really hit the spot after a long day that continued to the Melbourne Goal ghost tour. I was slightly disappointed with the tour, I expected more on the history of the jail and the more notorious people incarcerated there.
On the finally day in Melbourne we visited KPMG and the US consultant. KPMG was an amazing visit all the employees who talked with us were very personable and it felt like a conversation rather than a presentation.
After KPMG we had a little bit of free time so all of us girls went to the mall or arcade as it is called in Australia, just walked around and went into the different shops. The US Consulate was an interesting visit to learn what foreign services officers actual do and how the service works. We also learned how important commerce between the United States and Australia is.
We finished off Melbourne by going to the Carlton Brewery for a tour and dinner! The facility is a very nice place and we got to learn about the process of making beer and see the bottling and packaging system. After the tour we all got to have a shot glass size of Carlton Draught unpasteurized and then choose 6 out of 11 beers to try. I tried the Carlton Dry, Carlton Black, Melbourne Bitter, Pure Blond, Pure Blond Cider, and Wild Yak. All were very good beer but my favorites were the Carlton Black, the Cider, and Carlton Dry. It was a great way to end our lat day in Melbourne.
Now I sit in the airport waiting for our now 5pm fight instead of 11 am thanks to the first flight being canceled. It has been one long day and I’m ready to be in Sydney.