Planning Melbourne: Bill Does It All

During my time living in Vanuatu, I befriended an Australian expat named Bill. Vanuatu is quite small, and when you meet expats, you meet their friends and their friends, and Bill lived first in Luganville and then in Port Vila, so we encountered one another quite a lot whenever I happened to be out and about.

Bill became a close friend, and despite him departing Vanuatu in July 2019, we've kept in touch (it helps being in the same time zone). In November, when Air Vanuatu was having crazy flight sales for early 2020, I jumped on the opportunity to go see Bill in Melbourne, Australia.

It would be nice to say that at the very least, I booked my own flights, but Bill also did that, as the Air Vanuatu site wasn't behaving for me. Bill acted as my travel agent over the phone as I gave him the info for him to book me some tickets for a late January visit.

I never had a desire to go to Australia, since it just seemed like it would be too similar to the USA (weirdly, though, Canada has more appeal?). However, I love visiting friends in their element, who can act as my personal tour guide and give me a local look at their city.

Thus, Bill planned the trip. He is keeping it all a complete surprise. Really, the only details I have are slight budget hints, that I need a jacket for one night where it "will be windy."

This is the detail I get.

Regarding budget, Bill and I had a very confusing conversation on the phone, confusing only because he was trying to keep it as secretive as possible (I wasn't trying to pry out any details; I promise I like surprises!) while I was trying to understand what he was talking about. He told me we were going somewhere outside of downtown Melbourne, far enough that it required driving in his car, and he was planning accommodations for that particular night, but wanted to know what I thought was reasonable or not based on my budget. The conversation was quite vague, with him only mentioning that it was a tourist-y area, and that he was surprised that prices were as high as downtown Melbourne for a more countryside/bogan experience. Thus, he suggested a place he found online that was something like traincars that have been converted to cabins or hotel rooms, and it was half the price than if we were to stay in a more central area of this mystery area. But he said it didn't matter anyway because we had a car. So I told him to book.

So I have my tickets to Melbourne, and all I know is to bring a jacket because it will be windy one night, that we are sleeping in a train car situation on another night, and roughly how much I'll be spending overall on meals/activities. Here we go!