Luka and I were standing on the train platform in Sydney Central, five km away from the consulate when we heard the announcement ” the next three trains will terminate at this station”. After having been traveling for four hours already, were we really going to miss our appointment now? Then the next announcement came through: “There is a car on the train track towards Bondi Junction”. That did not make our situation any better…
Traveling from Melbourne to Sydney is like going from Amsterdam to Italy, so a bit of an insane distance to go up and down in one day, but it had to be done to renew our Dutch Passports. Only the consul-general in Sydney does Dutch passport renewals.
We had our our appointment at the consulate at 11.30 yesterday, to be able to safely catch our 8 o’clock flight we took the train at 5 am, so we were off for an early start! We took the train to Southern Cross and then the Skybus to the airport.
We did not have any delays, even after walking around Melbourne airport, not being able to find our flight on any of the departures boards, because we were in terminal 3 and had to be in terminal 4, we still had plenty of time left before our departure. Luckily in Australia they give you advise on what to do:
Relax! We sat down, relaxed and ate our take-along breakfast: crackers and cheese. Very un-Australian to travel so prepared.
The flight even left five minutes before scheduled departure, so all good! After an hour and a half we arrived in Sydney, bought an Opal ticket and took the train from domestic airport to Central Station.
While waiting for our connecting train at central I sent Oliver a message that we were in Sydney and that all was good. Then the announcement came “The next three train services will terminate at Central.” The time for our appointment was getting nearer, so we did not have much time for waiting, so we had to quickly come up with a plan B. There would probably also be a bus going to Bondi Junction, but we do not know the city well enough quickly find out where the buses are, which bus to take and how long it would take us. Waiting did not sound like a secure option either, so we quickly ran out of the train station, looking for a cab.
Twenty minutes later and $20 poorer, we arrived at Bondi Junction, with still just enough time to go to Australia Post and buy a return envelop for our passports. At least that is what we thought, once we got into the Post office there was a line of at least 20 people in front of us…I told Luka to stand in line and I grabbed the prepaid express envelope. I must have had a pretty desperate expression on my face, as we were immediately approached by a very friendly lady that asked if we just wanted to buy the envelop. She was able to help us out!
The consulate was in one of the towers of the Westfield Mall, so all we had to do was the get to the 23th floor and wait for our names to be called.
It turned out that none of the other people had brought a return envelop and they sell the envelopes for $3 less than we paid. Dutch as I am I asked why that envelope was cheaper. The ones that the embassy sells are send via regular post which can easily take a week to arrive. Our express one is a next day delivery, so it was the better solution for us.
Missing Document: Parent Consent for Minor
The only thing that we did not have was a parent consent from Oliver. The handwritten note that we made ourselves was not accepted.
It had to be the consent document that you can download on the website and it needs to be officially certified (both the document and the copy of the parent that is not there), which you can do at a JP, a Justice of the Peace. Luckily we already knew how that was done, as we did that when we sold our house in the Netherlands and there are no costs involved.
Missing documents do not seem to not be an issue, you can still e-mail anything within 4 weeks of the application. We could scan the document and e-mail it to the embassy.
Leisure time: Bondi Beach
After handing in the documents, have our finger prints taken and paying the $366 fee, we were done! Finally time to relax again, after all it had been a couple hours since we left the airport and we had almost forgotten about the advise to relax.
Being so close to Bondi Beach that was the destination that we wanted to visit. Armed with bikini’s in our backpack we took the bus to Bondi Beach, which only took 15 minutes.
Returning to Melbourne
Our return flight to Melbourne was scheduled at 6 pm, with our previous train experience we decided not to risk anything and got back to the airport at 4.
We already saw two airplanes waiting near the gate, but it turned out that none of these two were our airplanes.
At 5.30, our check in time, there was no airplane left. Then another announcement:”We are waiting for the airplane to arrive”, boarding time is postponed to 6.30.” Oh, no….
…..long story short, we arrived back home at 10 pm, after a 1 1/2 hour flight delay. Luka was exhausted, it had been a really long day. We made it, it was an adventure, but mission accomplished!