Italy to Australia

Finally, the time is here for the long-haul flight from Italy to Australia, via Singapore.

With flights, accommodation, and buses booked, including giving tenants 5 months’ notice to leave back in September 2019, everything is organised. The long-haul flight back to Australia is for the start of February 2020.

Who would have thought while booking last year that COVID-19 would completely wipe out 2020 global plans?


A little background

The plan is to return to Australia for 6 weeks to renovate.

After renovating the house that my tenants occupied for 14 years, a flight to England for a mid-April wedding is next on the agenda. Following the wedding, a short flight to Italy.

The 50th anniversary of the Glastonbury Festival at the end of June 2020, would take us back to England to volunteer at the festival, before returning to Italy again. The long-haul flight to Australia would follow at the end of 2020.

Glastonbury Festival, Pilton, England, Europe
Crazy fun volunteering in 2019 (photo credit: Neil Lintern)

Although, as many people experienced, this part of life was wiped out in mid-March with COVID-19 cancelling everything. It’s the first time in my life, booking travel plans so far in advance and I know never to do this again.

For now, I’ll share the experience of long-haul travel with you…


Bus from Cosenza to Rome

You probably haven’t heard of Cosenza in southern Italy’s Calabria region. This photo gives you a taste of this lovely underrated city steeped in history, wonderful food, and hospitable friendly locals.

Cosenza, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Old Town – Cosenza, Calabria
Bus Cosenza to Rome, Calabria, Italy, Europe

Staying in Cosenza for a while, absorbing the culture and getting comfortably fat, it’s from here, we start the long journey back to Australia.

The 08:00 hrs Simet bus arrives and leaves on time, which is always a bonus when you’re this far south in Italy, and especially for the start a 6-hour journey.

Flat and wintery-dry farming planes back-dropped by the spectacular Apennine Mountain range, follow the highway making our way north.

This imposing mountain range with its smaller chains, soar through south to north of Italy, almost cutting the country in two.

Apennine Mountains, Italy Europe
The Apennine Mountains – a different train trip but a better view

Only one coffee stop on this journey, but it’s enough to obliterate the pins and needles in my feet and legs – exaggerating slightly.

The bus pulls into the very busy hub of Tiburtina Bus station – Rome’s second-largest bus station. Conveniently, Tiburtina is only a stone’s throw from the Rome Termini rail station and Metro services.

Rome Termini, Italy, Europe
Rome Termini

Knowing this area well and lugging our heavy backpacks, we make our way along the short bustling walk, to the welcoming staff of comfortable Hotel Milani.

A stroll through the Rome Termini…

…before meeting up with a bunch of good friends from Cosenza, currently in Rome.

Heading out to the fabulous Il Mercato Centrale Roma – opened in 2016 – it’s time to enjoy a quick gathering and delicious well-priced delicacies.

Il Mercato Centrale, Rome, Italy, Europe
Il Mercato Centrale Roma

Shame it’s an early night in Rome as our friends are working in the morning and tomorrow’s flight is an early start.


Flight from Rome to Singapore

Tip:

The cheapest way to travel from Rome Termini train station in central Rome to Fiumicino Airport is by bus and costs €6 for the hour’s trip. Terravision buses leave from the Rome Termini-side of Piazza dei Cinquecento every half-hour, depending on the time of year.

Flight Rome, Italy, to Singapore, Europe, SE Asia

This morning’s 12-hour flight from Rome to Singapore with Singapore Airlines is on time. The Airbus is almost bursting with passengers, so no chance of an upgrade today.

Surprisingly, the food on the flight is tasty, so you won’t go hungry – plenty of good movies on board. The very efficient attendants are friendly, helpful, and chatty, which always helps to make the hours pass faster.

Arriving at the uncivilised hour of 05:45 am at impressive Changi Airport, officials check passenger temperatures before entering the main section of the airport. Singapore is taking COVID-19 seriously.

It’s only a 1.5-hour wait until the connecting flight to Sydney. I’m sharing a few tips to stay sane on a long-haul flight.

Long-haul flight tips

If you’re ever on a long-haul flight from the northern to the southern hemisphere, there are things you can indulge in to make your endless hours in the air dissolve faster:

  • Make sure to bring reading material, puzzles of any sort, music or movies of your preference, and/or your laptop. These days, most plane seats come with charging outlets for your mobile devices, so you don’t need to endure the flight’s offerings. Depending on the airline or the class you’re travelling in, this may not apply. But, for cattle-class and low-cost airlines, this definitely applies. Although, you can always find something suitable to watch.
  • Eat. Good airlines offer an abundance of food, which is surprisingly palatable. Keep a pack of dried fruit and nuts handy just in case. Eat these before landing in Australia as Customs are tough.
  • Try to sleep. I can rarely do this on a flight. And, envy the avid 12-hour snorer beside me that instinctively awakens at mealtimes.

Flight from Singapore to Sydney

Flight Singapore to Australia, SE Asia, Oceania

Following another check-in at Changi, even though you’re in transit (my pet hate), passengers are briskly ushered onto the smaller Boeing craft.

As we settle into our average-sized seats for the remaining 8 hours, this flight goes without too many disturbances. Choosing to watch a plethora of films while interchanging between Sudoku (paper variety), listening to music, or writing, these are my substitutes for sleep.

Landing in Sydney, there isn’t any temperature checking. Only the question: “have you been to China in the past 14 days?”

Torrential rain awaits and is our welcome home to Australia, after 6 years of travelling. My niece and her husband are kindly waiting to drive us to Newcastle, around 2 hours north of Sydney. This is home for a week, before heading to Brisbane.

Newcastle

Spending a comfortable stay for a week at my sister’s home, catching up with relatives and taking in a few local sights, after a long spell overseas. Also, enduring this cheeky little boy Casper, stealing the limelight.

There’s always time for a leisurely stroll along the extensive picturesque seafront, to eat a few delights…

…before heading off to the small Newcastle Airport in Williamtown for the next leg of this journey.

Newcastle Airport in Williamtown, Australia, Oceania

Flight from Newcastle to Brisbane

Flight Newcastle to Brisbane Australia, Oceania

The short uneventful flight from Newcastle to Brisbane takes under 1.5 hours.

Collecting a hire car from Europcar, finally, we leave airports and flights behind. It’s great to be back in Brisbane.

One noticeable thing compared to Southern Italy is the driving, which is so orderly in Brisbane. Drivers actually indicate – mostly.

Also, it’s so clean along the roads, without the dumping of rubbish bags that seems to be along many roads in Italy. Although this annoys me immensely, think I became accustomed to seeing this in Italy – sad but true.


Brisbane

The main purpose of returning to Brisbane is to renovate. As the tenants don’t leave for a couple of days, booking the Funky Urban Pad close by, is a convenient choice.

Craig (owner) is extremely accommodating and excellent with his communication. The apartment is self-contained with everything you need for your short stay. And, only around a 10-minute bus ride to Brisbane city.

Re-acquaintance with Brisbane

After almost 4 years since my last visit to Brisbane, it’s time to experience the abundant changes.

Glimpses on the drive from the airport to the city are enough to reveal that Brisbane is expanding. Numerous new high rises, apartment blocks, malls, and restaurants fight for a spot in the city. Gone is the big sleepy country town that I encountered, when first sailing from Sydney in the early 1990s.

Travel is on hold as it’s time to get stuck into renovating, for the next 6 weeks. I’m hoping that the tenants leave a presentable and clean house…

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more global images. More posts at Image Earth Travel.

34 thoughts on “Italy to Australia

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    1. Hey Jessica, this was at the start of February, so not at the height of COVID.
      We can’t leave Australia now unless it’s on compassionate grounds. Anyone arriving in Australia must self-isolate at a government-designated hotel for 14 days at our expense of AU$3,500 per person. The government is deterring Australians from leaving.
      How is it where you are right now?

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  1. Hiya Nilla, good to hear you are surviving the renovations and being back in Aussie 🙂 Life has had a few twists and turns of late. Much of our time dedicated to my elderly parents with my father’ recently being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Hopefully, aged care will be an option at some point!
    Re-read your post about why we travel, and it seems a lifetime ago since all that happened!! Stay safe and who knows travel between NZ and Australia will hopefully happen soon! x

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    1. Hey Suzanne,
      Great to hear from you! Yes, life does have a habit of turning and twisting, not always to our liking. Sorry to hear the news about your father.
      Yes, travel does seem a lifetime ago now. Travel between NZ and Oz would be good, but can’t see it happening this year at all.
      I’m writing about renovating and hope to have a post out tomorrow… x

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Haven’t had time yet to take a breather since arriving in Oz – no rest for the wicked they say! 😉

      Yes, especially as Superannuation is a bit of a joke really. Each government that gets in changes the goal post and fiddles with the rules. Guess it can’t keep its fingers out of the trillion-dollar pot. With real estate, you have better control, hopefully.

      Check out the state the house was in when we arrived – there was a lot more problems than in my post. At least the rent was paid on time!

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  2. How is the renovating coming along? The first time I went to Australia, I travelled with Singapore Airlines, it was fab. One of the better ones I’d say. I had a layover of 6 hours at Changi airport which went surprisingly quickly because it’s such a huge place, I just wandered around most of the time. I loved Brisbane too, I spent days exploring the city and relaxing on South Bank, is your house anywhere near there? Would love to get back to Oz some day. Fab post as always Nilla. I wonder when you’ll return to Italy? Is that your plan when we are able to travel more freely? xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Gill,
      The rental house is finished and I’m currently writing up a few posts about the ‘experience’ of it all. Back in our house now, which has been rented for 6 years and although left clean, needs a lot of maintenance plus some renovating. Starting all over again. 😦

      Brisbane has become such a different place than when we first sailed up from Sydney in 1992. It’s no longer like a big country town. With a population of over 2.4 million, it’s certainly exploded! We’re around 45-minutes to an hours’ drive from South Bank. Probably quicker by train.

      At this stage, I have no idea when I’ll be back in Italy. Still have an apartment full of stuff that I need to ship back to Australia. 😦

      Hope all is cool with you and the UK isn’t too hot right now.

      Cheers,
      Nilla
      x

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I will look forward to hearing about the new renovation! It would be interesting to see for myself how things have changed in Brisbance, it was one of my favourite places when I was in Australia. At least you have a place still if you do return! Everything is cool here although no longer hot, the weather is almost wintery with some hurricane-like wind the last few days and rain!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I see you’ve read the first chapter of the renovation and have several more to come. 😉
      Brisbane has exploded and I’ll try and weave some photos in but didn’t take any of the city sadly as I was too busy renovating. Maybe I’ll publish a post just on Brisbane for you in the future.
      Glad to hear that everything is okay with you. Your summer sounded hot but short this year as we’re been following temps over there…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, I only traveled such a distance once, but I took a break for a few days halfway. I can’t imagine having only the hour and a half in Singapore. You must be in great shape. I also never considered a bus from Calabria to Rome, but leaving from Cosenza, it would shorten the distance to bearable. Sorry you weren’t able to return to Italy, but it sounds as though you’re making good use of your time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Karen,

      Where did you travel from/to?

      This was short, for a long-haul journey to Australia. It doesn’t get any easier and don’t think I’m in great shape at all. If you’re from Australia, then long-haul flights are something we have no choice but to do – joy. 😉

      As we don’t have a car and the apartment is in Cosenza, then it’s much easier to walk up to the Autostazione and catch a bus north to Rome. I prefer catching trains but from Cosenza, you need to change at Paola and as you know, anything can go wrong. Also, the trains from Cosenza Centrale to connect on time for the train to Paola to then change again for Rome, don’t start early enough in the morning. Just the way it is in Calabria.

      I have a couple of posts coming out on renovating, so you’ll see the hard work I’ve been up to…

      Hope you and your family are safe and well.

      Cheers,
      Nilla

      Liked by 1 person

    2. My longest flight was Japan to Las Vegas but because I already had a roundtrip from the US to Europe, my Japan trip was inside those dates. So my return trip was Japan – Helsinki (where I stayed a few stays) – Chicago – Las Vegas. Actually, also a very direct route. Often when I fly to the US from Europe, I have to change in NY or Atlanta, which really adds to the the flight time. Yes, I totally understand your Calabria transportation difficulties. That’s why from Reggio, it’s much easier to fly, but then you have to stay overnight in Rome, anyway, as the flights don’t leave early enough, and of course, it’s a separate ticket. Safe here, so far, and hope you continue to be well.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. That’s still a long enough flight. I’ve done the US to Oz flights several times. It’s never-ending and as you say, especially when changing planes and with the wait times. These days, I just want to get from A to B and don’t want to stop too long in transit, but then you run the gauntlet of missing connections if the first plane is late.

      Agree, if you’re in Reggio, then it would be much easier to fly and the train to Rome is also direct. I think from the south, it’s much safer – although adds more cost – to stay in Rome overnight, as anything can happen with transport.

      Good to hear and hope we all stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ishita,

      Great to hear from you and thanks for the hair comment! It was a left-over from my crazy Calabrese friend’s wig birthday party a few years’ ago, so wore it during the festival. Maybe I should dye it purple? I might try vegetable dye first. 😉

      I’m writing/publishing this and a few future posts retrospectively as the renovating consumed all my time. So yes, I’ve been in Australia since February as everything was cancelled in early March and I still can’t return. Our state border is closed and we can’t travel unless it’s on compassionate grounds for immediate family. Also, everyone returning to Australia has to self-isolate for 14 days in a government-designated hotel at their own expense, which costs $3,200-3,500AUD. We still have strict international measures in place.

      Hope you and your family are well?

      Cheers,
      Nilla

      Like

    2. Ciao Nilla! You should dye it purple 😉 Haha!! Glad to know you’re safe down under. You must be missing Italy. Its such a strange time. I have friends in Australia who keep telling the details, they are sad not to make it to India this year. And yeah, thanks for asking, my family and I are well. Best wishes from India.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Ciao Bella!

      Thanks, will think about that 😉

      Yes, I am missing Italy, also friends over there, and still have so much to explore. Are you missing Italy also?

      I was supposed to housesit for friends early August, which I’ve done a few times before at their gorgeous property in the surrounding hills of Rogliano. They were heading to the UK for a wedding, but that’s been cancelled and you know the rest.

      I have a good friend (previous work colleague) that lives in Australia, but got stuck in India visiting his family. He’s been there since early this year…strange times. Glad to hear you guys are all well.

      Take care,
      Nilla

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No, apart from the renovating, which I’m writing about now as it was/is such a massive job.
      I’m a great believer in fate and think you might be right.
      For some bizarre reason, your comment went into my Trash folder.

      Like

    2. Thank you for sharing your travel experience.
      Both Italy and Australia are on my top list of countries to visit.
      Best Regards from Brazil 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Hi Cláudio,
      Many thanks for taking the time to read my post and to comment.
      I hope that you eventually make it to both countries as you’ll have a wonderful time!
      Cheers,
      Nilla

      Like

    1. Thanks Rebecca for your kind comment! My hairdresser in Italy wanted me to go this purple colour. I wouldn’t mind but the hair needs to be stripped of all colour before dying. Wouldn’t want all my hair to fall out! 😉
      Hope you and your family are well.

      Liked by 1 person

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