Planes, Trains and Automobiles … and Airports … and Billboards

The other day I had to drive to Avalon Airport, just outside of Melbourne, Victoria. It’s a strange place where you actually start to wonder a couple of things: is it really necessary, or is it even really there?

It is located close to Geelong, on the way to the Great Ocean Road. Clearly it serves a useful purpose for what is a booming population outside of the heart of Melbourne. It means there are a lot of people who do not have to drive all the way into an already congested Tullamarine Airport.

It’s just that it feels so bare. As the second, not to mention the only other, airport servicing the Melbourne and surrounding areas, it seems like it should be bigger. When you drive into Tullamarine Airport it’s organised chaos. There are roads going every which way, there are Melbourne billboards scattered as far as the eye can see, and there are obviously planes flying in from every corner of the world—as well as out to all those same corners.

Then there is Avalon, which feels like it’s barely big enough to be an airport for a little regional town of twenty or thirty thousand people. The road signs are reasonably obvious, but it is the kind of situation where you could blink and you miss it.

But assuming you don’t blink and miss it, you will then get on an almost comically long stretch of unimpressive country road before you get anywhere near anything resembling an airport. If you are lucky you may see a couple of Melbourne billboards, along with a few sheep and cows hanging out beside them.

Then you will get to the main show, and you will be able to get a park reasonably easily, and getting to the terminal will be a piece of cake, and checking in will take five or ten minutes, and you will feel rather relaxed about the whole process. Then something else will happen: you will wish all airports were like this.