Here I am on the other side of the world! After two incredibly long plane flights (one from LA to Auckland and one from Auckland to Melbourne), we finally landed. I had a bit of a rough start: two hours before we left for the airport I had a fever of 100 and felt pretty terrible. But the long flight wasn't too bad - 12 hours but we each had our own TV screen (I played tetris on mine) and they even handed out little eye masks and socks for sleeping. We flew Qantas, by the way.
In Melbourne, Alyssa and I waited for Hilary and Alison's plane to arrive (they took a direct flight - we couldn't get on that one) and finally we were all there and took a bus to our hostel. We're staying at the Greenhouse Backpackers (www.friendlygroup.com.au). I've never stayed in a hostel before, and this has been a great first experience so far. We have a 4-person room w/ two bunk beds, there's a lounge, free (albiet slow) Internet access, free breakfast, etc.
The first thing we did was visit the Rialto Tower, which is (I think) the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. Went to the observation deck there. We also watched a little video about Melbourne called "Melbourne, A Great Place to Be" that was the cheesiest, most awful video ever! I commented as we left, "I'm really sad that this is the first thing we did in Australia." I wasn't feeling so great after that so I went back to the hostel to rest while the others explored the city.
The evening's activity was a pub crawl (which we got for free because we "all" work for STA Travel!). That was a lot of fun! A free drink at each pub, and we met lots of the other travelers staying at the hostel. I met a lot of people from the UK, from Germany, the US, etc. Okay, I've used up my time so more later!