Last November my parents bought me a plane ticket to Sydney, Australia, it was their early gift to me for earning a Bachelors of Science, which was taking place a few months ahead in May. The flight took place during my spring break, which was in March; I was very excited, I’ve always wanted to visit Australia.
The flight was long, I used Delta miles to fly from Washington, D.C. (DCA) to Los Angeles(LAX), I had over 100,000 Delta Skypesos that I might as well have used instead of paying to get into LAX. My parents bought my flight to Australia out of LAX on Qantas, it was about $1,538.80 roundtrip. I booked the flight as an American Airlines codeshare flight so that I would get 100% of the miles flown credited to my AAdvantage account. As an AAdvantage elite member, I got oneworld lounge access in LAX. In Sydney I got Qantas lounge access as an Admirals Club member and in Brisbane I got oneworld lounge access again.
It was my first time flying Qantas and I must say that I was very impressed. The flight attendants were nice and the meal service was very generous as well, I was flying coach. The plane was an A380 on the way to Sydney from LAX and a B747 from Brisbane to LAX. They have a silly rule where your seat must be in the upright position during the meal service, kinda annoying but not a big deal. They offer free wine during the flight, so make sure to drink up! Pictures of the main meals are at the end of this post.
I stayed at the Sydney Hilton Hotel and got upgraded to the Executive Floor, which comes with access to the Executive Lounge that has free snacks and drinks. It also has free alcohol in the evening during happy hour. The hotel was nice and clean, however, it isn’t that close when compared to other top hotel chains in Sydney. It’s about a mile walk from the Hilton to the Opera House, which isn’t too bad.
I chose my flight carefully, I made sure to have a day layover in Brisbane, Australia, I had a friend there that I had the honor to meet for the first time. We had been longtime friends from an Internet based MMOCC game.
Australia is a beautiful country, everyone is friendly and they are very efficient. There is so much to do and so much to see, a week was hardly enough time but unfortunately spring break is only a week.
- Sea-Life Sanctuary*
- Sydney Aquarium*
- Wildlife Sydney Zoo*
- Sydney Tower Eye*
- Manly Sea Life*
- Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum*
- Sydney Opera House
- Australia Zoo (Near Brisbane)
*These attractions can be purchased as a package for $63 AUD, a saving from buying them separately. For $63 AUD you get to visit 6 different attractions that are enjoyable and fun for the entire family. Click HERE to visit the website and purchase your tickets.
Where To Eat:
- Paragon Restaurant & Bar (Hotel)
Besides the Paragon, no restaurant really caught my attention. Australian waiters get a nice salary and therefore rely less on tips than waiters in the United States do, lowering the standard of service that is offered. The food is also very expensive due to the minimum wage in Australia, on a positive note their currency is worth less than the US dollar, which is rare nowadays in well-developed nations.
The Sydney Opera House is an obvious must-do. Tickets are fairly inexpensive, depending on what you see. Most comedy shows are cheap and worth the money to visit such a monumental building that is globally recognized. I saw La Soirée, its only shown for a few weeks every year.
The Sea-Life attractions are mostly in the same area with the exception of the Sea Life Sanctuary, which you have to go to Manly for via a ferry. To catch the ferry just go to the Wharfs near the Opera House and see which one goes to Manly. The sanctuary has a pool filled with penguins swimming and moving around.
The Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is smaller than the one in Los Angeles, CA and New York City but not bad for the included package price. The Sydney Tower Eye is a good way to get a birds eye view from of the city. They also have a presentation that explains how the tower was constructed and what it means for Australians, it should take about an hour to tour the tower and 45 minutes to tour the wax museum.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the Australia Zoo, it’s the one that Steve Irwin and his family owned. The zoo is expensive and for what you see, there really isn’t much to do and see there. It’s rather small and dull, I think the San Diego Zoo or Zoo Miami are way better, Zoo Miami being cheaper than both the San Diego and Australia Zoo. You will see a lot of pictures of the Irwin family throughout the zoo, at times I thought it was more about them than about the animals.
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