Australian Adventure (June 12 - 14, 2013)

40 Days Down Under (Day 1)

Artwork by Kris

Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Our Australian Adventure would have never been possible without the use of airline miles.

Our Qantas flight from DFW-Sydney and Perth-Sydney-DFW would have cost us $4,762.20 total ($2,381.10 per person), but we were able to redeem 150,000 airline miles and $290 ($145 per person) to get the same flight.

We also redeemed airline miles to fly Qantas from Melbourne to Perth. Those tickets cost us a mere 40,000 airline miles and $38.94 in taxes and fees instead of $928.

Thank you airline miles!

Eric Watkins was nice enough to offer us a ride to the airport complete with curbside service. He picked us up at 6:30pm for our 10:15pm flight. We were at the airport in no time, and we got through security quickly.

When we finally boarded the plane, we found out how nice the seats I had claimed really were. We were in seats 70J and 70K. Most of the coach configuration of the Qantas flight we were on was a 3 - 4 - 3 seating arrangement. A few rows at the back of the plane are in a 2 - 4 - 2 arrangement instead. We were in one of the 2 seaters, and Kris and I swear that they had a ton more room than the others. In addition to there being no window seat (so Kris could stretch his legs to the side), we think there was more seat pitch.

Qantas coach service for the international flight was nice. We were fed dinner and breakfast and given a snack bag in between. There was good seat entertainment, pillows, blankets, and a small pouch with a eye pouch, small toothbrush, and tiny toothpaste. They even gave us some interesting snacks.

Kris and I were able to sleep more than we expected.

Friday, June 14, 2013

That's Thursday!

We got through the 16 hour flight and disembarked in Brisbane for a flight crew change. An hour and a half and quick Facebook post later, we were on our way to Sydney. When we arrived in Sydney, we had to take an airline bus to the terminal and (unfortunately) go through semi-traditional customs. Our Global Entry didn't work as planned, but the Australian customs agents were quite friendly to Americans and let us go to a different line.

We got on the Green Line train to the Wynyard Station stop to head to the Radisson Blu Sydney down by the Circular Quay.

This hotel is in an optimal spot downtown and an absolute treat. They have excellent customer service, upgraded us to a jacuzzi suite (amazingly spacious with great decor), and brought us complimentary chocolates!

They allowed us to check in at noon, so we were able to clean up a bit before heading to the lovely Sydney Botanical Gardens. We detoured for lunch at a food court establishment not attached to a mall. The Wintergarden Deli (where I ate lunch) had a very tasty Chicken Caesar wrap with side salad and drink lunch combo.

Next stop, the Botanic gardens.

They are free to access and massive. There are so many beautiful flowers and trees. There are many varieties of trees - most of which are labeled. We were very impressed with the root structures and size of many of the trees.

The garden has excellent floral and plant arrangements from various parts of the world. Kris was delighted to find some prickly pear!

Skitler liked the gardens too!

Kristy and Skitler

I was less than delighted to find our first huge spider of the trip. He seemed unconcerned by us though.

Ack!  Spider!

We also ran into some stingless Australian bees. Kris got up close and personal.

There were also a plethora of birds. I'd never seen an ibis before. The park/garden is teaming with Australian White Ibis birds that started moving in around 10 years ago during great droughts in the countryside. There are bunches of other birds too.

The ducks have tiny beaks.

We saw many sculptures and interesting people. We ran into a wedding party too.

I love the grass circle.

You also get a great view of the Sydney Opera House from Mrs Macquarie's Chair, a spot in far edge of the gardens.

Kris likes any excuse to climb.

We walked to the Opera House and around the water to get back to our hotel after calling it an early night.

We headed back to the hotel to unwind. It was super strange to look out of the window at the building across the way and see people hard at work while I was ready for bed.

1 Response
  1. Dianne Says:

    You were smart to spend your first day outdoors in bright sunshine. That really helps with jet lag.