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From home in ORF to SYD, with little add on to FLL and EYW at the end

From home in ORF to SYD, with little add on to FLL and EYW at the end

Old Jan 16, 11, 3:05 pm
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From home in ORF to SYD, with little add on to FLL and EYW at the end(Pics added!)

So the wife and I took a belated honeymoon to Australia, leaving Dec 28th to catch New Years Eve on Sydney Harbor, and then trek around the country to see what we could see.

Dec 28th

ORF-ATL DL 2509

Not too much to report here. Standard shorthaul F. Got our preflight drinks to my surprise since the boarding was a little late as they GA's were sorting out a very hectic mass of folks as this was the day after one of the many weather issues that have been going on. Thankfully were were heading south and not north. Weather would be a theme throughout this trip.

ATL-LAX DL 2155

Pretty standard stuff here too. Transcon F, got the chicken which I found to be pretty good, sauce excellent. Pumpkin cheesecake was out of this world to me, but I am a real sucker for cheesecake, so take it with a grain of salt. I ate mine and my wife's. Service overall on the trip has been above average as well, like to point that out.

LAX Skyclub 3 hr layover. First time I have been in the LAX SC since the renovation. Very well done IMO. Could use a few more power outlets, but as long as it's not packed, not a problem. Nice self serve bar, comfy chairs, good quiet area around the back. We were a little tired after a fairly long day already, and had a very long flight to go, so a welcome spot. We were there late on a Tues, then again during the morning on a Tues on our way back, and neither time was over crowded.

LAX-SYD DL 17
My first DL flight in a 77L. BE was ok. For the price, I am a little down on it. Service was friendly and attentive, definitely not a complaint there. Food was good for the most part, and I really don't fly for the food, so probably a neutral mark there. The hard product seemed overly sterile to me. The seat was rock hard. Probably the biggest drag on my grading. Not very long either in practice, due to the way each end in pinched. I am only 5'11", and was feeling a bit squeezed. The issues of traveling with a companion due to the seat arrangement are well documented here, so I won't go over that other to say we chose two center seats. It was ok, but a BA CW style moving divider with parallel seats would suit me better. Another thing I found rather off was several AVOD options were pay to use. I mean, seriously? On a 7500 dollar ticket you couldn't let me use the crappy games for free? Yikes.

The Ice Cream Sundae was still great though.^

After a good snooze (thanks lunesta!) we are in SYD. Express pass through customs always a welcome perk, breeze through and hop on train for city.

Sheraton on the Park

Love this place. Staff attitude is as good as any I have seen anywhere in the world. Not exaggerating, easily as good as any Ritz, Four Seasons, the Waldorf, you name it. Great location too. Room was pretty good, well cared for with all fixtures etc in good shape. Ended up with a view of a wall, but given it was New Years eve, I'm a lowly gold with SPG, and the place was slammed, not disappointed. They still sent up a complimentary bottle of wine one day, and a nice flower arrangement the next (wife liked it). Restaurant was one of the better in house ones I have come across.

Did New Years on the harbor. Wow! Right at the Overseas Terminal looking over the Opera House. Epic time.

Jan 2nd SYD-BNE QF 504

As always, good QF service. Very efficient on/offload, pretty good coach breakfast of omelet, bread, baked beans and yogurt.

BNE-HTI Jetstar (flight number is eluding me at the moment). Holy cow. The south pacific version of Ryanair.

Hamilton Island is a great spot. Stinger season gives one a little pause, but still, a little slice of paradise. Love the Whitsundays. Staying in Reef View hotel, which is starting to show a little age, but had a great stopover. The original plan was to ferry to mainland, and drive up the Queensland coast. Well, I am sure you all have seen the news about the floods. Discretion being the better part of valor and all, and the fact my significant other was present, I just grabbed a QF flight up to Cairns, out destination anyway and we went a day early.

Jan 3 HTI-CNS QF 2504

Ah, the old puddle jumper prop plane. Nothing much to report, quick decent flight.

Hilton Cairns. Now one of my favorite Hiltons. Bumped to Exec floor, very good service in the club. Had breakfast there every morning and was a great start to day. Few drinks every night before going out on the town as well. Spent one day taking the Skyrail up to Kuranda and touring the rainforest, very neat, highly recommend! Next day out to the reef for some diving, and a pit stop on Green Island. Hanuman restaurant in the Hilton was very highly touted, and food was certainly top notch, but servers seemed overwhelmed even though the dining room was only 30% full.

Jan 6 CNS-AYQ QF 1851

First time I got on 717. Nice little plane. I would favor it over the MD. Good lunch wrap from QF.

Ayers/Uluru.

Well, I can't lay all blame on the Lost Camel. The overly wet season has REALLY brought out the bugs. The exact wording in the piece of paper left on our bed was "plague proportions". Not fun squishing various grasshoppers and beetles with every step, and having to stuff towels in the door cracks to keep buggies out of room. Other than that, the hotel was fairly worn. Several cabinets delaminating, telephone had some wild issue where the buttons didn't go to the things they were labeled for, and no one could call our room, linens kind of sketchy. For the price, not impressed. Would go with Sails in the Desert next time for a bit more money.

The Rock itself. WOW! Very cool, and absolutely worth the trip! It is way hot out there, but way worth the trip. Did the base hike, which is a little over 10k/6mi. I would recommend being in reasonable shape to undertake this on a hot day (no heart issues and such).

Lost Camel did have a great pool, I will say that, and it is most welcome to hop in after trekking in 10+ degree heat. The Ayers Rock Resort is a pretty cool setup, with a nice little courtyard with shops and dining options, and all of the hotels are easily reached walking or through the inter resort shuttle bus, which is complimentary.

Jan 8 AYQ-SYD QF 739

Good flight. 738 equipment.

Four Points Darling Harbor. Another great spot, super convenient to the harbor and a plethora of dining options ( a little touristy for my tastes, but good none the less), and the great fireworks on Saturdays. Easy walk anywhere downtown. Check in was a breeze, ending on SPG floor with harbor view, which was great. Room was very clean, and up to date. TV was sort of off center with bed though, which was odd. Just a nitpicky item though.

Jan 11th

Sigh, leaving Oz.

We are able to access NZ lounge with our BE DL tix. Great lounge with top notch service! Complimentary wifi, several desktop stations, good self serve bar, and very comfy seats, low crowds. One of my new favorite lounges.

SYD-LAX DL 16

For the most part, same as DL17 on the way in. Someone forgot to latch something, as on takeoff, a rack of dishes flew out of the galley and right past me in 1C, smashing to bits in the aisle. Interesting to say the least. The bulk of the crew was great, but the purser was the ridiculously high strung lady, very annoying. And oblivious to basically everything. An example, lost her mind when they started to shut the door "10 minutes early". Looked at my watch, was right on time. Don't even want to hear how she reacted to the dish flying incident ( which I obviously was not a fan of, but seriously, hold it together).

Back to LAX SC, which was a blessing with a 5 hour layover. We got through customs with no issue ( yay express pass!) and for some reason went to T6, had to hoof it over to T5. LAX security is still the most god awful thing I have experienced. Literally. It's terrible. When I lived in Santa Barbara I once had a 4 hour wait in the security line and still wasn't even far enough in the line to be in the friggin building... And hour later, which includes me going back out to check the digeredoo's I brought no problem carry on from SYD, and I get to the SC. And wouldn't you know, there's no list for the showers! Score! New showers are great, and I feel human again. Grab some brekkie and coffee and cruise the net for awhile.

LAX-ATL DL 1754

Well all hell is breaking loose in ATL we learn when we get to LAX. Canceled flights out of the yazoo. Oh boy. But, lo and behold, since I snagged the one 777 flight that runs LAX-ATL, so I could get BE seats for the ride, we are the only LAX-ATL flight that goes that day.

The wife and I are supposed to split in ATL, with me heading to FLL, her to ORF. We get there and book to the B terminal SC, which is heinous. THe isn't a squared inch not occupied. Ugg, I loathe ATL SC's. Staff is awesome though, big kudos to them. So we find that my FLL flight is ther first and only one to go out ( at 8:30 pm) but her ORF flight is canned. Agent super helpful though, and even though no confirmed available for two days, standby the next day should be no prob, given so many aren't able to connect in. (Incidentally, I found this was probably going to be true, as my flight to FLL, which was overbooked by 40, went out half full). Get her a room at Westin down the street, and we split up. She gets back to ATL in the am, straight to Skyclub, and thankfully, same agent working! Gets on first ORF flight to get out at noon, and I am relieved!

ATL-FLL DL 2427

Nothin special, but gets me to FLL! Very empty as noted earlier, so we all spread out and get comfy. Upgrade list was about 18 long however, so no upgrade. When the plane is that empty, I really wasn't concerned however.

Down in FLL to race from there to EYW in a classic South FL sailboat race, so have many more hours of awake ness! Race to EYW, which is a great time, but man am I tired.

Jan 14th

EYW-MIA AA 3623

30 minutes of airtime. Sweet.

MIA-ORF AA 4923

Good old RJ flight on AE. Very quick, top notch FA.

And I'm home! Nap time, cause I am spent!

Last edited by gegarrenton; Jan 26, 11 at 11:17 am
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Old Jan 17, 11, 6:31 am
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A quick photo of the vantage point on New Years.

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Old Jan 26, 11, 11:16 am
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Myself.



One of the eleventy jillion Ibis'




Fountain in Hyde Park.



Obligatory Opera House shot.



Manly Beach. Sorry bout the guy in nut huggers.



Me and the Mrs. on NYE. Can't say enough about how awesome this was!



Great view of the city from the roof of the Sheraton on the Park.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 11:19 am
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Hamilton Island. mmmmm.... love Hammo......




Scoping out stuff in the rainforest above Cairns...



Barron Falls.





Staring contest with my new best friend.



Reginald the Koala. Nature's drunken derelict.

Last edited by gegarrenton; Jan 26, 11 at 11:28 am
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Old Jan 26, 11, 11:26 am
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In case you didn't know how.



Gorgeous day on the reef.



More of the same. Haven't got the underwater camera film developed yet.



@ the big ol rock.



Some more.



And more.



And the last one I'll post, I promise. It was 6 miles around, so we gots LOTS of pics.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 1:00 pm
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Nice report!

Originally Posted by gegarrenton View Post
Manly Beach. Sorry bout the guy in nut huggers.
Nut huggers is a term I haven't heard of before! We'll usually call them budgie smugglers.
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Old Jan 27, 11, 7:04 am
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Nice report. Love the toilet sign!
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Old Jan 28, 11, 9:10 pm
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Nice report.
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Old Jan 30, 11, 10:13 am
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Originally Posted by vecta View Post
Nice report!



Nut huggers is a term I haven't heard of before! We'll usually call them budgie smugglers.
LOL, it's definitely an American term, haven't heard it anywhere else and I'd find myself saying the same thing as well.
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Old Jan 31, 11, 12:58 am
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Wow! What a beautiful oceans!!! I loves it!!! I'm glad you have a great trip. If you have a enough time to take lots the pictures that I can see. I wants see more photos and write more info about your flight doing and try to tell us about your stays.
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Old Jan 31, 11, 8:21 am
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Thanks for the kind words everyone. My first go at a trip report, tried not to mangle it too much!
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Old Jan 31, 11, 8:57 am
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very very coool!

what is the black stuff leaking down the red rock?

that's one part of Australia I skipped on my visit, but partly because it was so expensive to go there.
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Old Feb 1, 11, 9:27 am
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Originally Posted by TrueBlueFlyer View Post
very very coool!

what is the black stuff leaking down the red rock?

that's one part of Australia I skipped on my visit, but partly because it was so expensive to go there.
It is the water running off the rock, carry whatever detritus is up there. With the rains they having been having it's getting fairly regular they say. It looks very neat driving in to the park, as the streaks look metallic silver with the sun glinting of them!
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Old Feb 1, 11, 12:02 pm
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Awesome pictures!
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