Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Reload this Page >

Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef via Qantas First Class

Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef via Qantas First Class

Reply

Old Jan 16, 19, 10:24 am
  #76  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 3,110
Was it very hot on the barrier reef? I went in their winter in 1986 and it was chilly / spring. We flew on a sea plane to the reef and it was creepy as we were alone with the pilot and the water was cold. I would like to go to Lizard Island and Whitsunday Islands. As usual beautiful pictures. Thanks. Qantas First looks somewhat like Business. LOL. But it's a good deal.
Bretteee is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 16, 19, 10:51 am
  #77  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: LAX-SNA
Programs: BA Gold, AF Silver, UA 1K, AA LT PLT
Posts: 19,001
Originally Posted by jmj9905 View Post
SFO777 great trip report. It is such a feast to have multiple trs from you and Seat 2A at the same time! Mrs. jmj9905 and I were in Tasmanina in the spring of 2014. We did not do the helicopter but did do an incredible boat tour of the southern coast. Thanks for the memories!
Thank you very much jmj9905. We're really happy that we decided to visit Tassie. It's a very special place.

Originally Posted by adampenrith View Post
Great TR - I work with someone who is a many times repeat guest of Qualia - now I see why. Awesome to see some of what Tasmania has to offer - have yet to visit the Apple Isle. Qantas - yes full of bogans - what a disgusting state that lounge is - ashamed to say its happening in my country, sadly it is for reasons like this we decided to shove QF 20 years ago and went to Ansett - then after that debacle were very happy to shift our allegiances to Virgin Australia for our domestic travels. The only thing I can think of is during the holidays lots of non travellers getting access thanks to family who travel often - but thats disgusting
Thanks so much adampenrith. "Qantas - full of bogans". LOL. I can identify with you and your QF history. I went thru the same thing in Canada with Air Canada and CP. I still loathe AC to this day,

Originally Posted by NoY View Post
Another impeccable SFO777 trip report Wow, QF are waaaay down my list after reading this report
Thanks NoY. Indeed, QF First is way down the list in rankings. What makes it worse it that it one of the most expensive. I guess that's what lack of competition on the NA-Oz route will do.

Originally Posted by llamaesque View Post
Great report as usual SFO777. Thrilled you liked Tassie, we fell in love with the place on our first visit and have been back every year since. I feel embarrassed on behalf of our country on the disgusting state of those lounges. It's the fault of both the slobs as guests and a complete lack of concern from lounge staff. Also Qantas gets frequent criticism for their joke of a "priority boarding" scheme. That's another reason I fly Virgin - premium guests & frequent flyers are boarded first, no exceptions.
Thanks so much llamaesque. Wow, every year back to Tassie. How cool is that? Our HBA-SYD-HTI QF flights were cheap award tickets using AA miles. I was looking forward to trying Virgin and had originally book HTI-SYD before we changed our return date.

Originally Posted by Smiley90 View Post
wow those pictures of the pavilion look amazing. what a view! fantastic report as always, thank you for sharing.
Thank you Smiley90. Qualia is a pretty special place.

Originally Posted by RTW4 View Post
You are a master.. Thank you for all the years of these incredible trip reports.. Kudos to you ...
Thanks so much RTW4 for your very kind comments.

Originally Posted by MarkCron View Post
Qualia is now on my list
Wise decision.

Originally Posted by makin'miles View Post
I kept it light-ish, with the salt and pepper squid and salad of bocconcini... and then ate a bit again on the plane. It really is a solid lounge and a great way to kick off a trip...!
Love that salt and pepper squid dish. Thanks again makin'miles.

Originally Posted by Bretteee View Post
Was it very hot on the barrier reef? I went in their winter in 1986 and it was chilly / spring. We flew on a sea plane to the reef and it was creepy as we were alone with the pilot and the water was cold. I would like to go to Lizard Island and Whitsunday Islands. As usual beautiful pictures. Thanks. Qantas First looks somewhat like Business. LOL. But it's a good deal.
Thanks Bretteee. The reef air temps were warm but quite pleasant with a constant breeze. I'd guess 85/30
SFO777 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 16, 19, 11:43 am
  #78  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: LAX-SNA
Programs: BA Gold, AF Silver, UA 1K, AA LT PLT
Posts: 19,001
Hamilton Island

New Years Day dawned with gorgeous sunny skies.









Our resident cheeky cockatoo was back, no doubt looking for food.



With this setting and view, in room dining for sure.



Mrs. SFO777's pancakes...



... and my Spanish omelet. Delicious.



Later in the morning, I decided to give our golf cart a workout and headed out to explore Hamilton Island.

















The Hamilton Island harbour.









Hamilton Island Yacht Club.









Back to Pebble Beach for lunch, prior to our helicopter tour to the Great Barrier Reef.













And back at our pavilion, lingering clouds were moving out.

SFO777 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 16, 19, 11:46 am
  #79  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Programs: BA Bronze, Emirates Silver, Virgin Silver, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 801
Looks very idyllic!
nequine is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 16, 19, 12:01 pm
  #80  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: LAX-SNA
Programs: BA Gold, AF Silver, UA 1K, AA LT PLT
Posts: 19,001
The Great Barrier Reef

At 2:20pm we hopped in the cart and headed to the Qualia helipad for our 2:30pm flight to the Reef. Our great pilot and guide Tallum.





Simply gorgeous secenry along the way for our 30 minute flight.









Whitsunday Beach.



























































On the helipad at the reef, with a resident ghost (aka Mrs. SFO777 veto-ing the pic... LOL).













First stop was the underwater viewing area.



And then pics from the "submarine" which moved along the reef.



















Next we're headed out for some awesome snorkling with a few hundred of our new friends. Sadly, no pics as I decided not the test Apple's claim that the iphone Xs was waterproof.



After an hour and a half at the reef, we shuttled back to the helipad. Our gorgeous bird...

















Back at Qualia just after 5pm. What an incredible experience and visit to the Great Barrier Reef.



Later that evening, a private dinner outdoors at the Long Pavilion.









Tonight's entertainment, a curlew who kept walking by our table growling at us for apparenlty invading her territory. Pretty funny.





Another wonderful meal and experience at Qualia.
nequine likes this.
SFO777 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 16, 19, 12:04 pm
  #81  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: LAX-SNA
Programs: BA Gold, AF Silver, UA 1K, AA LT PLT
Posts: 19,001
Heading home

Another gorgeous morning at Qualia. Unfortunately, it's getaway day and time to go home. We relaxed all morning, packed and then headed out in our cart for our 1pm shuttle ride to the airport.





HTI was pretty empty and we were thru security quickly and at the gate in no time. While getting to Australia using miles was easy, getting home directly using miles during the New Years week was simply impossible. The best I could come up with was a $4,700 roundtrip Qantas Business Class fare. Hated to do it but I used Chase UR points at 1.5x so each ticket cost 315,000 points. The good news is that we found a very convenient connection and a short 12 hour BNE-LAX flight on the new-ish Qantas 789. We earn miles for the flights and get a free return trip later this year, which we will use to position for Bali.



Our 717 arriving from Brisbane.



And now scheduled to depart 15 minutes early.



Hamilton Island HTI to Brisbane BNE
QantasLink QF 1575
717-200
2:25pm-4:10pm (sked)
2:10pm-3:20pm (actual)
January 2, 2019
Economy Exit row 14AC


Gate agents dutifully rolled out the Priority Board sign and like we've become accustomed to with QF, then proceeded to ignore it and announced general boarding for all. We are in Economy on this short HTI-BNE leg since Chase now uses expedia.com as its search engine and for some reason, despite a completely empty Business cabin, would only sell Economy on this short flight. Not to worry, as QF sold us much more comfortable and roomy exit row seats for only AUD $10.



Since we were sitting right in front of the gate podium, we were the first to board. The long but pleasant walk to our plane.





Roomy exit room with cloth seats that had more cushion and were actually more comfortable that the 717 Business Class seats.



Much more underseat space for bags than in Business. Yes, we did put them in the overhead for take-off and landing.













One last look at the gorgeous scenery around Hamilton Island and the Great Barrier Reef.





On board beverage and snack box service in Economy.





Our first look at Brisbane.





And on the ground at BNE.



For Economy, this was a very pleasant flight with a ton of room in the exit row.
SFO777 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 16, 19, 12:08 pm
  #82  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: LAX-SNA
Programs: BA Gold, AF Silver, UA 1K, AA LT PLT
Posts: 19,001
Since our original connect time at Brisbane was only 75 minutes, I was relieved when we arrived from Hamilton Island some 45 minutes early. We're now used to QantasLink and lack of jet bridges. Today was double exercise as we had to climb a long set of stairs from the tarmac to the terminal.



International Transfer. I guess that's us.





A Qantas customer service agent confirmed that the International Terminal is indeed nowhere near the domestic terminal and that we had to exit and take a transfer bus to the International Terminal.





Outside, just a gorgeous summer day.









Nice enough bus, but this drive just went on and on and on. BNE is apparently designed by the same crazy guy that designed Heathrow with the BNE International Terminal about as far away from the rest of the terminals as T5 is at Heathrow. Finally, we arrive.







After 20 questions from a pleasant security guy forced to ask stupid TSA-mandated questions, we both got our stickers and headed for security.



Where there were a mass of people in the regular line just beyond this point, but only a handful of folks in the priority line. And once again, access to this priority line is entirely on the honour system with no one checking our boarding passes.



After security and passport control, the crazy long walk thru duty free to the concourse.













At the far end of the concourse, the Qantas Business Lounge.





Pleasant lounge dragon welcomed us but advised that the 2nd level was closed since there aren't many flights at this time of day. OK, but there aren't many open seats. Probably more like Qantas is too cheap to staff the 2nd level.











We parked ourselves at the reasonablly pleasant communal table which seemed more pleasant than the rest of the lounge...



... near the food trough with a mediocre selection of food offerings.





... and bar.





SFO777 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 16, 19, 12:40 pm
  #83  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: LAX-SNA
Programs: BA Gold, AF Silver, UA 1K, AA LT PLT
Posts: 19,001
Qantas 789 Business from Brisbane to LAX

At T-50, we headed out for what turned out to be the furthest gate away from the lounge.











And Gate 87, apparently selected as it is the end of the world here and the easiest gate to manage stupid TSA pre-flight screening. As bad as the TSA mandates are, the process here was more like the Gong Show or chickens running around with their heads cut off.



Brisbane BNE to Los Angeles LAX
Qantas QF 55
787-900
5:25p-12:00p
January 2, 2019
Seats 4EF


With no apparent organization at the gate and the only agent announcements for those who had not already answered security questions at check in, we parked ourselves near the front of the Qantas "Priority" Lane. Or rather the Qantas Fake Priority lane, which once again became meaningless when the security folks opened the Economy lane first.





We waited near the gate podium and then the agent began scanning boarding passes without any announcement and certainly no invitation for Business Class to board first. A left turn from 2L into a rather pleasant looking Business Class cabin. Since we were one of the few Business Class passengers to board, I had lots of time to take pics of the cabin.



It's certainly not First Class but seems comfortable enough for 12 hours. Indeed, Mrs. SFO777 opined that this was much better than she expected and in fact, looked pretty nice.





















Tonight's menu with a familiar looking cover.















And the breakfast menu, which we filled out and handed back to one of our FAs.





The Qantas Business Class amenity kit...



... with a bunch of meh.





Pre departure choice of champagne or water.



The 789 IFE is much better than the A380 IFE, but once again, NO WIFI. On a new plane?? Yeah, who cares about Wifi and keeping in touch on a 12 hour flight?





After take-off, my usual G&T and a mostly pastry empanada canapé.





Dinner started with a salad and bread. The salad was basic but the bread was delicious. With a pleasant glass of shiraz.



My starter was the Tasting plate with sweet potato hummus, dukkah spiced labne, butter bean and chickpea salsa, roast capsicum, marinated zucchini and pita. It was quite tasty.



For my main, the Chicken biriyani with roasted pumpkin and raita was really good.





But the summer berry pudding with creme fraiche was dry and disappointing.



After a movie, I asked one our FAs to make my bed and went to change.



Now that's a pretty cool idea, although a little freaky looking... a mattress pad that wraps around the seat.



While not overly thick or cushiony. the resulting bed was pretty comfortable as I slept for a solid 6 hours.





The snack counter in the forward galley.



Breakfast... the largest croissant I've ever seen, and a delicious bacon, egg and cheddar on Turkish with Neil (Perry)'s barbecue sauce.



OK, now this was really good.







We landed at LAX on time, but were banished to the Gate 200+ bus gates where all the unimportant flights go, aka flights from those airlines unwilling to pay for a TBIT gate.











Huge lines inside CBP but with Global Entry we were in and out in less than 5 minutes. Today with Qantas was a much better day than our Hobart to Hamilton Island day. OK so Qantas isn't one of the worst airlines in the free world, at least today. Just don't plan on staying in touch with the rest of the world while you are in the air.

What a wonderful but all too short visit to Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef. Thanks for following along.

And a post script. After we relaxed and unpacked, we headed for groceries at our local Gelson's where we found carrots worthy of the Qantas Business Lounge in SYD.



Oh yeah, and one last vacation dinner... at our brand new IN-N-OUT. LOL.





For more pics and an HD version of this report, please visit SFO777.com...

Off to Tasmania
Qantas First Class to Melbourne
Qantas Club Domestic Lounge at MEL
Qantas Business Class to Hobart
The Islington - Hobart
Hobart
Flying a 737 Simulator
Helicopter to Port Arthur
Tasman Island and the Three Capes
Oysters and Wine by Helicopter
QantasLink Business Class to Sydney
Qantas SYD Lounge and QantasLink to Hamilton Island
Qualia Resort on Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island
The Great Barrier Reef by Helicopter
QantasLink to Brisbane
Connecting at Brisbane
Qantas 789 Business Class to LAX

Last edited by SFO777; Jan 16, 19 at 12:47 pm
SFO777 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 16, 19, 6:57 pm
  #84  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
IHG Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Valley of the Sun
Programs: AA PLT, SPG PLT, IHG AMB PLT,
Posts: 10,740
Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post

We landed at LAX on time, but were banished to the Gate 200+ bus gates where all the unimportant flights go, aka flights from those airlines unwilling to pay for a TBIT gate.
You want a first rate Lounge or non bus gate?

Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post

And a post script. After we relaxed and unpacked, we headed for groceries at our local Gelson's where we found carrots worthy of the Qantas Business Lounge in SYD.

Yeah when I saw those carrots from the lounge, the first things that came to mind was Mr. Ed!

Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post

Oh yeah, and one last vacation dinner... at our brand new IN-N-OUT. LOL.




When I moved from San Diego to Arizona that was the one thing I missed a lot, was my In-N-Out Double Double Animal style but that all changed when In-N-Out finally made to Phoenix.

Great trip report, I have been wanting to make it to the Barrier Reef ever since I got my diving certificate.
FlightNurse is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 16, 19, 11:04 pm
  #85  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,236
Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
Hamilton Island





Those chips look like something else ... YUM!
SQTraveller is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 18, 19, 1:42 pm
  #86  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: LAX-SNA
Programs: BA Gold, AF Silver, UA 1K, AA LT PLT
Posts: 19,001
Originally Posted by FlightNurse View Post
You want a first rate Lounge or non bus gate? Yeah when I saw those carrots from the lounge, the first things that came to mind was Mr. Ed!
When I moved from San Diego to Arizona that was the one thing I missed a lot was my In-N-Out Double Double Animal style but that all changed when In-N-Out finally made to Phoenix.
Great trip report, I have been wanting to make it to the Barrier Reef ever since I got my diving certificate.
Thanks very much FlightNurse. Mr. Ed indeed. Perfect!!​​​

Originally Posted by SQTraveller View Post
Those chips look like something else ... YUM!
They were delicious. Thanks SQTraveller.
SFO777 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 5, 19, 6:39 pm
  #87  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: US Air, UA BA LH AI DELTA MARRIOTT CHOICE SGP
Posts: 9,134
SFO777 You have left me unable to find more superlatives for your TRs ! Loved the photos, thank you for letting us live vicariously thru your diligent reports.

Funny how after just five days in spite of 5 + star resort and dining you gravitated to In & Out burgers. Have seen this on every cruise, hit a port, if there is a McD, KFC, Starbucks people flock there ! How tenuously are we bound to home ! In my case after two months overseas, my first outing at home was to our fav Pequod's Pizza.
PS: Princess looks happy thruout.
HMPS is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 5, 19, 7:12 pm
  #88  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
IHG Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Valley of the Sun
Programs: AA PLT, SPG PLT, IHG AMB PLT,
Posts: 10,740
Originally Posted by HMPS View Post
Funny how after just five days in spite of 5 + star resort and dining you gravitated to In & Out burgers. Have seen this on every cruise, hit a port, if there is a McD, KFC, Starbucks people flock there ! How tenuously are we bound to home ! In my case after two months overseas, my first outing at home was to our fav Pequod's Pizza.
PS: Princess looks happy thruout.
Before In-n-Out came to Phoenix, I would only be able to get if when I went back to San Diego to visit my folks, I would make sure my flight got in to SAN about 5ish, so I could make a stop at an In-N-Out before seeing my parents, Comfort food at it's best.
FlightNurse is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 8, 19, 1:05 pm
  #89  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: LAX-SNA
Programs: BA Gold, AF Silver, UA 1K, AA LT PLT
Posts: 19,001
Originally Posted by HMPS View Post
SFO777 You have left me unable to find more superlatives for your TRs ! Loved the photos, thank you for letting us live vicariously thru your diligent reports. Funny how after just five days in spite of 5 + star resort and dining you gravitated to In & Out burgers. Have seen this on every cruise, hit a port, if there is a McD, KFC, Starbucks people flock there ! How tenuously are we bound to home ! In my case after two months overseas, my first outing at home was to our fav Pequod's Pizza. PS: Princess looks happy thruout.
Thanks very much HMPS for you kind comments. LOL on the food. I guess one only eat so much "fancy" food.

Originally Posted by FlightNurse View Post
Before In-n-Out came to Phoenix, I would only be able to get if when I went back to San Diego to visit my folks, I would make sure my flight got in to SAN about 5ish, so I could make a stop at an In-N-Out before seeing my parents, Comfort food at it's best.
Indeed.
SFO777 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 9, 19, 12:12 pm
  #90  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Programs: BA GOLD, HH Diamond
Posts: 2,139
Great TR thanks. QF biz class looks decent.
stevie is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread