As promised, I am bringing everyone up to date on my travels over the past year. These aren't going to be in any particular order, but I thought I'd start with my big vacation trip of last year, Sydney , Australia.
Sometime over the summer last year I got the idea that I wanted to go to Australia, and once a travel idea is in my head, well it's pretty hard to get me to back down from that idea. So I booked a trip. Now for those unaware, I am an aerospace engineer, so part of the fun of flying is seeing what new airplanes I can fly on. When given the option of flying through Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) or Los Angeles (LAX), I chose LAX despite the longer flight time. This was for on specific reason, I could catch the Airbus A380 airplane in LAX, and fly back on a 747... They ended up switching the 747 for an A380 on the way back, which was disappointing for me since I had never flown one, but such is the way of the airline industry.
My flight plan took me from Philadelphia (PHL) to LAX to Sydney (SYD). LAX to SYD is an ultra long haul flight... but nothing like the SYD to DFW flight on the way back, distance wise SYD to DFW holds the record for longest commercial route in the world. That is until Emirates beats that later this year by about 10 miles on their new Panama City to Dubai route.
Landing in Sydney, I went through customs... and can I ask, why are all customs agents surprised that I carry on? I use a duffel bag because it's quick, easy, and fits in all overhead compartments. Never fails that they ask where the rest of my baggage is. Anyways, I then caught the Subway/Metro/Train into the city, where I had to hang about for a few hours until I could get into the hotel. Meanwhile I took some pictures...
After getting into the hotel, I laid down for most of the day. I had unfortunately caught a cold before leaving Philadelphia, it was on it's way out but that cold was bond and determined to take me out for a few days. So my trip to Australia was a bit muted and there was far less exploring than I had anticipated.
Where to go in Sydney:
Now I didn't go everyplace I had wanted to, but I was very happy with all of the places I did explore. So let me break them all down for you.
Circular Quay, go to Circular Quay a few times. This area is where many of the ferries dock, where the Opera House is, where you can see Sydney Harbor and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. The entire waterfront area is littered with different eating establishments. I was fascinated by how big Fish and Chips were in Sydney. This had always been a favorite of mine, so I tried it more times than I can count... felt like being in London with better weather. If you want a great place to eat, go to Circular Quay without a doubt. I ate there every day and didn't double up on a dinner restaurant.
Second, it's a bit pricey, but go to the observation tower and eat at the rotating restaurant. It's an experience, but that's what it was, an experience only. I was not impressed by the food at all, it was expensive and not really to my taste. However, while I'm not a person who likes alcohol almost ever, I did try the imported Elderflower Cider, and if I could get that in the US, I'd have a case on its way right now.
Go to the NSW Art Gallery, while art isn't everyone's thing, I've grown to love it and the art gallery in Sydney was great. Not a lot of the impressionism greats, but some pretty awesome Australian artists, and it was a really fun place to visit in the middle of a pretty amazing park.
Second, the zoo, go there without hesitation. The Sydney Zoo is amazing, and has a great view of the harbor an the downtown city area. The zoo is a short ride across the harbor, jump on a bust that takes you to the top of the hill, then descend the hill through the zoo until you end at the bottom where you can catch the ferry back to Circular Quay. This is a good way to spend a day in Sydney, don't skip it.
The natural history museum was a great one too, always a place I try to visit while abroad. Who can dislike dinosaurs and geology all mixed in together. The collection of dinos, geology rocks, and native history is great way to spend half a day or so and right in downtown Sydney.
Lastly, I am a huge fan of Science and Technology, so I make it a point to try to get to Science museums if at all possible and this was one of my favorites in Sydney. The Power House Museum is great. The architecture of the building, to the collection of space and air craft, to the first train in Australia... don't miss this one.
Off to New Zealand
After my few days in Australia, I headed back to the airport to catch my next flight to Auckland, New Zealand. That will be covered in my next review.
Overall, Sydney and Australia have quickly jumped to the top of my favored locations to visit. While it is a pricey city, I would jump at a chance to go back and it will probably be a place I visit ever few years going forward, assuming I don't get distracted by another exotic location.
Until next time...