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travel from united states to australia

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tsuris

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This will be my first time traveling more than about 2-3 hours by plane (16 hours 50 minutes on a single flight). I was wondering if anyone had any advice they might be able to give on sights to be seen or things to be done, and any advice as to travelling internationally for the first time. (Advice from asking locally, pack light, dress comfortably, carry on enough to survive 2 days check the rest, don't carry more cash than needed for 1 meal + taxi, and dont keep THAT in back pocket, copies of passport and other documents in each piece of luggage)
Going to be in Brisbane (around postal code 4305) 2/5/2015 - 20/5/2015 with a shorter trip in Sydney (staying at Shangri-la Executive Grand Harbour View Suite King) for one night 6-7/5/2015.

Plans for Brisbane include a wedding 15/5/15 and a birthday 10/5/15. Also planning at least one trip to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

Sydney is a bit limited on time, but hoping for
10AM Tower Eye
11AM Toranga Zoo
3PM (leave zoo)
4PM Sydney Opera House
5PM (Meal at hotel if we didn't eat at opera house)
6:30-7:30 start walk across Sydney Harbor Bridge (possibly the pylon lookout)
9PM Dinner at Cafe Mix or blu Bar on 36 (at hotel) or somewhere else nearby
7AM Breakfast at Horizon club
10AM Hotel Checkout/Art Museum
11AM Chinese Garden (11:30 to feed fish)
Plane leaves 4:05
anything I NEED to see?
and good ideas where to eat at a reasonable price (not looking for 5 star dining just something better than McDonalds/Maccas)
Flights and times listed below, the red times are the "wait" times between, worried a bit about 1 hour 10 minutes in SYD to catch the plane to DFW on the trip back.


flights.jpg
 

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Hi tsuris, welcome to the forum. I'm not sure that I can quickly grasp all those flight times, but it sounds like quite an adventure and it's good that you are planning early and getting the questions in.

Some of the nitty gritty of you plans and questions may be best dealt with on Tripadvisor.com by the destination experts on there. Although, your SYD itinerary looks very tight and controlled. For example, it will take longer than 1 hour to get in to the SYD Tower, go up and walk around and look at the view, back down and then get over to Taronga Zoo. But, do go by ferry to see the harbour.

Make sure you carry enough cash for contingencies, it's very safe here if you just take the normal precautions. You will need to be at SYD a/port at least 2 hours in advance for check in and security etc. It's not a whole lot different to the US.

Make sure you have the best credit cards for currency exchange. Amex is not so well accepted here.

So, pose some questions to Tripadvisor and see how you go. Best of luck.
 

Homer

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There's so much to see in Sydney and I think your Sydney schedule looks too tight. Are you in a position to "re-balance" your trip?. Sydney is like all of California rolled into one place, with a splash of Boston (history) rolled in. The queue for the Sydney Tower might eat up half the time you've allocated to that. Then you have to get to Circular Quay to take the ferry to Taronga (which you should do by the way, as it gets you out on the harbour and a look at the Opera House from the water). Taronga can be a full day by itself and it's great if you like zoos and the views back to the city are spectacular. The Pylon Lookout is on the southern side of the bridge and so you won't be walking across if you do that, unless you double back. The Chinese Garden is OK but you can get that sort of thing in lots of other places. On your last day why not go down to Bondi Beach?
 

tsuris

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Hi tsuris, welcome to the forum. I'm not sure that I can quickly grasp all those flight times,
The times on the left are local to the airport near me (my local time) the times on the right are AEST or Sydney Airport times. As for the Tower I was just hoping to see the observation deck, the above was just the ideas hashed out while searching between me and my friend that lives in Brisbane (who has only been to Sydney too young to be helpful in planning). Have been to trip advisor, they gave me Shangri-la :) the rest is a bit harder to find given time constraints.
There's so much to see in Sydney and I think your Sydney schedule looks too tight. Are you in a position to "re-balance" your trip?.
The flights are set as for the when, any activities (besides the art museum and the zoo are optional).
Thank you both as well for your replies.
 
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Just be aware of daylight saving in SYD (but not BNE), when daylight saving ends. There will be a 1 hour difference between SYD and BNE!

5 Apr 2015 - Daylight Saving Time Ends

When local daylight time is about to reach
Sunday, 5 April 2015, 3:00:00 AM clocks are turned backward 1 hour to
Sunday, 5 April 2015, 2:00:00 AM local standard time instead

Sunrise and sunset will be about 1 hour earlier on 5 Apr 2015 than the day before. There will be more light in the morning.
 

tsuris

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Just be aware of daylight saving in SYD (but not BNE), when daylight saving ends. There will be a 1 hour difference between SYD and BNE!
Times listed there are from
cant post links :( wwwdottimeanddatedotcom/worldclock/converterdothtml
edit, testing this after 10 posts link thing, the above address should read: www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html
so hopefully they will have it correct (for SYD) as for the other, I thought SYD and BNE were in the same time zone, but were off an hour only when in DST...not off when DST was over.
If it helps as well this was the excel sheet I made for the time: (times listed every 30 min doesn't mean I expect to be out of airport 10 minutes after landing, just didnt want to put middle times in there)
trip plans.jpg
 
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The airlines will have it right, and yes you are correct. That is when SYD goes BACK onto the same time zone as BNE.

Times listed there are from
cant post links :( wwwdottimeanddatedotcom/worldclock/converterdothtml
so hopefully they will have it correct (for SYD) as for the other, I thought SYD and BNE were in the same time zone, but were off an hour only when in DST...not off when DST was over.
 

jastel

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Its a shame you cant have longer in SYD, you need more than one and a half days. And NO I don't live in SYD or BNE but have been there many times.
I had one day in Houston, spent it all at NASA, I am sure there is more to see there, but NASA was what I wanted to see the most.

Have you considered the Bridge Climb? Replace the Tower and Pylon and Opera House with the climb, you can see them all from there, view is similar to Tower, very easy you CANT fall off. Takes about 3 hours.
You can walk from Circular Quay right over the Harbour Bridge on the Cahill Walk for free, then back down to the water and Luna Park, then ferry back or to the zoo.
They have an all day transport pass for buses trains and ferries.
Taronga Zoo is good, but BNE has similar zoo's, Lone Pine, Australia Zoo (Steve Irwin) and others. I suspect you mainly want to see Aussie animals so maybe you could shorten that.

BNE has lots to do as well, the rivercat is a cheap way to see the sights, they have a bridgeclimb as well, Southbank, museums/art gallery etc, you have the Gold Coast and the theme parks, the Sunshine Coast on the north side. Your friends can help you there.

Ultimately its your trip but so do what you like best.
 

tsuris

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Did consider the climb, want to see the opera house up close (and inside) and I read you can't take pictures on the climb. I could consider the possibility of changing my booking from leaving BNE on 19/5 instead of 20/5 and spending that day there as well (or leaving a day later 8/5 and stay the second day solo), but I would either have to rebook or book an additional flight via qantas. Funny thought, I've been here my entire life, only ever been to NASA once, so long ago I don't much remember it, may have to do that again.
Ultimately its your trip but so do what you like best.
I like best staying in my room cloistered @ my computer (or tv/ps4) playing games, when I don't have to work, going to SERIOUSLY rock the boat here!
 
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I'm still concerned about leaving the city at 1400 with a dep time of 1605. It's too fraught with hold ups and insufficient check in, immigration, security time. And, I agree, you need more time in SYD ideally.
 

tsuris

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I'm still concerned about leaving the city at 1400 with a dep time of 1605. It's too fraught with hold ups and insufficient check in, immigration, security time. And, I agree, you need more time in SYD ideally.
the time to arrive at airport would be 2:30 (give or take, can bump that if it needs to be) the 14 min cab ride is just how long it takes, basically there is nothing planned or scheduled after around noon (maybe 1230)

edit,thoughts
could move tower eye to second day, skip the fish and do that in its place
 

jastel

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No pictures allowed on climb, you have to wear a special suit with glasses etc all tied on so you cant drop anything.
You can buy pictures (they learnt from Disney!) and it really is a once in a lifetime view for most people.
Tours of the Opera House go often but bookings may be needed to get the time you want. They are worth it, I think you get discounted seats to that night shows as well with the tour ticket.
Hopefully the construction around the Opera House will be finished by next year. A Sydneysider can update you.
You can go outside on the Tower walk as well, extra $$, all safe and tied on etc.

Train from city to Airport is easy, around $30 return, takes about 25 mins. At mid afternoon the airport check in can get busy as others have said.
Taxis will be about 45 minutes and $60+ at that hour of the day. Traffic. Even non peak hour they are more than $30.

If it raining there is the Art Gallery, Maritime Museum, Powerhouse Museum and many smaller ones as well.
 
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At this stage, you just need to decide whether to have an extra day in SYD or not. The details of which way to walk at this stage are too fine. Personally, I think you can feed fish and giraffes anywhere in the world pretty much - see some Aussie animals in BNE.

You could get a better idea of SYD and some history by spending time wandering a bit more. Start at the Botanical Gardens and walk through there around the opera house and Circular Quay; around the Rocks and then over the Bridge. Take a ferry ride.
 

tsuris

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The feed giraffes is for the friend I will be staying in brisbane with(so I don't want to change that), the fish, i can skip, that was my idea. I will have to move forward with the assumption of no extension based on everything I know, likely, this will be my only day.
 

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If you're serious about doing the inside of the Opera House, do try and do a backstage tour. The construction looks to be going on for a while yet, but don't let that stop you. It might be just about finished by then but I wouldn't hold my breath, it's a massive project. They're building a new underground loading dock - it doesn't affect the tours inside at all, and you can still do a good walk around the outside regardless, though you might be told by an Irish backpacker in a high vis suit where you can walk. There's still plenty of happy tourists wandering around and dodging my car. Lunch at the House at one of the eateries on the Southern Boardwalk (one level down from the top) is lovely. I love the Miss Chu dumplings myself, but there's great Japanese, burgers and fishy salads to be had. And great coffee and little desserts, but if you're a chocolate lover, backtrack towards the Quay a little ways and go to the Guylian Cafe. Closer to sunset, the Opera Bar down there is one of the places to be seen. The opera company won't be in residence in May, but the Australian Ballet will be.
 

tsuris

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  • Found the following for pre booking (can't book the dates I want for at least 6 months from now, but does anyone know what AD/CC/CH stand for in the Plates, and online concession is what? Thank you again.



  • Tour&Tasting Plate AD @ $70.80
  • Tour&Tasting Plate CC @ $62.70
  • Tour&Tasting Plate CH @ $55.50
  • Online Adult @ $33.30
  • Online Concession @ $25.20
edit
the backstage is only available 7AM, could do that instead of hotel breakfast, but it raises the price to 165, one review listed not far down on the page says it includes a breakfast, but that isn't mentioned on the tour details.

 
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SamR

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Pre booking for what?

The online price for whatever it is would the discounted price for booking in advance online rather than on site on the day. Concession refers to those entitled to a further discount - usually students and senior citizens with suitable I.D.
 

tsuris

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pre booking the dates in november (when I won't be there) just to get a price list, (which is subject to be different at the right time), don't suppose you could confirm the breakfast on the review? (concessions in the US usually refers to the place to get snacks in a stadium, ie. concession stand, never had it used that way before but it makes sense)
move tower eye to 1130 second day, skip hotel breakfast in favor of 7am @ opera house

9:20 AM arrive at airport
9:30 AM
10:00 AM Hotel Drop off bags
10:30 AM 15min to ferry 20 min on ferry
11:00 AM Toranga Zoo
11:30 AM
12:00 PM Free Bird Flight Show
12:30 PM
1:00 PM
1:30 PM
2:00 PM giraffe encounter
2:30 PM
3:00 PM Leave
3:30 PM 20min by ferry
4:00 PM start bridge walk early
4:30 PM
5:00 PM
5:30 PM
6:00 PM
6:30 PM
7:00 PM
7:30 PM
8:00 PM
8:30 PM
9:00 PM Altitude bar or café mix or blu bar or other
9:30 PM
10:00 PM
10:30 PM
11:00 PM
11:30 PM
12:00 AM
12:30 AM
1:00 AM
1:30 AM
2:00 AM
2:30 AM
3:00 AM
3:30 AM
4:00 AM
4:30 AM
5:00 AM
5:30 AM
6:00 AM
6:30 AM
7:00 AM opera house guided 2 hour tour (maybe with breakfast?
7:30 AM
8:00 AM
8:30 AM
9:00 AM
9:30 AM
10:00 AM Art Museum
10:30 AM
11:00 AM
11:30 AM Tower eye
12:00 PM
12:30 PM
1:00 PM
1:30 PM
2:00 PM 13mins by taxi
2:30 PM airport
3:00 PM
3:30 PM
4:00 PM plane leaves 4:05 PM
 
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SamR

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Do you mean the Opera House tour? I don't know what reviews you are referring to, but if it's breakfast in the Green Room you're referring to, here's the deal - yes it's in the actual Green Room where us worker folk hang out when we're working there. You're not likely to see anyone famous that early in the morning, but you'll still pick up on the vibe of the place. And it really is sacrosanct, and a part of the House that few non-industry people get to experience. (It's so private that you're not allowed to take photos in there, even those of us who work there. It's supposed to be a place where you can be tired, in costume, relaxing, whatever, and not be hassled.). Breakfast is basic fare like fried eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast and good coffee, especially now that there is a new catering company feeding us. And if it's good enough to nourish the morning crew, it's good enough for you! :)
 

tsuris

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Do you mean the Opera House tour? I don't know what reviews you are referring to, but if it's breakfast in the Green Room you're referring to, here's the deal - yes it's in the actual Green Room. And if it's good enough to nourish the morning crew, it's good enough for you! :)
The backstage tour includes a breakfast, that isn't mentioned on the site (thank you for saying) as for good enough, I can eat almost anything (that doesn't include onions or tomatoes) and enjoy it so it will be wonderful I am sure, considering a switch to a better view but cheaper room in the hotel, that will not include breakfast, or a separate sleeping room, (2 twin beds in one room instead of a suite with 1 king bed and a fold out queen in the "sitting" room.
Executive Grand Harbour View Room
 
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