Australia seriesAustralia Day 1--Qantas flight 8 DFW-BNE (Dallas to Brisbane)
Australia Day 2--Flight to Sydney, the Westin Sydney hotel & sightseeing
Australia Days 3/4--Hunter Valley & the Blue Mountains
Australia Day 5--Sydney sightseeing and Manly Beach
Australia Day 6--Paddy's Market, Bondi to Coogee Walk & Darling Harbour
Australia Day 7--Sydney to Cairns, Holiday Inn Cairns & the Cairns Esplanade
Australia Day 8--The Great Barrier Reef
Australia Day 9--Kuranda Koala Gardens, Skyrail & Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
Australia Day 10--Daintree Rainforest & Cape Tribulation
Australia Day 11--Going home, Part 1, Cairns to Brisbane
Australia Day 11--Going home, Part 2, Brisbane to Honolulu
Qantas flight 505 BNE-SYD (Brisbane to Sydney)I arrived in Brisbane around 5:20 am, and then I had a short layover. My flight left Dallas on a Sunday night, but since I crossed the International Date Line, it was now Tuesday morning. Flight 8 from Dallas actually continues on to Sydney, unfortunately, the award ticket I booked had me on a regular domestic flight (flight 505) so I had to go through customs and take a bus to change terminals.
After arriving at the domestic terminal and going through security, I went to the Qantas lounge & watched the sun rise while eating pancakes.
|Watching the sun rise from the Qantas Club lounge in Brisbane|
|The business class cabin|
|iPads for everyone!|
|Landing in Sydney|
|Plane-spotting in Sydney|
The Westin Sydney hotel & sightseeing
We exited the train at Martin Place & it was a couple minutes walk to our hotel, The Westin Sydney. The Westin is a category 5 hotel and 12,000 points per night in the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program. One benefit of the program is the fifth night free on award stays. So I took advantage of this benefit and booked 5 nights for 48,000 points, which I obtained by signing up & spending on the SPG American Express card.
Since it was only just before 10 am & check-in wasn't until 3 pm, there was no room ready for us. I don't have gold or platinum status with SPG so I wasn't really expecting them to let us check in early.
|The Westin lobby|
|Most folks pronounced "Quay" as "key" or "cay"|
|Circular Quay railway station|
|Sydney Opera House|
|Sydney Harbour Bridge (and the Park Hyatt hotel in front)|
|The Rocks Discovery Museum|
|Hungry Jacks at Circular Quay|
|No view to brag about|
|We had some laughs at the glass wall in the bathroom|
We kicked back in the room for a couple hours, then went out again around 4:30 pm. I wanted to walk across the Harbour Bridge at sunset, so we went back to the Circular Quay.
|Sun setting over the Opera House at the Circular Quay|
|The Harbour Bridge pedestrian walkway|
|Sydney skyline from the bridge|
|Opera House from the bridge|
|Too bad it was just closing for the night|
|Milsons Point area under the bridge|
|Sydney transit system was very easy to use|