Have you beeen on a plane for 23 hours? Stop, and really think about what it means to travel for 23 hours. First thing I did was get a (legal) prescription for some Ambien and avail myself of some pharmaceutical relief. I flew from Atlanta to LA to Australia. The LA to Australia leg itself was 16 hours on Qantas Airlines. They got myself and all my luggage to my destination safely and on time. This puts them way ahead of the pack already. The planes were nice, new, employees were smartly dressed and service oriented.
In other posts you may notice that I am a big fan of Starwood/ Marriott properties. I encourage everyone to become loyalty members of whatever company you use the most. The Starwood Loyalty Program has a fantastic points and perks system and I hoard my points like an old lady with cats.
When visiting somewhere, the most important choice you make is the hotel. Like real estate, location, location, location. The Westin Sydney is gorgeous, the views are beautiful and has a great location. It is within walking distance to most of the cities landmarks, as well as the Opera House and Circular Quay.
Sydney is easy to navigate, and is a beautiful, clean, city. I recommend walking when possible. However, a word of caution, I went to Sydney in August and it was freaking freezing!! It was the height of their winter. I don’t know why I didn’t think it got that cold here. Fail! Do your research on the weather better than I did!!!
Check out these do not miss places!
Sydney Aquarium- It’s a large and beautiful Aquarium with an amazing shark exhibit!
Sydney’s Chinatown- It’s just enjoyable to walk around looking at everything. I decided to eat dinner at a restaurant called Golden Century. Be aware- its very authentic, and not for vegetarians or the squeamish.
Sydney Tower and the Observation Deck- which incidentally is the height of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The views were absolutely stunning. Do not miss this.
Take a Harbor tour by boat- The perspective from the boats are very different from land, and the photo ops are amazing!
Bondi Beach- this may have been my favorite walk around cliffs are just dramatic and beautiful, I could have spent hours watching the surfers. Bring your camera!
Make a reservation at Icebergs Dining Room – The food is fantastic, and the restaurant (and views) are world famous and wildly popular. We especially loved the pea, fennel, mint, and dill salad. I had cheese risotto which I loved. This is definitely on my list of things to do when I return.
Opals- if you decide life isn’t complete without opals, beware- they are super expensive and everywhere. Make sure that you shop at reputable places, and not some sketchy discount place. After several stores and an afternoon of shopping I came home with a black opal necklace which I paid way to much money for.
Opera House and Harbor Bridge- These two architectural wonders dominate the Sydney skyline and are perhaps some of the most recognized landmarks in the world. Circular Quay has great vantage points for photos, but make sure and take the one hour tour of the Opera House given throughout the day. The ceilings inside are incredible!
* You can also climb the Habour Bridge which is pretty popular and looked pretty scary. I wimped out and didn’t do this. I’m totally sorry I didn’t. I plan to return one day, and I want to climb the bridge.
I never did really become accustomed to the complete time change. The jet lag on this trip is a really tough for Americans. No kidding. I shudder just thinking about it.
That being said, Australia was my favorite trip I’ve ever taken and I loved every minute I was there. I cannot wait to go back- 23 hours and all. Maybe I can get a more powerful sedative this time?