I knew long in advance that I wanted to travel to Australia and timing wise, I was in limbo just awaiting my final grades for my final year in university and actual graduation ceremony. My brother, Andrew had accumulated about 3 weeks of paid vacation so it was settled – 03/25/10-04/13/10 – a 3 week trip to Australia & New Zealand (2 weeks Australia – Sydney, Cairns & Melbourne & 1 week New Zealand – Auckland & Rotorua),
First off, when planning a trip to Australia make sure you figure out if you plan on travelling outside of Australia (for eg – roundtrip ticket flying in and out of AUS but wanting to travel to New Zealand and return for a day in AUS) and if you plan on coming back as you need to purchase either a single or multi-entry visa. You can also purchase your visa at the airport.
If I knew this ahead of time, my trip would have gone so smoothly. What makes matters worse for myself in particular is the fact my last name is just a single letter – U and your passport and visas need to have the same exact spelling. But at least I was travelling with my brother Andrew so I wasn’t holding anyone else back. Let’s just say we dealt with 3 Air Canada employees that were our saviours and it was a good thing we got to the airport a few hours ahead and were quick to run to our gate where you could see them manually changing us from red listed to allowing us aboard to our first stopover to Vancouver.
Flight from Toronto with a stopover in Vancouver and landing in Sydney, Australia = 4 + 16 = 20 hours of flying. This was my first ever international flight and I can tell you I barely slept and watched practically every single movie on the way over. Keep in mind that when you land in Australia, they are very particular about sterilizing the plane so you will be sitting in the plane after landing for a bit.
We departed Toronto on April 23rd, 2010 and arrived in Sydney, AUS on Sunday April 25th at 830AM.
Our Uncle Ronald (my father’s best friend who resides and retired in Sydney) picked us up from the airport. We haven’t seen him in over a decade and the first thing he says to us “I was looking for these 2” *takes out a photo of Andrew and myself circa 1992*.
Uncle Ronald drove us around to see icons of Sydney especially Kings Cross (not much action during the day) but apparently we came on the weekend of Anzac Parade which is the Australian & New Zealand memorial / remembrance day. We continued onward to the fish market, Lady Macquarie’s Chair, Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge. We then headed over to Chinatown for yum cha with our uncle and his friends Elena, Eric and Philip. That night, uncle Ronald and his lovely wife Maisie took us to their friends home for a big dinner. There was a big Winnie, small Winnie, Ricky, Tommy, Eric and Elena as well as uncle Ronald and auntie Maisie. Dinner was good and well a mixture of food coma and jet lag started to set in as Andrew and myself started to doze off on the couch. We left their place around 10-1030pm and got back around 11pm; we went right to bed. I think we did pretty well our first day in Australia considering we spent 20+ hours on a plane and time difference.