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Trip Report Australia Trip Report with Pictures May 2013

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We've been back for a month now, so it's about time I get to doing this trip report. It took 2 weeks for me to adjust back to our time zone. Maybe because we packed our days full and returned so happy, but so exhausted too! I'm posting links to some of my photos also. Hope it works, I use a Canon 5D.

Our trip to Australia was from May 7 - May 26, 2013. We live in Ohio and began our trip May 2 with a few days spent in Yellowstone, then flew on to Southern California where we grew up. It helped with a few hours adjustment to our body clocks, and we were so impressed with how much Southern California has improved since our last trip there 10 years ago. We are in our late 50's, born, raised and married in Southern California. We left 35 years ago though so it hasn't been home for quite a long time.

We flew on United airlines direct from Los Angeles to Sydney round trip, using FF miles. I booked the tickets on line, 9 or 10 months prior. Thanks to everyone on Fodors who helped organize our trip plan.

This report will rely heavily on some of the photos I took, they tell a better story than I can. Each day I'll summarize what we did, where we spent the night and our highlights.

May 9 Thursday, we arrived in Sydney at 6:45 a.m. Our flight was a bit late in arriving because of a mechanical as we were to leave Los Angeles. Ha, a woman wouldn't sign off on the toilets functioning properly, so we need to wait for someone to remove the paperwork from the area. Much better than an engine problem I'd say.

Our flight was fine, and comfortable as we had the middle seat free. The flight was not fully booked and time went quickly.

We wanted to buy the MyMulti1 Pass for our time in Sydney and not buy a ticket for the expensive ($15.80 each one way) airport train when we arrived. I found this information for the way to do this:

CHEAPEST way to get in & out of Sydney Airport & get around Sydney for next few days is to fly in
pick up your bags then go downstairs & buy a
MyMulti 1 WEEKLY Ticket $44 from the underground Airport train station
but - DONT catch the train at the Airport - It will cost extra.

Head back upstairs & catch the 400 bus in either direction. (Get off at the first train station stop). Bus 400 left the airport at area 22. We took it to Mascot. Driver was helpful in showing us were the train was. It was quite simple.

The MyMulti 1 WEEKLY $44 gets you unlimited trips 24/7 on
trains around the inner suburbs also
all private & government scheduled buses,
all Sydney Ferries & light rail for all suburbs of Sydney for
7days for $44 including to & from the airport on 400 bus only. (not airport trains)
The system here are trains, not metros like in Paris. You need to check for the right platforms. The train took us right to Circular Quay without needing to transfer. From here it was a short walk to our hotel, The Russell Hotel in the Rocks.

Our room was very nice, but small. We choose a room with the bathroom in the hall. It was a shared bathroom by 2 rooms, and anyone else that chose to use it. I really dislike sharing a bathroom, but it did cut our hotel cost. Sydney is very expensive for us, the U.S. Dollar was very weak to the Australian dollar, although the AUD did drop as our trip progressed. The location is excellent, the staff quite friendly and breakfast buffet, which is included is also excellent. It's served in the downstairs Wine Bar.

The Carnival Cruise Ship Spirit was docked at the Ocean Terminal. We didn't find out until the next day that two passengers were missing, and lost at sea. I don't think the ship even realized this until everyone had left the ship. Sad news. "Surveillance camera footage showed the couple was outside their cabin when they fell more than 65 feet from the ship's mid deck Wednesday night, Police Superintendent Mark Hutchings said. At the time, the ship was about 65 nautical miles off the coast of Forster, a city 185 miles north of Sydney".

Using our transportation pass we took the ferry from Circular Quay to the Taronga Zoo. The ferry trip is beautiful, and are all the ferry trips we took. Once we arrived at the dock, a bus was waiting to drive us to the entrance of the zoo. We bought 2 zoo tickets, $44 each, at the entrance. I noticed later that the tourist booklet we picked up at the airport as we were walking to customs (there are piles of them along the way in the terminal), included a discount coupon for the zoo. Unfortunately I didn't notice this in time so we paid full price for our tickets. These tickets included the skyrail trip back down from the zoo to the ferry landing. The zoo is nice, but no nicer than many zoos we've been to. The bird show was excellent, as were the views across the harbor from the stands. I enjoyed seeing the city views behind the elephants and giraffes.

It was here we met the first of so many very friendly people who welcomed us to Australia. It must not have been too difficult to notice that we were visitors, because on several occasions people would stop and tell us much about this country they love so much. It was wonderful. We learned much from them.

We wanted to take the 2:30 I'm Free Tour of Sydney . It met at Town Hall Square. The tour is a bit too long, but very thorough. The idea is to tip the guide what you think it was worth at the end. We stayed for 2 hours, until the mid break and were very happy with the guide. We were so exhausted, since this was our first day, it was time to go take a nap before dinner. We highly recommend this tour.

Dinner was at The Lord Nelson Brewery in the Rocks. The location is in the Rocks, but not as centrally located as The Russell. It was a bit of a walk there, through a dark underpass, and along a busy road. Once we arrived, we needed to wait awhile to snag a table downstairs. The pub was packed with locals, most drinking, few eating. We finally got a table, the best one next to the window, and placed our order at the bar for dinner and drinks. The food is fine, but not as good as other places we ate in the Rocks in the following days.

Below is a link to our pictures from the first day, posted on Flicker. Hope it works!

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