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Help with Australia/NZ itinerary in October.

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Hello all. I'm new to this forum so am looking for a bit of guidance.

I'm planning a trip to Australia and NZ in October, and would love some help on the itinerary. I've not yet booked but am planning to fly from NYC or potentially LAX/SFO. I'm trying to decide/figure out what the must-do's are in the region and if it makes sense to do NZ first or AU? I'm assuming that there are more flight options in/out of SYD. Planning to stay about 3 weeks (travel inclusive).

A couple of notes:

- I have a good friend in Sydney so will likely spend 5 or so days there. We are attending an event there on Oct. 18th.
- I'm trying to figure out the best combination of miles/points (DL Skymiles GM/AMEX) that can get me a biz class (or at least prem econ on VA) flight, but i'm also willing to throw some $$ at the problem in the name of comfort on this VERY long flight...
- I'm a big foodie and wine enthusiast... not so interested in outdoors (hiking, etc.).

Any and all help you could offer would be great!

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