Trip to Australia!

Old Nov 29th, 2006, 02:32 AM
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Westpac has branches and ATMs just about everywhere - in all but the smallest towns, not just the major cities. The other major banks with saturation presence are the Commonwealth, ANZ (Australia-NZ Banking Corp) and National Australia Bank (NAB).
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Old Nov 30th, 2006, 03:10 AM
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You'll find plenty of chances to see wildlife in the region around Cairns. Just about nothing in Australia is also native to north America. There are two birds which migrate between the continents and a few others we have in common. We do share a few introduced species.

As you will adapt to the climate bring some warm but not heavy clothing. The Tablelands will be cool with the possibility of a ground frost overnight. If out on the water in the evening that can get cold also.

With regards to another culture, it isn't very different but the differences can be exasperating if you know that your way of doing things is THE right way or just good manners. These things are cultural constructs.
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Old Nov 30th, 2006, 03:17 AM
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By the way, you'll probably have to explain to Australians what a "sophomore" is. Come to think of it, I'm not sure myself!
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Old Dec 27th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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I forget that the school systems are not the same, Neil. I'm in my second year (out of four) of college. The first year is freshman, second sophomore, third junior, and fourth senior!
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Old Dec 27th, 2006, 12:31 PM
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Thanks, burcle01. Yes, you'll find American terminology isn't always understood by Australians - out of those four, only "freshman" would be obvious. "Valedictorian" for example stumped me when I came across it recently - when I looked it up I found that it's the top-graded student (to us the "dux" of the school) who delivers the "valedictory" (farewell address). There's no real equivalent to American college fraternities either, or Homecoming (most Australian students don't go to another city or town to attend a university, so there's nowhere to come home from). Just more examples of "two peoples separated by a common language" I suppose. Overall I get the impression that American education is attended by more rituals, and much longer words.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 09:36 AM
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if money is an issue, take some to exchange for Aussie money to get around in the airport....American Express is accepted many places but I found Visa most accept of cards of all..we used travelers checks but cashed them at the resort which gave us competative rates...remember money value varies on the world market but US dollars are worth more in Oz.....we flew American to LAX and Qantas to Sydney....good cause AA is in the same terminal as Qantas....we flew late flight out of LAX .... remember once you set foot on the Quatas jet, you are on Aussie time....being from Dallas we were served a full delicious meal at 2 in the morning our central time being it is supper time in OZ....Qantas is a great airline to travel the 14 hours on, they take real good care of you ... your own personal tv screen will keep you well entertained with the latest movies, tv shows, music and games...I would advise noise cancelling is loud in the jet...stay awake as long as you can then nod off....we arrived 7 in the morning at Sydney....let us know what we can do to answear any'll have a great time no matter what !!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 10:08 AM
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I arrived in Sydney on Dec. 18 and went to the ATM at the airport. It didn't work. I walked to the next ATM and it did. I purchased a ticket on the train to downtown and used my credit card. So, don't get alarmed if the first ATM machine you see doesn't work.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 06:32 PM
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Hi Burcel01,

Must reply to a fellow Pennsylvanian, even though I'm transplanted now in California! Formerly from Doylestown.

This is a looonng trip from the East Coast; I know you're young and full of energy, but you'd be surprised what jet lag can do, especially since this is the longest trip of your lifetime.

As others have said - if you have the time, break up the trip! Fly Philly to SFO or LAX (as I'm in the Bay Area and will do ANYTHING to avoid LAX, so I'm partial to SFO). Get a cheapie motel near the airport with a shuttle TO the airport, and take your flight the next day. Same thing on the way back.

If your Dad has frequent flyer miles, use 'em! No doubt he's got mileage on USAir or United; which isn't going to do you alot of good going to Australia, unless you want to stop in Auckland, NZ on the way! However, you can use them for the Philly - SFO or LAX portion and defray your cost; having only to pay for the international airfare from either LAX or SFO. Suggest you look for STA fares!

Everyone else has given you great info regarding food, transfers, native animals (don't forget the Sydney zoo)etc.

Hope this is helpful!


Certified Aussie Specialist
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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 01:10 PM
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Just to clarify on Qantas flights from the East Coast... Qantas DOES fly out of New York (JFK) to and from Sydney (via LAX) five days a week, Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat/Sun. These are Qantas planes, not codeshares.
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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 01:38 PM
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Thanks for the correction, wallaby - I didn't notice that QF had reinstated New York. Who knows, maybe they'll add a New York-London leg and regain their former round-the-world status? In the old days they also ran a Sydney-Papeete-Acapulco-Mexico City-Bermuda-London service which I guess was wildly unprofitable.

I noticed that Qantas' very first Boeing 707 has been fully restored. I believe it was the first 707 delivered to an airline outside the US and the first to operate a round-the-world service.
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Old Jan 5th, 2007, 08:27 AM
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If your Dad has plenty of frequent flyer miles, the most useful would be:
American Airlines - they partner (OneWorld) with Qantas, so you could get a combined AA/Qantas itinerary from the East Coast (or all-Qantas from JFK).
United Airlines - they fly from the West coast to Sydney, so you could get an all-United itinerary from the East coast. They also partner (Star Alliance) with Air New Zealand who fly to Sydney (via Auckland) from the West coast.
Qantas and Air NZ are probably better quality (seats/service) trans-Pacific than United.
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Old Jan 8th, 2007, 01:29 PM
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We're from the Philadelphia area, too, and we're planning our first trip to Australia this summer--probably in August. We're a family of three (I'm 59, my wife is substantially younger [I've learned not to post her age], and my daughter will be 10 this month), so our aims aren't really going to be the same as yours. I was wondering about the weather then in Sydney, but the kind folk here seem to have answered that concern.
That said, you have relatively little choice in flying out of Philadelphia; basically, you'll go to California, then on from there. You have much more choice going out of Neward or JFK. If you can't get a frequent flyer ticket, the prices are generally substantially lower out of the New York airports, too. This can certainly offset the cost of getting there (and if your parents or a friend wouldn't mind driving you up and picking you up on the return, so much the better).
One point that wasn't made, but which is important: be sure to get up every hour or so and walk around the plane. Even young people can shoot a clot, and this is one of the best ways to avoid it, especially on a long flight.
If you have frequent flyer miles: UAL (and the Star Alliance partners) charge 60000 miles for a trip to Australia (vs 40000 to Europe and 25000 to the west coast). Thus, it seems to me that using miles to Australia is your most efficient use of the miles. We've got enough miles on UAL for two round trips, but will have to buy one ticket for our trip. If you only have enough miles to get to the west coast, check out fares from San Francisco and LA versus New York; it might not be worthwhile to blow 25000 miles to get to California if the fare difference to Australia is only $100 or $200.
It seems to me that if we can use our United miles, our best bet will be either United or USAir to California, then Air New Zealand to Australia. If you can use miles on Qantas and avoid the New Zealand stopover, I think that's a better bet.
Our problem is, we only have about two weeks for our trip. I know we want to see Sydney, but we want to get around a bit also without doing a different city every day. My wife and I would love a trip to the vineyards, but I suspect it's not my daughter's cup of tea (to mix a metaphor)--though she'd probably tolerate a single vineyard visit. I'm starting to do my research on what to see and where to stay (we like B&Bs), and looking at everyone's advice on this board is a great help.
Enjoy your trip!
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Old Jan 8th, 2007, 04:45 PM
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Hi MacThespian,
You might all enjoy an overnight in the Hunter Valley. This link will give you some ideas on accommodation and wineries/tours.

There's a place, "Hunter Valley Gardens" I think, that my cousin takes her 10 yo & she loves it.

That way, you & your wife could take in a winery or two as well as providing a diversion for your daughter.

The Hunter Valley is only a couple of hours' drive from Sydney; most of it on freeway, and once there, it's a very pretty area to visit.

Alternatively, I'm sure there would be day tours if you did not want to drive yourself (which might be better if you only want to do a same-day up & back AND taste a few (LOL))

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Old Jan 9th, 2007, 11:42 AM
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Thanks for the advice. It sounds like just the sort of thing we need!
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Old Jan 9th, 2007, 04:11 PM
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Hi MacThespian,
Here are a few links which might be useful:

Hunter Valley Gardens:;

Rover Coaches: Tours of the Hunter Valley:

If you drive up, leave time to call into Brooklyn (on the Hawkesbury River). It's a lovely little hamlet, good spot for a break, and a bite to eat if you like.

Have fun
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Old Jan 9th, 2007, 09:15 PM
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Forgot to add - Jetstar (Qantas's cheaper subsidiary) also flies to Cairns.

Just watch out for restrictions if you book with them. And if you're 1 minute past their "booking in" deadline, you'll be off the flight & forefeit your ticket prices.
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Old Jan 10th, 2007, 08:30 AM
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I paid a little extra to fly Qantas from Hobart to Sydney, where they checked my bag all the way to Miami. Once I got to the Sydney airport, I took the train downtown for four hours since I had my boarding passes. It sure beat sitting around the airport for six hours. My bag was the last one off the plane in Miami and I was getting a little worried, but it made it.
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