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Round-The-World Trip Notes, Part 3: Melbourne, Australia.

Continued from:

Round-The-World Trip Notes, Part 1: Khao Lak, Thailand.

Round-The-World Trip Notes, Part 2: Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Here are some more trip notes from the round-the-world trip my wife and I took for a month between December 2010 and January 2011. Australia had long been on my bucket list, so it was really exciting to finally make it down under!  I hope these notes will prove useful for somebody.  You can read more of my trip reports by clicking on the trip notes tab.

This trip was made possible by AA’s unique OneWorld award chart where we flew around the world in first class for the cost of opening up a few credit cards.  With myriad of rules it’s not designed for beginners though.

I helped prepare for the trip down under with info from the Australia Master thread on the DansDeals Forums,

-Fodor’s Australia

-Lonely Planet Australia

-Lonely Planet Discover Australia (More of a “cliffs notes” guide than a comprehensive guide, but has great itinerary suggestions)

-Garmin Nuvi GPS Maps for Australia

-There’s tons of kosher food is Australian supermarkets, but very little of it is labeled!  An invaluable resource is the Kashrut Authority of Australia’s website which lists all of the food that is kosher, and says whether it needs a kosher label on it or not.  For example there’s lots of great cereals that are kosher in Australia that are not back home, and vice versa as well, so be sure to come prepared.-

-I picked up a prepaid wireless modem from Telstra in Melbourne for under $80 that was great. The data that came included with it lasted for the entire trip. I used Google Voice to make free phone calls to the US from my laptop through the Telstra modem.

-I also had a world phone with a world sim card from OneSimCard that gave me free incoming calls and relatively cheap outgoing calls worldwide if anyone really needed to reach me.

12/27/10: Hong Kong-Melbourne:

We took the free shuttle from the Marriott SkyCity to the Hong Kong Airport.

Out of habit I stocked up on drinks from the Qantas First lounge in Hong Kong which were promptly confiscated upon boarding the flight by secondary security. Apparently no drinks are allowed on the plane at all, even if purchased post-security. Good thing that we were in First where my cup was rarely empty 🙂

We sat in seats 3EF on Qantas First in 747. The seats are not nearly as private or comfortable as on Cathay Pacific, but if you’re traveling with a companion you can hold a conversation with each other. The plane itself is looking dated, with the carpeting showing its age.

The flight attendants in Qantas First though were extremely personable, and I preferred them greatly to the Cathay attendants.

The Qantas kosher meals on the other hand out of Hong Kong are sourced from Bangkok and were dreadful. No idea why they don’t use Hermolis out of Hong Kong as Cathay does.

We had been warned about the strictness of Australian customs agents with regards to food beforehand and I came prepared. I emailed them about what I could and couldn’t bring and learned that La Briute meals were OK as they have an extended shelf life, are vacuum sealed, are made in the US, and do not require refrigeration. The meals aren’t gourmet, but the Cheese Ravioli and the Spaghetti and Meatballs meals are edible and it’s always nice to have a piping hot meal in a pinch. We declared that we had them and had no issues.

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