Traveling to the Land Down Under

Once upon a time I was a young girl. That should read “back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth…” but I digress.

While watching TV, I saw the “I hate Qantas” commercial with a Koala lamenting the airline bringing tourists to Australia. I instantly wanted to visit this faraway land but realistically I knew it was like so many other dreams and probably would never happen.

Fast forward a lot of decades and I get an email from Celebrity Cruise line inviting us to go on a “Reunion Cruise” from Sydney, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand. The “Reunion” part was for repeat cruisers and, since we reached the Elite level of their loyalty program, it was promoted as having special events just for us. I showed my hubby and we decided to go for it.

Naturally, I turned to Tracy at Travel On A Dream to help us plan our epic vacation. The cruise part was easy. Much as we travel frequently, the rest was like planning a trip to the moon. After researching airlines I never knew existed (Fiji, New Zealand, Emirates) I picked (take a guess) Qantas.

Since we live in New York, it would mean a whole lotta time on an airplane. The first flight was from JFK to Los Angeles. Let me tell you, flying to the other side of the planet isn’t cheap so we opted for coach. Qantas uses huge Air Bus planes and I was relieved to find the seats to be fairly roomy. On every flight each seat comes equipped with a headphone, blanket and pillow.

On the “short” four and a half hour flight to LA, we were served dinner. On the longer flights we were also served breakfast. On the return flights, the hot breakfast was scrambled eggs, sausage, roasted tomatoes and BAKED BEANS!! Oh Qantas, you have a cruel sense of humor serving people on a 14 hour flight beans. There were a few times where I was sniffing my scented hand sanitizer until the puffs of bean clouds disappeared.

And yes, that’s not a typo. It’s 14 hours from Los Angeles to Sydney. Fortunately there’s a big selection of movies, TV shows, games, radio and music. Between meals they serve a snack and there’s a shelf stocked with treats that you help yourself to. Periodically, the flight attendants clean the bathrooms so you don’t have to practice beating the world record for holding your breath.

The weird part is adjusting to the space/time continuum. We left New York at 6:30pm on October 30th and arrived in Sydney at 8:30am on November 1st. October 31st simply disappeared. Conversely, we left Auckland (an additional 3 hour flight to Sydney on the way home) at 8:10am on November 18th and got to New York at 5:30pm still on the 18th. I swear Marty McFly and Doc Emmet Brown were in the cockpit.

So after spending an eternity on planes we arrived in Sydney. It actually happened!! I made it to that distant land on the other side of the globe!! So did our luggage!! (We don’t have the best luck with that flying from JFK.)

Next installment, exploring Sydney.

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