It’s the blog post you’ve been waiting for! I am back from my honeymoon and I had an amazing time in Australia. Australia is a place I’ve dreamt of going to since I was a little kid and my grandparents showed me pictures of their trip there. Australia is a huge country and I’ve only scratched the surface of what it has to offer. Considering how little time my husband and I spent there, only a little more than two weeks, we really saw a lot! How we did it? Planning the day efficiently, and that might mean “early to bed, early to rise.”
Hopefully one day I’ll see the rainforests of Queensland, the island state of Tasmania, and of course the Outback (especially Uluru).
Hope you enjoy this series of posts. The reason I’m breaking up the trip into different parts is so you don’t get bored reading a really long post.
“Getting there is half the fun”
As a kid my dad showed me the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation. Pretty much all of my friends hear me referencing that movie at some point (that movie and Mean Girls). This line: “Getting there is half the fun” was a very memorable one. There’s no way of driving to Australia. At best, you can maybe drive from London to Singapore, but Google Maps won’t give me driving directions for that. That would be one hell of a road trip. Someone managed to do it in 7 weeks, but I don’t have time for that.
I can’t even drive out of Ireland because there’s no tunnel between Ireland and the UK or France. Wait a second, I don’t even have my licence so driving is out of the question after all. Plane it is then!
Plane travel, especially over long distances, isn’t the easiest. There’s the worry of getting to the airport on time, there’s the annoyance that is security, the seats are cramped, and it still takes hours (in the case of going to Australia, you waste at least a day to get there, in my case two days).
There was a lot of changing planes, which is to be expected. Few flights between Europe and Australia exist so chances are you’re changing at an airport somewhere in Asia. Our flight went from Dublin to Helsinki to Singapore (originally supposed to be Hong Kong, but we’ll get to that later) to Sydney.
One thing went through my mind when I realised we are changing planes in Helsinki:
We got to the airport early and then our flight to Helsinki was delayed by about an hour. We had a very tight connection (40 minutes) and I had a lot of doubts that we would make it to the original flight to Hong Kong. A lot of people on that flight had connecting flights and the airline, Finnair, handled everything very well. We got new boarding passes, our bags made it to our final destination perfectly, and we even made it to Sydney an hour or two earlier than we were originally supposed to due to the flight change. Only problem is there wasn’t really a vegan meal for me on the plane and the flight attendants had to improvise, but they did a good job.
I love it when a service provider has great customer service. I know that if this situation happened in America, it would be a mess.
This dragonfly looking thing looks cool. By the way, the Helsinki airport has some nice relaxation areas, including one with reclined chairs and white noise in this simulated forest. I think I could sleep in this airport if I had to.
Yeah! We’re flying over Russia! “I can see Russia from my plane”.
An improvised vegan meal. It wasn’t bad.
The view from the plane.
We seamlessly transferred We ended up in Singapore and that was the first of a few happy accidents during our honeymoon. Singapore’s airport is very posh and has so many amenities. Expensive shops (so expensive that I felt like I was losing money by even looking at them), gardens, and general cool stuff to see in the airport. To kill time, we went to the cactus garden, which was pretty cool. Vegan food was nearly impossible to find, but I ended up getting a vegan sushi burrito which was pretty good. Apparently there’s a slide in the Singapore Airport, but I found out about this after the fact and our layover wasn’t that long. Hopefully next time we fly to Australia, we can try this or better yet, go on one of those day tours to the city that the airport offers.
Arrival in Sydney was fast, easy, and a similar system to the US (the customs and immigration officers are nicer in Australia though, America’s immigration officers can be very intimidating, it’s a nightmare for me because I have social anxiety). You apply for a visa waiver online before you arrive in Australia, then you go to a kiosk when you get off the plane. You scan your passport and then you get this printed out slip and then you feed that into a machine. I had a little problem with this as I got my passport when I was 16 and I’m now 23. I look a bit different, as expected. I think having fringe didn’t do me any favours. I had my passport manually looked at by an border control officer and I was on my way.
Like the US, Australia is very strict on what you can bring into the country, particularly food. For good reason. It’s isolated and they’ve had problems with invasive species. Australia’s ecosystems are unique and they need to be protected. After all, nature is one of the reasons people come to Australia. I’ve watched the Border Security show and I’ve seen customs officers confiscating food and slapping people with fines. I was even worried about bringing Lush products with me, but turns out that they’re okay to bring with you. On a positive note, I tried the honey shampoo and I loved it (inb4 “ur not vegan”: I’m a dietary vegan, let’s not shit on people for doing veganism a little differently).
Coming up next, part 2: Sydney!