The most interesting part of the journey from Hawaii to Australia was the time change. When we left Hawaii it was 8:15 a.m. on Dec 22nd, and after just a 10 hour flight, we landed at 3:45 p.m. on Dec 23rd. That is a 21 hour time difference! Talk about jet lag! In reality, if you ignore the date and just think about the time, it is much easier to adjust to this extreme time change. According to our bodies on Hawaii time, we were landing at 6:30 p.m., so if you pretend it is still the same day (the 22nd), then we are really only 3 hour ahead of our new time. Wrapping our heads around this, and playing this pretend game, actually helped us so much that we didn’t experience much jet lag at all. Another tip I have that worked well for us, was to change our phones/watches as soon as we got on the flight, so that we basically skipped the 22nd altogether, and spent the 10 hour flight watching our new Australia time. Did you get all that?
Our first stop was in Sydney, where we would have a short 2-3 hour layover before hopping on a Domestic flight to Cairns (our final destination). Something we didn’t know about Sydney is that they actually use 2 airports. One is International and one is Domestic. Since we landed at the International terminal, we needed to catch a shuttle to the Domestic terminal (about 10 minutes plus waiting time). If you ever have a connection to make at this airport, I suggest a minimum 2 hour layover so you aren’t stressed about catching these buses, because they only run every 15 minutes. There is a train that is faster, but is costs $5 per person, and we actually couldn’t find it, so we ended up taking the bus in the end. We were able to check-in our luggage with Virgin Australia before leaving the International terminal, so this was helpful. Once we arrived at the Domestic terminal, we just needed to go through security and find our gate, so we had lots of time to sit and have dinner before our flight.
Virgin Australia is probably the nicest airline we have used so far. The plane seemed new, and the flight attendants were all dressed up, and they seem to only employ young, attractive females. We paid for an upgrade to exit row seating for this flight as well just $25 each, which is a great deal. Virgin is also the only airline that ever offered us a decent snack (by decent I mean size, not taste). We received an onion roll and a small Christmas fruitcake (one of my least favourite food items). They also threw in some sugar for our coffee and a breath mint. Very random box of items, but still nice to receive something for free! The flight was smooth and uneventful otherwise. We landed in Cairns in the pouring rain, and because the plane did not land at a gate, we had to walk off the plane outside, which got us a bit wet, and our baggage very wet. We didn’t realize (or I forgot) that our hotel for the night had a shuttle, so we caught a taxi instead, which only cost $20. We decided to check into a hotel for the first night, mainly due to having such a long travel day (about 18 hours), and wanting to make a good (rested) first impression to our home owners. We will continue that story in the next post!