Intro: Off Peak To Australia On A Sweet Spot USAir Award
Part 1: Getting To Sydney The Long Way
Part 2: Stunning Sydney And A Climb To The Top Of The Harbour Bridge
Part 3: Exploring The Outback
Part 4: Cairns And A Trip Up The Coast To Port Douglas
Part 5: Beautiful Tasmania
Part 6: Melbourne And The Ride Home On United Global First
After returning the rental car at HOB, we boarded our quick one hour shuttle flight to Melbourne (purchased using Citi Thank You points,) on Virgin Australia. It was definitely bittersweet, as Tasmania truly was a favorite stop on this trip.
I caught the airport bus into the city, while the family member I was travelling with, went on to Sydney. Check in at the Radisson Blu Melbourne was quick and I was soon in my upgraded park view room. The cost was 50k points for two nights, utilizing the free night Club Carlson credit card benefit. I dropped off my things and immediately set out to explore the city, since I really only had one full day here before catching my flight home.
Initial impressions on Melbourne? The city reminded me a lot of San Francisco with lots of great architecture, cultural activities, theater, and world class dining.
I had originally planned on taking an early morning all day bus tour up The Great Ocean Road, but it was supposed to rain, and I hadn’t spent nearly enough time in the city. So I opted to stay put, enjoying a day at the Queen Victoria Market, and doing some last minute shopping.
There were lots of local crafts and fresh fruits and vegetables at the market.
Before I knew it, it was again time to pack up one final time, for the trip home. The next morning, I boarded the airport shuttle to MEL and checked in for my United flight back home to LAX. Even though the flight number was the same, I’d be changing planes in Sydney. There was enough time to make a quick visit to the Air New Zealand lounge, but before long final boarding was being announced.
I was flying home in United Global First and given the great service and luxury I had experienced with the Asian airlines I had flown on the way there, I wasn’t expecting much.
The F class cabin was located in the nose of the 747, and after being seated, I was offered a pre-departure beverage of some type of mystery champagne. Plastic headsets were also handed out just after take off, as were amenity kits. There would be no cozy pajamas this flight.
The food offerings were mediocre, thankfully I had indulged at the lounge beforehand so wasnt too hungry anyway.
While the United Global First Class offering was less than impressive compared to what I had previously experienced, getting home safely is obviously the most important thing. I was happy to land on time and safe and sound 14 hours later.