Vacations in Australia: 2nd edition!

My first trip to Australia, a year ago, had really made me want to continue my discovery of the country, and having had the opportunity to take a lot of time off at the end of the year, I took the opportunity to put my plan into action by taking all the time I needed on site.

All in all, a very pleasant trip that will also enable us to discover new airlines and some very nice hotels. A journey not without its share of twists and turns, spicing up a number of articles.

Choice of destination

Okay for Australia, but Australia’s big. Where was I going to stop this time?

On my previous trip, I started in Sydney and made my way to Brisbane. Melbourne was very tempting but at this time of year (September) the climate was not optimal. For this trip planned in December, however, it was perfect.

I found a very good fare to Sydney, but this meant I had to stay in Australia longer than planned. So after a night in Sydney (which I already knew) I added a few days’ stopover in Adelaide before heading for Melbourne. Back to Sydney for 2 days at the end of the trip (well…3 days after all, but I’ll explain that in due course).

And since the fare in question was from Gothenburg, I planned two pre- and post-trip stays in Sweden’s second-largest city. In the end, the second one will take longer than expected, but we’ll talk about that again in due course.

Flights and airlines

When I started looking for the best fares, it soon became clear that Paris was often not a viable departure city. There was nothing available in business class for less than 6 or 7,000 euros to Australia. At this price, I’ll stay in Paris.

Munich ? 6 000. Madrid ? 6 000. Brussels? 4 500.

So I started looking at my usual Scandinavian airports. Copenhagen and Stockholm? 7,000 euros and what’s more on Thai, which I had already taken on my previous trip and wanted to avoid as much as possible.

I end up with 4,300 euros from Gothenburg. If I have to choose between Gothenburg and Brussels, I’ll definitely choose the former! What’s more, it’s on ANA, an airline that I haven’t yet pinned in my trophy cabinet and that I absolutely want to discover.

And then, by juggling all the parameters, I got the price down to 3,400, provided I stayed a few days longer than planned. It’s a good deal, since the extra hotel and restaurant costs are less than the savings.

So here I am with a Gothenburg-Sydney flight on ANA (via Munich and Tokyo on the outward journey and Tokyo and Brussels on the return on Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines) in business class at 3,400 euros, or 0.19 euros per kilometer. Compare it to a train ticket, and you’ll be amazed.

We’re a long way from the time when I found flights to Sydney on Singapore Airlines at 2,000 euros from Gothenburg or Stockholm, but COVID came into play and I don’t think I’d have found anything better.

But sometimes good fares mean concessions. Here there were two. First of all, my return flight from Sydney arrives in Haneda while I’m leaving from Narita. It’s up to me to organize the transfer, but I’ve got more than 5 hours ahead of me.

Then the Brussels-Gothenburg flight was in economy class, but that’s the least of my worries given the weight of this flight on the overall trip.

Apart from that I’d really like to fly on their B777s where the business class seat is rightly called the room, but I’ll have to make do with their B787s with a more conventional seat.

IMG_1711
ANA’s B787 business class cabin

In the end, my Gothenburg-Munich flight was nearly cancelled, my Sydney-Tokyo flight was delayed by 24 hours, my Narita-Brussels flight became a Haneda-Frankfurt flight, and the last flight in economy became a business class flight. I’ve warned you: it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

To get to Gothenburg the prices seemed far too high: over 600 euros in business class on Star Alliance, 700 on Air France, so I decided to be wise and book on Air France in Economy. Well…having a ton of miles to use I finally bought a business class award ticket with my miles. 0 euros (or close to it) and that’s basically what the service was worth.

As for domestic flights within Australia, I’ll be flying Virgin Australia as last time, with two flights in Economy X (premium economy) and one in business class to try out. All segments under 250 euros each.

This gives us the following itinerary.

The map isn’t really representative, since the war in Ukraine meant that the flight from Munich to Tokyo had to pass through the south and Turkey, while the return trip from Tokyo to Frankfurt took me over the Bering Strait and along the polar route over Greenland and Iceland.

Hotels

For my two short visits to Sydney, I’ll choose hotels I don’t know yet. I was only half satisfied with the Sheraton Grand Sydney and not at all with the Marriott Sydney.

So on the outward journey, where I only spend one night before leaving the next day, I’ll be staying at the recently opened Moxy Sydney Airport which, as its name suggests, is close to the airport and on returning at the W Sydney which was still under construction during my previous stay and which has just opened after 7 years of work.

No Marriott in Adelaide so I’ll be staying at the Intercontinental Adelaide.

In Melbourne, where I’ll be spending most of my time, I’ll be splitting my stay in two: half at the newly opened Ritz Carlton and half at the W.

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Ritz Carlton Melbourne swimming pool

But Gothenburg will not be forgotten with the discovery of two very fine properties, both recent: the Draken and Jacy’z, which will raise the status of Swedish hotels in my esteem.

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The Pachanga pool club at Jacy’z in Gothenburg

I’ll also spend a night at Gothenburg airport at the Scandic Landvetter, which also surprised me more than pleasantly.

Restaurants

As usual, I booked restaurants for half of my evenings before I left, keeping the other half for last-minute, mood-driven choices.

It will range from the very simple to the gastronomic, and as Australian cuisine can’t be said to have a very strong identity, it will mainly be Asian and French. Ironically, I’ll be eating Asian food twice in Gothenburg and Swedish food once in Melbourne!

IMG_3268
Scandinavian dinner at Freyja in Melbourne

Visits

Having already visited Sydney, I’ll settle for a few strolls and a museum I forgot about last time, the opportunity to see a very fine Kandinsky exhibition organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

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The Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney

Adelaide turned out to be pretty but not artistically rich.

Melbourne offered me a relatively interesting stay, with a cultural heritage a little richer than expected and, above all, a very pleasant living environment.

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Stroll along the Yarra River in Melbourne

Bottom line

All in all, the following articles will keep us busy over the coming weeks.

#TypePost
1DiaryPreparing a trip to Australia
2LoungeAir France lounge Roissy 2G
3FlightParis-Gothenburg, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
4HotelDraken, Gothenburg
5RestaurantKuruya, Gothenburg
6RestaurantSaga, Gothenburg
7HotelScandic Landvetter Airport
8LoungeSAS Lounge-Gothenburg (already tested many times, no review)
9FlightGothenburg-Munich, Lufthansa, Business Class (A320)
10LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge Munich T2 Gates H
11FlightMunich-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
12LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2
13FlightTokyo Haneda-Sydney, ANA, Business Class (B787)
14HotelMoxy Sydney Airport, Sydney
15LoungeVirgin Australia Lounge Sydney Domestic T2
16FlightSydney-Adelaide, Virgin Australia, Business Class (B737)
17HotelIntercontinental Adelaide
18RestaurantDaughter In Law, Adelaide
19DiaryVisiting Adelaide
20LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, Adelaide, Domestic
21FlightAdelaide-Melbourne, Virgin Australia, Economy X
22HotelRitz Carlton Melbourne
23RestaurantEntrecote, Melbourne
24RestaurantDelhi Streets, Melbourne
25RestaurantBincho Boss, Melbourne
26HotelW Melbourne
27RestaurantCapitano Carlton, Melbourne
28RestaurantRed Spice Road, Melbourne
29RestaurantYakikami, Melbourne
30RestaurantFreyja, Melbourne
31DiaryVisiting Melbourne
32LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, domestic, Melbourne
33FlightMelbourne-Sydney, Virgin Australia, Economy X
34HotelW Sydney
35RestaurantManta, Sydney
36RestaurantAalia, Sydney
37DiaryVisiting Sydney
38LoungeAir New Zealand lounge, Sydney T1
39LoungeThe House, Sydney T1
40FlightSydney-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
41LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2 (already tested on the outward journey, no review)
42FlightTokyo Haneda-Frankfurt, ANA, Business Class (B787)
43LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge, Frankfurt, T1 Gates A
44FlightFrankfurt-Gothenburg, Lufthansa, Business Class (A321)
45HotelJacy’z, Gothenburg
46LoungeThe Lounge, Goteborg Landvetter
47FlightGothenburg-Paris, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
48DiaryDebriefing my vacation in Australia

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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