Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Thursday, December 21, 2023

We're Off to Australia and New Zealand! - Tuesday-Thursday, December 19-21, 2023

Tuesday, December 19, 2023: The big day has finally arrived. We've been looking forward to this since we signed up at the end of our cruise to Alaska in early August 2023.  The first leg of our flight on Delta Airlines goes from San Antonio to Los Angeles. There is a four-hour layover in L.A. Bob and I took turns walking around the terminal and guarding our carryons.

We flew out of San Antonio, Texas.

Tuesday's sunset as seen from the jet.

PF Chang's at LAX.

Not our plane, but we'll be in New Zealand on 
Friday, December 29, 2023.

Art in the LAX terminal.

Art in the LAX terminal.

It was raining in Los Angeles.

More art at LAX.

Hermes store display window at LAX.

After we change planes, it's a 15-1/2 hour flight to Sydney, Australia. Fly out Tuesday and arrive Thursday! We don't get a Wednesday. The International Date Line is responsible for this.

The Delta flight from L.A. to Sydney was very uncomfortable. My knees were crushed by the seat in front of me. I was very fidgety trying to get comfortable. The guy in front of me kept trying to put his seat back. He would press the button and slam his back into the seat, but it wouldn't budge. (Thank goodness!). I don't know what was wrong with his seat.

On December 23, we will board the Norwegian Spirit. We will be in port for one whole day, and take one day at sea to get to Melbourne, Australia. From there, we cruise for ten more days to Auckland, New Zealand (a total of 12 days). Let the journey begin and the adventures unfold.

December 20: Didn't exist for us. See the comment above about the International Date Line.

Thursday, December 21: We made it! After collecting our bags and going through customs at the Sydney airport, we took the train from the airport to Sydney's Central Business District (CBD) Town Hall Station. 

Christmas tree outside the Sydney,
Australia airport.

From the train station, it was a two-block walk in the rain to our hotel across the street from the QVB (Queen Victoria Building - basically a four-story mall). 

Upon arrival at our hotel at 11 am, we had to store our luggage until check-in time at 3:00 pm. We knew ahead of time that there would be a wait, so we had lunch and explored the QVB.

York St., CBD, Sydney, Australia.
Our hotel is in the QVB Chamber Bldg.

Christmas decorations in the QVB (Queen Victoria Building)
four-story mall. This is across the street from our hotel.

The Royal Clock in the QVB.

Exotic window display in the QVB mall.

Colorful clothing at a shop in the QVB mall.

A train display window in a toy store in the QVB.

A train display window in a toy store in the QVB.

A train display window in a toy store in the QVB.

Stained glass windows in the QVB.

QVB Christmas Tree.

The Great Australian Clock inside
the QVB, Sydney, Australia.

Details on the Great Australian Clock inside
the QVB, Sydney, Australia.

We returned to the hotel's waiting area, snacked on cookies, and rested. At 1 pm, the hotel let us know our room was ready. We retrieved our luggage and checked in. Exploring is what we do, so we walked around Sydney to look at Christmas decorations, buildings, and art.

"The Legend of Islay" sculpture. Islay
was a favorite pet of Queen Victoria.

The QVB.

Sydney's Town Hall House.

Sydney's Town Hall House.

Queen Victoria statue in front of the QVB.

The Old Post Office below is now The Fullerton Hotel Sydney.

Old Post Office with WWI memorial
on the pedestrian mall at Martin Place.

The official city Christmas tree at 
Martin Place, CBD Sydney, Australia.

Hotel CBD, Sydney, Australia (Victorian design).

General MacArthur liked the Grace Building (below) so much he made it his WWII HQ.
1930 Grace Hotel: Neo-Gothic outside,
Art Deco inside.

Center of the photo: The Ribbon
Building at Darling Harbour.

We walked four miles today. That, my friends, is the beginning of our journey down under 2023/2024.


  1. Love all the photos! Sorry about the legroom on the flight. Space keeps getting tighter! Especially for those with long legs!


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