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Old 21 Apr 20, 12:48 PM  
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tonymc
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Was 2021, now 2022: Long Haul to Aus and NZ - Thanks Avios and Amex!

Ah well - it had to happen with the current Coronavirus situation. DW and myself decided yesterday that it wasn't looking as if we would be travelling, and if we did, we probably wouldn't enjoy it with all the restrictions that may be in place. Add to that, the NZ government have currently stopped issuing visitor visas, so we may not even be able to get into NZ anyhow!

So this morning, a call to Princess and we are rebooked on virtually the same cruise but now departing in February 2022, with the same mini-suite (and the same cabin number), drinks package, wifi and tips, and a further £200 cheaper than our 2021 price .

Really simple to change it, and a big thanks to the agent for sorting this out and ensuring our deposit was transferred to the new booking.

Now all I have to do is try and snag Avios flights for Feb 22 when they are released!


Well, with old(ish) age creeping up on us, a few years ago DW and myself started a list of places we would like to visit without DD (much to her disgust!), and Australia or New Zealand were two on the list.

A plan was hatched to build up our stash of Avios points to enable us to travel in comparative comfort on BA Club World. This was by means of maximising the various Amex card bonus reward points, obtaining the Amex Companion Voucher, and also cashing in Tesco Clubcard Rewards for Avios, which has resulted in us now having sufficient for the trip.

Once we started looking into the logistics, I had forgotten that BA don't fly to NZ, the nearest point being Sydney. However, after we had enjoyed our Med cruise last year, thoughts turned to the option of cruising down under, and very fortunately, Princess had a 13 night departure that coincided with our planned dates which would allow us to visit Sydney, and also a number of New Zealand locations.

We took the plunge and booked this over the Christmas holidays, with a low deposit and half-price drinks, tips and wi-fi package. Overall, the cost was probably only slightly more than compared to arranging it ourselves.

When looking a a rough itinerary for NZ, we realised we would probably be spending the equivalent of 4-5 days driving during the day, and on top of that we had accommodation, car rental, fuel, food, drink etc, so the cruise would deliver us overnight to the main places in NZ without the driving hassle.

(UPDATED): It pays to keep tabs on the prices. Today I noticed that the price for our balcony cabin had come down by some £200 each, so I have upgraded to a mini-suite and it is still over £100 less than I originally paid.

Having now secured flights in both directions in Club World (I was on-line at 1am this morning for our return flight! ), I guess not much is going to happen over the next few months, but we will be spending quite a bit of our "lockdown time" looking at accommodation in Sydney, things to do, trips from the cruise ports etc.

Currently, our plans are:

Day 1 19/03/21 Fly MAN-LON-SYD
Day 2 20/03/21 Still flying!
Day 3 21/03/21 Arrive Sydney early morning. Staying at Barangaroo Park Apartments.
Day 4 22/03/21 Sydney
Day 5 23/03/21 Sydney
Day 6 24/03/21 Sydney
Day 7 25/03/21 Sydney
Day 8 26/03/21 Sydney
Day 9 27/03/21 Embark Princess' Regal Princess
Day 10 28/03/21 At Sea
Day 11 29/03/21 At Sea
Day 12 30/03/21 At Sea
Day 13 31/03/21 Dunedin (NZ)
Day 14 01/04/21 Christchurch (NZ)
Day 15 02/04/21 Wellington (NZ)
Day 16 03/04/21 At Sea
Day 17 04/04/21 Tauranga (NZ) (where we have relatives)
Day 18 05/04/21 Auckland (NZ)
Day 19 06/04/21 Bay of Islands (NZ)
Day 20 07/04/21 At Sea
Day 21 08/04/21 At Sea
Day 22 09/04/21 Disembark Sydney early morning, final sightseeing, overnight in Sydney.
Day 23 10/04/21 Fly SYD-LHR
Day 24 11/04/21 Fly LHR-MAN

Fingers crossed, movement restrictions will be lifted by then both at home and abroad, so something to look forward to once we get past the next few weeks.
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...

Edited at 04:55 PM. Reason: Rescheduled trip
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Old 21 Apr 20, 01:34 PM  
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Try to find a hotel on 'The Rocks' in Sydney, walking distance to opera house, harbour bridge and ferries across to Manley and every other point. We did a fab small boat with lunch cruise around the harbour.

Hotels are expensive but work getting a good location
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Old 21 Apr 20, 02:16 PM  
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Thank you for the tip. We are thinking of maybe an Airbnb to give us more space for our 6 days in Sydney. At the moment, prices are very reasonable with plenty of properties under £100/night (no doubt due to the current pandemic) with cancellation up to a few weeks before we travel. Thatís something for us to look at this weekend, whilst confined to barracks!
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...
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Old 10 May 20, 12:06 PM  
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Originally Posted by munmun View Post
Try to find a hotel on 'The Rocks' in Sydney, walking distance to opera house, harbour bridge and ferries across to Manley and every other point. We did a fab small boat with lunch cruise around the harbour.

Hotels are expensive but work getting a good location
Weíve found an Airbnb rental overlooking the Barangaroo Reserve which is a short walk from the Rocks and Circular Quay, and about 20-25 mins walk to the Opera House.

Quite a good deal at just under £80/night for a one bed apartment with a balcony, which as we have 6 full days in Sydney is much better than just a hotel room.
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...
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Old 10 May 20, 12:16 PM  
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I am hoping to go next Easter. Can't book yet as flights aren't out, and nervous to book as currently Australia is very much closed but I am hoping it will be open by then.

I've never flown that far, and I'm somewhat nervous about it, but it's been on my bucket list for year. Love the idea of combining it with a cruise to see NZ.
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Old 10 May 20, 12:45 PM  
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Bev - how about having a stopover on the flights?

We were booking using Avios, and did consider breaking our journey at Singapore outbound for a night. Depending who you fly with, there could be the option of a daytime flight from Singapore to Sydney, therefore giving you a decent nights sleep in between flights.

On the return journey, we also looked at the option of daytime flights - we did consider flying from Sydney to Tokyo (dep 09:00, arr 18:00 local times) on Japan Airlines (using Avios), then Tokyo-Heathrow-Manchester (on BA) the following day (dep Tokyo approx 12:00, arr Heathrow approx 17:00, dep LHR 20:00 arr Manchester 21:00). There is also an earlier flight out of Tokyo around 09:00 on BA.

However, as I was on-line at 1am on the days of booking, we could get the through LHR-SYD flights so we went with these.

May be worth using the MATRIX ITA website to see what stopover options and possible daytime flights could be available. You could also choose a number of Australian Airports (in the screenshot below I have shown Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) if you were planning on a road trip. Happy planning.

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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...
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Old 10 May 20, 12:50 PM  
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My brother is in Perth and we are in Newcastle so the only realistic option is emirates via Dubai. I work in school so we will have to get there and back in 2 weeks so no time to stopover. Ideally Iíd love to go via Tokyo or Hong Kong.

The other option is to go in July/August but I am consistently told the weather would make it disappointing.
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Old 11 May 20, 04:06 PM  
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Bev - just realised that if you could manage a long time on a plane, there is the option of NCL-LHR-Perth using the non-stop Quantas flight out of LHR. Could be worth checking prices.
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...
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Old 11 May 20, 04:19 PM  
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Originally Posted by BevS97 View Post
My brother is in Perth and we are in Newcastle so the only realistic option is emirates via Dubai. I work in school so we will have to get there and back in 2 weeks so no time to stopover. Ideally Iíd love to go via Tokyo or Hong Kong.

The other option is to go in July/August but I am consistently told the weather would make it disappointing.
I would do the non stop flight straight into Perth, it's a lovely city.
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Old 6 Sep 20, 11:04 AM  
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We went to Australia last year, my sister lives in Sydney. Best trip Iíve ever done! We had a week in the Whitsundays, we also had mini breaks at Hunter Valley, Jervis Bay and Port Stephens. I was also worried about the flight, we just had a 1.5hr stop in Singapore. I slept the Singapore London leg both times, Club World obviously helps. Honestly though it was fine you just need to try not to think about it too much. I had books and box sets loaded in the iPad. Weíre hoping to go back next Christmas for the Ashes, Covid permitting. Thinking of added a week in Fiji, thatís my condition of DH gets the cricket 😂

ETA - looking forward to hearing more about your plans.

Edited at 11:06 AM.
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