Until now, I still haven’t forgiven myself for missing that flight from Brisbane to Sydney. At the end of day 8, after shortly sightseeing Brisbane, I was supposed to fly to Sydney, arriving late afternoon the same day, have a good rest in historic Potts Point, and have a the whole day 9 for amazing Sydney. But guess what? I was too greedy, wanting to complete my planned Brisbane itinerary that I decided to put the flight aside. I paid for that poor decision. I arrived at Brisbane airport 30 minutes before the departure time. Check-in was already closed by then (Check in for domestic flights of Tigerair closes 45 minutes before departure time.) I had hoped it would be the same with Vietnam or Thailand, where as long as the gate is not close, you’re fine, they’ll rush you on the airplane. But they didn’t let us on. The next available flight was 7:10 the next morning. So we had to pay 170 AUD for the new tickets, sleep at the freezing airport (go to international terminal instead of domestic where they let you do so) on the couch instead of the cozy hotel room in Sydney that I paid AUD 50 per night for, and waste precious half a day of exploring Sydney (which I am still beating myself up now). Such as high price for my stupidity!!!
So what did I learn from this incident?
- Arrive early at the airport.
- Check-in online when you can. It saves time and in my case, if I had spent 2 minutes checking in online, I would have been able to walk right straight to the gate and not missed the flight. Still beating myself up over and over again for this.
- Do not rush to buy other tickets right away. I could have asked other airlines if they still had seats available for flights on the same date. There are tons of other low-cost options besides Tigerair. There’s Jetstar, Virgin Australia, AirAsia, just to name a few right within 10 steps of me. I had to buy brand new tickets anyway. It’s not that I got any discount from Tigerair because I missed one flight already. Money is one thing, I might have gotten a cheaper deal from another airline (which I kind of doubt), but the more important thing is we might have gotten lucky and gotten tickets on the same day, meaning no sleeping on uncomfy couches at airport, AND NO RUSHING TO VISIT SYDNEY. I’m gonna bang my head into the wall again now so excuse me!!!
I like Sydney much more than Melbourne. It’s warmer, which is most important. 🙂 The Sydney bay area is soooooo beautiful. There are more people so the atmosphere feels more lively.
Accommodation played an important role in shaping my experience. I stayed at Springfield Lodge on Springfield Avenue in the Potts Point area. It was absolutely my most favorite stay in Australia. It was not in the central district as the hotel in Melbourne (I wouldn’t have been able to afford a hotel in, say, the Circular Quay area or Darling Harbour area), not right on the beach as the apartment in Gold Coast but it had something else.
First of all, the feels. Since it is located not in the more touristy part of Sydney, it vibrates a more truly Australian atmosphere. Yes there are tons of backpackers hostels on the nearby block, but when you look around, you can see more locals, local people, local shops, local restaurants, etc. Signs and advertisements are, you can see clearly, not aimed at tourists. Not any “sightseeing tour tickets sold here” ad, but more like “fresh harvest everyday”, “T-bone steak for less than $10 daily deal”, etc.
Second of all, the architecture of the hotel. It just looks really pretty, with a porch, a peaceful cafe in the sunlight. It can totally be classified as a boutique hotel in my opinion.
Third of all, the facilities. After more than a week of eating non-Vietnamese or bad-to-average Vietnamese food, we jumped in joy (figuratively, we didn’t really jump) to know there was a fully-furnished kitchen and Harris Farm – a fresh farmers market right across the street, literally 30 seconds from the hotel front door. Mom thought I wouldn’t be able to cook after a long day out, but boy was she wrong. Nothing made me happier than after exhausting myself on the streets of Sydney all day, cooping up in the small but fully-furnished kitchen, cooking and eating a tasty Vietnamese meal. Simple as a bowl of steaming rice, a dish of stir-fired onions or bean sprouts, a dish of stir-fired minced pork or grilled meat balls, and a savory bowl of bok choy soup.
And the final reason I loved Springfield Lodge, the front desk was so friendly. You don’t need to stay and chit chat with them all day but just whenever I had questions, the way they answered me made me feel like I was the Queen of England, not a random kid from a third world country.
I think I’ve written long enough for today. But before really stopping, I just wanted to summarize my 9th day, up to the point we left the hotel for actual sightseeing of Sydney.
7:40, the airplane took off from Brisbane, half an hour late compared to schedule. When we got to Sydney Airport, we took the Train Link to Town Hall station, switching line to the King Cross station. My HERE map was not updated then, so we spent half an hour trying to figure out where the hell was Springfield Lodge in a lost wander through back lane ways of this quiet area. The hotel should be only 3 minutes walk from the station though. 10:30, we were done checking-in and sat down at the cafe on the front porch of the hotel, ordering a lunch of sour dough toast with a pot of slow cooked kangaroo with potato, carrot, green peas, ginger, and some kind of sauce that I forgot its name but tasted like Indian curry. Since it was not lunch time yet, they were still kind enough to cook it specially for us, in just 3o minutes. Kangaroo meat was, how to say, boring. The sauce and the other veggies tasted really sweet though.
After brunch, let’s call it that way, was shower time. And by noon, here we were, back out on the streets again, so eager to embrace the wonders that Sydney had to offer.