I had many wonderful experiences on my trip to New Zealand and Australia in late 2011. I got to experience V Australia's service and really maximized the value out of a Delta Skymiles redemption.
Split apple rock, Abel-Tasman National Park
Since have a lot of blog content relating to my trip, I wanted to organize them all into one place as well as wrap up my thoughts on this great trip.
Trip routing: MKE-MSP-LAX-SYD, (SYD-CNS-SYD on a seperate ticket), SYD-MEL-AKL, ZQN-CHC, CHC-MEL, MEL-SYD-LAX-MSP-MKE.
Dusk near LAX at the In-N-Out on Sepulveda
Bed mode in VA Business Class
Dessert on VA from LAX-SYD
The Sydney Harbour Bridge with the Park Hyatt under construction in the foreground.
Executive Suite at the Westin Sydney
Virgin Australia Business Class on 737-800
Hilton Auckland on Princes Wharf
Hilton Lake Taupo
natural beauty of the South Island
Lakes and mountains surrounding Queenstown
Mountainous surroundings of Queenstown Airport
Air New Zealand A320 Economy Class
Lobby of the Park Hyatt Melbourne
Virgin Australia Lounge in Melbourne
Breakfast on V Australia SYD-LAX
After arriving back in LAX, customs was quite fast in Terminal 5, there were no other flights arriving at this time. Our connecting flight flight to MSP was departing out of terminal 6, so we took the infamous connector tunnel. This saves having to leave the secure area and reclearing in terminal 6.
That's somewhat frightening, but presumably its part of the security procedure. The doors would automatically close if the airport goes on lockdown.
I haven't visited T6 in a while, and it was even more cramped and messy than usual with the RE:LAX construction projects going on.
The 767-300 to Minneapolis was delayed due to very un-LA like cold rainy weather. The boarding area was quite cramped.
Not very RE:LAXing conditions in T6
In all, we had a wonderful trip. On any trip with many stops along the way its going to be a mixed bag. There were some great flights, some not so good flights. Across the board, we did pretty well with hotels. I no longer use Hilton as one of my primary hotel chains, but I was very impressed with their offerings in New Zealand. Virgin Australia's long haul business class is a nice product, and a great value when redeemed with Delta Skymiles.