Bradonregional first

Skymiles to New Zealand with Virgin Australia

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. 

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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.

 

MKE-AKL_routing

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.

 

Trip planning

Introduction and Delta First Class from MKE-MSP-LAX

LAX_InNOut

Dusk near LAX at the In-N-Out on Sepulveda

 

Killing some time in and around LAX during a layover

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Bed mode in VA Business Class

 

V Australia Business Class from LAX to SYD

 IMG_3452

Dessert on VA from LAX-SYD

 

V Australia Business Class dinner service

 SYD_Bridge_PH

The Sydney Harbour Bridge with the Park Hyatt under construction in the foreground.

 

 

Sydney layover and Virgin Australia to Cairns

Some early photos

 

 

Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef with Spirit of Freedom

 

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Executive Suite at the Westin Sydney

CNS-SYD and a suite at the Westin Sydney

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Virgin Australia Business Class on 737-800

Virgin Australia SYD-MEL-AKL including lounges

AKLHIHI_Hilton_Auckland_gallery_welcome

Hilton Auckland on Princes Wharf

 

Hilton Auckland review

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Hilton Lake Taupo

 

 

 

 

 

Hilton Lake Taupo review

Exploring Wellington and a ferry to the south island

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natural beauty of the South Island

Touring the south island

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Lakes and mountains surrounding Queenstown

Deluxe lakeview room at the Hilton Queenstown

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Mountainous surroundings of Queenstown Airport

Flying Jetstar ZQN-CHC and touring Christchurch

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Air New Zealand A320 Economy Class

 

 

 

Air New Zealand CHC-MEL

Venting about some issues with Virgin Australia

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Lobby of the Park Hyatt Melbourne

Touring Melbourne and Park Hyatt Melbourne review

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Virgin Australia Lounge in Melbourne

 

Virgin Australia Lounge in Melbourne and flying MEL-SYD

Sydney arrival, V Australia check in departure lounge

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Breakfast on V Australia SYD-LAX

V Australia Business Class from SYD to 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. 

LAX_T5-6_Tunnel

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. 

LAX_T6

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

#1
Matthew February 13, 2012 at 07:43 pm

Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Brad--I really enjoyed this report.

I've got to get to Queenstown...

One time I was in the tunnel between 5 and 6 taking pictures of that sign and it went into lockdown! Seriously, that was frightening. I figured I triggered it--what the heck is this guy doing down here taking pictures. Metal gates come down at three different points after about 10 seconds of siren. I ran for the Delta terminal and made it out!

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