Australia, known to many of us as down under. A flight to the continent almost promises a stopover or a very long flight. Nestled in the middle of Oceania, Australia is a place as magical as it is far. After sitting on two planes for roughly 24 hours, I would know.
Why would anyone in their right mind fly so far? Well, my bucket list had something about New Year's Eve in Sydney Harbour and I politely obliged.
Before you head to Australia
Depending on your country of origin, you will need an Electronic Travel Authority to enter the country. In the case of tourism, no visa is needed, just an ETA. An ETA gives you three months in Australia. If you require additional time, consult an embassy advisor on what type of right for you. The cost of an ETA is 20 AUD. ($13.75)
How to get there
This again is determined by your country of origin. For example, I flew from New York. My route was JFK- LAX then LAX - SYD. Depending on your airline alliances or preference, you might have a different route.
SYD has two terminals, international and domestic. You will be landing in the international terminal. If Sydney is your final stop, head to your hotel. If you are going to Melbourne as an example, you will have to exit the terminal, take the train to the domestic terminal, and transfer to your flight.
The Hyatt Regency Sydney is a great pick and some of the rooms directly across from the Sydney Opera House. From there, you can see the firework's comfort of your own room.
Rydges Airport Hotel Sydney is one of my favorites. I stayed here as a cheaper option when I returned from New Zealand and it was amazing. The rooms offer a full view of the runway and it is within walking distance to many of the airport food courts in the airport.
Australia has a well-connected metro system, with buses, trams, and trains. All of which can be accessed with an Opal Card. The money is subtracted from the balance once you leave the station, tram, or bus.
Things to do
See the fireworks at Sydney Harbor: Keep in mind, this is probably on everyone's bucket list who is in Australia at that particular time. I recommend going early to get a good spot. The entry is closed by 3:00 pm. If you're unable to get in, anywhere in Darling Harbour or Pirrama Park is a good location.
Sydney Opera House: December 31 is probably the worst day to visit the Sydney Opera House, so I recommend trying New Year's Day. The crowds are less and most people are sleeping in or have made their way to Bondi Beach.
Sydney Harbour Bridge: Perhaps the best view in Sydney, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is for the thrill-seekers and the brave-hearted.