Note: I wrote this last August 12, 2016, and made some modification today (22-Jul-2017). I enjoyed my vacation so much that I forgot to upodate and publish this blog. Anyway, Im sharing it with you now. Sayang naman ang effort kung itatago lang. 😂
So, this is it! I’m flying to Australia. This is my 1st time to travel outside Asia, and i’d like to share some of my travel experiences.
Since my flight is scheduled at 12:00mn, i decided to spend whole day at the office so I could be able to finish my payroll report and turn over my task. It was a very productive day i could say. Unfortunately, when i was about to go home, i learned that it was really raining so hard that some areas in Makati were already flooded, and i didn’t have my car with me, so that means that i had to take a cab to be able to reach home ahead and have time to prepare my stuffs.
My phone doesn’t have any signal at home so I went down the building to call my sister, and wow! Our area was already flooded! I was a bit nervous that we can’t make it as my companions were stuck in traffic. Luckily, they were able to find alternate route and reached my place at 8pm.
The downpour resulted to heavy traffic that the used to be 20 minute travel time from Makati to Airport became 2 hours. Yes, 2 hrs, so we arrived at the Airport at 10:00pm. Thanks to airline’s web check-in facility. I was able to check-in ahead of time so we were still safe. Thanks also to Pokemon Go as it gave me something to do while we were on our way to the airport.
So, if you are travelling out of the country, here are some things that you need to accomplish first:
1. Pay Travel Tax. As of this writing, travel tax is amounting to Php 1,620.00. You have to present to them your passport and ticket. Well, If you want to skip this process, then I suggest that you choose to pay travel tax upon purchasing your ticket. You may do it online, but you’ll be paying a certain amount for the web admin fee.
2. Go to check-in counter. As i have said, we have already checked in online so we fell in line only to have our boarding passes and to drop our luggage. But of course, they still asked for a copy of passport and ticket to verify our documents.
3. Proceed to immigration counter. Before you present yourself to the immigration officer, you have to fill up the Departure Card. You will be needing to present your passport, visa, and ticket. The officer may ask you questions but do not worry about it as they will just validate your papers and your travel plans.
4. After being cleared by the officer, that is the time that you can proceed to your designated boarding gate. There will be another checking of your travel documents and handcarry bag. Once ok, then yay! You are now sure that you can board the plane. Just wait for the airline advise.
So, there you have it. I won’t be writing the details on what happened when we boarded the aircraft as we are now preparing for take off. I’ll take few hours of rest and i’ll be back with updates on our trip to Sydney. 😊
(Updated as of 4:30 PM, 22-Jul-2017)
August 13, 2016, around 8:30 AM when we arrived at Sydney International Airport. We then headed to a friend’s place. That’s where we stayed and so we didn’t spend any single penny for the accommodation. There were also times where we cook our food at home because eating at a restaurant was expensive. Lastly, we visited places that do not have entrance fees. So for those who are planning to visit Sydney, here are some places that you can visit for free, or at a minimal cost:
- Sydney Opera House – The very popular Sydney Opera House. I really can’t believe that I would be able to see this place. Though I was a bit disappointed because I didn’t expect it to be very crowded, I was still glad that I had the chance to see it up close (I wasn’t able to see what’s inside).
- Sydney Harbour Bridge – You can see this as well when you visit Sydney Opera House.
- Hunter Valley – This is the place that’s known for wine, chocolate, and cheese.
- Blue Mountain – The place was very cold because it is located on the upper part of New South Wales. If you like mountaineering/trekking, this is the best place, I guess, that you can visit in NSW.
- Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse – Wollongong is a good place to have coffee because of it’s waterfront view.
- Grounds of Alexandria – Well, this is a cafe & rastaurant so foods and drinks aren’t free. But aside from their coffee and mouthwatering breakfast meal, the famous Kevin Bacon can be seen in this place. He became popular because he was “pig-napped” and the whole community, as well as the media, really tried their best to help find Kevin Bacon. Grounds of Alexandria offered $5,000.00 reward to anyone who would bring Kevin back. According to my sister’s friend, Kevin has his own facebook page and many people are following him. A certified star!
- Royal Botanic Garden – If you have this interest in science, plants, or gardens, then you have to visit Royal Botanic Garden. This is also a perfect place to go to if you want to see Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, and sunset, in one picture. By the way, prepare yourself for a long walk if you really want to see and appreciate the place.
- Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk – WOW! That was what I often say during our walk from Coogee to Bondi. The view was so perfect that I haven’t noticed that we were walking for 3 hours already. We also passed by a popular Waverly Cemetery, but taking picture was prohibited in respect to those who were buried there. Well, I learned that it is the resting place for many influencial people who helped build Sydney, NSW.
- Manly Beach – When you visit Sydney, you should also try riding the ferry going to Manly (it’s not free). This place, they say, is where most of the wealthy people live, and it’s not surprising because there are a lot of beautiful houses built near the beach. I also observed that many families were spending time together in this place. I was then told that Aussies value their family so much so they often spend time together during weekends.
Aside from the beautiful places that we’ve seen, one of the best things that Australia has to offer is their locals . Aussies are very nice. They are very approachable and they would keep on smiling and greeting people that they see around.
By the way, you will be needing to ride a train to get to some of these places, so you have to have your Opal Card with you. We bought ours in a convenience store at the airport and loaded it with $40, as our initial fund for train rides. You cannot share the card with companion so each of you should have one.
There are really a lot of places that you can visit in New South Wales, Australia, but you may include in your itinerary the abovementioned attractions if you want a budget friendly trip.
Australia is the most beautiful place that I have visited so far, and I would really love to see it again someday.
If you are wondering how much we have spent (each), here is the summary of our expenses, for 9 days. Again, pls note that our accommodation was free, some meals (mostly breakfast and dinner) were cooked at home, and some places were reached through a private car. We walked a lot, not just because we wanted to save, but because we wanted to really see and experience the place:
Airfare – 14,800.00
Visa Processing – 5,660.00
Travel Tax – 1,620.00
Overall Expenses in Australia – 15,000.00 (Est.)
If you want to see more photos of my trip to Australia, feel free to check my fb account at http://www.facebook.com/mhaggiecardo.