Contiki – Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Noosa

Drring! Okay, more like: Beep, beep. Get up early once again. Our stops today: Brisbane and Noosa. After all the suitcases and bags (+ Youngys Surf Board) were stowed away, we were able to recover on the bus.

Justine and Youngy (coach captain) first drove us towards Brisbane. While Justine explained us today’s schedule , the first already fall asleep again. Shortly before 9:30 we got a wake-up call for some of us . A list was handed around that we had to sign. Ths list was about what we want to eat during our Fraser Island expedition. The choices were fish, meat and vegetarian dishes.



Shortly before 9:45, we arrived in Brisbane. After a short ride through the city we were let out at a big square. From here we went to a jewelry store. where they told us something about opals.
Some tour mates including me went towards the city center to eat something / buy something to drink. Then we went shopping for Australia day. Shortly before half past 12! The journey continued to Noosa!


It was already after noon. shortly after 2:00 pm. Again plenty of time to

Noosa Beach
Noosa Beach

eat and relax. Except for extremely high-priced restaurants, there was not really something in the main street. I bought just a sandwich and a cappuccino-to-go from 7-11 and we enjoyed some time to stroll on the beach. At about 4 in the afternoon we went to our today’s accommodation, the Australis Noosa Lakes Resort. Here again we had some time to unpack the suitcase and make us fresh, because tonight we will go to a country club which looks more like a large restaurant with slot machines. Earlier we enjoyed some time of course in the pool at the resort.


Australis Noosa Lakes Resort

We had an apartment on the first Floor with a balcony with views of the lake. After the entrance you find yourself in an anteroom. There you will find a washer and dryer. The apartment itself has a living room with a open cooking area. The apartment is quite spacious, so plenty of room for a little party: D The couch can be converted into a bed. The separate bedroom has a queen size bed.

Contiki Party

After dinner we went back to the resort, where we threw a little party in our apartment

College Party? I haven’t been to a college party yet, but our party was relatively quiet except for the music. Although some had a lot fun with alcohol and playing cards, others enjoyed the time on the balcony to chill out. 🙂

Contiki – Surfers Paradise, Sky-Diving, Draculas – part 2

Jan 19, 2011:

The alarm clock rang early. At 7:20, some tour mates and I had to stand in the lobby. Why? Because I’m going to jump out of an aircraft at 12000 ft. altitude


Gold Coast Skydive

Well, there it’s was, the shuttle to the office of the Gold Coast Skydivers. 4 people want to jump from a aircraft which is in my perfect condition. During our trip the first two tour mates (“Jumpers”) filled out a form. That must do every jumper. When we arrived at the office, we got the first instrutions and tips. As Ellen and I, were in the second group , we could relax a little, while the first two were driving to the airport.
My partner was the experienced skydiver jumping Steve, who is also among the first people who jumped from Mount Everest.

Now it was our turn. Following an instruction and the application of the jumpsuits, we drove to the airport, only estimated 5 minutes away. The plane took off, and slowly gained altitude. After a few minutes we reached the jump height of 12000 ft. The side door opened, and Ellen and her Skydive partner slid to the right place. A few moments later I looked through the door. “Ready?” “yes”.

Tied to Steve, he pushed us off the plane. A breathtaking feeling (do not take it literally;-)). Note:I have not yet ridden any rollercoaster;-)

After some time the parachute opened and we floated over the beautiful Gold Coast. “Amazing!” For a while me let Steve steer the parachute, which is quite easy. As we approached the beach a few minutes later, Steve was preparing the landing . During the landing procedure I had to put my shoes on his shoes. Even before I realized we were already standing on the beautiful beach of the Gold Coast. Butter soft landing on the Gold Coast! A “breathtaking experience” which anybody should do. It does cost $ 425 AUD with video recording, but it’s definitely worth it!

Meanwhile, it was just before nine and They took us by shuttle to the hotel. During the ride my dad called and asked what things am I doing. ( I posted a photo on the internet shortly before). I confirmed to him that I just jumped off a plane from 12000ft.


Explore Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise - Shopping
Surfers Paradise - Shopping

Since I had booked no further optionals for the day, I decided to have breakfast first and then to explore Surfers Paradise.
I decided after a detailed walk through the party town of Surfers Paradise for a yummy Dark Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks. Starbucks is part of my mandatory program, when ever I’m traveling around the world. 🙂

Surfers Paradise - Beach
Surfers Paradise - Beach

Afterwards I went for some shopping to Billabong. Yeah! Finally, in a Billabong flagship store. The day was approaching the early evening and therefore I was moving towards the hotel.


Draculas Cabaret Show

Almost all tour mates including me booked the by Justine recommended cabaret show at “Dracula’s Gold Coast”

It is “Australia’s favorite Dinner Theatre”. At the entrance we were welcomed by a creepy-looking character and had to enter the venue through a coffin-like door. After a high-priced cocktail at the bar, we went through a short ghost train into the “Theatre of the Vampire”: D We all sat around a large table, where we could enjoy the show and our more than delicious food (3 course meal) .

Before it continued properly, the vampire from the entrance announced that besides Contiki there’s also another VIP here tonight. Justin Bieber Screaming! 😉 In fact, Mr. Bieber was sitting not even 10 feet away from us and also enjoyed the show.

Unfortunately, in the entire location photography and filming is not allowed.

Therefore, here is the official TV spot for Dracula’s Gold Coast:



Dracula’s is definitely worth it’s $ 85 AUD! The food and the show including comedy and rock music parts are excellent! 2 hours High Quality Fun!

More info at 🙂

Contiki – Wildlife Sanctuary, Surfers Paradise – part 1

Jan 18, 2011:

After a really excellent breakfast at Mojo surf camp “Spot X”, we went further towards Surfers Paradise, but before, , but we made a stop at noon in Byron Bay.

In Byron, we (2 German girls + one New Yorker and I) had a chilled-afternoon and ate a really delicous meal for lunch, while some other tour mates went to the beach.

Then we went to Australia’s most eastern point, Cape Byron. The quasi-mandatory photographing time just went by and we sat in the bus again. Let’s go to Surfers Paradise.

Surfers Paradise is the Miami of Australia. Surfing, beach, shopping, partying and much more can you expect here. Surfers Paradise is part of the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. On the Gold Coast many TV series and feature films are produced. Even one of my favorite former children’s series was produced on the Gold Coast.

Wildlife Sanctuary - Kangaroo
Wildlife Sanctuary - Kangaroo

Wildlife Sanctuary

But before we traveled to Surfers Paradise, we made a brief stop at the Wildlife Sanctuary, Queensland.

Wildlife Sanctuary - Crocodile
Wildlife Sanctuary - Crocodile

Here we had the opportunity to stroke kangaroos ,to see crocodiles and carry a koala bear on the shoulder (of course with high-priced photo;-)).

Contrary to the claims, the koalas do not stink. So much for rumors. Hehe! I got a koala placed on me and someone took a photo. Koalas are really cute animals.


Surfers Paradise – Day 1

Surfers Paradise! Welcome to the party paradise of Australia. I set myself some years ago the goal to come to this place. Surfers Paradise is a part of the Gold Coast and is also a part of several famous movie and television series. Even the famous Australian children’s TV series “H2O – Just Add Water” was filmed here. Some people say that Surfers Paradise is the Miami of Australia. We traveled across the famous Gold Coast Hv. to our hotel, the “Australis Sovereign Surfers Paradise” – a 4.5 star hotel.

Australis Sovereign Surfers Paradise

The hotel has a spacious lobby. Let’s see how the rooms are …

I shared the room again with my tour mates from the surf camp. The “room” consisted of a living room with a kitchen and a sofa convert to bed. The bedroom had a spacious king-size bed and one single bed, a closet provides plenty of storage space. The large balcony can be reached from the living room and bedroom. The bathroom was clean and has a bathtub with shower. The living room has a small flat-screen TV. In the rooms although is WiFi available, but as the Internet at the Internet terminals in the lobby, it’s not for free.

We got a voucher for breakfast from Contiki. Since we stayed for 3 days at this hotel, It was necessary to organize another breakfast.

Since we arrived relatively late on the first day, we had several hours free time to make us fresh and to select a styling for this evening. Our tour guide had already announced that we would now go into the night club “Sin City” – VIP Access Included! I went off earlier to explore the city.

The night – Sin City Club in Surfers Paradise

I arrived first in front of the club and asked my , whether the other tour mates

Surfers Paradise at night
Surfers Paradise at night

were already inside. A few minutes later, I answered my question. The first tour mates arrived. When all were there, Justine(tour guide) accompanied us to the VIP wait line and we went in after passport check. My first Australian nightclub. The atmosphere felt like one the large night clubs in Munich, just a bit more “cozy”. 🙂

Contiki – Surf Camp – Byron Bay

Jan 17, 2011:

After a really excellent breakfast buffet at the Shoal Bay Resort & Spa, we continued towards Byron Bay.

However, we had a break at noon in Coffs Harbour, to eat something and fill up our drinks stocks. An Australian standard meal at McDonalds (Burger + chips) costs $ 9 AUD.


Mojos Surf Camp

In the late afternoon we arrived at Mojos surf camp “Spot X” in order to do something uniquely Australian: Surfing!

Mojos Surf Camp
Mojos Surf Camp

Yes we were warned, but it was very interesting. We should be accommodated in container like cabins for one night. Some were lucky and even had a patio door. We i.e., 2 tour mates and I got a container without a sink / toilet. Since we ,always had to , let’s say “go out”, we received a compensation. 1 Mojo Surf T-shirt and a coupon worth $ 150 AUD for photos that will be taken during our surf session ​.

Mojos Surf Camp - The Surfer's Code
Mojos Surf Camp - The Surfer's Code

Our surf session began with a brief and very funny, Introduction. Then we took our boards and went to the beautiful beach. time for dried exercise! : D
After that we went straight to the nice wet.

Unfortunately I was not really long on my board, but Australians, New Zealanders and Californians just have the home advantage. : D


Mojos Surf Camp - Dinner
Mojos Surf Camp - Dinner

In the evening we went to the buffet. It was cooked fresh for us. Really tasty! There’s something for everybody Here we also met Roxy Roxy “the crazy German”. She works here in the surf camp and clearly has fun doing it. 🙂

Night came and you could enjoy a starry sky.



Mojos Surf Camp
Mojos Surf Camp
Mojos Surf Camp - Beach
Mojos Surf Camp - Beach


Contiki Tour “Beaches and Reefs” begins

Jan 16, 2011:

Contiki begins! To be more precise, the Contiki “Beaches and Reefs” tour began exactly one months ago.

After the everyday morning things (showers, clothing,…) I went to the lobby and saw already a large group of people standing at a small table.
However, I went first to the front desk to check out. Back to the small table. There was young woman wearing a Contiki polo shirt. After another friendly “Good morning” from me, I handed her my voucher for the Contiki “Beaches and Reefs” tour. Then I had to write my insurance details and emergency contact name on a list.

Wait a few minutes and a coffee from the breakfast room later we went to the bus to let our baggage be stored.

Then we started. First, We went to the Mrs Macquaries Chair, on the way our tour guide Justine explained us, what we have to expect for the next few hours:
Group photo, then 2 hours drive, short break, continue our ride to Port Stephens.

Group photo and the straggler

Contiki Beaches & Reefs - Tour mates
Contiki Beaches & Reefs - Tour mates

We arrived at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and first we ran around a bit, while the photographer set up his equipment. Then we all did (all ?;-)) our first group photo (+ some variants) with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.
We had the choice between different sizes, and whether one wanted the “normal” or crazy version. While the photographer was preparing the prints , the tour mates including me took photos of the area. And I realized that someone was also from Germany. We quickly came in touch. A few moments later, someone came up to us and realized, oh, there are also two other german speaking people. In short: three German-speaking people including me, are on the tour.

I decided to go for the “normal” photo in the larger variant. $ 20 AUD. Yeah! but it is worth to me 🙂

Contiki Beaches & Reefs Coach
Contiki Beaches & Reefs Coach

While we are moved back to the bus, we heard , that Justine talked to someone on the phone. Someone had already missed us at the hotel.

She gave him 7 minutes, otherwise he would have to find his own way to catch up with us. A taxi came roaring up, the Texan made it and sat down next to me.

My first Australian rest stop station

After about 2 hours it was time, our first stop for 30 minutes. The first rest stop, that I visited in Australia. 😀

Dolphin Tour

Dolphin tour
Dolphin tour

The sun was already very active again. To begin the tour calmly, I opted for the Dolphin tour, as an alternative, they usually offer sand surfing. Sadly, we could see a dolphin only very briefly. Too bad. But it was still a very good opportunity to get used to the Australian sun.

Shoal Bay Resort and Spa

The Shoal Bay Resort and Spa is a real find.

Our room had a double bed, and another room with two single beds separated by a sliding door and a bathroom.
We had a room facing the back yard of the kitchen, although it was quiet, but some other tour mates were lucky enough to get a room overlooking the pool.

Der Pool ist chillig, rund um den Pool sind Liegen und einige Sonnenschirme. Man kann hier ebenfalls an einem kleinen Stand nicht alkoholische und alkoholische Getränke kaufen. The pool is and some sun nice, deck chairs and sun umbrellas are lying around the pool. There’s also a small stand to buy non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. For the room party  is a bottle shop only a few hundred meters away. 😉
The breakfast buffet was excellent, there is a huge selection of sweets and a coffee / hot drink machine.


On our first night we had actually a room party, with some other tour mates. Perfect make some new friends 🙂

Sydney, CBD, aquarium, city tour

Beep, beep , beep. 9:00 am in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It’s my second day (15th Jan 2011) in this beauty of city. It is time to explore Sydney! After the usual morning things (showers, clothing ,…) I was at 9:37 in the lobby. I decided not to eat breakfast at the hotel because I in my opinion the price is not adequate. I took out my smart phone and looked for the nearest Starbucks Coffee House. I already knew where it is approximately, but I wanted to be sure and prefered to view the route. I went to Elizabeth Street, on the edge of the CBD. As I studied the menu, I noticed that it differs slightly from the European menu. They offer Dark Chocolate Mocha Frappuchino. Yeah!. I took also a bagel and a Australia Country Mug.

Downtown / CBD Sydney

Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Downtown you will find old houses like in New York City, but also modern skyscrapers. In addition,

Central Business District, Sydney
Central Business District, Sydney

Sydney has a monorail that runs through half the city.

I wandered through CBD just following my feeling. My destination was the harbor. On the way, I made also a short stop at an ATM. It was the first that displayed the actual transaction fee for a withdrawal.
I walked across a pedestrian bridge at Cockle Bay, in front of me I saw the Australian National Maritime Museum and an old sailing ship. Monorail above me drove to the other side. I wandered for a few more minutes and saw a covered area near the harbor edge. Here were several roofed benches and tables. From here you could see some certainly high-priced apartments with views to the bay. Nice place to live 🙂

I sat down and pulled out the Free Sydney Guide from Sydney International Airport. While leafing through, I realized that the Sydney Aquarium is pretty much praised. On his way, I had seen it from the pedestrian bridge. I decided therefore to make my way to the Sydney Aquarium, especially because it was noon now, and the sun was already very “active” .

Sydney Aquarium

Sydney Aquarium
Sydney Aquarium

The Sydney Aquarium is really quite funny, but you should particularly during the lunchtime allow some time in the wait line. I arrived there shortly after 12:00 clock more than 30 minutes in the wait line. If you need Australian money , there’s one rediATM just before the entrance . If you already have a ticket,you can skipthe wait line, because you can also buy tickets online. If you have no tickets yet, then you’ll have the choice of different packages with typically “Australian prices” . One-time access costs $ 35 AUD, an annual pass costs $ 80 AUD. There are also packages like e.g. a

Sharks, Sydney Aquarium
Sharks, Sydney Aquarium

Combined ticket for the Sydney Wildlife World. I opted for the General Admission Ticket. Tomorrow I’m already going on tour with the Contiki Beaches and Reefs Summarized it can be said that in Sydney Aquarium are many small and large aquariums with fish and turtles, as well as : Shark-Tracker, a large shark area with glass tubes, a huge “Great Barrier Reef” tank. At the end follows a large area that looks like the burger fast food chain with the big M. They offer e.g. Burger with chips (French fries) for $ 9 AUD.

Let’s take some time to do a city tour and see some other parts of Sydney. I already knew, that’s at Circular Quay is a starting point for sightseeing tours. Circular Quay is just 1.5 km from Sydney Aquarium. The tour has certainly points for Hop-on, which are closer, but I want to see more places in Sydney 🙂

City tour in Sydney

Harbour Bridge, Sydney
Harbour Bridge, Sydney

After about 30 minutes I was standing for the first time at Circular Quay in Sydney. The big red buses from city sightseeing can’t be overlooked;-)
A day ticket with unlimited hop-on hop-off costs here $ 35 AUD.
The Tour of city sightseeing tour is unfortunately only a tape recording.

After a relaxing sightseeing tour, I ate a pizza at Pizzahut and then I continued my the way to Potts Point, because tomorrow starts my Contiki Beaches and Reefs tour.

Explore Sydney!

Jan 14, 2011:

My first day in Australia, it was already after 3 clock in the afternoon. I decided to visit first Sydney’s most famous landmark. The Sydney Opera House!

Thanks to Google Maps on my smartphone, I already knew that the walk to the Opera House only takes about 25 minutes. So I got on the way to the Sydney Royal Botanic Garden.

Sydney Opera House (dodgy weather)
Sydney Opera House (dodgy weather)

The moment I entered, it was clear that I have a new favorite city. A city park in the middle of skyscrapers is pretty cool, a city park which is also on the waterfront is even better. The Sydney Opera House is located , as commonly known, on the waterfront and directly accessible from the Botanic Garden. A few minutes later I was already on the edge of the Botanic Garden. I took the road to the Open Air Theatre, also located there. However, I passed by a crowd of people waiting for an

Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney
Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney

Open Air Cinema presentation , and then I arrived already at waterfront. It was already possible to see the Sydney Opera House . Here I also made the first Picture Post from Sydney city for my “Maik Ter World Live” service (a website for friends and relatives to show, where I am currently in Australia).

Unfortunately the weather was somewhat cloudy, it was still T-shirt weather, in perhaps the best city in the world. I went on to the Sydney Opera House.

However, I spent some time at the Sydney Opera House and then made ​​my way back. Thereby I met two girls in my age, with Australian accent, they asked me if I could take a photo of them. Sure! Incidentally, the two also had a camera from the Sony Cybershot series. (I currently use a Sony HX5V myself, see equipment). Sony’s small cameras seem to be very popular in Australia.

My way lead me to the hotel this time directly through the Botanic Garden, ie not down along the waterfront, but by the green areas. Similar to the English Garden in Munich, many couples picnicking, sunning here (Did I mention that I am single? 🙁 ).

In the background: the beautiful skyline of Sydney CBD (Central Business District) . I came back to one of the main roads. Surprisingly I noticed that a church / small cathedral is in the middle of this nice city , directy at a main road.

Alcohol free zone, Kings Cross, Sydney
Alcohol free zone, Kings Cross, Sydney

Around half past six in the evening I was again in Kings Cross. I discovered an interesting sign (look right). I already read in Contiki’s official forum that various tour mates were in the same hotel and would eventually have some fun in the neighborhood at night. I decided, however, for a chilling night in a king size bed. Although I had no jet lag (I’m always jet-lag-free), but I noticed that I had to refuel some energy. The mentioned tour mates arrived a few days before.

Arrival in Sydney, Shuttle, Holiday Inn Potts Point – part 3

Jan 14, 2011:

As I wrote in a previous post of this travelogue, I have managed to reach the shuttle company. My first Australian telephone conversation. Yeah! 🙂

Shuttle to hotel

The lady at the other end of the line said in a slightly surprising voice that they had been expecting me this morning, and that the driver had not found me. (Note: It was now shortly after 12:00 clock). I pointed out that Customs / Immigration took about 1.5 hours. She promised that a driver will come within the next 30 minutes to pick me up. However, I would have to go to the shuttle pickup point. afterwards , her directions to shuttle Point 34 were a bit confusing.  For the pickup points in the 30s range you have to go out of the arrival hall, when you see the Vodafone store, you have to go straight ahead, past the Optus store, then you see a Meetingpoint. There you can see an exit on the left side. As soon as you are outdoors, you should go further to the right and follow the footpath. Sometime you can see a series of long single parking spaces. Right next to each place is a sign with the number of pick-up point.

I handed my voucher to the driver and gave him again the name of the hotel. He put my trolley in the trunk and the journey began.
The ride to the hotel was relatively unspectacular, the driver did not speak a word. We went on bypass roads, highways, freeways and a few wide main streets.

Holiday Inn – Potts Point

The ride from Sydney International Airport to the Holiday Inn Potts Point took about 45 minutes. We arrived, the driver drop off my trolley and drove away again. Incidentally, even without a word. I wished him a pleasant day anyway. 🙂

At the reception I was greeted by a young lady. When I gave her my voucher, she noted happily that everything is already paid. However, I have to deposit an amount of $ 75 AUD on my credit card for optional expenses. (Note to the uninformed: the amount is not debited, but only blocked, which is also common for car rental reservations)

She handed me my room key, told me my room number and wished me a pleasant stay.

Standard room at Holiday Inn – Potts Point

My “superior room” was on the 7th floor towards the entrance of the “entertainment district”. This means that even on the 7th floor it ‘s not completely quiet when the room is oriented toward the “entertainment district” “Kings Cross”. The room was equipped with a double and a great selection of pillows. Opposite the bed was a flat screen TV and a small desk next to it. Unfortunately, the window can’t be opened, but of course it has an air conditioning / ventilation (audible). The bathroom was well lit. It is equipped with a bath / shower combination with standard curtain (so no glass wall).

Internet at Holiday Inn – Potts Point

In-room internet access via standard Ethernet and WLAN / Wi-Fi connection is available. However, it costs up to $ 29 AUD per day (setup fee and then calculated by used bandwidth).

I unpacked my suitcase partially and then went to the door. It’s time to explore Sydney!

Arrival at Sydney Airport, Vodafone, Essentials, Subway – part 2

Jan 14, 2011:

As you’ve already read in a previous post, my shuttle was not there (any longer). Of course I had the phone number of the shuttle service, but because of the expensive call rates in Australia with an European SIM card I shifted the call. Let’s buy an Australian SIM card!

Prepaid phones/SIM card at airport

Vodafone and Optus have both stores at the Sydney International Terminal International airport in the arrival hall.
I decided to go for Vodafone, although I know that they do not have the best network in Australia. I decided to choose the “Flexi Cap” prepaid offer. It has the advantage that I can use the credit flexibly. For $ 49 AUD I got the following features: $ 350 AUD credit for calls to Vodafone Australia network, 3 GB data volume, and $ 350 AUD for all other expenses (“Flexible Credit”). The credit expires after 30 days. The tariffs change frequently, now has the Flexi Cap offer more inclusive services. To activate a Vodafone Australia SIM you have to call the number and enter the code from the activation voucher. After the call, the activation can take “up to 2 hours,” as the employee in the Vodafone store said to me

So, at first late breakfast / lunch. What works the same everywhere in the world? E.g. ordering at Subway restaurants. Let’s go to the departure level! On the departure level, there is next to the check-in area a large variety of food stores and shops (including Australian Post Office).
The way was quickly found, first a few meters along an long hallway and then an escalator. I was standing in the departure hall. After a series of check-in desks is the beginning of the food court. My trained eye saw immediately a Hungry Jack and a Subway next to it.

Essentials for Australia

When you are in Australia, you should I buy some essentials, as soon as you arrive. E.g. Australian sun cream. For Australia, a sunscreen with SPF 30 or 50 is recommended, and I mean according the Australian standard. A European sun screen with SPF 30 protection in Australia is not sufficient. Furthermore, it’is also recommended to buy a hat that protects the head and neck from UV rays adequately.
Both can be purchased at the International Terminal departure level both shops are at the rear right corner . 😉
In addition to a pharmacy and some Clothes stores, there is also a branch of Australia Post. I already have a SIM card for my phone, but I want to go online with my netbook.
As my netbook also supports the network of the reliable Australian mobile operator Telstra , I bought at the Australia Post a Telstra sim starter kit. You get Starter kits at Telstra stores, supermarkets and at Australia Post for $ 2 AUD. The employee informed me that starter kits come with no credit and must be activated later. I replied that I will add funds to the account online by credit card.

Free Internet Terminals at Sydney Airport – International Terminal

In the arrival hall as well in departure Hall are free internet terminals from the mobile operator “Yes Optus”, which you can use without registration. … if they are working.
I went to the Arrival Hall, because I first saw a terminal there and wanted to activate my sim card. The Internet terminals are very rustic computer with an Ubuntu installation and auto login (for the IT geeks among you). After several minutes, the browser will run on the Internet terminal. Enter the address and let’s go? No way! Even after 2 minutes of loading time the site wasn’t visible. Then the computer restarted automatically. Apparently I was’nt the only one . My “neighbors” of the other Internet terminals already cursed inwardly. There were also internet terminals in the Departure Hall …
So back to the Departure Hall! Here I had finally found a working internet terminal. First I checked e-mails … (Note: already more than 85 unread e-mails arrived). The free internet terminals are a really good thing, in Europe frequently you have to pay a fee. disadvantages have the two terminals but: Due to a not so powerful hardware equipment reacts very slow the Internet. In addition, the computer automatically restarts after X minutes of non-use.

After some time, I tried again to call with my phone. I dialed the number of the shuttle company. It rang … So, the SIM card works well without the Internet activation, it just takes some time.

Arrival in Sydney, border control, australian money, baggage checks – part 1

Jan 14, 2011:
We were again around 8 hours in the air. The pilot of the Boeing 747-400 landed the plane butter-softly on the runway, you could feel hardly anything. The weather was a bit gray at 22 °C. The captain announced, that it’s going to be even more beautiful and we had to reckon with 30 °C.
I relaxingly pulled out my backpack from under the seat and moved toward the aisle. After several minutes I could move towards the exit in the aircraft. After I left the gangway, I went first to a restroom. Incidentally, they advertise proudly there, that the toilets flush with recycled water 😉

Free Sydney Guide book and Duty-Free

After some meters you landed in an elongated area of “duty free” items. Before it, there was a shelf: Free “Sydney Guide books”! Everybody can take a free travel guide book for Sydney. In addition to to English there are also Japanese and other languages. Of course I took an English copy.

Wait lines at border, customs and immigration

Directly behind the duty free shopping area then the Border Control (“Immigration”). I decided to go directly to the Border Control. First I had to find the right wait line. There are wait lines for flight personnel, the default wait line, an express line, and another, but apparently you need for it a special electronic passport .

Border control / Immigration desk

At the end of the wait line they distributed people by hand on different counter.
With a friendly “Good morning” and my charming smile, I greeted the lady at the counter and handed her my passport, my ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) confirmation, as well as the “Incoming passenger card”, which I already filled out during flight. She looked at my passport and compared the photo with me. Then she looked at the “Incoming passenger card” and entered something into her computer. As a next step, she asked me what kind of medicine I have with me. If you’ve read my previous post, you know that I have stated that I checked “medicine” at the incoming passenger card. I told her that I only have “standard travel medicine against headache and those stuff” with me. I told her that I was not sure if I had to declare”standard travel medicine”, therefore I ticked it on the incoming passenger card for safety’s sake. She said that would be a good thing, because Australia is very strict about it. She wrote a letter on the card, then she put a stamp in my passport and wished me a nice day.


Immediately after the border control, I saw lots of baggage belts. A few moments later I saw a variety of flat screens, and on them were flight numbers, baggage carousels and related numbers. I walked straight to the correct baggage claim and saw my bag in less than 30 seconds. “That’s fast!” was my first thought.

Australian money / ATM at Sydney International Airport

I looked around and saw an ATM with the label “Travelex”. The name “Travelex”, I already knew the famous traveller checks, as an alternative to cash.
It’s time for the inaugural use of my new Mastercard Gold abroad!

A few moments later, the most beautiful money in the world came from the machine.
Okay, maybe not the most beautiful, but it is very unique. It feels like plastic (not like paper) and has a small “window” (transparent surface) on the bill. All bills are extremely colorful and each face of it has a face of celebrity. The bigger the bill, the higher the value. Easy to understand.
The system works completely different with coins , more about that later …

Import baggage check

to the next wait line! I moved with my trolley and my backpack from the luggage belt in direction to the import baggage wait line. At half way I was approached by a woman, I think she had a British accent. She asked me if I could raise her two heavy bags on the baggage car. Of course I helped her. Then I continue my way to the next wait line. 10 minutes later we arrived in a room with several exits and numbers of 1-10. An employee of the airport took my “incoming passenger card” and pointed to one of the exits. Yippee! Another wait line. After a few minutes I hit a fork in the queue at an employee of airport. She also took the “incoming pasgener card”. She asked me what kind of medicine I carry. I gave her the same answer, then she wrote something on the card and showed me the way to the next wait line. Yippie! Let’s wait a bit! : D More minutes went by, another employee took the “Incoming passenger card” (which she kept), then my luggage was got scanned. After a few meters I left the security area and arrived at the arrival hall. So it took me over an hour from plane to the arrivals area. Is the ordered hotel shuttle still there? … you can imagine the answer.

Where’s my  shuttle driver?! Alone at Sydney International Airport

I “scanned” all the  name badges. My driver was already gone. Great…

What happened next? You can read it in the next post.