Autumn in Australia 2015. Summer Holiday for us!
Our friend Liszt, who is currently based in Perth, Australia, was the culprit for this trip. Knowing that we’re beach persons, she asked us to spend Holy Friday in Australia’s Surfers Paradise. In the end, she’s not able to join us because of her business trip to Sydney. We proceeded together with our other group of friends.
AIRLINES: My maiden flight outside Asia was with Scoot Airlines. We booked this flight in December during their promotion. Initially, it’s a direct flight from Singapore to Gold Coast then I received notification after a month that there’s gonna be an hour layover in Sydney. I called Scoot’s Hotline to compensate us for the hassle and waste of additional 5 hours. I get pissed off with the Customer Service Agent, all I can hear in the other end of the line was “mmm” and did not even apologised nor offered anything for the hassle. What the hell! I vowed not to take Scoot flight again!
Here’s our original schedule:
Our new schedule:
|02 Apr 2015||Singapore||Sydney|
|01:45 AM||12:25 PM|
|02 Apr 2015||Sydney||Gold Coast|
|13:40 PM||14:05 PM|
|05 Apr 2015||Gold Coast||Singapore|
|09:05 AM||15:20 PM|
But my decision not to take Scoot flight changed after our trip. We had comfortable and on-time flight to and fro. Crews were nice. Food was not bad. Spacious. Clean. It’s a good airlines afterall. Just bad Customer Service from Call Center. I’ll give Scoot another chance hahah!
ACCOMMODATION: This always comes next after booking a flight. I searched thru my trusted accommodation agent, Agoda. Looked for a cheap but nice place near Surfers Paradise, voila, I found Trickett Gardens Holiday Inn! It’s a low rise building, apartment type comes with balcony, receiving area with 2 sofa beds. Kitchen with complete set of cooking utensils, microwave oven, stove, oven, dining table and refrigerator. Bedroom has 1 King-size bed and 2 extra single beds just outside the bedroom. Toilet is located inside the bedroom, it has washing machine and dryer! Yeah, we washed and dried our clothes there 😀 It has an outdoor pool and jacuzzi! BBQ Pit that we planned to use but too tired to exert effort lol! Well, this booking was under “book now, pay later” program. Booked this in December but was actually charged before our trip.
VISA: Philippine Passport Holders requires obtaining visa. No worries, it was hassle-free! It’s online application, no appearance in embassy at all! Notification of approval was thru email. I was given 1 year Multiple Entry Visa. I just printed it out. Visa Fee: S$148.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: Ace. We availed Supreme Asia. I am yet to claim post-journey medical. Hopefully it would work because when I inquired with the Customer Service I was informed that it’s meant for check-up during the trip. Then why the hell it was called Post-Journey Medical Check-up when it’s supposed to be done DURING the trip?! Let’s wait and see.
WEATHER: We’ve been monitoring the weather forecast for the past month, it’s rainy with thunderstorms. So we set our expectations that we’re going to get wet. But the weather forecast was never accurate (that’s why it was called FORECAST)! It was sunny (and I’m overly tanned)! Thank God!
APPARELS: It’s autumn but we brought summer clothes – tank tops, shorts, slippers, shirts, board shorts, slippers and sunglasses. Also, an infinity scarf in case it gets cold at night. Yeah, it’s windy! Don’t forget to apply sunblock.
THEME PARKS: Gold Coast is not only known for its wavy beaches, it’s also popular for their Theme Parks. We purchased 3-in-1 Theme Parks through Groupon Australia which cost us S$78 instead of S$106 if it’s purchased online. It consists of Wet ‘n Wild, Sea World and Dream World. But since we only have 2 full days, we chose to visit Sea World and Dream World.
LAND TRANSFER: 1 week before the trip, we searched for land transfer to and fro Airport – Hotel. There were 3 options to choose from:
- Shuttle Bus – Cost about AU$45 per person. We thought it’s cheaper than taking cab, but unsure how long the travel would be because the bus will have to send each guests in different hotels.
- Public Transport (Bus 777 and Train) – cheapest option but since we’re arriving late in the afternoon and we only have 2 full days to spend in Gold Coast, we opted to avail the Private Transport
- Private Transfer – Express Transfers. Found this online. I had a chat with the Customer Service and offered me private transfer and laid down the advantages of availing the service. Had to pay this upfront else there will additional charges for reservation. We paid S$207.38 for 5 of us. It turned out, its more cheaper than taking shuttle bus.
I had an exchange of email a day before the trip to confirm our flight and was provided our driver’s name and contact number. It was really convenient. Our driver, Ivan was already waiting for us in arrival area with my name on his iPad. Ivan was really nice and patient, we waited for almost an hour for our other companion. Traveling back to airport was hassle-free as well. Ivan arrived before 6am. Thanks to Ivan and Express Transfer for this stress-free private transfer.
MONEY: Since we paid almost everything prior to our trip, we only changed S$300 for 2 of us, equivalent to AU$283. Exchange rate is AU$1 = S$1.06.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: We purchased GO Card from the Tourism Stand in Surfers Paradise. There’s a deposit of AU$10, then we loaded our card with another $20 for our 2 days theme park escapades. Deposit + Unconsumed amount are all refundable. We rushed to the Tourism Stand because refund time is until 5.30pm only. We had to refund it because we had early flight the following day and the GO Card, I believe, is for Queensland use only.
The best part of this trip was meeting our good old friends, couple Weng and Lot, who are currently based in New Zealand. They traveled all the way from Wellington just to meet us all and catch up. We miss you and hoping to see you again in December 🙂 Love you both XOXO!
Day 1. Arrival. Explore Surfers Paradise.
Day 2. Sea World.
Day 3. Movie World: Warner Brothers.
Day 4. Back to SG
Actual Expenses in SGD: S$1,935 for 2 pax or S$967.50 per pax.
I did not include the Visa fee because I’ll use the visa in other states of Australia as well.
- Airfare (Scoot) – S$914.58
- Travel Insurance (Ace) – S$90
- Hotel – Trickett Gardens Holiday Inn (Agoda) – S$314.83
- Land Transfer – Express Transfers (online booking) – S$207.38/5 (S$83)
- Theme Parks – Seaworld and Movieworld – S$156 (groupon)
- Cash – AU$300 = S$283
- Go Card = AU$30
- Oakley Bag = AU$30
- Hard Rock = AU$40
- Grocery = AU$40
- Foods/Drinks = AU$73
- Souvenirs = AU$70
- Credit Card = S$91.10