Qantas Business Class Review – Melbourne to Auckland - Airbus A330-200

Qantas International Business Class Lounge

After completing airport security, it was time to experience the Qantas Business Class lounge. I was not expecting this lounge located on the basement level; it took me a while to find it.

The Qantas International Business Class Lounge is huge and you will find everything, including a business centre with printers, a kid’s zone, and a shower facility. I didn’t have to use any of them; I was rushing to complete taking video and pictures, so I could have some time to eat or drink a coffee.

There were plenty of food and snacks. I saw the alcohol and coffee sections were impressive too; there was even barista coffee.

Qantas Business Class Airbus A330-200

I was expecting Qantas Airbus A330-200 to have one of the world’s best business class suites and I was not disappointed. Each suite is separated with a privacy divider and has direct isle access, regardless of whether it’s a window seat or not.

I had a window seat and it made my journey even better. Wrapped in black leather, these seats convert to a 2-metre lie-flat bed. There were numerous storage options and there was a big side table to keep items such as a laptop or camera. Even the spacious footwell can be used to stack a small suitcase or carry-on luggage.

Qantas’s business class food was great. To start with, I chose seared ocean trout with charred corn, jalapeno lime, and coriander. My main course was red braised chicken with stir fried gai tan, shiitake mushrooms, black beans, and jasmine rice. I had Maggie Beer salted honey ice cream as a dessert. This ice cream looked like an Australian specialty and I had never seen it before.

The Quantas Business suite entertainment system offered a 16-inch touch screen monitor and there were lots of Asian and Western options available.  16-inch seemed to be the perfect size to watch a movie right in front of my face.

There was no Amenity Kit provided on this flight. It was probably too short a flight (roughly 3.5 hours) for an Amenity Kit.

Overall, my first experience with Qantas business class was pleasant and I found nothing to complain about. I definitely will not hesitate to fly Qantas again in the future if the opportunity arises.

Australia Travel Blog: Part 7 - Qantas International Business Lounge

At Melbourne Airport: Going to New Zealand

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 1

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 2

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 3

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 4

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 5

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 6

At Melbourne (MEL) airport I went to the Quantas Business Class counter to get my boarding pass. I was expecting a lot more hospitality like what I got at EVA AIR counter, but it was nowhere near that. Actually, it felt like an economy class counter. Once I was done at the counter, I was heading to the security gate.

Unexpectedly, I was chosen, along with a couple of female flight attendants, for a special random security check. All airports do this kind of random checking, but this was my first time I had this experience pulling me out from the regular queue.

All of us were taken to a small room, asked to open our luggage and lay it flat. I did what I was told. A security person went through my bag and ran a detector. It was very quick. After finishing there, I had the idea that I didn’t have to go through the regular security check, but I was wrong. I had to go through the usual security check again, but this part was quick as well.

Where Is the Lounge?

Quantas Business Class travelers to foreign destinations get to experience the Qantas International Business Lounge. It took me a while to get to the lounge because I was looking for the lounge on the ground level.

But the lounge is actually located on the basement level 1. Quantas Business Class lounge is used by Quantas, Oneworld partner airlines, and even non-alliance partners such as China Eastern.

In the next post, I will talk little more about the Quantas Business Class lounge. I am flying to Auckland, New Zealand, but I will be back to Australia again, in Sydney from Auckland.

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 6

Going Back in Time: 1850 - Sovereign Hill Gold Mine in Ballarat

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 1

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 2

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 3

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 4

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 5

One of the attractions in Melbourne you must visit is the Sovereign Hill Gold Mine in the suburb of Ballarat. A small city from the 1850 gold rush in Australia is preserved as it was back in those days. You will be able to go back in time and experience a gold mine city.

Visiting the whole city would take a full day, so I rushed to finish everything as fast as I could. Some of the places you can experience in Sovereign Hill as they were in the past are:

- A real underground gold mine and the ability to ride a real mine tram

- Original working conditions and mining equipment

- A real gold melt & pour to make a $100,000 gold bar

- Blacksmiths and traditional craftsmen

- Bakery, bank, blacksmith, post office, grocer, tentmaker, tinsmith, bank, post office, candle-dipping shop, lolly shop, stables, nine-pin bowling saloon, library and various other shops on the main street

- Houses, tents, water well, and gardens from the old days

- 1850s-style hotels, schools and a theatre with goldfields entertainers

- a gold museum is also located right across from the front exit

I spent my whole day videoing as much as possible at Sovereign Hill and will post these on You Tube.

Chasing Kangaroos at the Lysterfield Lake Park

Going to Australia without seeing kangaroos is like going to Egypt without visiting the pyramids. I encountered my first kangaroo sighting in the Lysterfield Lake Park, which is located in the greater Melbourne area.

There are 60+ different species of kangaroos. Some of them are big and some of them are small. The ones I was chasing in the park to take pictures and videos are the small ones. They wouldn’t let me get very close. I saw some of them carrying babies in the pouch located on their bellies.

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 5

Where Is Burger King? I See Hungry Jack’s

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 1

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 2

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 3

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 4

The fast food restaurant Hungry Jack’s struck me in Melbourne because of its similarities with Burger King. Later on, I found out that Hungry Jack’s is indeed Burger King in Australia. Burger King could not trademark its name because it was already taken, so it’s called Hungry Jack’s in Australia.

The Whopper tasted the same at Hungry Jack’s in Melbourne as it does Canada or USA. When I went to New Zealand after finishing my Australia trip, I saw a Burger King actually called Burger King in New Zealand.

No Regular Coffee in Australia

I usually drink 2 cups of coffee a day. The difficulty I had in Australia (and New Zealand as well) is that there is no regular coffee (coffee with cream and sugar). Wherever I asked for regular coffee, they looked at me like they had no idea what I was talking about.

Australians love their coffee, but they prefer barista-made coffee. I did not find anywhere where they would pour brewed black coffee and add cream or milk and sugar to make regular coffee. So the trick I learned after trying a few different barista-made specialty coffees is that latte and Americano are very close to my favourite regular coffee.

Fast Food Chain Aesthetic Looks

McDonald’s, Hungry Jack’s, 7-Eleven, or any other multinational companies or restaurants have one thing common in Australia and that is they all look better in Australia than they do in Canada or USA.

The designing, cleanliness, furniture, aesthetic looks - basically everything looked better and more higher-end than their North American versions.

However, I compared grocery chains, both value and upscale, and Canadians are unbeatable in grocery stores.

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 4

Supermarket Trips in Melbourne

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 1

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 2

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 3

I have visited several supermarkets or grocery stores such as Coles and Woolworths in Melbourne to compare prices with grocery stores in Toronto. I was expecting most of the items to be higher priced than Canada because that’s what I have heard in the past.

But I was surprised that prices are very comparable and some items are even cheaper than Canada. Dairy products are really unbeatable in Australia. Soft drinks and some other dry foods were also better-priced. On average, if you compare everything, I have to say it’s pretty much very comparable with what I have seen in Toronto. Some items are more expensive in Toronto and cheaper in Melbourne and vice versa.

What struck me in the meat section is the Kangaroo meat. It’s a common item in Australia, which I haven’t seen in any other country, for obvious reasons.

Roundabouts in the Intersections

In most of North America, we have intersections with either stop signs or traffic lights. In Australia, I saw the roundabouts, which was a totally new concept for me. Roundabouts control the traffic flow in intersections without any signals or stop signs.

Motorists are forced to slow down and follow certain rules to go through these roundabouts. At an intersection, for instance, someone can go through straight, beating the red light or not stopping, but at a roundabout you can’t do that because you need to go around the roundabout. I find it safer and more efficient. It’s just a matter of getting used to it if you never used it before.