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How to Fly to Australia (Without Losing Your Mind)

(2021 update)

How long is the flight to Australia? Oh, not too long - just 16 hours (!) or so from LAX to Melbourne.

Of course, few of us start in Los Angeles. Our journey took us from Albuquerque to LAX (5 hours because there were no nonstop options available), from LAX to Melbourne, and from Melbourne to Hobart (another hour or so, plus several hours to kill at the airport). By the time we arrived at our hotel, the fabulous Maylands Lodge in Hobart, we were understandably exhausted...and then my husband took me on a surprise, multi-hour hike. Uphill!

Do I even need to say it was a surprise? Surely no sensible person would have agreed to strenuous activity after all that flying unless they didn't understand what they were getting into. Then again, after that much travel, is anyone still sensible? Can they understand anything?

(Honestly, I think SN just got lost and he wouldn't admit it.)

I'd been dreading the long flight even before booking it. I tried to convince my travelmate of the merits of a brief Los Angeles stopover to help break up the journey. He kept refusing. SN is so stubborn sometimes.

(All the time!)

He came around though when he heard that if we ventured out of LAX, he could have chicken and waffles.

Bruxie Chicken and Waffles, santa monica
Chicken and waffle sandwich from Bruxie in Santa Monica.

We knew it would be cold when we arrived in Tasmania, as May is their autumn, so we planned to soak up as much sunshine as possible before boarding the long overseas flight. Shorts were packed just for this!

young couple at pacific park
SN refused to join me on any of the rides at Pacific Park, but he says we can try them next time. Because, you know, we Albuquerque folks are in CA all the time.

Sadly, when we arrived, the forecasts warned of a cold front moving in, with nothing but rain and clouds for our visit. "Stay inside," advised the TV weather reporter. We decided to brave the elements in our warm jeans, multiple layers, and jackets.

santa monica dinosaur fountains
Darn you, CA. It was sunny and hot as heck.

Hot weather in California
We're melting. Meeeelting...

Funny enough, all of the Californians we passed were bundled up in their winter coats, even as we complained to each other that we were surely going to die of heat stroke. When we caught an Uber from the beach, drenched in sweat, the driver apologized to us for the lousy cold weather during our trip. 

That same Uber driver also stopped to fill up with gas while we were in the car, laughing that he'd thought we were going to have to get out and push (on the LA freeway!) because his tank has been on empty forever.

That same Uber driver, after learning we were on our way to visit my family in Australia, made several remarks about how everyone in Australia is drunk all the time on whatever cheap alcohol they can get their hands on. I always tip and leave a positive rating...but even I have my limits.

I'm getting off topic though. I bet you're here for my best-ever travel tip for long flights.

long flight from usa to australia

For anyone facing a grueling overseas flight, I highly recommend treating yourself to a luxurious hotel when you land. Our budget for this trip was $100 per night or less at each hotel, which may not sound like much but adds up quickly when you're traveling for 3 weeks. However, I splurged on our first night in Tasmania, booking us a room at the amazing Maylands Lodge in Hobart. After almost 24 hours of back-to-back plane rides, it was worth it.

And don't kid yourself that the flights won't be that bad. During our 16 hours from the USA, the parents in the row next to ours had 3 children under the age of 4. There was never one second of that flight without crying and screaming.

I'm pretty sure a few of the sobs I heard were coming from the parents.

spa bathroom australia
You can bet this was a welcome sight after the United Airlines tin can, I mean bathroom. Spa toiletries!

hobart hotels with a bathtub
I was pretty sore after being squished into a center airplane seat, next to a husky (and smelly!) man who just assumed our shared armrest was entirely his. This soaking tub, complete with epsom salt and bubble bath, was a dream come true.

Also, the man I'm referring to above is not my SN. I just read that. Good to clarify.

romantic Hobart hotels
As Titanium Elite members with Marriott, we've stayed in nice hotels around the world. I don't recall any having rooms as beautifully detailed as the ones at Maylands Lodge.

comfortable bed
Surprise - evening tea to help fall asleep on their comfy, comfy king-size bed.

funny toilet paper
I almost excluded this toilet paper photo from this post. It's just too funny though. Australians have the best sense of humor.

In the morning, Maylands Lodge continued to pamper us, serving the fanciest breakfast we've ever had. Sorry, Marriott. This was the first time I'd ever experienced latte art firsthand.

latte art tasmania
I hope this isn't a mantra the staff needs for dealing with fussy hotel guests. We were on our best behavior...I think.

Although, there were free cookies...did I help myself to too many?

The cookies were free...right??

beautiful avocado toast
I'd never understood the appeal of avocado toast until this moment. 

Maylands Lodge breakfast in Hobart, TAS
SN had salmon with hollandaise sauce.

We were so enamored with the gourmet breakfast and artsy coffee that we invited the man who served us to come stay at our house if he's ever near Santa Fe. You know we're antisocial, right? The things SN and I will do for food.

(And, just in case someone from Maylands Lodge reads this, I'd like to point out that we were serious and the offer still stands. Just send me an email.)

Later that day, we must have still been thinking about breakfast when we stopped at the Honey Badger Dessert Cafe in Hobart in search of more indulgent treats.

black sesame latte
I ordered a black sesame latte, which looks better than it tastes. Come to think of it, a black sesame latte doesn't really sound like it would taste very good, does it? It was okay.

SN unintentionally learned about ordering coffee in Australia. He just wanted a normal, black coffee. They don't really do that there. The menu offered a 'short black' or a 'long black'. He figured this must be what he wanted. 'Short' or 'long' just meant 'small' or 'large' and 'black' meant no cream or sugar. Easy enough, right?

I almost laughed myself off my chair when the server brought him the teensiest cup of coffee ever, complete with a little glass of sparkling water beside it. The water, we learned, was to cleanse his palate.

Thank goodness we Googled that before pouring the two together as originally planned.

Honey Badger Dessert Cafe in Hobart, Tasmania
Look at his pinky! He's a good sport, that SN of mine.