By Vanessa Gordon
It has become a traveling habit of mine to become fully immersed in a country or region before I even visit. I do a virtual walking tour with Google Maps, follow the food hashtags of the region for months, study any unique pronunciations and cultural habits, and anticipate anything when it comes to weather. I will be visiting Melbourne and Sydney Australia for the first time in less than a week and have been planning this work/leisure trip for more than six months.
My first stop will be 10 days in Melbourne where I will be catching the tail end of the Melbourne Food and Festival, including the Fromage a Trois Cheese Festival, and Lovely Italy Feast with Grossi & Pizzini. I will be exploring the best high teas in Melbourne from a Floral Tea at The Sheraton Melbourne to a young, edgy scone-free High Tea at Om Nom at the Adelphi. Additional places of interest are the Four Pillars Gin distillery in Healesville and a 15-course Omakase sushi dinner at Miniamishima.
My journey is taking me the long route via Dubai to Australia. Why would I choose this flight direction? In addition to a layover in Dubai, I am thrilled that I chose to fly with Emirates Airline, which I became acquainted with after I was invited to watch the US Open last summer in their coveted lounge at The Arthur Ashe Stadium. Most Emirates flights fly by way of Dubai International Airport, with some exceptions when flying to Europe from New York.
I was blown away by their extensive buffet spread and passed hor d’oeuvres. In their airport lounge in Dubai, for example, there are several full-service luxury amenities from a business center and full buffet to showers and a spa, a tremendous convenience for my expected 30-hour trip to Melbourne. The lounge runs the entire length of the terminal, first and business class passengers board their flights directly from the lounge.
In addition to having a taste of their business class flight accommodations, I will have access to all airport lounges in New York’s JFK, Dubai, Singapore, and Melbourne. Emirates is known for its opulence and spacious capabilities, thus it is no surprise that the lounge in Dubai is a terminal in itself, where it would take you 12 minutes to walk from end to end.
I will be seeing a close friend of mine, who have I known for more than five years, who will be with me almost the entire time. She’s just like me in the sense that we are always messaging pictures of our dinners, accommodations when traveling, and miscellaneous adventures. Last week, I sent her pictures of everything I was bringing, and of course she told me I couldn’t leave without three pairs of comfortable footwear, warm socks, and plenty of layers.
In addition to a full culinary tour of both Melbourne and Sydney, we will be visiting the world-famous Taronga Zoo in Sydney, and Healesville Sanctuary for an up close encounter with kangaroos and koalas, and. If you may be wondering if you could hold a koala, it is not allowed in most sanctuaries throughout Australia. It is illegal, for example, to hold a koala in the Australian State of New South Wales. Lastly, a day tour is planned to see the rugged splendor of the 12 Apostles, breathtaking rock stacks that rise up out of the Southern Ocean on Victoria’s coastline.
My extended trip over will also give me the time and ability to adjust to the time difference. Since my flight is leaving at 11 a.m., I intend to be awake most of that flight, and sleep for the majority of the 13 -hour flight from Dubai to Melbourne, arriving at 6:30 a.m. local time. Chamomile tea, no screen time, and plenty of subdued reading material will do for this upcoming long haul.
Vanessa Gordon is the publisher of East End Taste Magazine, LLC and the founder of The Hamptons Interactive Influencer Brunch. To follow her travels, visit eastendtaste.com.