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To refresh your memory, we left off last week on Day 2 of our Australian Adventure. This week we will finish our first of two visits to Sydney.   Then next week, pack your bags for warmer weather as we hop on a Qantas jet and head up the coast!

I don't have any pictures from night two because I don't think you want so see a picture of my brother and Amber Airplane out cold.  That's right, those two made the mistake of taking a "5 minute nap".  The only thing I could get out of them when I shook 'em around 8:00 pm was a few grunts.  No eye contact.  Don't laugh, jet lag does strange things to you and when you fall into the wrong pattern, it's tough to get back on track.  

It was just as well, because I had a ton of work to do and that kept me busy ‘til a good bedtime of 10:30 pm.  Naturally, I woke up early, but not as early as Frank DiScala did.  His internal clock was tweaked, and Amber Airplane, well she can sleep for days.  I call her sleeping beauty.  When I made my morning stroll to the bathroom at 5:30 am, I was stunned to see what I found.  Not a snake or a spider, but Frank.  I thought I was seeing things.  See people, this is what happens when you go to bed at 6 pm!  You wake up at 2 am wide-awake, nothing to do.   Frank's only alternative was to read his book by Bill Bryson.  He didn't want to wake us by turning on the light, so he laid in a waterless tub with a blanket and pillow.   Now, how funny is that?

We woke up Miss Sleepy Head and went for another  early morning walk.  This time we walked briskly through the city and took a left at Circular Quay (the Opera House is to the right).  We went straight for the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.  The "Coat Hanger" which many locals call it, is the world's largest (but not longest) steel arch bridge.  It has eight vehicle lanes, two train lines, a sidewalk and a bike path.  Now the thing to do in Sydney is walk over the bridge.  I don't mean walk over on the sidewalk; I mean WALK OVER the arches.  Can you see those people?  It's called the bridge climb and it's one, if not the most popular tourist attractions.  The rates vary ($125-$175), depending on what time you walk. The most expensive rate is usually for weekends and/or the sunset walk.  The sunset walk is what you want to do.  This way you see the city going up by day and then by night when coming down.  The views are unreal, but so are the heights.   Click here for bridge history and statistics .

There are strict rules to climb.  First of all, it's mandatory for everyone to take a Breathalyzer test (just to make sure they aren't still drunk from the night before).  You're not allowed to bring anything with you, including a camera (they take digital pictures for you).  Don't worry about falling or your other climbing mates jumping because everyone wears a special jump suit that is harnessed to the bridge.  The climb takes roughly 3 hours and you really don't have to be that fit to do it.  We were planning on going, and in fact, their PR people were kind enough to give me a free media pass, but I sadly declined. Why?  Well, I was planning on doing it, but when we walked across the bridge on the sidewalk, I looked up to see the pass and my knees started to shake.  I have a little problem that used to be much worse when I was a kid.  I'm sometimes afraid of heights. Luckily, it's not that bad.  Just certain things I can't do and this is now one of them.  It's sad, I know.  Bridge Climb ,  + 61.02.8274.7777 and to contact them via email:  Make your reservations well in advance unless you are afraid of heights.

One advantage to being in a safe city is you can go for walk and not worry about getting lost.  And that's just what we did.  I can't even tell you where we went on our morning walk because I still don't know exactly.  All I am certain of is we crossed the bridge and were in North Sydney.  In a town called Kiribilli.  The  views from Kiribilli are amazing.  In fact we got so lost we ended up in front of John Howard's (the Prime Minister) residence .  When the guard told us whose residence it was, I thought "What?”   The capitol of Australia is in Canberra but the Prime Minister's home is in Sydney?   That doesn't make sense.  The guard couldn't even explain it, but we both agreed with a view like the one he has, who can blame him?  

We were all getting pretty cranky by now.  We had walked at least 5 miles, mostly in circles, it was getting hotter and hotter, and we were famished.  Not a good combo, especially when you are with Amber Airplane.  We eventually gave up finding a place to eat on the North Side of Sydney and hopped on a 5-minute ferry that we had stumbled upon. Pulling into Circular Quay, we got up a close to the ResdinSea (you know the cruise ship that's a condo) at port.  The ship is a monster, but doesn't look that great from the outside although I am sure the inside is amazing.  I know, who cares about a ship we aren't even on, especially when we we're STARVING!  When we arrived we headed straight to the closest restaurant we could find.  I can't even remember the name of the 24-hour joint right in front of the ferry stop. Our American breakfast hit the spot nicely and we were off to our hotel room to get cleaned up.

We decided since it was Saturday and sunny, that it would be a good time to go to Bondi beach. We jumped in a taxi.   Here's an observation:  What's pretty cool, but strange to us Americans is that many Aussies who take a taxi by themselves will sit in the front passenger seat and not in the back.  It's much more friendly and humane don't you think?  But imagine trying this in NYC?  The cabbie would probably put a gun to your head. 

Many of the taxis have  plastic shields around the drivers, which surprised me because violent crime in Australia is very low.  When I asked the driver about that he explained it's for the late night drunks who tend to get a bit rowdy.  Ahh... "We all know Aussie's like their beer, we see the Foster's commercial a lot in America."   This might surprise you too:  Not too many Aussie's drink Foster's.  In fact most seem to dislike Foster's. They prefer VB (Victorian Bitter), Crown Lager (up market beer), XXXX (Queensland Beer) and Tooheys.
We were headed to what is probably the second most famous beach in the world right behind Waikiki. We were cruising along until we hear, Amber Airplane say,” Pull over”! The driver quickly pulls to the left and says, "This is not Bondi; this is Paddington". Amber Airplane says, "I know, this is Oxford Street."  "Right," said the driver. My brother and I looking at her like she was crazy.  Then she said do you guys know what's on the other side of that  fence ?  No, we don't!  Amber said it's the weekend market .  The girl has never even been to Australia and she knows where the shopping is.  It's like she can smell it.  She even corrected me when I said is "This is Paddy's market?"  She said no silly, this is Paddington, we are going to Paddy's tomorrow.   Trouble.  We weren't too happy, but fortunately I had Frank to say,” you have ten minutes to look around”.  Look? Ten minutes is more than enough time for her to do some serious damage, and she did.

We hopped back in another cab and this time we had a Chinese driver.  He was really nice but I am sure glad that Frank was sitting shotgun.   Frank starting making small talk, which turned out to be a big mistake because this guy had a spitting problem.  Every time he would open his mouth to say something I could see spittle’s flying everywhere. Amber Airplane and I were in the back seat moving our heads and body like we were playing dodge ball.  Maybe the real reason they have those plastic shields is this guy? 

Ten minutes later we arrived at  Bondi Beach .  Remember, it's Saturday and one of the last days of summer in Australia for this year.  The sun was cranking and the waves were pumping .   The sand on Bondi makes the sand in California look like dirty gravel.  The beach is full of tourist and locals who aren't shy about taking off their tops.  Don't you hate it when everyone goes topless ?   April fools!   I bet you thought that was going to be a picture of some naked Aussie girl.  

Since we forgot our beach towels we rented really lousy ones for $4 apiece right on the beach.  We also got an umbrella ($5) and  chairs ($8).  The prices aren't bad, especially when you compare them to Waikiki.  

Besides the beach, Bondi has a promenade that is full of ice-cream parlors, outdoor cafes, greasy fish and chip restaurants, surf stores, and touristy shops.  If strolling down the street is not your thing, then take a walk along the  rocks (to the right of the beach).   The rocks are so cool here and the walk is so worth it .   
On the way back from our walk we checked out the Bondi Beach swimming club.  How cool is that pool?  That's a great way to enjoy the salt water without the thought of sharks or the fierce riptide.  The Pool is open to the public for a fee of $3.30.  Above the pool you will find the hip icebergs club and bar which is also open to the public for anyone who lives outside of a five-kilometer radius.  If you live within the radius you have to join to get in.  There are fantastic views at this great bar.  The top level is a four star restaurant and it's very chic and trendy.  Everyone was well dressed except of course for the American tourist (we just got off of the beach).  We met a lot of locals and they were all very kind to us.   icebergs swim club and bar , 1 Notts Avenue Bondi NSW 2026,  tel. (02) 9130 3120

On the way out we pulled the  girls off of Frank (dang, that boy is a chick magnet) and we took a taxi back to our hotel ($20).   I wish I could tell you that we went out and partied like rock stars, but I can't.  If you really want to know what we did, just re-read what we did the night before.  
Day 4:  We woke up early again and Amber Airplane got to pick the day's events. Naturally, we started out on a leisurely walk through the shops.  The good news is the two main department stores, David Jones and Grace Bros, were not open yet.  Phew!  So we took a walk through Circular Quay, passed this hilarious street act , and went to breakfast at the Rocks .  The Rocks is the oldest part of Sydney and is full of colonial history.  It has many buildings that still have the look and feel of the past. The streets are full of shops, restaurants , pubs and art galleries.   This place is always packed with tourists, but especially for the weekend markets where you can buy all kinds of souvenirs.  On a tip from a reader we explored the less developed area of the Rocks and checked out the famous Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel , which is one of Sydney's oldest pubs (the other is The Hero of Waterloo).

Lucky for us, we didn't have much time to shop because we had to rush back to our hotel to meet our friend  Laura .  Remember Laura?  She came over to America for one year to work as my sister Carol’s nanny.  She was so awesome and everyone (especially the kids) were truly sad to see her go back home this past January.  Well, when we told her we were in Sydney, she and her father drove 5 hours to see us .  Her father was way cool and refused to let us take an hour train to our next destination to Featherdale Park.  He drove us in his " Jackaroo ", I am sure you are wondering what that pipe is to?  It's a "snorkel, so he says.  The car can pretty much go under water and that pipe allows it to happen.  The drive to Feather Dale was close to an hour, but well worth it.  By now I am sure you are wondering what Featherdale is?  It's the coolest wild animal park around.  Not only do you get a close up of the Koala's , but you get to pet them as well.  

The last time I was in Sydney, I went to the Taranga Zoo, which is nice, easy to get to, and has amazing views, but it doesn't compare to Featherdale.  It's not much fun seeing animals in their cages.  I mean how many times do you get to hang out with a kangaroo?  Not only do you hang out with them, but you can pet them , feed them , and run from them.  All right, so some of the animals you probably don't want to get too close too,  but other's you will.  We have all seen the cartoon character, but have you ever seen a real life Tasmanian Devil ?   Have you ever heard of a Wombat ?  At Featherdale, all of your Australian animals are there. Featherdale is open 7 days a week from 9.00am-5pm, every day (except Christmas)  217-229 Kildare Road, Doonside NSW 2767.  tel. (612) 9622 1644.

By the way, we also met up with some of my  good Australian friends at the park.  You might recognize them from other newsletters because I used to watch Kristine play tennis at the US Open, and other WTA events.  Or maybe you have seen her husband, Damo, getting his butt kicked in beach volleyball by yours truly.    
On the way home Laura's dad dropped us off at the entrance to  Chinatown . We weren't there to get lunch but rather to go next door and shop.  Remember, it's Amber Airplane's day to pick the game plan.  Next to Chinatown you will find Paddy's Market .  It's only open on weekends and it offers a true market shopping experience.  This place is huge!  It has over 1600 stalls of food, clothes, souvenirs and junk.  If you shop wisely you can find some great bargains or bring Amber Airplane with you!  Paddy's Market is located in Market City, corner of Hay & Thomas Streets, Haymarket.

This night we planned to take Laura out for a spectacular dinner, but guess what?  That's right, another 5 minute nap that turned into 8 hours.  Shocker, huh?  I just looked at them from my laptop and shook my head. 

Well, the good news is at least we woke up early again.   Frank made us go up to the gym and workout, which by the way is on the top deck and has amazing views and a great pool .  Then we all took a taxi to Double Bay to see one of my sister Georgette's long lost Australian friend’s.   Georgette used to live in Australia in the mid 80's and hasn't been back yet, and wanted us to go by and say hello to friends who lived nearby.  Double Bay, otherwise known as Double Pay is awesome.  It's only a few kilometer's from the city, and it's very accessible.  The town is one of my favorites and I definitely could live there.  In fact, I stayed there for one month back in 1994.  I was happy to see my favorite juice shop was still there:  Top Fruit.  Trust me, just go in there and order a mixed fruit juice and you won't be sorry.   Top Fruit:  53 Bay St.,  Double Bay NSW 2028 tel. (02) 9328 7420  

We found Georgette's friend Primrose at a store she owns called White Ivy .  It's located on New South Head Rd., that is the main street.  Primrose was really nice and we called Georgette from our cell phone and reunited them.   Hey, for 16 cents a minute, why not call everyone we know back in the States?  Our good deed of the day was done and in case you are interested Primrose sells women's clothing and of course, Amber had to buy something.

We finished up our morning in Double Bay at one of their great outdoor cafes.  Then we took 10-minute  ferry back to the city so Laura could catch a ride back home with her dad.  You’ve to got love what the ferry can do for your hair .  
We walked around the city some more until we stirred up an appetite and then went to Harry's famous pies in Wooloomooloo.  Wooloo… whatever, is right outside of the city and cost only $7 by taxi.  We would’ve walked but it was raining.  Harry's makes meat pies right.  Not only are they good, but also they are cheap.  You can get all kinds and they all come with a huge scoop of mashed potato's and mashed peas on top.  For $3 you can't get a better bargain.  Harry's is right next door to the W hotel , which is also worth a walk through, even if you aren't staying there.  The place is amazing and we hear the bar on weekends goes crazy.  If bars aren't your scenes, then one of the fine restaurants along side the building might be.  They are all recognized as some of the best in the city, especially Manta Ray and Otto.  Otto Ristorante Italiano  tel. 61 2 9368 7488.   W Hotel and Water Bar ,  tel. (61)(2) 9331-9000 .  More info on Manta Ray, later.

We didn't have time to eat at one of those fine eateries this week because we were off to our friends Damien, Kristine's, and Kobe's for dinner.  Since we have been away for about 5 days and all of our clothes were dirty, we asked if we could do some laundry at their house.  Of course they said yes, but you should've seen us walking through the Sheraton lobby with our plastic grocery bags full of our soiled clothes .  All of the guests were looking at us like we were freaks, so we started saying to each other (in a louder tone), "I can't believe that darn airline lost our luggage again, this stinks...  I guess you had to be there, but we thought it was hilarious.  Maybe the jet lag was kicking in, after all these guys didn't take their evening "nap".  Not only was that funny, but while we were driving in Damo's car he said, "Geez , something smells.  I think it's my air conditioner."  While he was fiddling with his vents we said "Um, no Damo that would be what's in the bags".

Dinner was fun , but our laundry took way to long to complete and we couldn't keep our mates up all night.  We only had one and a half loads out of three finished, so we planned on going to a laundry mat the next day.  Now here's an awesome find for your trip.  Don't bother to wash your clothes yourself.  Bring them to City Laundry & Dry Cleaning on the Corner of Bathurst and Sussex Streets.  It cost us $12 per load for them to do it, that's about US $7.00 and you don't have to spend hours in a laundry mat!   tel.  9264-6661.  
Okay, I think this might be long enough.  Next week your going snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef so pack your bags!

Make sure you read our reader tips for Australia below.   We are fortunate to have some of the best readers out there and certainly the most traveled.  Thanks again to all our friends who sent in some great tips (we tried to do as much as we could). Safe travels.


Johnny Jet

  • Hello, I was lucky enough to come across your web site from an article I read on and I am hooked! You have such a talent for writing! I feel like I personally know everyone in your family. You are too adorable. Being a travel agent I know the passion one can have for travel and you express it with such honesty and humor. I look forward to each week's newsletter and have read your web site from top to bottom. Keep up the great work Johnny Jet!!! ;-)   Desiree Sousa-Providence, RI
  • I'm glad you had a great trip to Australia...  I was there a couple months ago and can't wait until I get back with my two daughters this summer.  Your newsletters continue to be outstanding & filled with great information presented in a "folksy," kinda "Will Rogers" type of way...  I think that's why people like you, because of how you present yourself... You're like all of us Mate, just a common man (but traveling & livin' pretty good)!  I'm off to London with my 15 year old daughter tonight from LAX to Heathrow.  My wife Francine, who is a LAPD Supervising Sergeant, is staying home due to the workload and Homeland Security these days.  We'll be there a week & I'll send you a note advising how our great British Allies are doing.  Keep up the good work!  Phil from So. California
  • I give up on that clue, far away from new york and los angeles and honeymooners go there...maybe it's somewhere in the caribbean? Eric
  • Johnny jet for president!  That was awesome dude! You are a true writer.  Francis J. DiScala Jr.
  • Totally awsome pics of down under....I am really wishing I was going back this year but instead am heading for Scotland...any info you can give me on Scotland??   Cliff B
  • I am loving your funny and the pictures that go along are GREAT!
  • Go climb the bridge! You can get the best pictures from up there. Don't worry, you are teathered to the railing so you won't blow off! (I know this because I went on the windiest day ever recorded for Bridge lie!)  Have a great trip and be safe!!!!   Robin - Arizona
  • I recently subscribed to "Johnny Jet" web newsletter and have found it rather interesting and sometimes amusing!  However, my biggest question is many of us dream of seeing and going to all the places the he travels to. How can he afford to travel ALL the time; is this in the capacity of his job, and if so, where does he work, cause I'd like to get a job like his!! On a more serious note, can you tell me what his opinion is on this "virus" that they believe originated in Hong Kong and how he feels about traveling in flight?  What would he suggest a traveler do to protect himself -- where a hospital mask during the flight?   I am taking a trip to the Caribbean and have some reservations about traveling on a plane with everything that's going on in the world, Iraq war, virus, etc.    Thank you for a prompt response, it is much appreciated. Linda N - Maine  REPLY:  My answer to your first question is "I'm Johnny Jet" :-) Your second :  Have a great trip!
  • It's me, John Williams (again) and I was just reading your "Reader E-mail" from "Veronique."  Tell her one of the best places (convenience, price, cleanliness) for backpacker accomodation is Wanderers on Kent.  The web address is and the owners' surname is Ivison.  Mr. Ivison is from Orlando but married an Aussie and they're back there now.
  • Reading your newsletters only serves to make me homesick!  Hope you're well!  John
  • Johnny - Liked your picture and story about toilets in Autralia.  Have you  been to Japan yet?  The flush lever works by pushing up or down.  One way is for liquid only waste, the other for solid waste.  Many have a faucet on top  of the tank to rinse your hands.  Keep up the great travel stories! Geoffrey

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Mate, if you're in Australia right now then I'm the most jealous person in the world!  How I would love to return to my home where I lived for two years!
IF you happen to be there (and summer is just ending, by the way), there are a couple of great places to eat/drink.
1.  Chinese - Eat at Quay East on Circular Quay (pronounced "key") just down from the Opera House and overlooking Harbour Bridge.
2.  Sushi - Cheap, you need to go across the bridge into Neutral Bay to a place called Kyushu.  It's on Grosvenor Lane just off the intersection of Ben Boyd Rd. and Military Rd. (the main road that runs through Neutral Bay).  Expensive, go to the top of the ANA Hotel in the Rocks and you'll have great food and fantastic views of the Harbour.
3.  Thai - Again, the best place in the area is called Thai Village on Military Rd. (in Neutral Bay) across the street from The Oaks Hotel.
4.  Mexican - forget about it.  Good Mexican food doesn't exist in Oz.
5.  Seafood - Nick's at King Street Wharf.  Differs from Nick's at Darling Harbour in that the one at KSF is less touristy and the service is (somewhat) better.  Queues at the Darling Harbour location (only a 5 minute walk from the KSF location) tend to be longer because of the popularity of the D'Harbour area.
Pubs are all over the CBD...just take your pick.  If you want to venture out of the CBD, there are a few in Paddington and Woollahra (about a 10 minute cab ride from the CBD).  The Paddington Hotel or Kitty O'Shea's are both on Oxford Street in Paddington.  My favourite was The Lord Dudley Hotel in Woollahra on  Jersey Rd.  In The Rocks, there are a couple of pubs off the beaten path but make sure you go to Lord Nelson Hotel (Brewery) and have an authentic Aussie Meat Pie floating on mash and peas.  The brasserie upstairs at the Lord Nelson is good, but the beer (a/k/a "piss") and pies can't be beat downstairs in the pub - and they're only A$11 or something really cheap.
If you're not there, then save these ideas for when you DO make it to Oz.  By the way, don't miss climbing Harbour Bridge.  It's the single-most bang for your buck you'll find there.  If you do climb the bridge, there are some pubs along Cumberland Street just down from the entrance to Bridgeclimb that are nice and not too crowded by the tourists.  There is one and I can't remember the name but it isn't the Australian Hotel but has a rooftop bar area with spectacular views of the Opera House.
If you ARE there, then just know that I'm extremely jealous and wish I were there as well.  Let me know if you need more "hints" if you travel throughout the Commonwealth or happen to go over to New Zealand (hopefully the south island).
Oh!  One other thing, I forgot to mention the Italian food!  It's just fantastic and there is a place in the CBD on Clarence Street (near Wynyard Park at the intersection of Clarence and Erskine Sts.).  It's called Machiavelli (123 Clarence Street - bookings essential - 9299-3748).  Absolutely the BEST in the city!
Enjoy your trip and if you have a desire to get up to Hunter Valley (wine region), just hire a car (Avis is in Star City Casino on Darling Harbour) and let me know as I know a lot of the good wineries there (Calais Estate being one of the best).
Have a GREAT time and don't forget to climb the bridge (and book ahead so you'll have a spot)!
P.S.  You can pass this along to Amber Airplane that the best shopping is either in the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) or along Castlereagh Street from King Street towards the harbour (expensive stores like Chanel, etc.).  Otherwise, she may find the shopping rather disappointing!
Cheers, mate!  John W
I think that enormous ship "The World" is down at Circular Quay still- the one people live on.
There's a great museum down there too MCA "Museum of Contemporary Art"- and You HAVE to go to the Opera House of course...
FOOD:  "Salt" at the Kirketon Hotel, "WokPool" or "Chinta Ria" down at Darling Harbour,
Both 'Otto' and 'Manta Ray' down at Woolloomooloo (Where the W hotel is!)
Bon appetit!   Luke
If you're in Sydney, don't forget to go next door to the "W" Hotel in Woolloomooloo and have a "pie n' peas" at the world famous Harry's Cafe de Wheels!   
P.S.  Sydney is one of my favorite stomping grounds, and I've been there many times.  If you want some reasonably priced eating out recommendations, just ask. 
Keep in mind that on Harry's Cafe de Wheels own website they misspell "Woolloomooloo" by leaving out one of the "l's!" 
A couple of noteworthy spots nearby Harry's are:
NOVE , which is on the Woolloomooloo Wharf...  They have a damned good pizza to go along with the view! 
Across from the "W" is the Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel, which has a lot of decent Aussie beers on tap.  You can also order food at the bar from a blackboard menu...  No too bad!  Here's a review from an Australian Pub Guide .
In nearby Potts Point is an outstanding Italian restaurant...  Mezzaluna .
Don't miss the Sydney Fish Market !  All kinds of great seafood choices.  Make sure you go to the wine shoppe inside the Hall and buy a bottle of Australian Chardonnay to enjoy at an outside table with your food choices...
A nice Sydney Ferry ride away in Watson's Bay on a Saturday or Sunday is Doyle's on the Beach.  Follow a lot of Sydneysiders who sit outside beachside on weekends enjoying the great view of Sydney in the distance while they enjoy their choice of beer or wine that they can pick up at the bar and take to their outside table.  You can also order seafood meals at an outside kiosk that are cooked to order on "barbies" behind the kiosk.
There are hundreds of great restaurants in Sydney, as you know. 
You should take the Sydney Ferry over to Manly, if you have the time.  It's a great ride and seeing Manly Beach and the "beautiful people" are worth it!  There are a few noteworthy places to eat over there that I recommend for good food and reasonable prices. 
First, when you exit the Sydney Ferry building after arriving at Manly Wharf, across the street and to the left is a great casual restaurant...  The ALHAMBRA CAFE & TAPAS BAR, at 1/54 West Esplanade.
Another great place is LE KIOSK , at 1 Marine Parade To get to this place, you cross the street after exiting the terminal and follow the Corso to Manly Beach.  At the Beach you turn right and walk along the beach walk to the end of the beach, where the sidewalk curves.  There's a wonderful view along the whole of Manly Beach.
When walking towards Manly Beach on the Corso, there's a Cole's Supermarket on the right side where you can get your bottled water and other stuff.  Also, if you just want to pick up lunch and sit at a picnic table or on the beach wall to observe the "ahem" sights, there's a great sandwich shoppe at the end of the Corso, just around the right side corner that makes decent sandwiches to order...  I don't remember the name of the place, but we've gotten sandwiches there before and I walked to a hotel bar nearby to get a beer to take to the beach along with our sandwiches.
Whenever you need a cold ice cream to kill the heat, surprisingly, McDonald's cones are only about 25 cents U.S.  Their fries seem to be better tasting than in the U.S...  I think that they may still use some tallow in their frying oil which gives fries that "old-fashioned flavor" like our Mom's used to taste like.
I wish I was in Sydney now!  Actually, I'll be on the road with my 15 year old to London in a couple weeks, then with the wife & daughter to Hartford (driving to upstate NY).  I'm taking my 23 year old and younger daughter to NZ and Brisbane and Sydney for 4 weeks in July and August.
Sorry to run off at the mouth...  More info for your consideration...  Here's my 23 year old and 15 year old daughter's favorite picks for visiting wildlife in Australia:
1. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary at Figtree Pocket in suburban Brisbane.  In addition to being the world's largest Koala Sanctuary, Lone Pine has a lot of other indigenous animals as well.  There is a huge enclosed field with over a hundred kangaroos that you can feed or visit with.  Also, outside the park entrance is a fabulous picnic area on the banks of the Brisbane River…  A great place for a relaxing break. Public transit is available from Myer Centre in Brisbane or via City Ferry to the Lone Pine Dock.
2. Featherdale Wildlife Park in the western suburbs of Sydney, near Blacktown.  It's an easy drive to this place, and you can also take a train from Sydney Central to Blacktown, then a City Bus (# 275) to the front of the Park.  This is a wonderful place to see and touch animals, from Koalas and even Kookaburras, to Kangaroos. There are lovely shaded areas inside to sit and relax.  I LOVE THIS PLACE!
3. Taronga Zoo in Sydney .  Take the Sydney Ferry from Circular Quay.  Some advice…  If you have a Sydney Visitor Travelpass or Sydney Transport Pass, take one of the buses at the Zoo Dock and ride it up to the Zoo entrance.  Start at the top and work your way down to where you will take your return Ferry trip.  It will be less tiring then working your way up the Zoo, which is laid out on a long slope to Sydney Harbour. 
Safe Travels,
Phil from Glendale

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Facts And Tips For Flying With Your Pet
Air travel gets a little more complicated when you're flying with a furred or feathered friend. Here are some things you need to know.

When flying with a pet in the cabin or in cargo, you must submit a health certificate, signed by your vet within 10 days of departure. Advance reservations for your pets airline transport are always required.

Cabin animals (on U.S. flights) must be at least eight weeks old, weaned and under 20 pounds. Don't try to stretch this weight limit. It's likely to be checked and, in any case, larger pets will not be comfortable. Dogs, cats and birds can fly on all major airlines, except Southwest and America West. Alaska and Delta also allow rabbits. Ferrets, hamster and guinea pigs are also OK for travel on Delta; fish are OK on Alaska. Airlines have various limits for the number of animals that can fly in their cabins so early booking is a good idea.

You must supply a carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Hard-sided carriers are best, affording some protection in case of turbulence. Your pet must remain in its carrier at all times, making this form of transport less than ideal for all but the calmest pets -- or seasoned animal travelers. Fees usually range from $75-100. Pets count as your one carry-on item (except on Continental and Northwest).

If your pet is too large to fly in the cabin, give serious thought to leaving the animal at home with a pet sitter or in a good kennel. Weigh carefully the negative of separation and the negative of trauma most animals suffer when flying. If your pet can travel in the cabin, your decision gets easier (cabin life is easier on pets and there is little danger of pet loss or injury). If you need help making the decision, talk with your vet.

Checked pets do sometimes die in-flight. Others are lost during the loading process, some escaping their kennels entirely. Airlines are not mandated to keep records of death or injury to pets, so you have no way to know if one airline's record is better than another's. If the worst case scenario occurs, their liability is slight.

Short-nosed dogs and cats face special risks when traveling. Very young or very old animals, and any pet with a serious health condition, should not be subjected to the cargo hold if there is any way to avoid it.

Cargo-carried pets usually ride conveyor belts and may end up sharing a cargo hold with other animals (quite upsetting to most pets). Pets shipped as baggage are treated the worst. Continental and United require that pets be shipped as cargo, which makes life a little easier for your animal, but still involves some peril.

You will be charged for your animal's passage, with the price usually based on weight. Fees can go has high as several hundred dollars. Some airlines let you make arrangements for your pet when you book your own ticket; others require that you use special cargo or pet shipping services (they'll advise you of preferred contacts).

Book a nonstop flight, if possible, and stay away from weather extremes. Though cargo cabins can be climate controlled, animals can be left on the tarmac, boarded before engines are turned on or get stuck in cargo during a long wait on the tarmac after the plane has left the gate. Keep in mind that pilots can forget to turn on cargo hold air exchanges. It used to be easy to remind the pilot of a live animal onboard; these days it is more difficult.

In very extreme weather, airlines will not accept pets as cargo.

As an indicator of the perils of pets in cargo, note that you are advised to write the words "Live Animal" in letters at least one-inch high, on the top and sides of the kennel, along with a big arrow showing which side is up (hardly reassuring). This is in addition to your name, contact information and destination information.

If you do decide to check your animal as cargo, feed your animal about four hours before departure, provide water according to your animal's thirst and exercise dogs as close to departure time as possible. Stay away from sedatives. They almost always make your pet more vulnerable to trauma. Dogs, for example, control their body temperature by panting. Tranquilizers greatly inhibit their ability to pant.

Include a small blanket in the animal's kennel (an item that smells like you). Give careful thought to your animal's collar. Should he or she be lost, identification tags could be a big asset, but you also risk having part of the collar or tag hang up on the metal grating that is used for kennel doors. Some people prefer elastic collars. Keep in mind that even calm animals can get hyperactive in flight.

Provide water (freeze the plastic dish that comes with a kennel to make the process a little neater). Food should not be necessary, though people using connecting flights should tape a tightly sealed plastic bag of kibble to the top of the kennel, in case of problems with connecting flights.

Don't lock the crate. You want the airline to be able to open it in an emergency. Don't trust the kennel door lock either. Use plastic ties to give the door extra security while allowing it to be opened quickly should trouble arise.

Rules for taking pets on international flights vary by airline and destination. Many countries will not accept visiting pets at all.

Two important notes on pets and planes.

Passengers with physical disabilities can bring their service animals on any plane. While also loving companions, these are technically working animals -- not pets.

If you are allergic to animal dander, you might want to stick to Southwest or America West for domestic travel, though a service animal may still be onboard. An airline cannot guarantee that your flight will be without cabin animals. Your sole right is to request a move to another seat or rebooking to a later flight. If your allergy is severe, ask if an animal will be on board both before you book and before you board.

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