The Reef Casino in Cairns - Queensland - Australian Gambling

Australia - Travel and Trip Guide

Australia - Travel and Itinerary Wiki

Backstory - I'm a US expat and travel hacker living in Sydney with my wife. We've been here for 6 months and seen a lot of the same questions about the area get posted almost daily. I'll do my best to concisely run through a number of topics here, whether it be about getting here or what to do, in the hopes this makes future questions a little more tactical.

NOTE: PLEASE PROVIDE FEEDBACK IF YOU WANT TO CONTRIBUTE!

Update 1 - Added booking windows and intra-region travel info.

Getting Here

Cash

Great deals to be had lately in economy. Prices have consistently dropped $800 or so from mainland USA on full service carriers. These sales are pretty frequent. If you have Chase Sapphire Reserve card a $800 cash ticket is just over 53,000 Ultimate Rewards points with FULL points earn on the ticket itself. That's a great deal if you don't care about sitting up front. Business class is significantly more expensive. This is one of the most sought after premium class routes on the planet and with that prices tend to stay high and award availability low.

From the East Coast of the US

I highly recommend AA to DFW and Qantas DFW-SYD. The route is served by a comfortable A380 (good economy, dated 2-2-2 J though) and loads are typically intentionally kept low heading East to maximize cargo capacity. That means you can realistically expect a empty middle seat if you plan well. On the eastbound side it's still possible but less likely. Also, if you fly on low days you may score an upgrade for $1,000 - $1,200 USD per person, per way, via Qantas' bid for upgrade program. Really the major benefit here is connections going further into the US - minimizing travel time on either side of that long leg is incredibly more valuable and comfortable.

From the West Coast of the US

Any carrier works here, chose based on your preference. Every domestic carrier serves the route (UA/AA/DL) and most are newer aircraft (sans Delta's aging 777s). You can also find good deals via Fiji as well as via Auckland on Air New Zealand. I personally don't like breaking up the trip any more than necessary so I don't like those options.

Points

Oh boy, this is a good one. Generally the rule of thumb is simply this, PLAN AHEAD IF YOU WANT TO FLY UP FRONT! The only exception to this is Virgin Australia who sometimes releases J space < 2 weeks of travel. That's absolutely rolling the dice though. Economy wise you can typically find space on at least one carrier so that's less of a topic, and as above, with cash prices being so low it can often be less worthwhile to book the award itself. Up front you really have a few options.  
US Carriers  
Carrier Booking Window Comments
United 338 Good J hard product, meh soft product. Awards open up here and there but typically it's very limited to last minute redemption. Price-wise, they're not the cheapest, but not the most expensive.
AA 331 probably the best hard produce from the group. Same meh soft product (they're US carriers after all). Pricing is also okay, but availability is next to none.
Delta 331 bad products, hard and soft. The seats are old, the service is older. Price is highest BUT you will often find saver-level seats on Virgin Australia (a partner) < 2 weeks out.
  Australian Carriers  
Carrier Booking Window Comments
Qantas 353 meh J product (2-2-2). Good/Great F. Service is also good, very polished. Availability in spurts, but okay price via AA.
Virgin Australia 330 best seat (the Business) and I'm a sucker for a bird with a bar. Conversely, terrible availability unless you're looking within 2 weeks or right at the window.
  Asian Carriers (generally better availability)  
Carrier Booking Window Comments
Korean 360? my personal favorite. Great airline, great US service, and a transfer partner of Chase. And most importantly, they tend to be quite generous with their availability.
Cathay 360 old favorite in the points world. Not the cheapest option but if you have the points then you'll often find availability through HKG when you book at the window. Great seat, classic service, and AMAZING lounges in HKG.
JAL 330 like ANA, in light of recently US carrier devaluations these guys have become a viable option through Tokyo. Some recommend their 777 SkySuite as the best J product out there.
SQ 355 Suites are always a favorite but lately it's pretty impossible to not pull your hair out before actually confirming that route. J availability tends to show up here and there. Recently devauled though so use tool to find best option based on points available.
ANA 356 mentioned in JAL topic, just a solid all around option if you have the points.
  Award Tools Look, I know a lot of carriers were mentioned above and you're probably going well, that's all great, but how do I ultimately choose one given the fact that I have a trip 1+ year out and a few options? That's where the below sites come in handy. They will tell decipher award charts and help you distill down the airlines that you can realistically fly given the points that you have.

Once In The Region

Intra-Region Travel

Sydney-Specific

Rule of thumb, if you have 5+ days in the region than I suggest going outside of Sydney. It's a cool city, but there is SO much more to see. Scroll down for details, but while in Sydney here are a few suggestions:
Places to Stay

Regional

Are you outdoorsy?
Do you like food/drinks?
Extreme activities?
Animals
Cultural
Beaches/Relaxation

Example Itinerary

Assumes 10 days down under.
submitted by itswednesday to awardtravel [link] [comments]

blow up the pokies (and the reef of course)

So here's my quasi-political, semi-articulate, somewhat-left rant for the week... (in relation to this: http://www.communityrun.org/p/StopReefCasino)
There's a bit of a rational meltdown going on in the far north right now. In a region almost solely reliant on it's tourist spend, the plummet in fat-pursed foreigners is really beginning to pinch.
Enter our economic saviour, Tony Fung. This guy is a Hong Kong billionaire who sees far northern Australia as the next Macau; a gambling hub for high-rolling chinese businessmen eager to boost our (and Tony's) finances and magic us out of despair.
Tony's plan? Build the largest casino in the country, of course. Tim Freedman eat yer heart out - this place will house 1500 pokies and 750 tables. As the third major casino in QLD (NSW and VIC only have one each) it will no doubt help boost QLD's already significant lead in problem gambling and spend per-capita.
In order to rally local support for his ambitious project, our gracious benefactor has promised 9,000 construction jobs, and then up to 10,000 full-time positions following completion. What he hasn't mentioned is where said talent-pool will hail from. Campbell Newman provided a bit more insight into this topic last week when he suggested that it might just be the right time to relax laws on migrant workers in regional centres. True right Campbell.
Social issues aside, the plan also poses major environmental concerns for the region and the UNESCO-listed status of one of our country's (and the world's) most important ecological assets. As the largest development of its kind in the country, this isn't a local issue, it will set a national precedent for generations to come.
So I say this: Residents of Cairns, don't be fooled by the empty promises of a foreign billionaire with a band-aid. Queenslanders, take Newman to account on his political backflips - he just cut 14,000 jobs then tried for a bloody 49% pay rise (but ended up with 8%). Australians, take a stand against problem gambling in our country and the evils it represents. People of the world, disregard the politics and show your support for the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and stop it's exploitation and destruction by profiteers.
If this concerns you please sign and share this petition started by Kate (my lady in red): http://www.communityrun.org/p/StopReefCasino
She's been researching for a month and goes into a lot more detail on the page, plus there's loads of space for engagement on the topic. Alternatively leave a comment, we're both pretty keen to gauge where the people stand on this.
Peace out!
submitted by somishere to australia [link] [comments]

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