I’ve recently returned to Microsoft Flight Simulator with a new PC and a new World Update to check out. I decided I wanted to do a few things with this new journey. First, I wanted to make use of the first third party aircraft I purchased for the sim, the Carenado Mooney M20R. Second, I wanted to take a GA flight from Sydney all the way up to the vacation destination of the Gold Coast. The long winter here in Canada has left me wanting something warm to look at. Here’s my journey!
Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (YSSY) to Lake Macquarie Airport (YLMQ)
For the first leg, I started at the detailed Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport. Being one of my first flights back in the sim, I had forgotten how much I love to see real and player traffic interacting and here there were plenty of aircraft flying about. Most were observing normal flight operations but, as is the case with these things, a few were buzzing around. I liked the liveliness of it all!
After departing the runway, I made a left turn following ATC instructions and headed for Sydney itself. My route took me right over the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour bridge. Experiencing this in 4K with high frame rates was absolutely immersive and the photogrammetry of this city is some of the best that I’ve seen in the series. Absolutely impressive.
Then I began to leave the city behind but there were plenty of suburbs and even more photogrammetry areas to take in. The clouds provided a dramatic backdrop with low cloud and some rain showers were in the area. My planned destination of Port Macquarie ended up being a bit too far for the time that I had so I decided to set down on a nearer airstrip – the small airport at Lake Macquarie.
Unfortunately, it’s been a while since I landed a Mooney and I forgot about the relatively slippery airframe and need for airbrakes. I took a slow tumble off the runway at the end and into the lake. Oops. Good thing its a sim!
Lake Macquarie (YLMQ) to Coffs Harbour (YCFS)
The second leg saw me take my M20 (all dried out and fish removed) up from the Lake Macquarie airport all the way to Coffs Harbour. This flight started off with dramatic skies but the weather was about to take a turn for the worse and it became the real enemy of this whole flight.
Heavy clouds but still good visibility began to degrade as the flight went along. I dodged and flew through rainshower with rain streaking on the windows. I even flew through a fog bank. I was IMC for a good chunk of the flight up before I was able to make a turn for the coast through a clear patch and get some better visibility. I was attempting to be VFR for all of this flight but I’m sure I was breaking some VFR rules at this point.
After flying along the beaches for a while it became increasingly clear the the clouds were closing in once again . I looked for breaks but was ultimately IMC again right up to the airport and the runway. I did a very poor landing but one that was ultimately better than the last one and brought the aircraft to a rest. What a flight!
Coffs Harbour (YCFS) to Southport (YSPT) and the Gold Coast
After I finished up my flight from the last leg, I learned that the eastern coast of Australia had seen some heavy rain and flooding. Turns out, I was right in the middle of Flight Simulator’s live weather interpretation of that so no wonder I had such a rough time.
The final leg of my journey saw me set course for a small GA airport on the outskirts of the Gold Coast. Southport Airport features a small runway, small aircraft and helicopter facilities, and a flying club.
I started out with clearer conditions but still some heavy clouds to dodge along the way. The further north I went, the clearer the skies got.
I spent a good chunk of this part of the journey just taking in the incredible scenery. The many beaches, coves, towns and roads were highlights. I even managed to spot the Cape Byron Lighthouse which I dipped my wing to get a better look at. This is the easternmost point of Australia and a point of interest in the World Update 8 scenery pack.
After that, it was a straight shot up to the Gold Coast. It was kind of exciting to see some of the landmarks begin to appear on the horizon and between the clouds. Several supertall skyscrapers dominate the skyline of the Gold Coast including the 322.5 meter tall Q1 building. Gold Coast reminds me a bit of Fort Lauderdale in Florida with its inland waterways and vacation vibe. And that’s exactly the warming feeling I was looking for with this journey.
After a tour around the city I headed for the airport and set my aircraft down for a decent landing at Southport Airport.
This was my first cross country tour in Microsoft Flight Simulator in a very long time. The journey allowed me to soak up what MSFS can look like at high detail levels on a 4K display for the first time. It also let me test the stability of the sim with a third party aircraft. And, of course, to give me a small taste of some warmer weather and the beaches that I’ve been missing for quite some time. This virtual tour definitely let me do all of those even if that warm summer vacation vibe was fleeting. I’ll still take it!
The east coast of Australia and Gold Coast especially might be a new hub for me. There are places in the world that I like to visit time and time again in my flight sims and this area has jumped into my consciousness. I made use of the new marketplace to have a look at some scenery addons and I’ve already purchased the Southport Airport (YSPT) available there to serve as a GA hub for me in the future.
A really fun journey should you wish to take a similar route!