But wait. Hang on! You need some background first before you scroll down to the What. Patience!
So, it started like this:
M. came home and said (like he does every year), "oh snap. I have, like, days I haven't taken off yet and I'll lose them if I don't use them."
Ok. Awesome. I checked out my own calendar and showed M. the spaces of time I could feasibly take off too. He checked with his boss. I checked with mine. We ended up with 2 delicious full weeks in July.
Just as we were getting ready to place a call to see if we could spend some time in our happy place down on the gulf coast of Florida, we both had some simultaneously occurring thoughts:
- hang on. we could be wearing out our welcome here.What if your relatives really don't want you chilling at their condo. Every. year?
- you know, there's not really a lot to do there that we haven't done.
- 2 weeks - that's a long time. We could feasibly, you know, DO something. GO someplace.
- great. what? where?
As in, Australia.
Some googling here, some expedia-ing there. Some googling over there...we came to the realization. Hey, we could make this happen. In fact, if we don't do it now, I'm wondering if we will have a chance any time in the near future? We should do this now. Why NOT do this now? Hell, we HAVE to do this now.
So we did it. We bought tickets to Australia. (gasp)
And to be sensible, we extended our two weeks to three (ok, we are in the process of working all of that out but hey, tickets are purchased. we ain't here).
And after a few hours of post-purchase anxiety, I think we are both getting incredibly excited about the journey. About the fact that you have not one but the choice of 5 five FIVE different kinds of vegetarian meals on Qantas flights, at the prospect of digging up big, solid paperbacks we haven't had the chance to read yet for our mega-long flights, of being someplace phone-free and unreachable, at the thought of seeing a completely and totally different place.
One, that I must now confess, I truly had no interest in seeing before A. moved there. In fact, I uh, ahem, may have said some shitty things about Australians in the past. Blame it on those 2 Aussies we were stuck on a tour with through the Bolivian desert - the ones who wanted to get into M's pants so badly it was almost funny. Almost. Notice ten years later I am STILL not laughing. And then blame it on Damian (yeah, son, I'm calling you out by name) the dude who we met one night when he was traveling through Poland, spent the night on my friend's couch and then would. not. leave. For like, weeks.
Man, I hated that kid.
Ok, but now I'm older. I recognize the errors of my ways. And I understand that a continent and a people are far greater than the stereotypes that can be solidified by meeting 3 random people who happen to also be from there. G*ddess knows M and I have suffered from Americans previously met. A. loves Australia. He has found love there. We love A. I bet we are going to love Australia too. Esp. with A. as our guide for some of the time.
And so, the immersion begins!!
Maybe, just maybe, we got tipsy last night realizing the genius of INXS (stop laughing. stop it. You loved them too). And perhaps we tried to set up a Pandora station of indie Aussie bands (help? anyone?) I didn't want to mention it to M, but I bet we can get Neighbors on Netflix....Analise! Luckily, it didn't go there.
Now. Here's where I need your help:
Any Aussie readers out there?
We're flying into Brisbane, out of Sydney. About 2 weeks north. 1 week south.
We have some must do's already lined up: Fraser Island, whale watching, hiking, camping, snorkeling the Barrier Reef (swoon). We've heard Noosa's the bomb. If we stay coastal (due to time constraints), what are we missing?
What are some more Must Do's?
Any Must Avoids?
Has ANYONE had ANY experience with this: www.couchsurfing.org?
Not sure how I feel about it, but trying to keep an open mind. Saving some cash on accommodations frees up some for more adventures. Of which we hope to have many.
This is truly crazy on a number of levels. But truly not on others. It kind of all boils down to: WTFN.
Dear Australia, we are so in. Let's do this.
AWESOME! I hear amazing things about Australia. Can't wait to hear about your trip. Love to you both. xo
FAntastic girl! That's great news. My bestie lives in Australia, outside Sydney, she's been there for about 5 years, and married an Aussie! So it can't be all bad, go check out the wine area and drink some wine, or at least, that's what I would do.
Noosa is brilliant. Been there. Beautiful. And yes, I did Fraser Island too; glad to see that's on your list.
Vee is in Australia (http://troislittlebirds.blogspot.com/) with her little boy, Boo. What I wouldn't give to be able to visit her. She was my IF cycling buddy and her son and my daughter were born one day apart. After she lost her husband, we still kept in close touch.
Regardless what you do, enjoy the holiday; it's much deserved and it'll be a lovely break! YAY for spontaneity!
I'm so excited for you! And more than a wee bit jealous.
I think Eden (edenriley.blogspot.com) is near Sydney.
sounds amazing!!!! no tips, never been there myself.
Oh yay, we'll be so thrilled to have you here in our beautiful country! Don't let the fools from your past put you off, we're not all bad :)
I'm in Melbourne so you wont be seeing any of my home town, but Sydney is brilliant for tourists and so much to see. You will fill your days easily (just a shame it wont be super warm at that time of year). A trip out the Blue Mountains could be nice. Otherwise, all the action is around the Harbour. If you're zoo people, great views at Taronga Zoo.
Go as North as you can in Queensland. Port Douglas is beautiful and a great place to base yourselves to go out and see the amazing Great Barrier Reef. Also, you can then go inland and see the Daintree Rainforest from there. Weather should be perfect in Queensland at that time of year.
So excited for you. I hope one day, I can make it to your huge country (only been so far as Hawaii), and I will try not to let the jackass Americans I have met on my previous travels put me off!!
Enjoy and good luck and feel free to email me if you want.
I'm a bit excited for you, in case you can't tell.
This is just brilliant! Really impressed with your adventurous Spirits and indeed WTFN?!!! no advice, just enjoy the adventure!
Woo-hooo! This sounds so awesome. Hope you have safe travels and an excellent time.
In July will it be winter there? Or is it still warm enough to snorkel/swim?
Thanks for the love! Some days in the wine country and the blue mountains are a definite. It sounds like, from ALL accounts, that Noosa is the bomb. So we are planning a day or two there. Fraser Island is on the "if there is only one thing that we do on this trip it is this" list. M loves birds. Say birdwatcher's paradise and see how fast he grabs his binocs.
Not sure if we'll get as far north as Port Douglas but hoping to catch the reef - if only the most southernmost tip.
Hope's Mama, I had a feeling you were down there somewhere! We are super bummed we can't fit Melbourne into the mix. Esp since its aussie rules football season. Still going to try to catch a game in Sydney, but still...Thanks so much for your words of welcome.
Excited to check out Vee and Eden - thank you for the links!
Dear anon- you are right. It will be winter so Sydney could be a bit chilly. It's part of the reason we're spending so much time north in Queensland, whose climate is tropical. It should be (we are hoping/praying) perfect weather up north.
Super excited for y'all!! This trip is so deserved...Can't wait to hear all about it!
Look, I'm the first to sing Melbourne's praises but July is not the best time to visit here! Brrrrr. Spend as much time in Queensland as you can to make the most of the weather. They don't really have a winter up there, either warm or hot all year round.
Melbourne is still the best city though, and I'm only a little bit biased. One day.
No tips, but hope you have a wonderful trip!
How AWESOME! Hope you have the time of your LIFE!
Oh M - Australia is WONDERFUL. Really. Honestly I lived there for 6 of the best months of my life.
First off - Bands - I love BLUE HOUSE. They are Melbourne based, seen them live 2x in America. They remembered me from the first show. Love them. Love their music.
As for Oz... great wine. Fun people to drink beer with. I loved Fraser island. The Whitsundays on a sail boat was amazing. I went snorkeling on the Great Barrier reef. In Syndey, take the commuter ferry over to Manly... there are some walks, one to Collier's beach or something like that. It is just really nice to take the boat with the locals and see the harbour and explore on foot a bit. The beaches outside of Syndey are great. There are heaps of cool things to do. Road trip a bit for sure. Its not too hard to drive on the wrong side, once you get out of the city. Just remember 'passenger in the gutter!'
As for movies, I loved 'the castle' its a random flavor of humor, but still one of my favorite movies.
Oh the birds!!!
Lots of good food!
Feel free to emai me off line if you have questions. I know Melboure better, but I have done 2 big trips around Sydney that I fondly remember.
many of my friends love couchsurfing. Also there is that airbnb site that my friends keep talking about...
Oh i am so jealous. HAVE FUN!!!!!!!! I did move to the southern hemisphere for a reason. Plus many of the best Aussies stay in their amazing home country or travel everywhere but austraila
keep us posted on what you end up loving there.
Bit late to the party but congrats on the big trip!
We did the same thing, except it was a spur of the moment trip from Australia to the US :)
I'm down south so nowhere near where you are headed - but definitely stay up north in July because it's freezing south of Sydney in winter :)
Keep us posted on your adventures!!
(ps for a decent spattering of indie australian music look up the radio station Triple J - they stream online)
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