Where to begin?!
That was my thought the other day after some preliminary route planning for our 2017 Australia trip. We decided a few years ago that we wanted to go to Australia to celebrate my wife’s graduation from medical school. It seems appropriate since our last great adventure was just before she started.
This gave us several years to save, research and plan. As our trip draws closer, the planning becomes more serious. We started out with a few high points that we knew we’d want to see, Sydney harbor, the Great Barrier Reef and if time would permit Uluru. Others have come up over time, Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road among them. This has left us with the interesting challenge of traveling almost the entire length of the east coast of Australia. Since we’ll be traveling during the May-June time frame, we’ll probably save some time not laying out on the beaches of Victoria and New South Wales. With any luck the weather will be a little warmer and more conducive to laying out on the beach as we move north into Queensland toward Cairns.
There are many aspects of the trip that need to be ironed out and several tasks to accomplish before we can even board our flight. Passports, visas, cell phones, all things that need varying levels of research and undoubtedly more paperwork than should be necessary. However, there lies a more practical problem that we must now begin to resolve.
How much of what we want to do can we actually do in the time we have allotted? As it stands we’re hoping to have two weeks, leaving the US on a Friday and planning to arrive in Melbourne on Sunday. While the thought of driving more than 2500 miles doesn’t phase me in the slightest, our trips are usually built around one or a couple of destinations and a few days at each. And most of the time those destinations have been places where driving around or walking about was the main objective. National parks in the US are generally conducive to that. This trip while expected to have some of that, is quite different. For most of our party, it will be our first time outside of North America. I’m looking forward to experiencing not only the sights and sounds, but the culture and food! I guess when you really get down to it, the difference here is that we’ll be operating out of major cities rather than campgrounds and small towns.
How long will it take to see what we want in each city? What’s the best way to get from city to city? And how will traveling with a three year old affect our plans? Children at that age are less predictable when it comes to their patience for getting from place to place or waiting in lines. What’s the best way to experience the Great Barrier Reef? Where can you have the best koala experience? Where is the best place to go whale watching or see kangaroos in the wild? Where are the best places for wildlife photography and beautiful landscapes? What are the can’t miss hikes in eastern Australia?
The more we talk about it, the more questions we have. And while winging it has often worked out well for us, this travel opportunity is likely going to be too rare an event to just throw caution completely to the wind. So for now, our list making will continue as we attempt to not stretch ourselves too thin.
Have you been to Australia? What do you feel are the can’t miss experiences?