Sunday, April 26, 2009

Planning the next one

So we're back from one vacation and we're starting to get deep into the planning of the next one. I know, the burdens of being us. Except Ottawa was a pretty simple trip when looking at logistics. Australia is a touch more complicated.

We've had the tickets booked for ages, but with about 11 weeks until we leave we have to start getting into the other details. We need a place to stay in Sydney. We need to figure out how long we're going to stay there before heading off. We need to book a ticket to fly to Cairns, figure out how long we're going to stay there and where we're going to stay. And we need to get a train pass from Cairns back down to Sydney.

This is kind of the grunt work, the not really that much fun part of the planning. It took a lot longer than you would have thought to find out that, yes, you can get a train pass for the east coast of Australia similar to a Eurorail pass - where you can hop on and off the train. And there's a dizzying array of places to stay in both Sydney and Cairns along with a lot of websites that will help you find places to stay. It just gets a bit overwhelming at times.

We've finally given up on Lonely Planet and Wikitravel, which served us well for Italy. They just weren't finding us any reasonably priced places to stay. We've since switched over to tripadvisor and we've been having much better luck with that.

Plus, a couple of our friends and their daughter want to meet us in Australia. They currently live in Shanghai and want to hang out for a week or so, which is awesome, but again, one more thing to coordinate.

I'm looking forward to plotting out the fun stuff. Not entirely sure what we're going to do in Sydney, although Cathy wants to go and see a koala rescue area. As for Cairns, the sheer volume of things you can do there is overwhelming. Going out to the Great Barrier Reef to go snorkeling, sky-diving (something I've always wanted to try), going up in a balloon, white water rafting, hikes though the rain forest, beaches....

And then afterwards a nice slow train trip down the coast, stopping at different communities to just hang out and do whatever. We haven't even begun to research that yet. It's a big coast with lots of places to visit.

God love the internet....trying to plan a vacation like this even 20 years ago would have been a pain in the ass, trying to figure out where to go, where to stay, what to do. Now you have all these options. Which can be too much to handle sometimes. Still, there are worse ways to spend a weekend....spending about eight hours online doing research about Australia.

Now we just have to wait another 11 weeks.

Last Five
1. Out of habit (live) - Ani DiFranco
2. The Heinrich Maneuver - Interpol
3. My out of style is coming back - Matthew Good Band*
4. October - U2
5. Standing next to me - The Last Shadow Puppets


Kai said...

Oh how I wish I had this complaint! Reading about your trips really makes me want to move up there so I can get away like that too!

In Iqaluit said...

Didja hear that Astro Theatre is open again? Yay!

Jackie S. Quire said...

I know the feeling. 11 weeks will fly by, and while it's a relief to have the major stuff planned (flights!!) the nitty gritty details are still so important to figure out.

And I'm with you. I can't imagine planning a vacation with out the internet. Talk about flying blind.

towniebastard said...

I did see the theatre was reopened and there was much rejoicing. Although I guess that means my plan of running a movie theatre in Iqaluit is not going to happen.

Brian said...

If I may, we were in Sydney and Cairns in 2001. Have a look at Oasis Resort Cairns, very central location, a pool and garden to die for. Not sure of prices as we were on a travel accommodation package.
Try Compass day trips to the reef, better and less crowded than the larger operations, plus goes to two or three reefs in one trip, depending on weather.
Kuranda is a must see, train up sky rail back, or visa a versa. Get a window seat on the train and have your zoom lens ready, views to doe for. At Kuranda there is river excursions, did not try them but looked good.
At bottom of sky rail try Tjapkai, aboriginal run experience.

Eating, choices are too numerous, any where on esplanade, off on some of the side streets are worth checking out too. Emu, kangaroo, crocodile, kola burger, sea food.

For a very good meal at cheap prices try the Cairns RSL, great food and right on esplanade, members only but tell them you are visiting from OS and no problem.

Train trip SYD/Cairns is great, stops frequently especially in QLD. Sleeper advised if not getting off any where.

Have sujjestions for Sydney if you like.

I was joking about the Koala burgers.