So the Australia planning continues. We've booked the plane tickets via Virgin Blue from Sydney to Cairns. Accomodations in Cairns are locked in, although we haven't pre-booked any of our activities there yet, which is fine. I imagine a day or two of snorkeling, a trip into the jungle and possibly a trip up in a balloon is being considered.
The car is booked for nine days, and we opted to go with Europcar. So this ought to be interesting. Nine days driving on the left-hand side of the road. Oddly, this isn't what worries me. The rental agency says that for a "compact" vehicle rental we'll likely be stuck with a Hyundai Accent or similar. I really, really don't want to die in a Hyundai Accent.
And we've got our accomodations in the Airlie Beach (the Whitsundays) booked. A nice studio apartment for five days. Alas, we're going to have to spend a night somewhere between Cairns and Airlie Beach. It's about a nine hour drive and I'd rather not be booting in down the Bruce Highway racing to make it to Airlie Beach before sunset.
After we finish there, we'll spend a few more days drifting down the coast before arriving in Brisbane on July 31. We'll spend a few days there and then hop on a train to head down to Sydney to conclude things and hopefully run into some old friends. I'm actually pretty pleased with the way the trip is coming together so far. I'm sure there will be more hiccups, but so far, so good.
The one interesting thing about all of this planning is how hyper-aware, and a touch paranoid, you can get about a place. It's not like we're going to visit one of the Stans (Afghanistan and its dangerous neighbouring breathern). In fact, once you exclude the many, many, many forms of wildlife that are available to kill you in horrifically painful ways in Australia, it's a perfectly safe country.
But between reading the Lonely Planet guides, Bill Bryson's funny, entertaining and chipperly terrifying "In a Sunburned Country" and just random news stories that cross the internet tubes, like massive flooding turning parts of New South Wales and Queenland - parts we'll be travelling through in less than two months - into "inland seas", it does make visiting Australia a touch more....interesting.
Interesting is good when you're on vacation. Could stand a few less of the lethal critters, but other than that, I think we're going to the right place for interesting.
1. We will still need a song - Hawksley Workman
2. Morning's broken - Lloyd Cole
3. Fox confessor brings the flood - Neko Case
4. When you gonna flower? - Hawksley Workman
5. Help, I'm alive - Metric*