I was talking to my dad for about, oh God, about an hour and a half last night. We're like that...we'll go weeks without talking to each other, engaged in some kind of male version of chicken to see who will call the other first. It inevitably tends to be me, as Cathy starts reminding that I really ought to call him. We can chat for ages once the call starts. It's actually making the phone call that seems to be an issue for us.
Then again, I hate phones, and I suspect I know where I get it from.
Anyway, most of last night's discussion was spent on Australia. I think it must be about six or seven years ago that dad went on one of his epic journeys. One of the benefits of being a letter carrier with about 36 years on the job...you have lots of vacation time. And in this case, he managed to swing it so he got about 12 weeks off. And so began his trip through New Zealand for three weeks, with the remaining nine spent travelling Australia.
So he's not a bad brain to pick for Australia planning, now that we're in the details stage. As it turns out, however, most of his time was spent in southern Australia, before moving on to Ayers Rock and then to Darwin. By the time he hit Cairns, he was in the last few weeks of his trip and was running out of time, plus a touch on the exhausted side.
Still, it was nice to get the reassurance that Cairns is a nice spot. He spent about nine days there (of course, the young Swedish nurses he was hanging out with might have played some role in staying there that long). After Florence last year, we were a touch reluctant in spending a week or so in one spot in case we didn't like it.
The next place he recommended were the Whitsundays, which was funny because I was already deep into research on them as they looked like a really great place to hang out for a few days and maybe do some sea kayaking. And from there he mentioned a couple of other places that might be worth spending a few days at during our long train ride down to Sydney.
But for awhile now the Whitsundays have stuck in my mind. They're beautiful islands, but I was wondering why they were sticking out so much. Then, this morning, I got a little reminder as to why I might have heard of them before. One of the 74-odd islands is Hamilton Island, which got a bit of attention recently for advertising the greatest job in the world. Turns out the finalists are there now, competing for the job.
I thought about putting in an entry, but when I saw the calibre of some of the entries, not to mention the volume, I quickly realized I was doomed.
Funny, everything I've read about the area has said that it's not exactly a hidden gem, that most people know about it and lord knows there's enough backpackers, tourists and rich Aussies kicking around the islands. But hey, I guess you can always want more, although I have no idea where you would put them. Most of the islands are protected with development strictly regulated or outright prohibited.
Oh, and I notice that CTV has sent someone down to follow the sole Canadian contestant in the competition. Go here for more.
So it'll be nice to be able to visit that place. And now at least I know why I was being so drawn to that area. Now we just have to figure out how long to stay there, and where exactly to stay. I figure at least four days, perhaps as many as seven. We'll have to see.
Between five to seven days in Cairns, five or six days in Sydney (with our friends Chris, Lisa and Kitty, who will be meeting us there), four to six days in the Whitsundays, well, we only have 26 days in the country. The time is being allocated quickly.
1. Some things are better left unsaid - Hall & Oates
2. Where did you sleep last night (live) - Nirvana*
3. Poor man's grey - Matthew Good
4. Suite 16 - Chris Picco
5. Bargain - The Who