Feb. 25th, 2013

ermago: (Me on NYC ferry)
It's been almost 2 years to the day that I have posted something on here....on the recommendation of [livejournal.com profile] eurodancemixI am dusting it off to post about the trip of a lifetime coming up....I am heading down under on March 3rd. I will be there for 6 weeks. It is just my mother and I going on the trip, my father and Claude are staying behind. We initially were supposed to do this trip about 3 years ago, but had to back out because of some surgery that my dad needed. Intially we were just going to do a cruise from Perth to Sydney...but alas we had to cancel it.
So back in January of 2012 we decided to reboot the trip...but this time, we decided that we were going to fly everywhere. So we cracked open a bunch of different books and started the process of booking the trip.

First we looked at all the different cities and made lists of what we wanted to do in each city. Then we figured out how much time we would need in each city. Then we had to determine when we wanted to go...we wanted to go after the holiday season and Mardi Gras...so we figured sometime in late February early March. We then had to wait until the flights started becoming available. Oh, I forgot to mention, we were using miles to fly there. My mother is with American who partners with Qantas, and I'm with United. We called American and the flights they had were crap. So I checked on United and found good flights. I ended up having to buy up about 80,000 miles, because we wanted to fly first class. We used my miles to fly too and from Australia and my mothers within Australia, because Qantas does give away first class seats across the water.
So our flight to Australia, is from IAD>SFO>SYD>MEL....we decided we wanted to go in a clockwise tour. Keep in mind, I am booking everything myself...flights, hotels, tours. We couldn't book the return flight because it was too far out. So now that we had the flight out there...we needed to figure out how much time we needed at each place. While we were figuring that out, one of my friends said that if you are going to be there during Easter, make sure you have something to do because everything closes down between Friday and Monday. So I figured we would go on a cruise from Sydney up to Queensland for jumping off points to the Great Barrier Reef. Initially we had booked on a Celebrity cruise, but then changed it to Royal Carribbean.

In any event, after checking out the activities we wanted to do we started looking at dates for each location. Basically this was an iterative process trying to figure out how much time we needed for activities....and then we added an extra day or two just to be on the safe side. Whilst reading through the books we realized that middle of March is the rainy season for Queensland so we were going to bounce around...we were debating on where to stay in Queensland....Cairns, Port Douglas, Gold Coast...but then just finally decided the cruise would be perfect. My mother fought me on going on the cruise, but then later came around because she can relax.

Once we figured out the dates at each location, we started booking hotel rooms...most of them were booked on Hotwire....there were about 3 of them that we booked directly because we had points or they just weren't on Priceline or Hotwire. Now that the dates were set in stone we had to look at the things we wanted to do and how we would get to them. My biggest concern was getting to activites where we needed transportation since we are not renting a car...we are doing public transit...I refused to drive in a country where not only they drive on the other side of the road, the steering column is on the right side of the car...I have driven on the other side of the road in St. Thomas, but it's a small island and the speed limit is only 35 mph max....I didn't want to tempt fate. so I found by happenstance Viator.com and noticed they offered tours so we have combed that for the different trips.....

Next...where we are going and what we are doing....

I guess I will use this for the next month or so to document the trip of a lifetime.
ermago: (Me on NYC ferry)
So, this next installment are the actual places we are going, the dates and what we are doing there. We leave Washington Dulles at 530pm on March 3 and arrive in Melbourne at 1130 on March 5th Melbourne
March 5th through March 10th
Melbourne City sights tour with Yarra Cruise
Phillip Island day tour at the Koala conservation center and Penguin Parade
Great Ocean Road day trip

Adelaide
March 10th through March 14th
Kangaroo Island Day trip

Uluru (Ayers Rock)
March 14th through March 16th
Sounds of Silence Dinner
Desert Awakenings Tour

Brisbane
March 16th through March 20th
Full Day Brisbane Sightseeing tour
Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo
VIP tour at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary where we get to feed and hold Koalas.

Sydney
March 20th through March 23rd
Orpheus in the Underworld operetta at the Sydney Opera House
Sydney Bridge Climb
Blue Mountain and Wildlife day trip
Tobruk Outback Experience
Sydney Opera House Backstage tour

Rhapsody of the Seas Queensland Cruise
March 23rd through April 3rd
Newcastle Australia
Cairns (overnight stay)
Airlie Beach
Brisbane
With these I know we are doing the Great Barrier Reef, Lone Pine Koala sanctuary again

Sydney
April 3rd through April 8th
Sydney, Bondi, Kings Cross tour
Wild Australia Experience at Taronga Zoo
Sydney Jewish Museum

Hamilton Island, Whitsundays
April 8th through April 12th
Helicopter ride over the reef, including the heart reef with a stop off at Whitehaven Beach

Sydney
April 12th through the 13th

April 13th we fly home.

The reason that Sydney was broken up was because of the cruise we initially booked so we had to fit it back in and the reason we have one night in Sydney before we leave is because the flight back from Hamilton Island on the 13th would have made it so we couldn't make our connecting flight back to the states....so we spend the one night in Sydney before we get home.

One thing I would really like to do while I'm in Sydney is go down to Oxford St...since Sydney is like the equivalent to the gay mecca of San Francisco...I also would really like to go to the Imperial as I want to see where Priscilla was made.

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Eric Goldfarb

April 2013

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