I'm coming to Oz!

The most amazing thing has happened: I’ve been asked to go to Australia for work! Work-covered plane tickets! A chance to meet new people in my company and customers who use our products in a different geography! A chance to work and temporarily live in a radically different location! It’s like winning the lottery – except still having to work.

I leave Minneapolis on October 31st (no Halloween parties for me *sniff* I’ll get over it BECAUSE AUSTRALIA), and I’ll be all over the place for two and a half weeks: Melbourne and then across to Western Australia to work in Perth and Kalgoorlie. I’m thrilled to be able to represent my company, and to see different parts of a country that I never imagined I would be able to visit any time in the near future.

After much deliberation, the Hubby and I have decided that he simply must join me for part of the trip. We’ll be in Melbourne for three days while I wrap up work, and then we’ll have eight days to ourselves to do as we please.

Where should we go? What should we see?

In addition to all of the famous Australian animals, I definitely want to see a echidna.

We’re definitely going to spend some time in the Cairns region to experience the rainforest (Daintree, perhaps) and the Great Barrier Reef. Should we stay in Cairns or Port Douglas? Somewhere else?

Should we road-trip our way up the coast to Cairns over several days and stay at hotels along the way, or just fly to Cairns and get more time there?

I mean, have you ever seen an echidna?

We’ve been planning on staying on the east coast, but I’ve been told that Adelaide and Kangaroo Island are pretty freaking awesome. Is it worth the extra flight?

Can we skip Sydney, or do we have to do Sydney?

We’re not going to Ayers Rock. That’s seems like going on vacation to New York City and detouring to visit Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Just no.

I was super-bummed out to learn that I would be missing the Australian National Skeptic’s Conference by one weekend. I fly back to the States on November 28th, which is the first day of the conference. That was almost amazing timing. So close.

Any advice, tips or story-sharing would be greatly appreciated. We’re sitting down with a travel agent who has a ton of experience with Australia and New Zealand tomorrow, but it’s always fun to hear from friends who have either been there, or who live in the area!


Small, spiny, round mammal with a pointy nose and tiny black eyes looking up from the grassy ground.

Photo from Reilly on Flickr, CC: Attribution 2.0

I'm coming to Oz!
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386 thoughts on “I'm coming to Oz!

  1. Rob

    Brianne, What a great opportunity! Australia is a deceptively vast country (bit like the USA). Don’t try to overdo the travel if you only have 8 days. I’ve been across the ditch a few times to visit family in Oz or do business there. It really depends what you want. Nature, landscape, seascape, city night life…
    For my money Melbourne is pretty good as far as the city experience goes, although sailing on Sydney harbour is also pretty special. If you have a day spare in Melbourne drive down to Phillip Island. There are some really nice walks and the only town of any significance does have some good restaurants. Get out to the Barrier Reef for sure. I’d fly to Cairns to increase the time there – expensive but driving up the Coast is for a trip when you have waaaay more time to burn.
    I like Adelaide and have family there currently, but in the interests of keeping your trip simple I would skip it perhaps.
    Alternatively, visit your echidna, then come and see New Zealand!
    Have a great time 🙂

    1. 2.1

      Thanks, Rob! I think we’re skipping Sydney in the interest of time. I might be spending more time in Melbourne than originally thought, so I might have a free weekend to play around. I’ll put Phillip Island on the list of things to research!

    1. 3.1

      Yes, I’m aware of how long a drive would take. But thanks for assuming that I don’t know how to Google. In one scenario we figured four full days of driving, three days in Cairns, fly back to Melbourne.

  2. 4

    Three short pieces of required reading before journeying to Oz.

    1. Douglas Adams’ short essay on Australia: http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=986853
    Says a lot about the hazards of travel in Australia.
    2. “The Man from Snowy River”, mentioned by Adams above, can be considered the Aussie national poem. Says a lot about the Australian national character.
    3. MacArthur’s Fart, an epic bit of doggerel that says a lot about the Aussie sense of humor.

  3. 6

    A drive from Melbourne to Cairns sounds like a lot of time on the road with not much time to see anything on the way. Perhaps drive from Melbourne to Sydney: takes you through the Snowies and Canberra (overnight stop), and an option for the Canberra-Sydney leg is to drive across to the coast – Bateman’s Bay or thereabouts – and then up the coast rather than driving direct. Then fly to Cairns. I think Sydney’s well worth a stop, but you”ll have to go with your own interests and your travel agent’s offerings. Enjoy!

  4. 7

    4 day drive in an 8 day period? Yikes!! Give that a miss. Drive to Sydney (well worth seeing) from Melbourne. If you can, visit the Blue Mountains. Then fly to Cairns. When you’re in Perth, Rottnest Island is a definite possibility. It’s not far off the coast and you can hire a bike (pedal) and maybe see a quokka. The Pinnacles and Wave Rock are also great, but, as mentioned, are a little further away. If you’ve got a few free hours in the evening, King’s Park might be nice.

    If you choose the east coast route, I’d give Adelaide and KI a miss. I say that reluctantly because I’m an Adelaide boy (OK, I’m stretching the definition of ‘boy’ by 50 years). You just don’t have time. An alternative is to drive to Adelaide from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road then up to Mt Gambier and the blue lake. Then on to Adelaide and KI. Then fly to Sydney and then to Cairns.

    You can Google…so check out temperature and humidity for all of the places you intend to visit. Begin November is when Australia starts to go from warm to hot. Bring a hat or buy one as soon as you reach Oz. And drink lots of water.

    Enjoy your trip. I hope you get to see an echidna.

    1. 7.1

      Adelaide/KI is looking more and more like the route. Our agent suggested a 2 day/1 night deal and then flying up to Cairns, with no stops in Sydney. At everyone’s advice I think we’ll have to skip the road tripping and just fly our butts back and forth – so no Great Ocean Road, which looks like a heck of an experience! As for temperature/climate appropriate clothes. it’s been getting colder here as we move toward winter, but luckily I’ve been lazy and not yet packed away my summer clothes 🙂

  5. 10

    Just a “warning” about our Customs/Border Control people. Fair, friendly and firm. If you’re going to bring any foodstuffs or drinks into the country, declare them. Doesn’t matter if they’re fresh, canned…whatever. They don’t like people bringing “furrin” stuff into the country. This also applies to objects made from biological materials e.g. wood carvings. If you’re wearing a necklace made out of wood, that should be absolutely no problem. But if you’re in doubt, declare it and let them decide. You may lose whatever you may be bringing in, but if you try to “sneak” something in and they find it, you may leave the airport somewhat later than you had hoped and with a bit of a hole in your wallet/creditcard.

  6. 11

    I’ve done the ultimate roadtrip, Sydney to Perth, taking in Melbourne and Adelaide in the process (as well as many smaller towns). Trust me, it’s further than it looks (we set aside three weeks). Fly, definitely fly.

    And SINCE your there, take in a side-trip to EnZed if at all possible. On that end drive, DON’T fly but be prepared for some pretty hairy roads (they often argue that driving in EnZed is kinda like riding a rollercoaster in some places…) Give Auckland a miss-fly into Wellington and go south (ferry), or Christchurch and go north. Lots to see (the Southern Alps is NOT an exaggeration).

    I lived in Perth for five years and in Hamilton, NZ for a total of three. I came home because I was needed to care for my parents. I miss both places dearly.

    Have fun-take pictures please, and agree-Rottsnest is worth it, and a perfect day trip! Sydney-ehh. It reminded me a lot of Chicago (we were there for about five days). and I only went back there for business reasons. Adelaide was very cool architecturally. Never went further north than Sydney on the East coast, but it was on my to-do list.

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