Thursday, July 22, 2010

Trip Planning

Imagine you're headed to Australia. You've only got one real obligation: you've got to spend the first seven days of your trip out west, about three hours south of Perth. You won't see much, but you will get to enjoy some quiet, relaxing time on in the middle of nowhere. I hear toilet water flushes the opposite direction down there. Afterward, you're free to roam - on a budget, mind - where ever you please. Where do you go? What do you see?

That's what I'm currently trying to figure out. The more I read about Australia, the more I realize how enormous it is. Trying to see all of Australia in three weeks would be like trying to see all of the US in a month. It's impossible. Some prioritization will be necessary.

First thing's first: I've got to make peace with the fact that I'm going to have to come back to Australia some day. There will have to be another trip. I've also got to resign myself to making a trip to New Zealand into its own adventure and not trying to tack it on to this one. Once I'm okay with those two decisions, I can begin thinking about potential itineraries.

I feel somewhat obligated to visit Sydney - it feels iconic. I'd like to see the reef, and I'm being told Melbourne's nice. None of these places are close to each other. Road trip between them all? Perhaps, but then I may spend my whole vacation in a car.

I'd like to see some of the rainforest as well, and a bit of the outback. Uluru (Ayers Rock) looks absolutely epic. But a visit to the Northern Territory would preclude any city-slicking on the east coast.

The third option would be to remain in Western Australia for two weeks after the event and really dive deep into the sights and culture out there. I hear it's gorgeous out there, and that might be the best (and cheapest) use of my time. But will it be a let-down if I go all the way out to Australia and I don't see the Great Barrier Reef? The Sydney Opera House? Bondi Beach?

What would you do? Opinions and/or advice greatly appreciated.