Travels Down-under

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Woodie, Feb 26, 2002.

  1. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Bod, Dave, Gary,

    Looks like the first "Gauge World Conference" could be on in June 2003!! as well! :D
    Thought I'd start a new thread to keep it in one spot.
    Kewl. A few planning to be (or have done) trips to the right side of the world!
    I've put a few links here to help with your planning etc.

    This link shows every rail line (including preservation/tourist) lines in Australia. It also has links to timetables etc.
    Railmap of Australia Just click on the area and follow from there.

    The Indian-Pacific is currently not accepting bookings past April 2002, due to a restructure of equipment and timetables. So not sure about that one. The Sydney - Perth journey is 2 1/2 days.

    Also try here Great Southern Railway for info in the Indian-Pacific and timetables etc. The Great Southern Railway is a privately owned consortium that took over the long distance passenger services from the government owned Commonwealth and State railways a few years ago.

    The Indian Pacific is a twice weekly services from Sydney - Perth
    The Ghan is Melborune/Sydney to Alice Springs twice weekly (alternate departures from Melbourne, then Sydney to Alice Springs).
    The Overland is Melbourne - Adeleaide.

    Might I suggest an Intineray such as this. (How much time do you want to spend??)

    You cannot fly direct US - Brisbane. You must go via Auckland (New Zealand) or Sydney. (Unless Rotary is organising charter flights from the US)

    LA - Auckand ( see New Zealand) (10 hr flight)
    Auckland - Brisbane - Conference (4 hr flight)
    Brisbane - Sydney - (plane or day train) (14 hr train trip, 1hr flight)
    Sydney - Adelaide - Indian Pacific (outback adventure) (25 hr train trip)
    Adelaide - Melbourne - day train (Overland) (12 hr train trip, 1 hr flight)
    Fly direct Melbourne - LA. (14 hr flight)

    Fares/timetables etc are on the above links. Just 1/2 for $US.
    Plane tickets are cheaper than the train, so you may wish to substiute plane for train of some of it.

    Note, however, doing this may increase the airfare considerably, by not returning from your final destination. Sydney - LA return airfare can be obtained for around $1500 AUS ($750 US). What the airfare would be to "hop around" a bit, I do not know.

    Things to see:
    New Zealand:
    South Island via Wellington and the Cook Straight Ferry. Queenstown (Coronet Peak) and Milford Sound.
    Brisbane: Nothing. It's a dump. Maybe the Gold Coast (1 hr south of Brisbane), but you've got Miami. No difference.
    Sydney: Harbour Bridge climb, Opera House, Blue Mountains, Taronga Zoo.
    Adelaide: Not much, but maybe the wineries (1 1/2 hrs drive). Fab wines of world renown.
    Melbourne: Lovely city, Worlds biggest Casino, and perhaps time your trip for 2nd weekend in June. Block buster Aussie Rules footy match at the MCG on the Monday (Holiday weekend). Well worth it.

    Weather:
    remember it's winter down here at that time of the year.
    New Zealand (south island): cold, but not really below freezing.
    Brisbane: mild - around 18C during the day.
    Sydney : mild - around 16C - 18C during the day.
    Adelaide: mild - around 16C during the day.
    Melbourne: varies - around 12C - 16C during the day.

    To help assist in locating your Vietnam Vet mates, try
    here as a start. many links to other sites as well.
    If you hear of anything particular you want to see, let me know and I'll make the "appropriate comment"!
  2. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Thanks, Woodie, for that great post. I hope that it will continue to be accessible as we all proceed with our plans for next year. The information will be quite useful, I am sure.

    As for myself and my wife, we have been to Australia on two previous occasions, but didn't ride any trains. We've pretty well done all the usual tourist stuff on the east coast and inland to Ayres Rock etc., so we're really interested in seeing some of the rest of your country. We have also just returned from a trip which pretty well covered both islands of New Zealand. We may be coming next year with a Rotarian tour group organized by a friend of mine (also named Woody - different spelling). We're waiting right now to see what they offer. They usually have several different tours in conjunction with the annual Rotary convention. I have suggested that they offer the Indian Pacific; but, if they don't, we'll probably do it on our own.

    I plan to keep up with this thread to see what develops; and we'll probably start making firmer plans as soon as we know more about what's forthcoming at this end.
  3. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Dave,
    Seeing you have probably seen most of the Tommy Tourist stuff, maybe attending/participating in some events/festivals of national significance or something like that. My next visit to the US will include a space shuttle launch, or get into a NY cab and say "follow that cab!", or do a Thelma & Loiuse through Death Valley! If you can see my idea. Yep. I've been to the US many times. Seen the Grand Canyon, Golden Gate, Niagra Falls, NYC, Washigton etc. Been there, done that.
    If you can give me some dates (or maybe heard of something, maybe trivial, silly, or wacky) you'd like to see, then I'm sure I could point you in the right direction. Maybe some of the scenery in an Aussie movie you liked or something, or the pub Crocodile Dundee drinks at!. Arranging dinner with Nicole Kidman and Russel Crowe could be a little difficult though! :eek:
  4. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Woodie,

    Sounds like you've seen all the major sites except one: The Sam Houston Statue. At 67 feet, it's the tallest free-standing statue of an American hero in the world. You truly haven't experienced Texas unless you've seen our...uh...statue. OK, maybe I'm a little embarrased by it. Most of us are. Truth be told, it was a gift from a sculptor in Houston. But I keep thinking about how many drunks there are who probably repent and come to God because they see this huge, white, illuminated figure standing at the south gate to town as they drive up Interstate 45.

    http://www.huntsvilletexas.com/
    http://chamber.huntsville.tx.us/visitor.html

    -Rory
  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Rory,

    Nope..... Can't say I've seen Sam Houston! But I have been to Southfork! And stood at the balcony where Kristen Shepard shot JR!:D
  6. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    Woodie,

    I hate to disappoint you, but Southfork is not real Texas. That's HOLLYWOOD Texas. That's because Dallas, unfortunately, was overtaken by...um...people of Northern Origin during the oil boom. Houston suffered the same fate, just not to the same extent.

    No, to see the REAL Texas, you have to travel down the sideroads and byways to all of the little towns. Huntsville is a nice place to visit. I wouldn't make it a vacation destination, but it might make a nice stop on the way to somewhere else more exciting.

    -Rory :)
  7. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Woodie:

    The dates for the Rotary International Convention in Brisbane are June 1-4, 2003. Whether we would "do our thing" before or after the Convention depends on whether or not we come with an organized tour and what they might have planned. We have no qualms about travelling on our own, especially since we have already been to your country twice before; but it's nice to go with a group and let someone else worry about all the logistics etc. sometimes. I suspect we are probably looking at a total time away from home of around three weeks. Our recent trip to New Zealand was just two days short of a month, and that is a bit long for my tastes. Not that I don't enjoy traveling and seeing new sights, but there's a lot of "stuff" that piles up at home when you're away that long. Anyway, that's about as far as we've gotten with planning thus far; but I'll try to keep you and the others posted if, when and as we make further plans.

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