Bod, Dave, Gary, Looks like the first "Gauge World Conference" could be on in June 2003!! as well! 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"!