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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000474.txt from 2001/02

From: Bilwright@-----.net (William Wright)
Subj: [kl] Australia
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 22:41:09 -0500

Things to consider:

Staying for 3-4 nights on one of the islands off the Barrier Reef is a
must even if you don't scuba. Snorkelling there is an amazing
experience even if you only put your head down and breath through the
snorkel and drift for a cople of hours (the wet suit keeps you afloat)
without 'diving' at all.

I particularly recommend one of the islands that Katherine and I stayed
on. It was $250/day in those days, and this included _absolutely
everything_. It was not 'ritzy' in the formal sense (the 'ritzy'
palatial islands were charging $600-$1200/night), but they fed you like
a king and they took you each day on an excursion to other deserted
atolls and cooked you a 'picnic feast' while you snorkelled in virgin
waters (not picked to death by tourists) or scuba'd or napped on coral
beaches that tinkled when you walked on them or explored miniature rain
forests. Glass bottom boats and moonlight cruises for the people who
didn't want to get wet. Really interesting evening presentations by
university anthropologists and painting lessons and so forth. The hotel
staff partied each night and they winked when the occasional guest
decided to join in (a la the "Dirty Dancing" movie).

I also recommend that you check out Binnaburra (sp?) park where the
lodge has (had) an annual "murder mystery weekend" as part of annual
fund raising and PR program. The 'actors' were the entire drama
department at the local university. The hotel is on the edge of a huge
cliff and rain forest. We were there during a drought year, and it was
still first rate.

Certain things in Sydney are a must, including the largest zoo that
allows you to come face-to-face with kangaroos and wombats and koalas
and so forth. This may sound trite, but it really isn't (wasn't).
The red light district would be an education for John or Tim (I forgot
who's going with you). It is (was) unlike anything that the U.S. or
Holland has to offer.

Another _absolute must_ is a bird sanctuary north of Sydney, just a
little north of the Gold Coast (which is a miniature Las Vegas, fun for
one day while en route elsewhere). In this sanctuary, 1000's ---
literally 1000's -- of brightly colored birds will land on your
shoulders, arms, head and any other part of you where they can find a
perch and they will compete to eat out of a dish that you are holding.
It is truly psychedelic although the flutter of so many wings can be
unnerving to some people.

Having been to Melbourne myself, I would discourage you from going there
unless something in a tourist book, perhaps a historical item, appeals
to you that would not appeal to me.

If I decided to travel the width of the entire continent, I would travel
to the southwest corner rather than to the central outback, but this is
based on what locals told me, not on my own experience. There is an
unbelievable amount of variety if you spend a few days in Sydney and
then head north along the coast, but to each his own..... The drive
from Sydney to the jumping-off points for the reef islands is 3-4 days
(each way) if you recreate a little bit on the way, depending on your
pace. So starting at Sydney and moving up the coast and then back down
can consume your entire 17 days of holiday with no problem unless you
push it in order to visit some other part of the country

OOPS! I forgot to mention that farther up north (maybe Townsville, I
can't remember for sure), you can ride camels on the beach and into the
wooded areas. Again it sounds trite, but in fact it isn't. It was
one of the more interesting things that we did --- met kangaroos and
wallabies while on camelback.

But nothing comes even close to staying on one of the reef islands --
scuba or not --- especially this time of year when they discount their
rates because it is their 'winter'.

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