I’ve finally started doing some real planning on this trip, not just idly dreaming and looking at the pretty pictures in the travel guides and imagining myself in the middle of them, in an Instagram-ready shot. No, it’s time to figure out some of the details and figure out how we’re actually getting to those places and what it’ll cost us. I’ve known that a trip like this would require me to be flexible, I just didn’t think it would have to start 3 months before we left.
So, perhaps you remember how I’ve been talking about being free spirits on this trip, buying a one way ticket and then figuring it out as we go along? As it turns out, that’s just not going to work. Perhaps it might if we were only going to one country for 9 weeks of travel, but since that’s not the plan, it turns out that I actually have to do some advance planning.
My first discovery: the world is freaking huge. I initially thought that some of the places we were going it would be easy for us to get from point A to point B in, say, 6 hours. Then I did some flight searches and found that it would take 20. Or I had ideas of overland travel and a drive that would take 4 leisurely days, such as driving down the East Coast of Australia. As I’m now aware, Australia is a much larger continent than it appears on a Mercator projection map and that drive is recommended to take 14-18 days.
Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) was also a must see for us on our trip, and again, I thought, hey! it’s a big tourist attraction and must be very accessible! Wrong again. It’s in the middle of the country/continent, and there’s not a lot of ways to get there that don’t involve a) a plane or b)5 hours of driving. See above comment regarding Australia.
We’re in the process of deciding whether to see less and spend more time or be a bit more whirlwind and try to pack things in. It’s hard because since we’re already there and it’s so far away, it seems like a waste not to try and squeeze in another place. Of course, the goal is also not to be so frazzled that we can’t enjoy it at all.
For now, I think we’ll end up somewhere in the middle. There’s still a LOT more flying than I was initially thinking, and we’re probably not going to go everywhere we initially thought (sorry, Sydney). Australia will be more about natural wonders, Aboriginal culture, snorkeling, hiking and possibly even camping. We’ll be in plenty of big cities along the rest of the trip so I don’t feel like it’s a huge miss at this point.
For now, plan is as such: Fly to Auckland, New Zealand spend 8 days on the North Island (South Island will be another trip, alas it is too cold for us at that time). Fly to Darwin, Australia, spend 3-5 days there. Fly to Alice Springs, rent car or camper and drive to Uluru and back over the course of 3-4 days. Fly to Cairns and spend 4-5 days there, then either fly or drive to Brisbane and fly out from there to SE Asia! Phewf.
Next leg planning, coming up!