September 21 – October 5, 2013
Australia was never a big priority of mine. I reasoned I could always save a developed country like Australia until later while I tick off the more challenging destinations on my wish list first. But a series of events happened which changed my thinking.
Recently I have picked up a new hobby. One that has opened up to me an entirely new dimension when I look at a map to figure out where to travel next. The blue coastline suddenly becomes more than beaches or boat trip. With the aid of various equipment and gears, water is no longer the barrier to exploration it once was. Yes, I have learned to scuba dive, first getting my PADI Open Water license in Hong Kong then completed my Advance course in the Philippines during the recent Easter break.
Between her fear of suntan, marine life and water in general, my wife has decided not to go off the deep end with me. While unfortunate, she was understanding enough to tolerate my inclusion of diving into this two-week holiday.
As our friend and my dive buddy Becky happened to be on working holiday in Melbourne, Australia seemed like an intriguing possibility. The country has good food, tons of road trip and wildlife sighting possibilities, relatively short flights and only two-hour time difference from Hong Kong.
The final affirmation came in the form of a Qantas’ promotion (HKD $9,000 included round-trip international flights, two one-way domestic flights and two nights hotel in Cairns). The deal was too good to pass up.
To make full use of our package, we would do the Australian Golden Triangle and fly into Melbourne (instead of Sydney), then go north to Alice Springs and end our trip in Cairns.
Sept 21 – Arrive Melbourne, Queen Victoria Market; Drive to Wilsons Promontory
Sept 22 – Wilsons Promontory; Drive to Yarra Valley
Sept 23 – Yarra Valley; Drive to Lorne
Sept 24 – Great Ocean Road; Back to Melbourne
Sept 25 – Fly to Alice Springs; Drive to Watarrka National Park
Sept 26 – King Canyon Rim Walk; Drive to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Sept 27 – Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Sept 28 – Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park; Back to Alice Springs
Sept 29 – Alice Springs Desert Park; Fly to Cairns
Sept 30 – Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard
Oct 1 – Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard; Back to Cairns
Oct 2 – Day trip to Atherton Tableland
Oct 3 – Day trip to Daintree National Park
Oct 4 – Helicopter Ride over Great Barrier Reef; Cairns Tropical Zoo