Covering Australia in Three Weeks – A How To

by brian on October 29, 2009

Everyone remember my friend Debbie?

She and I went to the same school, connected on LinkedIn while I was on my round the world trip and she and her friends took care of me while I was Hong Kong. This including a side trip to gambling mecca Macau on my birthday.

Well she’s back, with a guest post on her trip to Australia. To those of you thinking about visiting the Land Down Under, hopefully her story and pictures will whet your appetite to get up and go.

2-3 weeks is enough time to cover a continent. You just have to plan extremely well before you get there. Hey CV, I know you’re reading this, get on the plane and get to Australia!

You can reach Debbie at

Most people like to backpack Australia the relaxed way – roaming from place to place, taking suggestions from people you meet along the way, traveling segments with new friends, and generally flying by the seat of your pants (or trousers). However, we only had 3 weeks to cover Cairns to Sydney, a distance roughly equivalent to that of Montreal to Houston, and fit in all the activities we wanted to do (hint: get used to sleeping on buses).

We didn’t want a travel agent pushing their extra commission events on us; however, we still wanted to take advantage of their discounts. A friend of mine had recommended Peter Pan’s Adventure Travel, as they cater towards backpackers and student travelers. I found them to be exceptionally friendly and easy to work with. As for planning your own incredibly-crammed trip, try:

*Debbie’s Super Great Travel Tip #1:*
If you want to cram a LOT into a small space of time, try this:

Write each thing you want to do onto a separate Post-It note, including long travel segments like driving or bus rides. (Small slips of paper work fine too.) In one corner, have the times it begins and ends (including days it runs, if limited). In another, the price. This will save you when you’re trying to fit in multiple trips that only depart on certain days, and provides for easy price comparison. Also, it’s much easier to shift around – easier than a computer! Trust me.

After we figured out exactly what we wanted, we went to the travel agent and had them book it. Voila, discounts and travel booked.

* * *

Three weeks seems like an eternity to be on vacation but in truth, it zoomed by. We:

- snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef (3 times) and saw a school of well over 1000 fish

- spent 2 days at a farmstay
This was probably one of my top experiences. We learned to ride motorbikes and horses, crack whips, milk cows, pick oranges, and use divining rods. It was also our only foray into the outback:

 Covering Australia in Three Weeks   A How To

And what’s a horseback ride without rounding up some cattle (yeehaw!)

 Covering Australia in Three Weeks   A How To

- drove ourselves around Fraser Island with 16 other people

Fraser Island is considered a World Heritage site as it is the largest sand island in the world. Fun to play in, a little less fun to drive and cook in.

site 0630 0001 Covering Australia in Three Weeks   A How To(from the UNESCO website)

- saw the sights of Brisbane and Sydney

Brisbane – disappointing. The best thing there was the oyster/Bloody Mary shot

 Covering Australia in Three Weeks   A How To

Sydney – great views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House of course. While there, you must visit Featherdale Wildlife Park, as they specialize in Australian animals, and have an area where you can pet the kangaroos, koalas, and all sorts of other fun creatures.


 Covering Australia in Three Weeks   A How To
Feeding a horse is nice because they use their lips and gently suckle the food out. Feeding a kangaroo hurts like a *(&%$^ because they use their teeth. We learned this the hard way.

 Covering Australia in Three Weeks   A How To
- and logged in over 45 hours of bus time.

See that stunned look I had? That’s a result of too much goon and too little sleep.

 Covering Australia in Three Weeks   A How To

GOON. My god, goon. Goon is boxed wine gone rogue. Drink too much of this and you won’t be able to find your own feet the next day much less your dignity. However, at $10 AUD for 4 L…you’re not likely to spend time in Oz without it. I would tell you to avoid it, but I know you’ll just ignore me (I ignored this sage advice myself)…

Debbie has more to share, so next time we’ll continue with places you should check out and avoid while in Australia. Thanks again Debbie!

Been to Australia and have tips you want to share? If you’re going to Oz what do you plan on seeing and doing? Let us know in the comments!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

AdventureRob February 16, 2010 at 2:38 AM

Ahh Goon, many a backpacker have consumed that! I know I have, it's great stuff considering how expensive Oz can be.


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