Domestic travel in Australia is pretty underrated in my opinion. Many Aussies look to travel internationally before they would visit one of their local attractions. I guess the same can be said for the US. I mean, I have never been to the Grand Canyon (embarrassing). Traveling within Australia is quite easy, however the cost of food, lodging, and airfare is enough to make one head to South East Asia. Peter continues to remind me that we moved to Australia, so we should see Australia. So, for the next 6 months we will be traveling domestically.
Even when traveling from state to state in the US, you have to brace for the potential hour spent in the security line. Down in OZ, we have boarded every flight without having to show a form of ID! People literally get to the airport a half hour before their plane is due to depart. I went to take off my shoes and was given weird looks. Bottles of water go directly through as do toiletries of every size and shape. Now I am not necessarily saying lax security is a good thing, but it does make for an easy boarding process.
My first domestic adventure was to Brisbane and a town on the Gold Coast called Surfer’s Paradise. My girlfriends and I went with one mission: hold a koala. I must say I was a tad nervous. I have seen pretty horrifying videos of koala on koala violence. My concerns were confirmed when I observed Leighton’s (our koala’s name) claws coming directly towards me. Luckily he turned out to be the most adorable and professional Koala model ever. Leighton worked it for the camera. Now of course one may argue that Koala holding is cruel. The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (a not for profit organization) would disagree. The koala union allows for them to work for only a couple hours a week and in return are given quite a lovely enclosure with comfortable trees and enough eucalyptus to give them a sleepy buzz. No bush fires to worry about here. All proceeds go to support their animal hospital on site. Once recovered, animals are released into the wild.
The rest of trip was a total surprise! We had gotten a lot of negative responses when we stated that Brisbane was a stop on our itinerary. We never really understood why as we strolled through the beautiful riverfront city. We had some festive drinks at the Victorian Era casino, delicious dinner of Outback specialties and an amazing nights sleep at the new Trader’s Hotel. Surfer’s Paradise left something to be desired. Ok, so we were there in bad weather…but it was definitely catering to an 18 year old-spring break-Cancun loving crowd.
Next up we plan to visit the Great Barrier Reef (Queensland) and the Barrossa Valley (South Australia). Peter has already gone to Melbourne and Perth for work but I want to put them on my list as well. There is a total monopoly on Uluru (formerly know as Ayre’s Rock) so the prices are silly expensive to fly and stay. We will probably give in and go. There is so much to see but lucky for us, we have the time!
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary: http://www.cws.org.au/
Treasury Casino, Brisbane: http://www.treasurybrisbane.com.au/
Surfer’s Paradise: http://www.surfersparadise.com/