Cairns, Australia November 14-16, 2007
Oz. Short for “Australia” in the land down under. No green glass cities. No Munchkins unless you count the Asian tourists but that’s another story. No yellow brick roads but lots of clearings cut through the outback trying to impersonate a road. We’re just happy to shed the New Zealand thermal underwear, chuck the sweaters and thaw out in the warm sun for the first time in months.
Reality check: Goodaye! Good-on-ya! Good luck with your budget mate! New Zealand spoiled us despite the cold. Arriving in Oz we had to contend with some financial realities compared to Kiwi Land: 1) Expect to pay about 30% more for a double room and expect half the quality. 2) Expect to pay nearly double for a comparable car and remember that distances are vast here so gasoline costs will choke a wallaby. 3) Yes, New Zealand food prices are ridiculously high but Oz can top ‘em. So, analyzing our long term budget we decided to cut our 3-month Oz experience to 3-weeks and focus on the one area that, to us IS Oz. Tropical Queensland.
Thanks to our Australian buddy Steve (who taught us how to make brick oven pizzas last month in New Zealand) we checked into Dreamtime Travelers. This turned out to be a terrific referral only ten minutes walk to the center of action in town as well as the ocean, mall and an incredible city pool right at the ocean complete with artificial beach area that is free.