Oz in '08 -- Beth and John Lucas Tour Australia
All pictures, unless otherwise noted, are copyright 2008 by John A. and Elizabeth B. Lucas. All rights reserved.
Introduction Sydney Canberra Melbourne Western Victoria Queensland Uluru-Kata Tjuta Notes on the Photos GBCC
This all started in 2005 or perhaps as early as 2001. In that tragedy-marked year of 2001, John cofounded the Global British Comedy Collaborative (GBCC
) with three other people from the UK, Australia and the US. The group grew as fellow hobbyists of recorded radio broadcasts joined us. In 2005, Beth and John spent four weeks visiting the UK and six of our internet friends there. When we published our travelogue of that adventure, our Australian and New
Zealand internet friends wanted to know when we would visit them. The answer was, "Oz in '08" and this trip was the result, visiting five hobbyist friends and one colleague from work as well as doing many of the standard touristy activities.
How We Did It
We booked our air travel with QANTAS through their US telephone service center. Almost everything else was booked in advance through the internet. Our local contacts offered advice and in some cases their homes as places to stay. Local contacts are indispensible if one isn't going to use a travel expert. We spent months planning this, borrowing travel guides from the town libraries in our area and exchanging many emails with our friends.
You'll probably want to have a good map of Australia handy as you follow this re-creation of our journey. We visited New South Wales (Sydney and environs), the Australian Capital Territory (ACT, Canberra and environs), Victoria (Melbourne and other locations), Queensland (offshore islands and Maryborough and environs), and the Northern Territory (Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Yulara Township).
Throughout the following pages, we've included links to Wikipedia articles and other sources of information.
Transportation we used:
American Airlines jets (Boston to Los Angeles and San Francisco to Boston)
QANTAS, QANTASLink and JetStar jets and turboprop (Los Angeles to Sydney, Melbourne to Brisbane, Brisbane to Gladstone (turboprop), Hervey Bay to Sydney, Sydney to Yulara, Yulara to Sydney, Sydney to San Francisco)
- Helicopter (Gladstone to Heron Island)
- Light plane (Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park)
- Steam Trains (Puffing Billy and the Mary Valley Rattler)
- Electric Trains (Melbourne and Sydney)
- High speed catamaran (Heron Island to Gladstone)
- Semi-submersible (Heron Island)
- River and harbour tour boats (Melbourne and Sydney)
- Ferry boats (Sydney and to/from Hervey Bay and Fraser Island)
|Sydney Ferry, Neutral Bay (photo courtesy of Richard Phillips)|
- Rental cars (Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne, Gladstone-Maryborough-Hervey Bay), taxis (Sydney) and cars of our hosts
- Buses (to/from Phillip Island, four-wheel drive on Fraser Island, and in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park) and shuttle vans (Boston, Sydney and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park).
We also walked a fair amount though no long distance hiking! We did NOT use camels at Uluru, though the opportunity certainly was there!
Saturday, 31 May 2008 to Monday, 02 June 2008
Boston, Massachusetts to Sydney, NSW
It's 5-6 hours from the East Coast to the West Coast of the US, a layover for several hours, and then a 13-14 hour flight from the West Coast to Sydney. You lose a day crossing the International Date Line, so Sunday the first of June never happened for us. It was warm and very humid in Sydney when we arrived, despite it being winter there. After clearing the various governmental hurdles at the airport and taking a taxi into the city, we checked into our hotel, took showers and changed our clothes. Though desparately
tired, it was only lunchtime and the only way to synchronize our bodies with the local time was get out and stay up as long as we could.
Our first hotel was in The Rocks, the oldest part of Sydney, in the shadow of the iconic Harbour Bridge. We walked up and down George Street, one of the major shopping streets in the Sydney Central Business District. After lunch, the first task was to acquire Akubra hats -- we knew we'd need them in Queensland and at Uluru-Kata Tjuta if nowhere else. They'll figure prominently in some of the pictures of us.
Tuesday, 03 June 2008 to Friday, 06 June 2008
It rained and misted almost the entire time we were in Sydney
in this first of three
separate visits to this city. At times you could barely see the top of the Harbour Bridge and the AMP Tower, though there were people climbing the bridge arch in wind and rain. We cancelled a day trip to the Zig Zag Railroad
in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, figuring that it would be waste to take such a trip only to be in the clouds.
We DID do the following:
- Walk in the Royal Botanical Gardens even though we got drenched
- Tour the Australian Museum (natural history) and The Rocks Discovery Museum
- Tour the Opera House (and other parts of the performance center)
- Meet Richard Phillips (our first local contact) and tour the NSW Railway History Museum with him
- Take a ferry boat ride from Mosman Bay back to Circular Quay
- Attend a symphony concert (Mozart "Jupiter and Strauss Alpine Symphonies) in the Concert Hall
Details and pictures (from all three visits) begin on the next page