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Australia & Hong Kong
31 January – 29 February 2004


Distance: 3500 + 800 km excl. KI (26 days)

Day Itinerary Accommodation (Personal Rating: 1 “very good” to 5 “poor”)
1 14:00 Flight to Hong Kong Cathay Pacific
2 08:00 Arrival in Hong Kong The Salisbury YMCA, Kowloon (3)
3 19:00 Flight to Sydney Cathay Pacific
4 07:10 Arrival in Sydney Southern Cross Hotel, Sydney (3)
5 Sydney Southern Cross Hotel, Sydney (3)
6 Sydney Southern Cross Hotel, Sydney (3)
7 Sydney to Katoomba (Blue Mountains) Blackheath Motor Inn, Blackheath (2)
8 Katoomba to Kiama/Gerrigong Seascape Manor Motel, Gerrigong (4)
9 Kiama/Gerrigong to Batemans Bay Bayside Motel, Batemans Bay (3)
10 Batemans Bay to Lakes Entrance (90-Mile Beach) Best Western Coastal Waters Motor Inn, Lakes Entrance (1)
11 Lakes Entrance to Foster Wilsons Promontory Motel, Foster (5)
12 Foster (Wilsons Promontory) to Cowes The Coachhorse Motel, Cowes (2)
13 Cowes (Phillip Island) to Melbourne Charnwood Motor Inn, St.Kilda (3)
14 Melbourne to Apollo Bay Coastal Motel, Apollo Bay (1)
15 Apollo Bay (Great Ocean Road) to Warrnambool City Heart Motel, Warrnambool (3)
16 Warrnambool to Halls Gap Awonga Holiday Cottages, Halls Gap (1)
17 Grampians Awonga Holiday Cottages, Halls Gap (1)
18 Halls Gap to Victor Harbor (Fleurieu Peninsula) Comfort Inn Colonial, Victor Harbor (3)
19 Fleurieu Peninsula Comfort Inn Colonial, Victor Harbor (3)
20 Victor Harbor to Adelaide YHA Adelaide Central (3)
21 Adelaide to Kangaroo Island Flinders Chase Farm, Kangaroo Island (5)
22 Kangaroo Island to Adelaide YHA Adelaide Central (3)
23 11:00-15:30 Flight Adelaide – Cairns Golden Sands Resort, Yorkeys Knob (1)
24 Cape Tribulation Golden Sands Resort, Yorkeys Knob (1)
25 Great Barrier Reef Golden Sands Resort, Yorkeys Knob (1)
26 Atherton Tablelands Golden Sands Resort, Yorkeys Knob (1)
27 Kuranda Golden Sands Resort, Yorkeys Knob (1)
28 Cairns Golden Sands Resort, Yorkeys Knob (1)
29 15:30-20:35 Flight Cairns – Hong Kong Cathay Pacific
30 23:55-05:50 Flight Hong Kong – Frankfurt Cathay Pacific


Before making flight reservations five months in advance we requested quotations from several German travel agencies. We received a complete quotation from Boomerang Reisen within one day. They were recommended to us by other travellers. Kangaroo Tours replied after 2 weeks with an interesting offer, but by then we had already booked. Only Qantas and Cathay Pacific offered the connections we wanted with open jaw Sydney/Cairns and a domestic flight. To compare prices for the open jaw flight we also send a request to Travel Overland. Eventually we booked with Explorer Fernreisen who made the most interesting offer including hotel accommodation in Sydney and a package tour to Kangaroo Island.

We didn't make any hotel reservations in advance apart from the three nights in Sydney, one night in the Blue Mountains, the hostel in Adelaide and the final week in Cairns. The last three we booked via the internet. We first tried to book a bed&breakfast place in Cairns as it would have been more personal. Galvins B&B seemed nice but they were already partly booked at the time of our stay when we contacted them at the end of November.

Motels don't usually serve breakfast but the rooms are almost always equipped with a fridge, toaster and coffee and tea making facilities. For lunch we usually stopped at a café or small shop for some sandwiches. In the evening we often went for so-called counter meals at a café or (hotel) pub. Tips are not required, not even in regular restaurants.

Most motels were able to provide adaptors for European plugs so we didn't have to buy any.

Public toilets can be found nearly everywhere and they are free of charge.

Australia sometimes seems like a mixture of Britain and America: American informality, architecture and roads, but British traditions like drinking afternoon tea, shops closing early, driving on the left and playing cricket.

Small shops close as early as 5 p.m. but supermarkets are open 7 days a week and until late in the evening, usually 8 or 9 p.m.

The people we met were always very open and enjoyed a friendly chat.

At the time of our visit the exchange rate was 1 Australian Dollar to 0.62 Euro. Petrol was fairly cheap, ranging from $0.86 to $1.05 per litre.

For a guide book we relied on "Reise Know-How Australien" which is quite detailed. "Lonely Planet" was also recommended to us.

As soon as you get off the beaten tourist paths, you can enjoy lovely walks where you hardly meet a soul.

The sea was mostly too cold for a swim. It was lovely at Hymans Beach in NSW. In Queensland it's dangerous to swim outside of the stinger enclosures during the Australian summer months, unless you go snorkelling on the reef.

The rainforest in Queensland was impressive. It was the first time that I was in the tropics. But it didn't really feel like the real Australia or what you usually imagine Australia to be, which would rather be vast arid landscapes and Ayers Rock!

It seemed strange that we saw more exotic birds (galahs, kookaburras, lorikeets, cockatoos, lyre birds) as well as pelicans and swans in the south compared to just brush turkeys and scrub fowl in the north. In the north we saw more spiders instead!

The most dangerous and venomous creatures in the world can be found in Australia, on land or at sea: from sharks, crocodiles and snakes to redback and funnelweb spiders, stone fish, blue-ringed octopus and the box jellyfish. So it's good to be careful, but I believe most visitors have returned home safely and the Australian civilization is not yet in danger of extinction!

Australians love to cut things short, here are a few examples: brekki (breakfast), barbie (barbecue), saltie (saltwater crocodile), freshie (freshwater crocodile), Aussie (Australia or Australian), bikkie (biscuit), bushie (bush dweller), chewie (chewing gum), comfy (comfortable) and so on. While there's a lot of Australian slang, it's not too hard to get used to and once you know that the great Australian Salute doesn't mean 'hello' (it's just a gesture of waving one's hand in front of one's face to ward off overly persistent flies) things should be running smoothly. Luckily we didn't see too many of those awful flies!

A good book to read is "Down Under" by Bill Bryson, an often hilarious account of his travels on the red continent.


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