Subject: An Australian Odyssey
Hi Ziners, We have just returned from a wonderful 28 day holiday to Australia. What an incredible part of the world! If it wasn't so far away we would return often. The first 3 weeks we were part of a group tour and the last week we went off on our own to Tasmania, where we hired a car and explored. The Tour ( with a UK based company called Travelsphere----no affiliation etc-------who we can highly recommend) was air/coach based. We started off flying from London Heathrow via Singapore to Perth, Western Australia and finished off 3 weeks later in Melbourne. Our itinerary was Perth 4 nights, Uluru ( Ayres Rock) 1 night, Alice Springs 2 Nights, Cairns 4 nights, Sydney 3 nights, Canberra 1 night, Albury 1 night and melbourne 3 nights. So you can see it was a pretty comprehensive tour .Then our final 6 nights In Tassie. We have been asked since our return what was the highlight of the tour and I have found that an almost impossible question to answer, suffice it to say we just loved Tassie! Ayres Rock is magical and does have that special feeling----we did the sunset and sunrise thing and although surrounded by dozens of other tourists it did feel other-worldly. Of the two major cities we visited ( Sydney and Melbourne) I did prefer Sydney------though maybe that is because I come from Glasgow and they say Sydney is like Glasgow and Melbourne like Edinburgh Apologies to Perth in not awarding it Major city status! It is a lovely City and seems more compact than the others. What struck us most was the entirely alien ( to us) flora and fauna. Our first morning in Perth we were taken on a city tour and one of the places we visited was Kingspark which is a lovely park overlooking the city and that was when it was brought home to us we were in another hemisphere and continent when looking around none of the plants and trees were at all familiar-------cockatoos of brilliant hues flying from tree to tree-------my goodness Australian birds are very vocal !!!!! The trip was one of such great contrasts ------ red deserts,tropical rainforests, high mountain snow covered peaks------we saw it all! Things I would recommend to do? Perth------take the local train out to a charmimg suburb called Cottesloe, Go to the Aquarium in Freemantle and come back to Perth by boat up the Swan river. Alice Springs-------visit the Flying Doctor service and School of the Air, Go to the McDonnell mountain range. Cairns--------take the Skyrail gondola ride over the top of the rain forest, go on the Deightree river cruise and see wild life ( crocs) in their natural setting. Sydney-----------go to the Blue mountains, go to the Featherdale Wild life park. Go to the Queen Victoria Buildings, pop your head into the foyer of the State Theatre-----amazing! Canberra---------go to the war memorial and Museum. Melbourne---------take the local train out to Canterbury and have lunch---charming suburb. Go to Ballarat Gold mining township--- great fun. Have a wonderful Italian dinner on Lygon St Tasmania---------walk around Launceston, walk round Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain, Stay a night at the Franklin Manor in Strahan, Go to Port Arthur, have a seafood meal on the docks in Hobart. Hope I have not bored you all? Get to Oz, I just wish we could get back again soon, but the journey is long from the UK :-(

Regards, Elma, Glasgow, Scotland, UK