Subject: Re: Visit to Australia and New Zealand

What a wonderful prospect, to be planning a trip to Australia & NZ, says Gail, just back in the US 24 hours & already dreaming of her next trip to Oz.

If you had 2 months, I'd be tempted to say working out a plan with resident agencies downunder could be a good choice. Also, if you're pretty computer savvy & can have a good idea of what you want to see & do, this option would work well & might save some money. But for the amount of ground you'll be covering in your holiday time, I'd recommend you have a set itinerary organized with a local company in the US. You don't want to doodle around with lost days or timing blunders. No matter which way you decide to proceed, the Australian Tourist Commission site is a great place to start looking around for ideas. For sidesplitting but loving look at Oz, read Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Land. Bone up on soccer, footy, rugby & cricket, as the season for these sports begins around March 1. Sports are a wonderful part of Australian culture.

The site for NZ is & I offer the same caveat. Time will be important! Has Discovery Channel US been running the special on NZ hosted by the Prime Minister? It's a dandy; catch it if you can.

Any way you can stretch your time just a bit? Besides the most familiar mustsees (Sydney's glorious harbor, including the Opera House; Melbourne's charm; Adelaide's step into yesterday; Cairns & Great Barrier Reef; the sizzling Red Centre; Tasmania's wild history & scenery; NZ North Island's incredible geology & Maori culture; & South Island's delightful cities & vistas; train travel in either country), there's just so much more! In 2.5 weeks you'll just find out where you want to visit on your next trip. Trust me. And I haven't even mentioned WA, Perth & all, or the northern Australian coast, from Broome to Darwin, or glacier country & Milford Sound in NZ. Or wine country exploring or beaches or islands or birding or just goes on & on.

Organized itineraries often offer overnight farm stays in either Oz or NZ. These are very cool, or hot, depending on the season. Oz & NZ airfares are the highest in December & January, so you might want to strategize your planning.

Happy planning!

Gail Back in Eugene. Sob.