Subject: Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania
G'day Ziners,

Excuse my attempt at practicing my Australian but I'm thrilled to announce that Sara and I have committed to our first trip Down Under to take place in November and December of this year.

After some very determined spending on my United Mileage Plus Visa I finally hit the required 60000 miles needed to make the trip to Australia. Then, after two days and three phone calls to the Mileage Plus Awards center I ran across the extremely helpful Constance who managed to find me flights on Air New Zealand. And then yesterday my local travel agent was able to find a reasonable fare for Sara while matching all my flights. One last step of linking the flights with at least one of the hotels offered in the United Vacations plan will bring the flight cost down even further.

Our tentative itinerary for our three week trip looks like this:

Fly into New Zealand and take a five day stopover in Auckland. Keeping it simple we'll probably just explore Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula. Fly NZ to Melbourne for a two-day stay. Three days to drive between Melbourne and Adelaide (taking the Great Ocean Road), Two days in Adelaide. Three to four days on Kangaroo Island. Travel from Kangaroo Island to Tasmania and then four days in Tasmania. Return to Melbourne for one night before flying home.

As you can see we are focusing on specific areas. I realize that we are skipping Sydney and much more. Those will be seen on future trips. Please keep that in mind when critiquing the itinerary. I'll have plenty of questions as the planning unfolds but my first has to do with the drive between Melbourne and Adelaide. According to my calculations it is between 400 and 500 miles (700+ kilometers) and not all of it is the Great Ocean Road. I enjoy driving but I'm curious as to allowing three days for this drive; is that ample enough time?

Thanks for all your upcoming suggestions.

John in San Diego