Subject: Re: Escape From Winter: Australia
I just returned from Australia on Wednesday from a budget trip.

Before booking a boomerang pass, check out Jet Star and Virgin Blue. We were able to book our flights for less that way. We were there off season so that was probably a contributing factor.

Consider staying in Youth Hostels. Cairns has about 40 of them. We stayed at Dreamtime Travelers Rest which was small, quiet, clean and convenient. We booked a twin room. Bathrooms and showers were communal but sparkling clean.

We took the Quicksilver trip. Again, we were there off- season so the boat wasn't crowded. We were not planning to snorkle so their semi-submergables gave us a good look at the reef. We were able to take the submergable trip three times. In high season, you probably wouldn't be so lucky. Snorklers might want to consider Ocean Spirit.

The Great Ocean Road, from Melbourne to Warnambool, is a great trip that you should consider.

While driving on the left is a little disconcerting at first, it's the roundabouts that can drive you crazy.

Fodor's message board has an excellent section on Australia with lots of humorous and valuable contributions from the locals.

Barbara in CT