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magistramarla
02-12-2011, 05:40 PM
Hi friends in Australia!
I have a few questions for you guys! Since my grandson dreams of going to college in Australia, my daughter has decided to take a family trip there in two years, when he's in eighth grade. We were thinking of going to Rome that year, but now we've decided to go to Australia with them.

Hillary wants to know - When would be the best time to go - winter break here (which is summer for you), spring break (march), or summer vacation (your winter)?
What are the must-see places that you recommend (besides Steve Irwin's zoo, which is David's must-see). I recorded Oprah's shows of her visit, and must send Hillary a copy. I was fascinated by the Great Barrier Reef and the huge sacred rock (forgot the name).

She also wants to know if it would be good to allow extra days to visit New Zealand, and what you recommend seeing there.

Are there less expensive motels, etc. that locals prefer to the expensive tourist traps? Any ideas that you folks can give us would be much appreciated.

David doesn't know it, but he will be able to afford to go to college just about anywhere that he wants. Hillary is an insurance executive and her hubby is a child psychologist, and they've been putting money into his college fund for years. Also, his biological father is a very proud man, and keeps up child support to the mothers of both of his sons. Since Hillary & Steve don't need that money at all, it goes directly to the college fund. Of course, David doesn't know this. As far as he knows, he will have to work very hard, get great grades and earn scholarships - LOL.

I'm looking forward to visiting Australia!!! Maybe some of us can meet up!
Thanks, everyone.
Hugs,
Marla

hating_that_pred
02-12-2011, 07:04 PM
Gday Marla,
Its brilliant that your coming down under to see Aussie land! Ayers rock (also known as Uluru) which is the huge rock your reffering to, which is located in the Northern Territory, which would be an awesome sight (havent been there myself) would be something special. You must visit Sydney and have a geez at the Sydney harbour bridge, Opera house and perhaps take a boat cruise around the harbour. Im not sure if your into sport, but I highly recommend you see Melbourne and have a look at an AFL match at the MCG (Melbourne cricket ground). Its one of the greatest sporting grounds in the world and has a 100,000 capacity. Plus not many Americans have seen AFL (Australian rules football). However that depends on what season you visit, AFL does not run through the Summer, either way see an event at the MCG whether its cricket season or Football season. Queensland has many fantastic theme parks, great beaches, The Great Barrier reef is known as one of the seven wonders of the world. All through Australlia theres alot of National parks where you can go and see wild life, such as the Kangaroo, Koala, and all aussie animals. Sovereign Hill in Victoria which is about an hour from Melbourne is a brilliant reconstructed gold mining town of the 1850's, which would be similiar to alot of the American Western towns of that period.

I dont know an awful lot, i'm only 19 and have lived in Melbourne Victoria my whole life, but theres some possible ideas.

kim,l
02-12-2011, 07:10 PM
hi marla the rock you where thinking of is called uluru or ayers rock the barrier reef is beautifuland you can take day trips out there we have the gold coast which has our theme parks and beautiful beaches melbourne has the theatres if you love shows western australia has wave rock that really looks like a rock we have the pinnicles there is the bungle bungles these are unusaual rock formations western australia also has monkey mia were you can get in water up close with dolphins we also have broome which is beautiful and you can ride camels on beach, adelaide is known as the city of churches and ifyou love wine we have some fantastic wineries cairns in queensland has kuranda rail and skyway where you can go up the mountains and see our waterfalls. sydney has our opera house and botanical gardens and our bridge we also have a beautiful harbour qld has our daintree rainforest which magnificent. i cannot tell you much about newzealand other than yes i think it would be worth a trip they have beautiful places , as far as cheap accomodation we have formula one hotels, budget hotel chain and best western, there is so many we also have cabin accomodation in most of our caravan parks i think october , november but you can ask everyone else and see what they think. i would love to get together with you in sydney hope this helps marla some of the others may have some more ideas for you hugs kim l

magistramarla
02-13-2011, 09:06 PM
Kim and HTP,
Thanks for the good ideas, mates! You've mentioned a few that weren't included in the Oprah show. I'll pass the info on to Hillary.

Kim - when we get to Sydney, Jeff and I are taking you and Stephen out to a nice dinner - I can't wait!
HTP - Are you in college yet? Do you have any info about Aussie colleges that David might like?

I'm open to any other suggestions and I hope to get to meet more of you in two years - Linda, Marilyn, or any of our other Aussie friends.
Hugs,
Marla

jmail
02-13-2011, 10:02 PM
My wife & I want to go there too Marla. When we do it, we're going to go do New Zealand also... might take a few weeks altogether.

Merrilyn OZ
02-13-2011, 11:23 PM
Hi Marla,
Thrilled you're coming "down under"
You to jmail you have the right idea you will need a few weeks and you'll want to be selective on what you want to see.
I've lived in NZ most of my life and toured most of it,so can certainly help you out there but first a couple of questions Marla, how long do you intend to spend on Vacation? and what sort of studies does your grandson want to do? This might give you some direction as to where you want to tour. As you've seen from other replies there is so much variety in Australia. Although Australia is one country its a 5hr flight from Brisbane to Perth with a lot of desert between the two coasts, to give you some idea Here in Australia you often travel long distances between points of interest in NZ its scenic the whole time and roads are not as long and straight as in Aus and travel can take longer. To give you some idea when we came for a visit to WA before we shifted over we toured down the coast from Perth to Albany (taking 3 days) at the bottom of WA. Being Kiwis we looked at the distance back to Perth (via the inland road)and thought thats going to take us all day plus, so left at 6am we were back in Perth for lunch.
Since being here we've been often asked by people wanting to visit NZ points to see on their say 10 day tour, our first question is always which Island? To which the answer is often both!! Really 10 days is Ok to do 1 Island unless you want to drive the whole time. From Sydney its a short flight to Auckland and you could visit say Rotorua with its thermal area in the middle of North island and the Bay of Islands to the north, can give you more ideas depending on your time frame.
Back to Aus. we'd love to see you in WA but think given that your grandson is looking at College here it will be the eastern states you'll visit. Mind you by the time you come I could well be on the Gold Coast and saying come see the Theme Parks. Our son has just taken his children over for a week - spent every day at different Parks and had a ball with their cousins.
look forward to continued discussions on your visit
Merrilyn

kim,l
02-14-2011, 06:18 PM
hi marla thanks would love to see you when you come to australia hugs kim l

magistramarla
02-14-2011, 08:42 PM
Thanks for the reply, Merrilyn.
I'm going to pass all of this info on to my daughter. I'm sure that how long we can stay will depend on when we go - as in summer vacation vs. spring break - and how long Hillary, Steve and Jeff can be away from work. I'm not working, so I'm along for the ride!
David dreams of being the next Steve Irwin. He wants to combine his love of animals with his love of acting. He would also dearly love to work at The Australia Zoo as a college job. (I think that he also has a bit of a crush on Bindi Irwin!) He's only 11, but he's working as a junior ranch hand right now. He's mucking stalls, feeding horses, repairing fences and helping to treat sick horses in return for learning how to train them. He's planning to show a horse at a county fair in April.
Quantus airline has a neat package from the US right now. When you buy your round-trip ticket, you can take as many hops as you want in Australia for $59 each flight. I sure hope that they are still offering that deal in two years!
I'll keep you informed about our planning.
Hugs,
Marla