Saturday, February 05, 2005

Cheap Flights to Australia

Cheap Flights to Australia

Alas, summer is almost ending and the fares seem to be going up. There are some cheap deals out there that will disappear on Feb 10- a $757 special on Qantas. And then up up and away until probably last minute March specials and last minute May specials.

Is it just me or is United going crazy? Sure I'll take the free blackberry with my purchase of a ticket $250 or more. It's an $800 gadget. But I don't want an electronic leash so that's just me. I wonder if my Mileage Plus miles will be worth anything in a year.

So I just came back from Syd and Queensland. Ahhh, summer in Sydney. Beautiful nights of strolling on the harbour, dining on the unique Australasian cuisine... mmmm Lots of John Dory and Barrumundi and local wine for me. I did find a cool place in The Rocks called Phillip's Foot. You walk up to the counter and pick out a slab of raw meat ($25) and then you grill it yourself on one of the large community grills in the restaurant. Then there's a fabulous fixins' bar with salads, garlic spread, BBQ sauce, fruit and a bread bar. It's fun in a group- but don't arrive starving. You do need to wait for the steaks to cook!

Have you made your way to Hamilton Island yet? You arrive on Jetstar but when you get there, you feel like Mr. Rork is going to greet you in person. It's truly Fantasy Island. One of the best things to do on the island- anything involving the water! There are several pools, a marina, snorling adventures, scuba, but the best of the best.... Tour the Great Barrier Reef by seaplane! It's worth more than it costs and teh memories of such beauty and grandeur, ahhhh, will never fade like that $200 dress. I had never really considered a helicopter or plane tour before this trip, but it has to be the best thing I have ever done on vacation. It even surpassed two days of diving on the Reef. I highly recommend!

Best of luck. I'm off.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3:28 PM  
Blogger Egmontgirl said...

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3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do Expedia and Travelocity have the best fares?

-Don Juan

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We went to Australia and had a wonderful time. It is such an interesting and fun place. We chose it for the animals (we love wildlife and they have such weird animals) and for the Great Barrier Reef so we could dive and snorkel.

Australians have a much more relaxed attitude to all the deadly animals found in their country. In Chicago we have guns and automobiles that will kill you, but in Australia it’s the animals. We heard some really gruesome stories of people being eaten, attacked, maimed, wounded, etc., All usually told with a pretty straight face and with the follow-up “no worries mate”. We found this very interesting as we really don’t have much wildlife in Chicago (pigeons). The pigeons attack very rarely.

I think our guide up in the CoBourg Peninsula put it best when he said, “If you get killed here, it’s usually because you were doing something stupid.” Taking this to heart, we were on our best behavior and minded all the rules as we traveled and stuck close to our more seasoned and knowledgeable guides.

Lizard Island

We started our honeymoon on an island in the Great Barrier Reef - Lizard Island. You have to take a tiny plane to get there and it only has 40 cabins. We dove and snorkeled here.

It is beautiful and there is so much life right off the beach in the water it is amazing. We saw star fish, giant groper, sharks, giant clams, all right off the beach.


We hired a naturalist to take us out into the rain forest and grasslands of the tablelands. It was great. We saw so many animals in the wild: platypus, kangaroos, wallaby, pademelons, sugar gliders, possum, and more!

Our guide was a lot of fun. At first I was worried about the two of us spending two days with a stranger (just the three of us). But he kept us entertained with all his stories of other tours, people, politics in Australia, the environment, etc., It was very educational.

This World Heritage rainforest views were amazing.

This platypus= we wanted to see one of these strange animals covered with fur, with a duck bill, that lays eggs. The males are very aggressive and will kill other males. We spent about an hour waiting for these little creatures to show up and trying to keep quiet while they fed in the river. Any little noise makes them disappear.


We spent a week in the resort town called Port Douglas. It's a small town with one main street and lots of hotels and eateries. We stayed at a quiet hotel (adults only) of about 30 rooms with a nice pool. We had an awesome view of the beach from our balcony. It was a nice spot to chill. We mostly shopped, hung at the pool, and went on walks. Very relaxing.

We did rent a "car" for a day (more like a golf cart) to go to the Daintree. We took a river tour to see all the crocodiles. They are huge and just hang out along the shore.

Of all the places we stayed, Port Douglas was our least favorite. It was sorta touristy and family orientated. I was glad with our hotel, but the town over all is over run by families. Not a bad thing, just for a honeymoon we enjoyed our other locations more.


Flying up to Darwin was next. We were just supposed to spend one night here (so we thought!) as a stop over to Seven Spirit Bay in the Australian Bush.

Darwin is an interesting city. Lots of young college aged backpackers roaming about the streets from all over the world. It has the vibe of a young city (since it kept getting destroyed by hurricanes this is probably why). The Harbor was nice and we enjoyed going to some historical buildings and shopping. It turned out they have an outdoor theater (so much smaller than Grant Park in Chicago!) and we went to see the documentary "Capturing the Friedmans". It was fun to be outside in Australia watching the American documentary. It was a creepy movie.

Anyway, after our stay at Seven Spirit Bay we are supposed to fly back to Sydney. Our tickets were for 1:30 - BUT Australia is on military time so it was actually 1:30 AM. Their plane tickets do not say AM or PM. I think this is an easy solution to clear up this problem....So we missed our flight to Sydney...It seems planes only fly in the middle of the night to Sydney. Of Course- that makes no sense to us, but what do we know??

So we had to buy 2 new plane tickets - also for 1:30 in the morning. The agents told us not to worry though, for this confusion happens every day. Every day?!! You think they may want to implement my AM and PM solution - (see above).

So we have no hotel and the ONLY room available in Darwin is a Youth Hostel that the booking agent kept saying was "lovely". I have never stayed at a Youth Hostel, but I had my doubts about it being "lovely." We were taken to the Cavenagh. We had 6 other roommates and bunk beds. I took the bottom bunk, my husband the top one. Not exactly ideal honeymoon accomodations, but we made it safely back to Sydney in the end.


From Darwin we took a TINY plany (so small the pilot has to climb into the plane through the window!?!!) to the CoBourg Peninsula. This is a place where you are only allowed in with permission from the people who have access to the land. It is remote beyond remote.

We land on a tiny dirt road and are taken to the lodge in a dusty 4-wheel drive. You stay in cabins - ours had a gorgeous view of the Coral Bay and sunsets were BEAUTIFUL. The bathroom is outdoors which is fine during the day, but at night I was a littel freaked by the bugs. Did I mention Australia has giant grasshoppersm walking sticks and things with wings?

We took boat trips on the ocean swam in the pool, and went hiking in the bush. You cannot swim in the water because there are sharks and crocs everywhere. One of the guides had gone diving, but he had to carry a spear with him to kill anything that tried to eat him. When you arrive they tell you to stay about 6 feet away from the water at all times - we were very good about following this rule.

I called Seven Spirit Bay "glorified camping". You are in the middle of no where and there are all these crazy animal sounds and animals roaming about. We saw monitor lizards, wallaby, turkeys, buffalo, dingo, (a dingo eating a buffalo) , etc.,

A very remote and beautiful place.


We started and ended our trip in Sydney. Sydney reminded us of San Francisco (hope no one is offended by that). We have a tendency to compare new things with what we already know and we love San Francisco. It was cool at night but when the sun came out in the morning it warmed up to 70 and the sun was intense! You HAD to wear sunscreen even though it was winter. You could walk everywhere and it has the lovely bridge that we walked across twice.

We went to the Tarongo Zoo. This was such fun as we got to see koala, giraffe, red pandas, pygmy hippos, leopards, all with the city skyline as the backdrop. The animals were all very active as well and not hidden so we had great views. We took the skyrail to the top of the zoo and walked back down. It was a wonderful way to spend our day.

We stayed at the Sydney Harbour Bed and Breakfast in the Rocks. This is a great area and a very nice B and B. Jeff and Bridget –the hosts- went out of their way to make sure we had a nice stay. We ate at the Fish on the Rocks one night and it was delicious. The Rocks has lovely eateries, art galleries and pubs. You can walk to everything from this area.

-Amanda_Bride1 from

5:58 PM  

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