We are off…to see the wizard!!! 13 February 2007

I can hardly believe it – Patricia and I are leaving in 7 days (Tuesday 20 Feb) for 6 weeks in Australia! This will indeed be the trip of a lifetime. Thanks to Patricia’s months of planning, our trip has 4 parts, plus 5 days of Sydney sightseeing.

Part 1: Karen (my Newkirk sister-‘out’-law) is taking us and 9 others (including Marty – younger son, my nephew, age 23) from Adelaide into the Outback for 10 days. She has done *amazing* work on this portion, excited to have a great reason to go back to visit her and my brother Jim’s old friends and colleagues from the years they lived and worked in the Pitjantjatjara Lands. We will camp most nights, under the stars, often not far from an Aboriginal community, sleeping in swags.

Part 2: Jim and Irena are meeting us in Adelaide where we will start our 660 mile cycling tour of the Great Ocean Road – 11 days along a popular cycling route of mostly back roads and bike trails to Melbourne. (This part was Jim’s idea, and the inspiration for this trip.)

Part 3: Patricia and I are flying to the Whitsunday Islands of the Great Barrier Reef on the northeast coast of Australia where Anwar (Mart’s older brother, my nephew) lives and works. We will be there 4 nights, but will take a boat shuttle to spend 2 nights camping and snorkeling at Maureen’s Cove on Hook Island.

Part 4: We will then fly back to Melbourne and pick up a hire car and load up our bikes and stuff and head southeast down the coast. We’ll stop over at very popular and beautiful Wilson’s Promontory and hike 6 miles to camp at Sealer’s Cove for one night. We’ll then head northeast up the coast and decide whether to go overland, camping and hiking, through the Great Snowy Mountains (Australia’s Alps), or continue along the Great Ocean Road to Canberra and Sydney. Australia is once again this year plagued by large bush fires in the mountains, so we’ll make that decision then based on what is recommended.

In Sydney we will meet up with two friends – a couple I met hiking over the Tongariro Volcano in New Zealand last March, and the other a long-time friend of Lester’s and mine from work.

I am grinning from ear-to-ear as I write this!!

(THANKS! to Andrea, for updating my site here with a new map background and the beautiful, mysterious photo above of Uluru (Ayer’s Rock), which we will visit around March 4, and thanks also to my wonderful hubby, for cheerfully letting me go off again on a wild adventure.) 🙂