Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Down Under Bucket List
As a lifelong traveler, I have always seeked out adventure, thrill, great food, fun people, and a clear mind. So, when my sister approached me with the idea of finalizing our lifelong goal of seeing all 7 continents, I only had had three words to respond with – Let’s Do It!
Our travels of the past have not been smooth sailing. To name a few things: I have had a tough time obtaining visas, I have been hospitalized in Nepal, kicked out of Canada, and have almost came face to face with a bear in Russia. This time was going to be different. This time things were going to run smoothly.
I started out taking my sister Jenna’s advice to obtain my Australian visa in advance. She recommended a website called EasyETA.com to get our Australian Visa, which is known more commonly as an Electronic Travel Authority (or ETA). The site was very helpful, their information clear, and their process simple. I went online, obtained my visa and, within a couple of hours got the approval I was hoping for.
A quick note: Your citizenship/nationality needs to be from one of EasyETA’s listed eligible ETA countries. If you are on that list, then an ETA is a lot easier than going through an embassy or the government itself. Also, to find out more information about what an ETA is and the details regarding how the visa works, please visit this page for general Australian Visa Information.
Anyway, everything was off to such a smooth start that I felt better about this trip down under already. My next concern was shots. However, both the Center for Disease Control and EasyETA confirmed to me that I do not need shots for Australia. Wow, easy!
My last concern was the flight. I’ve always heard it takes 17 hours or so to get down to Australia from Los Angeles. Wrong! I was delighted to see that my Qantas flight was just going to take 14 hours. Sweet! If you are ever in the air on a transcontinental flight of over 10 hours, consider knocking yourself out with a sleeping pill. I literally woke up in Sydney rested, relieved, and excited, putting aside the rumors that a flight that long would be a disaster.
Once in Australia, the people, food, and weather all made my voyage well worth it. I stayed right in the downtown area of Darling Harbor in Sydney. If you haven’t been to Australia before, be sure to check out downtown Sydney. The setting was rich with flavor, the people were delightful, and the place was reasonably priced considering it’s a major metropolis.
I will spare you the details of my trip but, I’ll tell you that from start to finish, nearly everything on this last voyage went smoother than I could have ever imagined. Be sure that when and if you consider travelling down to Australia, you plan for hurricane season. I was lucky on this trip as Cyclones are quite common in Queensland during the summer months. So, do your homework, and be sure that when you are travelling is a suitable time to be there.
The visa I obtained lasted for 90 days, and after such an enjoyable time taking an East coast road trip up to Cairnes, I nearly stayed for the entire allowed stretch of time.
I hope this message finds you, the reader, in an inspirational mood. If it does, please do yourself a favor and see for yourself what an amazing place Australia is. From the jungles of Fraser Island to the beautiful, crystal clear waters of Cairnes, to the magnificent 12 apostles in New South Wales, you won’t regret the long flight or the commitment of going across the ocean to visit.