Sunday, May 5, 2013

Outlining Oz

Though it's just about a year off, I'm squaring away the plans for my Australian journey. This will help me prep and pounce on any airline/camper rental deals I spot in the meantime. Here's a general overview:

I fly into Perth, Western Australia, on the far west coast of the country.
From there, I'll drive north to Shark Bay, where I can see stromatolites and swim with dolphins.
Unavoidably, I'll have to head back south to Perth in order to trace the coast eastward to Adelaide, and then on to Melbourne.
I'll spend several days in Melbourne before swinging up the coast to Sydney.
In Sydney, I'll walk along the harbor bridge and look at the opera house and probably eat ice cream before heading north again, passing through Brisbane on my way to the Great Barrier Reef.
You can actually camp on islands in the reef, which yes. Coming back to the mainland, I'll make my first major trek inland, crossing Queensland into the Northern Territory.
Once I'm in the Northern Territory, near Darwin, I'd love to make some detours back into Western Australia to see a crocodile sanctuary and a couple of national parks.
I'll return the rented camper in Darwin, where it turns out it's cheaper to get a domestic flight to Perth and complete the round trip from there to Boston, rather than fly home out of Darwin.

Put it all together, about 12,000 kilometers, and it looks something like this:

View Larger Map
My main accommodations will be camping, either in my tent or in the "van," which will probably be more like a Land Rover with sleeping acomodations, like this:

Roughly. HA! Because it's rough.
I'll be sticking mostly to parks, preserves, and wilderness areas, with the exception of longer stays in Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney. I hope to make friends with emus, wallabies, bandicoots, koalas, cassowaries, dugongs, kangaroos, and other absurdly named fauna. I'd like to snorkel in the coral and learn to surf. Also, vineyards, cheese places, Asian food, and identifying southern constellations. I hope to run into weird primitive plants in the tropical rain forests and run over some lizards in the desert.

As it is, the plan is a tight squeeze at 8 weeks, which is the most I can allow myself. I unfortunately can't fit in Tasmania or Uluru/Ayer's Rock, not to mention New Zealand, due to time. 

I'm internally debating whether I should adopt a philosophy of driving short distances, making short stays, and visiting a lot of places; or driving long distances, taking longer stays, and visiting fewer places. As it is, I have an enormous list. I suppose (with a few exceptions where I have to reserve camping spots or hotels ahead of time) I can decide once I'm there.