Tour Review: G Adventures, Australia in Style

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This 21 day trip started in Sydney, travelled up the east coast to Byron Bay, Whitsunday Islands, Cairns, and Port Douglas, then moved on to the Outback traveling through Alice Springs, Uluru, Coober Pedy, Port Augusta, Adelaide, Grampians National Park, Warrnambool, and Melbourne. That’s a whole lot to see in three weeks, but it’s a perfect introduction to Australia, and I felt like I got the most out of my experience.

I thought this trip was fantastic. It included quite a few fun activities like surfing lessons, yachting, and hiking through national parks, and there were a few really great optional activities like snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef and star gazing in the Outback. I highly recommend all these activities. We also got to see koalas, kangaroos, and emus.

Activity level: although this trip has a physical grading of 2, some days were much more like a 3 (hiking, snorkeling, surfing, sailing) – so keep that in mind – I loved it, but if you don’t want a lot of activity, this may not be the trip for you.

Trip Specifics: Our CEO, Nick, was great. He was knowledgeable, down to earth, fun, organized, and helpful. The hotels were fantastic, especially on the east coast portion. There were more motels in the Outback portion, but that’s to be expected, as the areas are less populated. There were also many included meals that were quite good. This is a “comfort” level trip and you really do feel the added cushiness compared to the “standard” level tours.

There were only 6 of us on the east coast portion and 8 in the Outback. Most travelers were in there 20s and 30s and were from Canada, US, England, and Ireland. It was a really great group that got along well.

My only complaint is that there was too much driving time in the Outback. Driving is really the only way it’s possible to go to all the places we visited, but it was a lot. If I could design my own trip, I would have flown from Uluru to Adelaide and skipped the odd opal mining town of
Coober Pedy – sure, it was interesting in a “been there, done that” sort of way, but for me, it wasn’t worth the drive to get there. The Outback is exactly as you would imagine – vast semi-arid brush, simple roadhouses and motels, but well worth seeing – I just could have spent a little less time checking it out 🙂

Overall, this was an amazing trip. I absolutely loved Australia and the scenery changed so much from region to region, that you really do have to spend a significant amount of time there to see it all. From the big cities of Sydney and Melbourne, to the laid back beach town of Byron Bay, to the breathtaking views in the Red Center, the wine country in Claire Valley, and the unbelievable Great Ocean Road – this is a scenic trip like no other!


Everything in Australia will Kill You!

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Somewhere along the the way, I learned that everything in Australia is venomous and will lead to your painful death and/or dismemberment. This goes beyond the obvious snake or spider – or even a deadly shark or crocodile – it also includes pretty shell fish, trees, leaves…perhaps even tour managers and killer strawberries. Still, this country is pretty amazing and well worth visiting (cautiously)!

Uluru and the Red Center

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We drove through the Outback for several days. Although some of it was a bit monotonous, it was a cool experience, and Uluru and the Red Center were absolutely beautiful. I think winter was a good season to visit this region. It was warm in the day and a little chilly at night. There were also less flies and other insects than you would find in the summer.

Also, the night sky was clear, with stars to the horizon. I attended an astronomy lecture in the Outback and even got to view Saturn through a telescope. Amazing!

Breaking the Barrier

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I consider myself a fair swimmer. I was swimming before I was walking. As a child, I spent my summers at the pool, on the swim team, and in the ocean. Now, I don’t swim like I used to, but even as recently as last month, I was snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming laps in the Thai Islands. In short, I am no stranger to the water. I’m telling you this so you understand my perspective when I describe the Great Barrier Reef.

It was one of those experience where, if I had known what I was getting myself into, I may not have signed up for it – well, no I wouldn’t go that far, I really wanted to experience this, and I’m so glad I did. Perhaps swarms of box jellyfish, deadly shark attacks or cyclones would have stopped me from swimming the Great Barrier Reef, but those weren’t the conditions of the day. So, off we went for what I thought was going to be a leisurely ride on the ocean and some fun in the sun snorkeling – I mean, that’s what all my other snorkeling trips were like.

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From a Land Down Under

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This has been a wonderful trip up the east coast of Australia. We started in Sydney, then traveled north to Byron Bay, the Whitsunday Islands, Cairns, and finally, Port Douglas. It was a lot to see in just 10 days, but I feel like I got a good taste of Australia’s east coast.

Even though it’s winter and we had a few rainy, cold days, we’ve really lucked out with the weather. Upon arrival in Sydney, the rain cleared just long enough for us to sail on an America’s Cup yacht in the harbor (although it was very cold!). On the yacht, we received some instruction on sailing, worked hard to put the sails up, and even got to steer for a bit!

The worst of the weather was, fortunately, on our travel days and it was nice and sunny just in time for our surfing lessons in Byron Bay.

Taking surfing lessons was awesome! Although, I probably won’t try it again. It’s not like kayaking or paddle boarding, where you just need to carry the board to the water. Surfing was a constant struggle to get myself and the board back out for the next wave. I did manage to learn how to stand up and ride a few baby waves though! It was so much fun!

The weather warmed quite a bit as we migrated to the Whitsundays. It was so beautiful, I could have vacationed there for a week. We hopped on another, smaller sailboat and enjoyed being in the sun. I even saw my first wallaby there!

After a brief stop in Cairns (ahem, pronounced cans), we moved on to Port Douglas where we learned to spear fish crabs and sift through the muddy mangroves for clams. It was actually a very peaceful experience: wandering with purpose through the shallow ocean waters and maneuvering through mud and mangrove roots in the forest. I’m just thankful we didn’t encounter any angry crocodiles!

Finally, we journeyed out to the Great Barrier Reef for a swim, but that experience deserves it’s own entry…

~ LiAnn