In our initial Zicasso form, we mentioned that were interested in a 2-week honeymoon vacation in Australia. We were most interested in seeing the unique sites and animals of Australia, and we wanted an authentic experience and the less crowds the better. Two travel agents responded with great itineraries, but we felt that this agent had the best understanding of what we really wanted and he thought of accommodations and experiences we didn’t even know were possible. Our itinerary was very mobile; we stayed in 6 places throughout Queensland, Victoria, and Tasmania, which required some driving.
Before the trip, our agent was very responsive to our emails, and set up a video conference 3 weeks before we left and walked us through the entire thing. This was very helpful since we were traveling to many locations throughout in a country we’ve never been to. He also mentioned extra stops we could take when driving from one place to the next, like Granite Gorge where we were able to feed rock wallabies. It was great to have our agent's expertise on things like this, especially when it came to recommending the best hiking trails (he was always on point). I was worried that we would miss things since we often spent only 2 nights in a single location (except for Port Douglas), but we found that it was always just enough time to see the best parts of that location with the combined advice from our agent and the Australian locals.
Our trip was flexible enough that there was plenty of downtime if we wanted it, and there was enough to do that we were never bored. I’m not the kind of person who wants to sit at a hotel all day, so we were always out and about trying to get a feel for each location and learning about the best places to visit from the locals. Our time in Australia was dense with experiences and adventures, and I didn’t regret any of it.
By the way, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan traveling to Australia, you have nothing to worry about. My husband is a vegan and I’m a vegetarian. We found that even restaurants in the smallest rural towns always had a vegetarian/vegan option and it was always better than boring pasta or a dry veggie patty. They really love pumpkin in Australia so expect that to be in a lot of vegetarian dishes. Also, every vendor we had was able to accommodate a vegan/vegetarian diet.
There were so many enjoyable and memorable parts of our trip. I honestly don’t even know how to describe everything we did on this trip to my friends and family, let alone fit it all in this review. I’ll list a few highlights, but there were so many little things that happened in between and the friendliness of Australians that really made this trip beyond amazing.
Highlights: (1) Snorkeling in the great barrier reef on a small charter boat (~40 people). The boat was small enough that you didn’t feel overcrowded, the staff was extremely knowledgeable, and beautiful reefs (best I’ve ever seen). (2) Seeing march of the penguins on Phillip Island. We had a more personal ranger tour where we were seated with only a dozen people and got prime seats. We got to see 100s of small penguins come in from the ocean and waddle to their nests. (3) Tasman Island cruise (in Tasmania). Was a small boat ride to Tasman Island and along the mainland sea cliffs. It was through this cruise that we saw humpback whales breaching the surface for 45-60 minutes. We could almost reach out and touch these whales. This was a truly rare and amazing experience and I still can’t believe we were so lucky to see it.
We would have avoided taking group transportation services in Melbourne. This was the only location we didn’t have a car, so we were put on a transportation service (Blue Bird) from the airport to the hotel. These group transport services are not as seamless as they are in the U.S. They are unorganized and unapologetically time consuming ordeals. I would never take group transportation in Australia again. It’s worth it to pay a slightly higher price for a taxi.
We would have also brought a GPS device to Australia. We were in a lot of rural areas during our trip and the data and cellular coverage was non-existent in these places. I found myself using good old-fashioned maps the entire time and we could rarely use our phone unless we were close to a city.
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