Well, I think I have learned that close to five weeks is my limit for a vacation. We have traveled on planes, trains, taxis, shuttles, trams, subways, buses, monorail, boats, ferries, and foot. After numerous tours both out of cities and within the cities we have landed, each day has been full. A vacation should include some kick back time and relaxation, but we have this constant fear of missing out on something good, so each day is a race to see/do as much as possible; the exceptions being places like Cairns where there is only so much to do, but you are stuck based on airline tickets purchased before you knew better.
After getting Ron to agree to a natural awakening this morning, one of the few with no alarm clock set, I was awake at 6:00 am, so read in bed until he stirred. We did our breakfast thing in the well equipped kitchen in the hostel. One of our goals was to try out the O-bahn bus/tram. We went down to the transportation information office to find out where we caught it. There are over a dozen, but we were given ideas about the best choices. One ticket for $4.20 was good for a round trip if we returned within two hours. Getting on the J1 bus, we rode like a regular bus through the city, but then it enters a track area, where the special wheel attaches and the bus goes on its own. The driver does not need to steer, and the bus travels at close to 65 mph with only two stops at stations before reaching the end of the line.
Our end of the line was a mall. We browsed around for a short time, noting that Kmart and Target were the anchor stores. Both are popular in the cities we have visited. Taking the bus back, we first sat in the back seats to take pictured, moving into the front late for more photo opportunities. For more info, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O-Bahn_Busway.
The rest of the day was browsing used bookstores, stopping for cold drinks with the heat running in the 90s, and stopping for a snack at an Irish pub, where we ordered nachos. Go figure!
It saddens me to leave Australia. This was a trip I had planned fifteen years ago, but it was diverted by a new relationship. After fifteen years into that relationship, we, not just I made it, making it worth the wait. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it nearly as much if I had done it back then and alone.
So to recap, we visited five of the six states of Australia, but neither of the two territories:
Adelaide, the capital of South Australia
Melbourne, the capital of Victoria
Sydney, the capital of New South Wales
Cairns in the State of Queensland
Hobart, the capital of Tasmania
and a whole lot of places in between.
What we missed: Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, and Western Australia.
Australia is the world’s smallest continent, but the sixth largest country in the world, based on size, not population. Current population estimates for 2008 were 21,007,310.