Australia the land of Friendly People and greenery from Melbourne to Sydney to Cairns to Coolangatta to Sydney
Mar 3 - Mar 23, 2023
Terry was my initial guide) but Liz Neal replaced her. I liked the set up financing for the payment for 5 monthly payments. Liz gets all the compliments as Terry could not take care of that billing. Liz gets all the credit.
All suggested tours were accepted as Liz was the specialist and I had little to know or what to Expect.
Liz did an amazing job and treated me superbly. Melbourne we loved the breakfast at Batman's Hill on Collins 3.5 star. for the hotel though small rooms. Best breakfast bar none. Vegemite, rasch bacon, many fruits oatmeal. Delicious. Phillip Island was a 5 star tour for us. Those Blue Penguins were so cute and the dinner included was good for a tourist venue. On the way to the island we visited a reserve for injured wildlife and saw our first up close Kangaroo, Wallabys, Koalas and Sooty Owls.
Monday Day 4 we picked up the AVIS rental and I got a Toyota Corolla Hybrid the we enjoyed. I drive a Prius so it was a good fit. We stopped At Warragul on the way. Tuesday Day 4-5 stayed at Bellevue on the Lakes at Lakes Entrance. A nice motel but the breakfast was closed for something private. We discovered Woolworths that day. Woolworths was a 5 and Dime when I was a kid. Shocking to see a nice grocery store. We ate at Nicks restaurant and Sodafish locally. Sodafish would be a 4 star and Nicks was very busy Asia food. 5 star for Nicks. Day 6 Gipsey Point Lakeside which is
spacious and had a functioning kitchen. Amazing views for sunset, birds, Rainbow Lorikeets, Parrotts, Wallabys, Kangaroos as the owner feeds the birds and allows the others to eat his grass. Appreciated the beauty around and the animals. The owner got us a reservation for the Gipsey Point Lodge dinner. the dinner was great 4 star. Day 7 Central Tilba ate at the Sweetwater bar and grill. One of the best hamburger for the whole trip. Slices of BBQ brisket with cole slaw. Delicious & 4 star. Visisted the Tilba Creamer tried different cheeses so delightful. that night at Tilba Tilba lake House. Beautiful grounds. 4 star. Was missing hand towels or paper towels to wash dishes. We had dish soap but no way to dry the dished easily so we gave up a clean hand towel. Sunset walk outside was beatiful. 4 Star accomodation. Day 9-10 Paperbark camp two nights 5 star glamping. Shower, toilet and comfy bed. "sugar glider unit". Best part was Gunyah the restaurant. Zinzi and Loreen were working there and very nice girls from Netherlands. Best salads ever and great food 5 Star for Gunyah and the restaurant. Gunyah would be a 6 Star if there was such a rating. We hit Nelson Beach and it was great. Huskisson as highly interesting. My spouse got Mango gelato. She was happy. Good time had by all. Breakfast was good as well and we got a packed lunch. Our Daily schedule said Pepperbark Camp but they have Paperbark trees there so it is Paperbark Camp. Day 10,11,12 & 13 we stayed at Ibis Central Sydney. this Ibis would be a 4 Star as we enjoyed the central position and we could do our laundry with $2 Aussie coins as they had laundromat huge Washier and Dryers. Chin Chin Asian across the street from Ibis is a 5 star food restaurant. We were seated at the bar watching all the action as the cooks worked so quickly and everything was perfect. AEA Tour was 4 star by Paul was fun. He did the south Harbor area. He had been a guide a long time. Sydney Opera House 5 Star was fascinating. I knew the opera house had been around a while but since 1973. Heartbreaking to hear the Architect Utson did not get to finish the project. AEA Dain 5 star tour for the blue mountains. So beautiful. Fog stole a chance to see the 3 sisters but natures does her own thing. Dain was so knowledgeable. Wed 15th was the maritime Museum (Australian National) which is a 5 star. Met Emily(oceanographer) who is from Twisp, Washington the county next to where I grew up and met curator Agatha the conservationist. We had no idea we had a private behind the scenes tour. We spent 10AM through 4pm at the museum and we left when they closed the door. It was fabulous. So much to enjoy. LIZ you did a good thing with that tour. We appreciate it. That night we walked back toward the Ibis and were tired and hungry. Stopped at Amarro a 4.5 star Italian restaurant. It was great. Near Hyde park on Elizabeth. Day 14 we flew Cairns Virgin Australia. Royal is a good Limo service. No problems what so ever. We gave $50 tips usually for them. Day 14-15 Bay Villa Resort Port Douglas 4 Star. Huge rooms with good kitchen and a pool. On the go both days but we slept fine and made our own breakfast (Coles food). Tour Full Day outer Reed Mackay coral Cay and Sand Cay by Sailaway 5 star easy. Nice catamaran and friendly crew and the sun was shining. I snorkled and my spouse Jan more than once with the glass bottom boat. Some of the best snorkeling along with Grand Cayman, Anse Cochon of St Lucia and Shoal Bay of British Anguilla. appreciate the rash guard suit. Beautiful fish and coral. A dream come true 5 Star. Next day was the Karanda Railway and Sky Rail. A 4.5 star venue. the old rails are shake worthy but they go slowly. We got seats going backyards but it was beautiful with Barron Falls and the tropical rainforest. Our only issue was the driver who picked us up said we were supposed to be at another pick up point but have shared that with Liz and Liz was correct as it turns out. the drive was incorrect. Day 17 Jetstar whom I do not recommend but I picked it. The charges for luggage were scandalous. Carry on luggage was higher priced than for 7 kg than the main 20kg bags. John from Royal picked us up and was very nice. 5 star. BMW has such soft big seats. My cell phone fell out of my pocket leaning back. John got it back to me within an hour. Great Service out of Royal Limo all the way around. Day 17, 18, 19 at Mantra Sun City, Surfers Paradise Beach near Southport. 5 star. they only missed on paper towels. the breakfast was not worth $20 for an American but the room was huge and had washing and dryer and kitchen. Discovered Dilmah Berry Ceylon tea there.
We did a lot of walking. March 21st Day 19 we met Christine from Eco Safaris Queensland who is a free lance guide who picked us up. We were treated to the most knowledgeable guide. She had us walking and we saw many beaches and she took us near to the New South Wales and a look back to Surfers Paradise. We had tea at the Viking by Elephant rock and after 4 hours of great information she dropped us off for lunch at the Southport Restaurant (a life saving restaurant). Christine 5 star plus -was this amazing guide and she had been born in Britain and raised in New Zealand and lived other places. She knew so much history about Australia and I was amazed. Day 20 march 22 Royale again picked us up as we traveled back to Sidney from OOL Coolangatta Virgin Australia. Spent the night resting at the Rydges Sydney Airport hotel. 4 star for us. A bit small but access to the airport. Breakfast there would have been $60 each. Nice hotel and good position for leaving the country. Day 21 we got on Fiji airways flight 910 and started the trek back.
Fiji was reliable but at LAX Alaska Air changed our direction. I was at the kiosk and my flight said Spokane from LAX and Jan's flight said Anchorage, Alaska from LAX. Neither could get us home that night March 23rd. The 737 was broken and needed fixing and as were in the air over the Pacific everyone else had changed their flights to Seattle.
We ended up both in Spokane and home at 2AM after we borrowed Jan's brother Mustang.
LIZ, this was a memorable trip and Christine's tour was a good surprise and the Maritime Museum in Sydney. Royal Limousines never let us down. The follow up on the Corolla turned in on the Sunday where all the Avis's in downtown Sidney were closed helped a lot. So many extra touches that you added to our trip. You are simply wonderful. If rating was 1 to 20 you would get a 20 star with us. Dan and Jan Slagle 3/25/23
We have the name wrong on this Glamping site. https://paperbarkcamp.com.au/ It is full of paperbark trees so really it is Paperbark camp not "Pepperbark " The restaurant Gunyah which in the Aboriginal language means a safe place to wait out a big or serious storm. the food is gourmet and different. this is glamping at its best. Graveled trails and soft bed and the canvas tent is from Africa. there are toilets and showers and a tub. LED lighting is an added benefit. Sam is the lady in charge and she is agreeable(Samantha). Loreen and zinsi are from Netherlands and delightful. Everything is so organized and one does not need bug repellent as they provide it for you. You can have tea anytime you wish pretty much. We enjoyed our two days there very much 5 Star Near Jervis Bay, Nelson Beach and Huskisson. Should be on every one's radar.
this hotel is one of many Mantras. The way it it is layed out with lot's of space reminds us of a timeshare with a Washer and dryer and full kitchen. We were on the 9th floor and saw window cleaners coming down all 39 floors. Good position to Surfers Paradise Beach. I do not recommend the $20 breakfast but the rooms have so much storage. Great views. Easy walk to many restaurants. Many tea options from Dilmah.
Not a huge room but has a great breakfast even with Vegemite. Central location for many things.
4.5 star. Breakfast was expensive and we had a minimum size kitchen so ate there after visiting Coles for food. Central location and there a washer/dryer on the premises that needs $2 gold colored coins. 2 for wash and 2 for dry. Bathroom was really odd. The door hits the toilet and the shower sticks out and one hits the corner ( small bathroom).
Got to see many things with a High End tour with Emily and Agatha behind the scenes. that was really appreciated. Was in the Museum from 10 AM to 4PM. More to see about Australian history than I could have done in one day. Fascinating and original. Stories of immigration and circumnavigation by Sailboats. Bombing of Darwin WWII Onboard a real Destroyer the Vampire. Exhibits of old sailing ships on the water. too much information but interesting
Where else does one get to see Koalas and Kangaroos and Wallabys and Sooty Owls and Dingos and Eagles along with a penguin parade? the Penguin parade is worth the trip and yet one gets the animal shelter for survivors of the 2019 fires. We even fed young Wallabys as $3 donation gets them some of their favorite foods. Penguins are a major thing in North America it would never be seen. OZ all is possible!
Much forest beauty and saw 3 kangaroos hopping and running in the wild. Many wonderful lookouts to see great distances. Dain was a master with information and details.
Best coral and colored differently fish. Sand Cay visited also + a glass bottom boat. Sea plants were amazing. One wears a "rash guard" to prevent stings with jelly fish. Also friendly crew with an expert on board
Beautiful and huge and lots of history. 1 hour tour is not long enough but it is a working Opera house and houses more than Opera.
Skyrail above the rainforest with great views & Barron Falls. Kuranda Railway back. We had a gold ticket which is car 8 with almonds, cheese & crackers and wine and beer and juices. One stop for photos. Make sure one faces forward to get best photos on the railroad.
We traveled by Catamaran out to the reef. We were within 300 meters from the reefs edge. One knows the reef is there as big waves come in and are minimized by the reef. Coral of many colors and a plethora of fish.
Much knowledge given. Life saving club with teenagers that move up the ranks. Waves are big at Surfers Paradise. Can swell to 2 million people on a holiday