Ali and I had a fantastic vacation in Australia in March 1999 to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary. We are married on 27 March 1974. I had a trip to Australia when I was a student and we have been talking about "one day we'll go to Oz" for years. So to celebrate 25 years of marriage we went to Australia and had dinner in the world famous Doyles Restaurant in Sydney.
Click here for more about Sydney
Here is our itinerary:
Tuesday 23 March - Wednesday 24 March 1999
We flew from Heathrow to Sydney on Singapore Airlines. We had to change planes at Singapore. Its a long way to Australia - but the journey passed pleasantly enough. We arrived in Sydney on a warm summer's evening and got the hotel shuttle service to our hotel - the Macleay Apartments in Kings Cross. The view from our room was stunning - a perfect view of the harbour. Neither of us felt tired after the journey and we drank a bottle of Australian Champagne and celebrated arriving "Down Under".
Thursday 25 March - Saturday 27 March 1999
We explored Sydney and did the usual tourist things - The Bridge, The Opera House, Manly, Bondi Beach. On Saturday we collected our hire car and drove into the Blue Mountains. On Saturday Evening we had a wonderful dinner at Doyle's Restaurant in Watson's Bay. A beautiful place with the sun setting over the harbour bridge in the distance. A poem To Ali marks this very special occasion.
Sunday 28 March - Monday 29 March 1999
We drove down to Canberra to visit my brother Ian and his wife Eileen. Ian went to work in Australia in 1969 and has married and settled in Australia. It was very nice to visit them and while we were in Canberra we also visited Parliament House, the Telstra Tower, AIS, the Mint and the War Memorial. Canberra is a fine city and is arguably the world's finest 20th Centuary City. The setting with the lake and the bridges is beautiful and there are many nice buildings.
Monday 29 March - Saturday April 3 1999
We flew to Melbourne on Monday evening and drove to Geelong in Victoria. We looked in the phone book for my long lost friends Tony and Ruth Kulakauskus and were delighted to find them still living in Geelong. We spent a wonderful day on Tuesday with Tony, Ruth and their son Adrian. On Wednesday we drove the Great Ocean Road to Warrnambool and overland to Ballarat. On Thursday we visited Sovereign Hill Gold Mine and the "Blood on the Southern Cross" light show in the evening. On Good Friday we drove into Melbourne and saw some of the sights and the famous coffee shops of the city. All good things come to an end and we left Australia at 1 o'clock in the morning on Saturday - arriving home at 16.30 on Saturday afternoon.
Australia is not just a country - its a whole continent with mountains, oceans, rivers, lakes and deserts. You get good value for money and good quality accomodation in motels. The food is fine and the wines are excellant. There is plenty to do and see. Its vegetation and wild-life are unique and the sky and the Southern Cross are quite unlike Europe. We'll go to Australia again - no doubt about that.
We went to Australia again in 2001 for two weeks and visited:
- Victoria - our friends Tony, Ruth and Adrian
- Canberra, ACT - my brother Ian and family
- Queensland - we had 10 days in Cairns with our English next door neighbours:
- Sydney - we had dinner with our son's Australian friends Jamie and Maria.
We'll go to Australia again. Maybe to the red centre in South Australia or the Northern Territories. We'll see.
Just writing about our trip to Australia cannot convey the feeling of the place. I was enthralled by Australia when I went on a student exchange for 3 months in 1971 - and found the place as amazing in 1999. It's hard to say what makes Australia such a magnet for folk from Britain - maybe its the weather, maybe its the language, but for me it is the people. You get a Great Welcome "Down Under". Australia is a confident and young nation. The words of the Australian National Anthem speak for themselves:
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