Okay.....extremely tentative itinerary for Australia....very rough draft. I am checking with mom back and forth to see what we want to do.....she has a friend who (along with her husband) wants to hang out with us, so I am sorta planning for four...
I arrive early Sunday morning, and am debating on going to the Sydney Orchestra at the Sydney Opera house. They have a recital at 2:30pm and it might be fun...and because I will be younger than 30, I get in for only $30AUD (woohoo being young.....), or I might just wander around, take pictures and treat myself to a nice dinner with a view.
Monday, mom and her team arrive. I think there is some sort of short tour in the morning because we cannot check into the hotel?? I will meet up with them and head to the hotel to get settled in. Mom has practice Monday at 4pm with the Senior women (this thing keeps throwing me off, because sometimes they put Grand Dragon mixed, and sometimes Grand Masters mixed--are those the same team?? Either way, they practice at 4pm Monday).
I am not sure what I will do Monday....probably come over to the training facility with them so I know where it is, especially in relation to the train station. I think it is close by, but I will feel better once I SEE how things are laid out. The train can take us into the mountains for tours....
Tuesday, Mom has practice with the Senior Womens at 3pm and the Grand Masters mixed at 4pm... I will see if there are some local half-day trips we could do--maybe get up early and go into Sydney and walk across the Harbour Bridge and look at the Opera house and have lunch and go back to the hotel to catch a shuttle to the practice facility??
Wednesday, Mom has practice with the Senior Womens at noon, the Grand Masters mixed at 1pm and the Senior Womens again at 2pm......surely she is not paddling for three straight hours?? I was thinking if she just does the first two practices, maybe we could catch the train to Katoomba and putz around in the Blue Mountains. The problem we run into is that sunset is around 5:45pm, and we sorta run out of light. We will figure something out. This evening, there is the opening ceremony. No time listed, it just says 'early evening'.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are races. I am sure we will know when Mom race the first day at some point before we head down, but I realize it is all about how they place from there on out. We can do some local looking around in the afternoons or something. Not sure here. Sunday there is the closing ceremony, and the World Championships Celebration dinner at the Sydney Olympic Park, which I am not entirely sure where it is---Sydney?? Penrith, where they race?? I will look into this.
At some point during these previous days, we should go up the Sydney Tower to get a great view of everything, go to one of the street markets (I will check to see what days they have them), do some sort of harbor cruise (they have sort of water taxis that are only a couple dollars, all the way up to a nice lunch on a nice boat touring the harbor. A good way to see a lot of things we just won't have time to personally go see). I would like to go to the Sydney Aquarium, it is supposed to be just amazing.
Monday is where it gets interesting. There are flights to Cairns (jumping off point for the Great Barrier Reef) leaving either at 1030 in the morning, or in the evening time. I am now thinking that maybe we should take a Monday evening flight out. Spend the day in Sydney, stash our luggage SOMEWHERE, and do a kayaking tour around the Sydney harbor. Maybe this is the day to do the aquarium or something like that. Have a nice lunch on the water and catch a flight out that evening.
I was thinking we fly out on Monday, get a hotel room for the night, then look into this:
We would be picked up bright and early in the morning, then head out to the reef, where we will spend the night on the Oceanquest, a diving vessel moored in the reef. We have unlimited snorkelling in several different areas of the reef, they provide all snorkelling equipment, food, etc. We snorkel all of Tuesday, go to bed, snorkel more on Wednesday, then around 5pm we are back in Cairns, and check into a hotel. Looking into costs for reef tours, this is probably a lot cheaper than booking a hotel, buying breakfast, paying for a reef tour that includes lunch, and coming home and getting dinner.
I figure, we are going to see the reef to SEE THE REEF. How better to maximize that than to spend all day and all night and all day again actually out there??
Another similar spend-the-night-on-the-boat option is http://www.greatbarrierreefinfo.com/tour/Cairns/132/
Okay, so it is Wednesday, we get into our new hotel, maybe go out for dinner or wander around the city for the evening. Maybe we do this
..........and Thursday we go into the rainforest. There are lots of options.
Maybe we go sea kayaking for the sunrise, then into the rainforest later...here is a kayak option at 6am
Beautiful waterfall/jungle tour
Skyrail, which is also available attached to other tours. The view is supposed to be just amazing. By itself, this could be a half-day tour and combined with something else easily.
So, we have options for Thursday. We either fly back to Sydney Thursday night or Friday morning, then back home on Friday. My flight leaves at 2:40pm.......
Enough stuff for you????? Mom REALLY wants to do a kayak tour. Other than going to see the big reef, that is what she wants. She is there paddling with her team, and she just HAS to paddle on her own, too. That is mom for you.........
My goal for this trip is to find a sports shop somewhere and buy a Lauren Jackson Australian national team jersey or some sort of Aussie Lauren Jackson thing. For Ethan, or for our wall. Or both. We *heart* Lauren Jackson. My most favorite of all players.....
Oops, taking a sports turn....back to travel.
It is official--we are going to the Dominican Republic! There was a 40% off deal we knew about that ends June 28, so we waited until almost the last second and booked it. All inclusive, TOTALLY affordable.......and........kids under 12 stay free, you mothers out there..........get some miles saved up and you are set.....Now I just need to find a hotel in Miami for our last night, and figure out what we want to do with that evening. I realize that it is entirely possible that we will be completely wiped out and spend the evening in our room eating room service and watching a movie, but I have high hopes for the moment and our stamina. We *are* working out, so maybe we will be able to take all that running around. I certainly hope so!