Speak to Julie about
- Christchurch and Canterbury
- Culture & history
- Escorted tours
- Rail journeys
- Visiting friends & family
- Wildlife & nature
My passion for travelling started while I was at university. In the summer holidays I worked in America on a children’s activity camp, and I travelled on a six-week trip from New York to Los Angeles and got the travelling bug. After university, I thought I’d try Australia. I worked and travelled my way from Sydney, around Tasmania, to Melbourne, then Adelaide, and across by rail to Perth, up the coast to Broome and Darwin, then down the middle of the Red Centre to Uluru (Ayers Rock), back to Adelaide, then from Sydney all the way up the coast to Cairns. Next, I ventured across to New Zealand where I drove around North Island and did an organised tour of the South Island, before then heading on to island hop around Fiji. It was one epic trip. I initially planned to travel for four months but loved it that much that I stayed out there travelling for 13 months. I have worked for Austravel ever since I returned, and I have been here nearly 11 years now. I have also been lucky enough to have been back out to Australia a further eight times on research trips, and through work I have also visited Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Dubai, Shanghai, Qatar, and back out to New Zealand, and Fiji. It’s safe to say that I know these countries pretty well now.
My favourite place in Australia is on the drive from Perth to Albany. If you drive south just past Augusta, along Leeuwin Road, you reach a corner of Australia where you’ll find Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. You can park in the car park and then walk down the path to the lighthouse itself. When at the lighthouse, if you look out to sea you can see where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean, and it’s just amazing. There are not many places in the world where you can see two oceans collide. They have a lovely little café there too.
My most memorable experience in Australia has to be, without doubt, the Sounds of Silence dinner at Uluru (Ayers Rock). I sold it for many years before I actually got to try it for real myself. It exceeded all my expectations. My favourite part was when they turned all the lights off and we could hear wild horses galloping in the distance. Also, I loved when they turned on their laser pens and pointed out the different star constellations in the sky. It was exceptionally beautiful as there is very little light pollution, so the stars look extra bright.
When I travel I enjoy getting out and about. I do enjoy some time sunbathing, but I think whilst you are there you may as well try and see as much as you can. I love doing organised excursions as I think you learn so much more from having a guide that can tell you about the area, the history, and help you spot interesting points that you would have otherwise just walked by. Also when travelling, I love to go horse riding, wine tasting, enjoy sampling the local cuisine, and experiencing the sights and sounds of new places.
Tip 1: Before you go, try and have a list of your top three things to do in each place, and then check the opening times, pre-booking options, etc. At least then you know you will definitely be able to see and do the things you most want to. Not everything operates every day!
Tip 2: When in Tropical North Queensland, if you are wanting to do a Great Barrier Reef trip then I’d recommend doing this on your first full day, that way if the weather is bad, or there is a problem with the boat, you can rearrange to do it another day without missing out.
Tip 3: When hiring a car, if you are driving to different points each day, I recommend to choose a car that you can fit suitcases in the boot. Then if you wanted to pull over and go see an attraction or tourist spot between stops you are not worried about luggage being on show in the car. Better to be safe!
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