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Saturday, December 31, 2011

7. Brisbane more tour companies

After doing some more searching I came across these links which I'm going to sort through. I'm considering the cost of hire car versus public transport. A 4 day car hire wouls cost around $131 - compare this to $45 (minimum) return bus ticket with Greyhound Brisbane to Noosa or $90 or so for one day tour.

Visit Brisbane
City Sights Bus
Queensland Holidays Brisbane region
QLD Holidays Brisbane Places to visit
QLD Holidays Brisbane Tourism

Friday, December 30, 2011

6. Day Tour to Noosa

I'm having trouble finding a day tour that goes to the places I want to see and visit. The one I really liked was with Scenic Hinterland but they only do pick-ups from the GC.

Grayline is out as is JPT Day Tours. Grayline have " Eumundi Markets with Montville (S484)" which is $119, they don't offer concession rates and they don't go to Noosa. They go to Eumundi and Montville and Maleny Mountain Wines.

JPT which I am informed is part of Australia Day Tours have "Sunshine Hinterland & Montville" operating Thursdays and Saturdays, Costs $105 goes to the ginger factory, Ettamogah Pub and Montville - no Noosa.

There other tour "Sunshine Coast & Noosa" operates Mondays and Sundays Costs $109 sees the Ettamogah Pub, Noosa but only passes through Eumundi then goes to Mooloolaba and includes entry to Underwater World. I have no interest in Underwater World whatsoever so this too would be a waste of money.

It looks like Green Triangle will be the one to go with. They have a tour from Brisbane "Sunshine Coast Day Tour - Noosa Heads and Eumundi Markets" which operates Wednesdays and Saturdays and costs $94 and $89 for concession. It may not stop at a ginger factory, but it does at least tick the other boxes - Stops in Eumundi for the market and then goes to Noosa (including Hastings Street). They do then drive to Maleny for a stop at the lookout (No wine tasting here I'm afraid) and their last stop is at a local fruit stall.

I'll have a hunt around a bit more if I can't find one exactly like the Scenic Hinterland one, then I'll book this tour. Then begs the question, do I book now or wait till I arrive? Maybe I should book before.

The Downside
The downside of Green Triangle is they don't stop at the Ettamogah Pub. Plus they have a "pick-up point" which is a fair walk from my accommodation. Considering my accommodation is north of South Bank and they would have to travel north, perhaps they might be able to pick me up from somewhere there? It's worth looking into.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

5. Brisbane

Will be flying to Brisbane Monday 9th January (2012) and returning the following Monday at 8.05pm so have 7 nights and 7 days.

Usually I so my research months beforehand but as the flights were a Christmas present I only have about ten days to research my itinerary.

Some websites
JPT Day Tours
BCL Brisbane City Life
Gray Line
Brisbane eGuide
Green Triangle
Scenic Hinterland
Noosa Hinterland Tours

Thursday, October 6, 2011

4. Tourist or Traveller?

The age old debate of are you a tourist or a traveller is one which always seems to get lots of answers and discussion. Of course there are those who say it's been done to death, or it's been discussed ad nauseum, yet still the question pops up.

According to the Oxford dictionary, a tourist is "a person who is travelling or visiting a place for pleasure", and a traveller is "a person who is travelling or who often travels".
Does a traveller travel for displeasure? Hardly. So what, really is the difference? To my mind, there is no difference - they're one and the same really, it's just a question of semantics.
A traveller is just a tourist with pretensions.
A tourist expects toilet paper, travellers carry their own, a tourist has a wheeled suitcase, a traveller carries a backpack - these are just some of the arguments.

So, let us take a look at the different styles of people travelling.
You get the ones who travel in air-conditioned buses with a coach captain and tour guide, their itinerary is pre-planned, they stay in three or four star hotels - some even stay in five star places. It depends on the money you've forked out. They get met at the airport (usually) and are shuttled to their hotel where they meet for a welcome drink and get to meet the others in their group.

Meals are usually included - again this depends on the cost of the "tour" - the more you pay, the more meals you get! The next day, they're off and it's on the bus, off the bus, look at this, take photos, on the bus, off the bus, another photo opportunity - your day is mapped out and planned. Sometimes, there will be "free" time where you either get a choice of paying to do something extra or just while away a couple of hours doing your own thing.

Then you get the ones who don't do escorted tours, but travel either on their own or with a husband, lover or friend, or with another couple. They may stay in five start hotels and pay for expensive day tours. I met a couple in Bangkok who (obviously) had money, and a lot of it, and had a "lady" as the husband said, plan their trip and book tours for them. He "used" her each time he came to Thailand.

And what about the families - mum, dad and the kiddies? A real family holiday. They do activities, see attractions, go places that fit in - being with children they have to cater for things that will interest children so they don't get bored, or where they can wheel prams or strollers, those without the little blighters can please themselves so to speak.

And what about people who travel solo - where do they fit in? Does a "tourist" stay in higher end accommodation and a "traveller" stay in cheaper digs? Finances would play a role in this - if your budget is only a few dollars a night, then you look for the cheaper ones, dorms in hostels, or small guesthouses, whereas if your finances stretch further, having a greater amount of money to play around with affords you more choice. Even so, you might still prefer to stay in an area which has a mix - some cheap, some dearer and/or where backpackers congregate and hang out.

Once, and only once, did I do an escorted tour - and realised it wasn't for me. Although there was one good thing which came out of it - I had the opportunity (for a higher price) to travel gold class on the Ghan from Adelaide to Alice Springs which was something I'd long wanted to do.

Call yourself a tourist, call yourself a traveller, you're still travelling and you're still in someone else's country.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

3. Psalm of Summer

Now it came to pass that spring turned to summer again.
Recreation is my shepherd, I shall not stay at home,
He maketh me to lie down in a sleeping bag, and leadeth me down the Highway each weekend.
He restoreth my suntan and leadeth me to National Parks for comfort's sake.
Even though I stray on the Lord's Day, I will fear no reprimand,
My tent hath been erected,
My petrol tank runneth dry
Surely my trailer shall follow me all the weekends this summer,
and I shall return to the House of the Lord this autumn.
But then it is hunting season and that's another psalm.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

2. The Tourist's Prayer

How often on our travels have we seen something which caught our eye, or had a tinge of humour and thought 'That's good. I like that'? And tucked it away in our mind to be brought back later only to realise we can't remember? It's a good idea to make a note of it, or take a photo of it. Below is something I saw in a place somehwere at some point in time which I thought not only very true, but also hilarious in its way - the tourist's prayer. There are a number of versions, all pretty much the same but with a few difference in the wording. Below is my version - I have made it up in a nice picture card and due to the smallness of the writing, have typed it out underneath.
I hope you like it and get a kick out of it as I did.

Heavenly Father look down on us Your humble, obedient tourist servants, who are doomed to travel this earth taking photographs, mailing postcards, buying souvenirs, and walking around in drip-dry underwear.

Give us this day divine guidance in our selection of hotels, that we may find our reservations honoured, the dunnies flush, and hot water running from the taps.
We pray that the telephones work and the operators speak our language.

Lead us dear Lord, to good, cheap restaurants where the food is superb, the waiters friendly, the grog is included in the price and local taxes aren't added on later.

Give us the wisdom to tip correctly in currencies we don't understand. May the locals appreciate us for the good, kind, loving people we are, and not for what they can extract from our purses to add to their worldly goods.

Grant us the strength to visit the museums, the parks, the government buildings, every temple and cathedral known to man and all the "musts" in the guidebooks...And if perchance we skip an historic monument to have forty winks after lunch, forgive us as for our flesh is weak.

Dear God, protect our wives from shopping sprees, "bargains" they don't need, can't afford (and can't fit in their suitcases anyway.) Lead them not into temptation Lord, for they know not what they do.

Almighty Father, keep our husbands from looking at foreign women and comparing them to the vintage domestic model. Save them from making fools of themselves in cafes and night-clubs. Above all, do not forgive them their trespasses for they know exactly what they do.

When our journey is over, grant us the persistence to find someone who will look at all our photos, watch our home videos and listen to our stories, so our lives as tourists will not have been in vain.

This we ask you in the name of Thomas Cook, Conrad Hilton, Mastercard, Visa & American Express.

P.S. I realised after typing it out long hand here that I'd added a bit and forgotten to put it in the "postcard" and when I went to edit said postcard, I couldn't add anything anyway as there wasn't any more room on the "page".

Sunday, August 28, 2011

1. Memories

How does one start a travel journal? I have so many memories whirling about and seen lots of wonderful places both in my own country and overseas, it's like there's a kaleidoscope of images, long-forgotten outings, aromas, and summer warmth all wanting to come out. Some belong to different times, later years, down by the beach, up the country or in the bush. The smell of eucalyptus is strong, I see the blue haze from the summer heat drifting upwards in an ever encompassing spiral from the gum trees. There's the brown snake, the meat cooking on the barbie, salads, china cups and proper cutlery with "sweets" out in the middle of no-where with not a toilet in site. "Going" behind the bushes, the long grasses tickling one's skin, hoping you didn't wet your shoes.

It wasn't until a few years ago I realised how lucky I was - I'd been all over Victoria (my state) - my dad took us everywhere. If we weren't having the Sunday Roast, which everybody had every Sunday, come rain, hail or shine - we were "going on a picnic". Names, places come back to me now - the Great Dividing Range, the You Yangs, Yan Yean, Ferntree Gully, Sorrento, Rosebud, Sylvan, Bendigo, Geelong, Barwon Heads, Gippsland, Wonthaggi, and lots of other places.

I can see my mum in her "bubble" bathers sitting under a wide beach umbrella on the sand at the beach - don't ask me which beach, there were many and several - with the thermos flasks, a large one with hot water and the smaller one with coffee, sitting on the picnic rug while dad went in for a swim. Dad loved the water, mum hated the heat. Mum couldn't swim so she sat under that striped brolly in the shade and watched the picnic things, shouting instructions to me not to go too far, stay with your father and calling us back when lunch was ready.

Making sand castles and treading the water watching it make furrows on the skin and your toes disappearing into the wet sand, sinking down with little rivulets all around, collecting sea-shells, smelling the saltiness of the sea (a proper grown-up would say "inhaling") but still, this is my memory, my childhood days and I would smell the salt. Watching the frothy waves as they ran in and then gradually fade as they lost their power and the tide went back.

Coming home at the end of the day, red as a beetroot, sunburned but happy. And with a nose that would start to peel the next day! Happy times indeed - fun-filled, frolicking, feverish days of sweet summer Sundays. This is the stuff that dreams are made of.