What do I know about Australia? Other than the stereotypical — Sydney Olympics and Opera House, Aborigines, Uluṟu, Great Barrier Reef, Aussie Rules Football, kangaroos, killer koala bears, cuddly crocodiles, stinging jellyfish, and beer — so far my experience has been limited to film and music:
Men at Work, INXS, Olivia Newton John, Air Supply, Crowded House, Liam Finn, Nick Cave, Midnight Oil, Kylie Minogue, AC/DC, Helen Reddy, Keith Urban, Divinyls, Hoodoo Gurus, Jet, Wolfmother. (And Savage Garden . . . uh, I’ve been trying for decades to forget them. Thanks for nothing, Wikipedia.)
“The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” “Strictly Ballroom,” “Mad Max,” “The Piano,” “The Proposition,” “Rabbit Proof Fence,” “Flirting,” and of course “Crocodile Dundee” and the “Crocodile Hunter.” Fortunately, I have forgotten most of “Joey.”
Basically, I know next to nothing about the real Australia. But that’s all going to change, because we just bought our tickets to Australia. Yup, we’re taking a four week vacation to Oz for most of June. That should be plenty of time to get thoroughly steeped in Aussie lore and customs.
How are we going to immerse ourselves in this not-so-foreign culture? Well, despite the fact that none of y’all gave us any advice on what to see in Australia, and even though most of my coworkers said that we should go to New Zealand instead of Australia, we’ve worked out a basic itinerary. It starts with a l-o-n-g 23-hour trip from Boston to L.A. to Sydney. We’re going to spend a few days in Sydney; and hopefully soaking up the sun at the beach will help us fight jet-lag. (Sydney is 15 hours ahead of Boston.) Then a comparatively quick plane ride (or two) will take us to Darwin, where we’re renting a camper-van and hitting the big national parks in the Northern Territory — Kakadu, Litchfield, Nitmiluk, Watarrka, Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa, and maybe even West MacDonnell — as we drive to Alice Springs over a couple weeks. Personal and marital happiness will probably require staying in one place for a little while in something other than an RV, so we’re spending a week on or near the Great Barrier Reef. Then back to Sydney for a couple days before another 22-hour flight home.
Fun, fun, fun!
(While compiling those lists, I saw that there are SEVEN volumes of “Australia’s Deadliest Destinations.” We probably won’t be watching any of them anytime soon.)