Brisbane, Byron Bay, and the Blues

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January 25th 2012
Published: February 4th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Hi Everyone!
After parting company with Emma in Canberra I took the bus to Sydney and spent some time with friends there. Then I took the overnight train to Brisbane, since it only cost $69, and I didn't have to pay for accommodation for a night on the train. It was 6am when I got to Brisbane, but I was able to get into my hostel room right away. Brisbane is called the River City, probably because it has a river that runs through the middle of it. You can always trust the Australians to be sensible about names. It rained almost the entire time I was in Brisbane, so it made for a depressing ambiance while I was sightseeing. My favorite thing to do in a city is visit the museums, so I did that on the first day. Brisbane also has a fun man made beach on the river, called South Bank. It is not actually attached to the river it is just built beside the river. There are also parks, art galleries, and botanical gardens to keep a visitor amused. Brisbane also has a very impressive library. I suppose I am the only backpacker that has made such a thorough tour of world libraries. Fraser Island is a popular attraction for Brisbane backpackers. The average tour costs about $300+ for 2 days. I decided it wasn't worth the cost. Everything in Australia is so expensive that costs are a constant consideration. I want to see South East Asia after Australia, so I am always thinking how much more I could buy for my money there. I think it is making me a bit paranoid about costs. After a week in Brisbane I was prepared to move on. I took a bus back to New South Wales to visit Byron Bay. Its about 4 hours on the bus to get to Byron Bay from Brisbane. Byron Bay is famous for being the most eastern point of the Australian Continent. I found the light house and the walk to get there through a rain-forest park to be very picturesque. Other than the light house the major attraction of Byron Bay is its laid back hippie culture. There are lots of arts and crafts shops and things like that. Again it rained for most of the time I was in Byron, so it was a bit depressing.

Additional photos below
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Sydney Long artworkSydney Long artwork
Sydney Long artwork

Queensland Art Gallery

the most easterly point of Australia

4th February 2012

Don't spend too much money in Australia...
so that you won't have enough to see Southeast Asia properly. You spend for one day in Australia what you spend four days in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. Singapore is expensive and Malaysia somewhat. What is your future itinerary and when will you get there? I'm partial to that part of the world having spent so much time there.
6th February 2012

Australia v. South East Asia
I have been giving a lot of thought to my itinerary lately. My general approach to deciding on the length of time in a place is to stay long enough to justify the cost of the transport there, and to spread it over a few days to make my daily budget. For Australia I bought a three month train pass, so it doesn't really matter how fast I travel. Plus, like you said the daily cost of living in Australia is so high it doesn't make sense to take my time here. My plan right now is to spend about 6 weeks traveling in Australia when I get back from New Zealand, then start my South East Asia trip. Depending on the cost of flights, I will probably start with a month in Thailand, 2 weeks each in Cambodia and Laos, and 3 weeks in Vietnam. Then 5 weeks in Hong Kong and China. I am still debating about Malaysia and Singapore. I would like to see them, but since they would require separate flights I don't think it would be cost effective to include them. None of this is set in stone yet so I would welcome suggestions. :)
6th February 2012

Love your itinerary...
but if you can afford six weeks in Australia when you return from New Zealand, then you can likely afford to travel via Singapore through Malaysia to Thailand. Tiger flies from Perth to Singapore for about AUS$168 (depending on the date it could be more). Air Asia has more connections to KL, so you will have to research flights on discount and regular airlines. There are enough travelblogs by people who have started their Southeast Asia tour in Singapore to give you an idea of the best routes, but I would recommend the Cameron Higlands and Penang on you way north. In Thailand, I recommend Krabi and nearby Railey Beach and the Phi Phi islands (I vacationed there in 2009), Phuket (but not Patong Beach) and then across to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao on your way to Bangkok. Chiang Mai is a must (I lived there in 1974-5). And In Vietnam I like Dalat where I lived from 1956-64, and visited most recently in 2009. I don't want to prejudiced your entire itinerary, but just make sure you save enough money to visit China, and if you end up in the north try to get there before winter.

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