Going to Australia

mapI’ve been in a travel writer for nearly 20 years, and next week I’m doing something unlike anything I’ve done before: I’m becoming a “correspondent” (aka #Corrozpondent) for Tourism Australia. It’s quite a thing to do.

I’m one of a handful of other travel writers and photographers deemed “influencers” (eg folks like Gary Arndt, Jo Maxwell Stouggard, Lee Abbamonte). We travel alone, crafting our own itineraries, hitting the road, then writing about it.

photo2This is not my first time in Australia. A decade ago, while working for Lonely Planet, I lived in Melbourne – saturating myself in “long black” coffees, going to footie games, buying a pewter Ned Kelly (better than a Mick Jagger Ned Kelly), and learning of the existence of Malaysian laksa. (Incidentally, why haven’t more American food trucks discovered laksa yet?) I made a few side trips into Victoria state too, driving on the left side of two-lane roads crossed by kangaroos to the forested peaks of the Grampians, or staying in seaside huts at Wilsons Promontory.

I like Australia.

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But I’ve long had some serious Australian gaps. So with this trip, I’m targeting a couple that loom largest: a taste of the Outback, and finally pacifying all my Melbourne pals who kept on about how great that Tasmania place is.

I love trains. So after a night in Sydney, I’m taking the Indian Pacific to Broken Hill, New South Wales – an overnight ride that barely scratches itself into the continent, yet reaches a familiar setting the “Outback,” as seen in scores of films such as The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert:

After that, I fly to Tasmania’s second city Launceston, aka “Lonnie” (Australian abbreviations — abbrevos? — are so cute), where I begin a five-day trek on the Overland Track into the Cradle Mountains, going hut to hut. I’ll look out for Tasmanian devils as I go,  of course, but also the more mysterious (and thought to be extinct) Tasmanian tiger. Apparently proof of its existence can get you a reward of half a million dollars. So I’ll keep the camera handy. (Here’s a century-old shot from a zoo in DC.)

ThylacinusI finish in/around Hobart, which is not only the southernmost spot on the globe I’ve been and the birthplace of Errol Flynn, but also my first Hobart.

And I’ve always heard you never forget your first Hobart.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 2.22.38 PMYou can follow my Australia experiences here on the blog, or photos on Instagram, or by following #corrOZpondent on Twitter.

Yes, this will be fun.

Note: As part of the “corrOZpondent” program, my trips will be paid for by Tourism Australia.

About Robert Reid

Robert Reid is a travel writer (Lonely Planet, New York Times, ESPN), travel expert (Today Show, CNN's Headline News), travel videographer (76-Second Travel Show) and travel artist (don't ask).
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8 Responses to Going to Australia

  1. don’t forget you’ll need some special “right pants” for the tasmanian tiger.

  2. Robert Reid says:

    I will be wearing two or three layers of right pants to ward off the Tasmanian tiger!!

  3. Tracey says:

    Welcome back to Oz. This Sydney sider agrees wholeheartedly with your Melbourne mates raving about Tassie. From one underwhelmed-by-museums offbeat traveller to another, when you get to Hobart, I think you’ll enjoy a squizz at MONA

    • Robert Reid says:

      Thanks Tracey. I barely know Sydney. Not much time, this time. Ferrying like a demon, going to Nutcote to see real “Banskia men” and I’d like to see that Glebe Point Bridge that You Am I sang about. The MONA is high on the Hobart list — always hear it’s one of the best museums in the world, and will give it as much time as I can!

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