Hello to fellow travellers going on the Grand Australian tour Apr29 2013. I am from Cananda and am very excited about the trip. When we are in Sydney , we have tickets to see Henry the 4th at the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday May 7th for 6:30 programme. If you are interested in attending performance with us, go online purchase the tickets and we will all go together. Look forward to meeting our fellow travellers and seeing the sights of Australia and New Zealand.

Shirley B.


  • edited March 2013
    Hi Shirley,

    The Bell Shakespeare Company is wonderful. You are in for a stunning night at the Opera House. I hope you get some other eager theatre goers to join you. If you are into theatre generally, why not try out the Melbourne Theatre Company, too. The theatre is just behind your Melbourne hotel, being an easy 5 minute stroll away.

    Have a great trip,


  • Hi Jan, Thank-you for info Re: melbourne but I do not think the schedule will alow time for a show. We were wishing we would have booked a few days earlier to enjoy Melbourne but hindsight is always 20/20. Do you think the balloon ride is a worthwhile venture and how do we go about booking it if we choose to go? What are the best souveniers to bring back for grandchildren?
  • Hi Shirley,

    No extra time in Melbourne! Oh, dear. Poor jet lagged you ... Never mind, you'll just have to come again. I promise that we laugh the same language as you do and that you'll feel right at home in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

    Re the balloon ride ... I had to check the Tauck site to find which one you were talking about ... they do them over Melbourne at dawn (in the right season) and over so many other places, too. Yours turns out to be from Cairns, back over the rainforest and the Atherton Tablelands. I haven't been to Cairns, so I can't give a personal opinion. I'm sure it will be lovely.

    As for souvenirs, gosh, we have the same rubbish as everywhere else! I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I've bought my own fair share of trinkets that when you see them in isolation rather than in rows in a shop, all with their Made in China tags showing .... What sort of things are the kids interested in? One of the things you will see are rocks ...small stones, polished semi-presious stones, or just unusual or unique stones. Small, light and easy to fit into the corner of a suitcase. If you have anything particular in mind, let me know and I could do a little research for you. For small kids we have the usual (for us!) run of fuzzy baby animals, which I will freely admit are very cute! We have some very nice things for the more mature kid ;), too. Some of the big kid stones are very precious and very pretty! Just a thought for any birthdays, un-birthdays, etc. you can ring in. Just sayin' .... ;))


  • The weather is fickle for the balloon ride and they often don't go up for wind or clouds. It is well worth it however, except having to get up so bloody early in the morning for the trip to the launch site.
  • Hello again Jan,

    Well after talking with the youngest of 8 grandchildren (she weely weely weely want a cola bear ) translations: she really wants a Koala Bear, so guess one of the cute stuffies will take care of one child. The stones sound like good choices for the others, the oldest (14) thought I might get her a pair of Uggs but I do think those will be priced over the alloted amount for souveniers. Kids are great, especially grandkids! LOL. I am sure in our journey we will come across some interesting items to bring back to Canada. I am bringing some Canadian Pins with me to pass out along the way. Have not heard from any fellow travellers yet. Hoping if you read this, you will just say hello and then we will meet in a few short weeks.

    Grammaonthgogo, Shirley B.
  • edited April 2013
    The balloon ride is the morning you leave Cairns. Mine was cancelled for bad weather near the balloon site. Got up so early and it did not happen, but got to see a mess of Wallaby (sp) in a field. Went and bought opals in Sydney with the money not spent.

    The day of the Sydney Opera House tour you can get tickets at half price if there are seats.
  • Thanks for the info Crackers. Perhaps some going on our tour will choose to wait for tickets. I purchased them online did not think about the possibility of buying at a reduced price. Maybe I should save my money and purchase Opals also. Were they a good price?
  • Hi Shirley,

    Well, your youngest GK can weely have a cola, but she can't have a cola bear, because they don't exit, because cola's aren't bears, see? :) You might consider some merino wool/possum goodies ... scarves, socks, hats. They will work a treat in your climate. I'm taking a hat & socks when I go to Macquarie Island next February. (Before you have a fit.... yes, possums are native to Australia and as such are a protected species. But, in New Zealand they are an introduced pest. Some inventive Kiwi has blended their fur with merino wool to make a wonderful, light & warm fabric which they gleefully sell back to us!) Ugg boots are native to Australia, too, despite the scam that some foreign marketing devils try to pull. Ahem. A possible duty free purchase at the airport as you leave us? Anything woollen, from either here or New Zealand would squish into a corner of a case, too. As for precious stones ... I bought a pair of Ammolite earrings when I was last in Alberta in 2011. The stone reminds me very much of our black, Lightening Ridge opal. And you can't go past Broome pearls. I know you're not going to Broome, but you will see the pearls being sold in the big cities and gracing many hand or neck all over the country!

    And your Canadian pins will weely go down well where ever you go down here. Make sure to wear yours where ever you go in Australia & New Zealand. It'll make a great talking point, if nothing else! Aussies all want to visit Canada, as the Canadian Tourism Commission, and Tauck, well know. So prepare for a great, and strangely familiar, adventure.


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