Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Travels down-under

Next month I'm heading of to the Amaldi conference, which is a major gravitational wave conference held every two years. This year it just so happens to be in Sydney and I couldn't really pass up the opportunity of a trip to Australia. I am having to do work for the conference, with a poster presentation to produce and a paper to plan/write with some other people whilst I'm there, but I can't complain about this.

What with flying half way around the world I couldn't go without taking a bit of a holiday whilst I'm out there, so I've tacked another week onto the trip after the conference is over. And I'm fair packing in the activities that week. As the conference is based in Sydney I figured that I'd get to see a fair bit of it during my stay there. I therefore decided to book my flight home from Brisbane rather than Sydney, so I'd have to do some traveling to make the flight. Only having a week to travel I decided that there wasn't much point in aimlessly wandering about bits of Australia, so I went to STA Travel to book something more organised. After a fair while spent checking out the various options my itenerary has finalised on this: A Contiki coach trip from Sydney to Brisbane, which goes via Hunter Vally (vineyards and wine tasting), Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Currumbin (to go to a wildlife sanctuary), Surfers Paradise (for some beaches, casinos and general partying), and finally on to Brisbane. That's not the end of it though! After a night in Brisbane I'm going to be heading up to Hervey Bay (average temperatures of 23 C in the winter!) for the evening before going on a tour of Fraser Island (the world largest sand island). After this it's back to Brisbane for the night before catching my flight home. Should be knackering, but also great fun. I've got the long plane journey back on which to rest, so I need to make the most of my time there.