Travel in Australia
FROM THE MARGINS TO THE CENTRE:
CONTEMPORARY RELATIONAL PERSPECTIVES.
25-28 May 2017
We've been lucky enough to have Phil Ringstrom visiting and teaching over here in Australia during this past month. This is Phil's take on visiting Australia - and why it'll really be worth the trip over to come to our conference! To read, CLICK HERE
AUSTRALIAN TRAVEL OPTIONS: Things you should know
Late May is very late autumn in Australia. While the weather can still be mild at this time of year, Sydney is often subject to strong winds… A leather jacket or “windcheater” is essential.
Australia is a very big island, and while most tourist destinations can be reached by air, it can take a whole day’s travelling to reach some of them, once transfer times are included.
Autumn/winter is the perfect time of year to travel north or inland in Australia. The further north or west, the warmer… Winter corresponds to the northern “dry season”; travel in the far north can be difficult and/or impossible during the “wet”.
And for Information for LGBTQI travelers:
For a great sample of some of what Australia has to offer, watch this!
AROUND SYDNEY: TOUR IDEAS
Sydney is the capital of the state of New South Wales. For exciting things to do outside of Sydney visit www.visitnsw.com Below are some ideas to get you started. If you are interested in arranging any of these activities with other delegates, please contact the Conference Secretariat.
The Hunter Valley
An easy 2 hour drive from Sydney, this region is home to approximately 150 wineries, many of which offer complimentary tastings and wine appreciation tours. Experience fine dining, spa retreats, relaxing accommodation as well as country antiques on a bicycle tour or in the comfort of a horse drawn carriage. There are also opportunities to go hot air ballooning, golfing, horse-riding and bushwalking. Click here for tour options and ideas.
The Blue Mountains
2 hours to the west is the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, so called because of the haze of eucalyptus oil above the densely forested hills. The Mountains offer bushwalking tracks to suit every level of fitness and interest and extraordinary natural “wonders” like the Three Sisters, Govett’s Leap, the Jenolan Caves (one of the most extensive and beautiful lime stone cave systems in the world), Kanangra Walls and Pulpit Rock. Easily reached by train or car, the Mountains offer a wide range of accommodation and cozy retreats. Be sure to visit the historic towns and their many attractions including galleries, restaurants and quaint shops. For more information or to organise a tour, click here.
The Central Coast
Ranging from Broken Bay at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River to the south of Newcastle, the Central Coast is an admired New South Wales destination. Gosford is the business hub; there are numerous picturesque villages along the coastline, such as Avoca Beach, Terrigal, Pearl Beach, Ettalong Beach and more. To view the tours available, click here.
The South Coast
The South Coast offers crystal-clear lakes and bays, with uncrowded beaches and beautiful rivers. These are perfect for year-round diving, canoeing and boating. Bush walkers and bird-lovers will enjoy the pure bushland. To top it off, you can enjoy fantastic food and wine at respected restaurants and cafés. To find out more, click here
Sydney by Seaplane
Sydney by Seaplane allows visitors to experience scenic flights over Sydney Harbour and the unique coastline of Australia’s most recognised city. Flight options include return flights to and from Rose Bay, or take one of the most popular tours the Restaurant Fly and Dine Experience to The Boathouse at Palm Beach. For an unforgettable experience, click here.
The national capital is just a 3 hour drive from Sydney and is a major tourist destination for Australian and international visitors. Highlights include the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery of Australia, Parliament House and the National Library of Australia. For more information, click here.
The state of Queensland is huge, and most famous for the spectacular Great Barrier Reef. While there are famous surfing beaches and resort areas in the southern part of the state (like Surfer’s Paradise and the Sunshine Coast) it will most definitely be warmer further north. Average temperatures on the Great Barrier Reef and tropical North Queensland for May/June are 18-28 degrees Celsius.
The Whitsunday Islands are 74 islands right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Whitehaven, one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, with seven kilometres of brilliant white soft silica sand and crystal clear waters, is here, on Whitsunday Island. There is no accommodation on the island, but it is possible to pick up an overnight mooring! Four of the islands have commercial resort operations:
Hamilton Island is the most visited and developed of the Whitsunday group and the only island with a commercial airport. It has a wide range of accommodation www.hamiltonisland.com.au
It is also possible to stay on the mainland and make day trips to the islands. For example, a half-day tour to Whitehaven Beach from Airlie Beach will cost around $100AD (according to Trip Advisor).
www.whitsundays.com.au for information about the island group and for links to “skippered” yachts and cruising boats. If you can sail and are interested in “bareback” yacht or launch hire, see http://www.whitsundayescape.com Whitsunday Escape can provide links to providores who will fill the yacht’s pantry for you before your arrival…Sailing around and between the islands is sublime, offering many opportunities for snorkeling and diving around the coral reefs. It is also the only way to see some of the smaller islands. For a very exclusive Great Barrier Reef experience, consider Lizard Island, the most northern resort in Australia. http://www.lizardisland.com.au/See also
Cairns is the gateway to the tropical north and the only place in the where two World Heritage Areas meet: The Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest. A direct flight from Sydney takes just over three hours. There are about 10 direct flights each day, and many more via Brisbane… From Cairns, one can travel inland up to the Atherton Tablelands and the little town of Kuranda, north along the coast through Palm Cove and Mission Beach and on to the tropical resort town of Port Douglas, to the extraordinary, ancient Daintree Rainforest and even further north to the end of the sealed road and the remote beaches of Cape Tribulation. The Bloomfield Track continues to Cooktown (suitable for four-wheel drive vehicles only). And, of course, the extreme northern point of Cape York. See www.tropicalnorthqueensland.org.au/
A huge range of accommodation is available: from camping and backpacker hostels, to eco lodges and spas and super luxury resorts. Wild camping on beaches is not recommended due to free ranging crocodiles. This is not a joke. See www.visitportdouglasdaintree.com.au
Cairns and Port Douglas are also the base of many dive/tour operators. It is possible to snorkel, scuba dive (and learn to scuba!), to see the reef in semi-submarines, glass bottom boats, from islands, sandy off-shore kays and from outer-reef pontoons. Even those who can’t swim can find Nemo.
This list is just a sample!
Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland
Cooktown and Cape York offer diverse and remote landscapes, world-class fishing, pristine rivers, the reef, rainforests, hilltop savannahs, tidal wetlands, hidden waterfalls.…. And an opportunity to experience the region’s rich Indigenous culture. See especially
www.guurrbitours.com for links to tours of rock art provided by Nugal-warra elder, Willie Gordon, and www.bamaway.com.au
The Northern Territory is outback, the Top End, and home to extraordinary landscapes and indigenous culture. And hot. Average temperatures in May/June in Alice Springs are 12-27 degrees Celsius (53-80 Fahrenheit). In Darwin 21-32 degrees C (71-89 degrees F), and in Kakadu 21-33 C. To find out more, visit www.travelnt.com and www.traveloutbackaustralia.com
There is one direct flight from Sydney to Alice Springs per day (about 3 hours), and usually 4 direct flights to Darwin in the north.
Alice Springs is a “frontier town” in the centre of Australia, surrounded by vast deserts, and is a complex mix of Aboriginal and European colonial history. Highlights include Aboriginal cultural and art centres like Papunya Tula Artists which represents about 120 artists, predominantly of the Luritja/Pintupi language groups of the Western Desert. www.pupunyatula.com
Muk Muk Fine Art features work from Utopia and the Central and Western Deserts. www.mukmuk.com
Mbantua Gallery represents artists from the Utopia communities (Anmatyerre and Alyawarr language speakers) including internationally renowned women Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Gloria Petyarre, Kathleen Petyarre and Aida Bird. www.mbantua.com.au
Or make a longer excursion to the Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation in the Yuendumu community, 290 kilometre northwest of Alice. www.warlu.com For an overview of the Alice art scene, visit the Aruluen Arts Centre, www.artsandmuseums.nt.gov.au/araluen-cultural-precinct
Alternatively, go bird-watching in Alice Springs Desert Park, or visit some of the world’s most venomous snakes at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre, www.reptilecentre.com.au
From Alice you can walk the 223 kilometre Larapinta Trail, or just a 10 km section of it from Ormiston Gorge to Finke River. www.larapintatrail.com.au Or go camel trekking, www.ulurucameltours.com.au and explore the MacDonnell Ranges or the Rainbow Valley.
Most famously, the Alice is the base for trips to some of Australia’s most famous natural wonders and Indigenous cultural heritage sites:
Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock), 460 km or a 6 hour drive to the south-west. There are 2 direct flight to Uluru (Ayers Rock airport) from Sydney daily. A flight from Alice takes about 45 minutes
Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), 30 km from Uluru;
Kings Canyon about midway between Uluru and Alice. Think Guy Pearce in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: “Ever since I was a lad I’ve had this dream… to travel to the centre of Australia and climb Kings Canyon – as a queen – in a full-length Gautier sequin, heels and a tiara.”;
Karlu Karlu (the Devil’s Marbles), 393 km north of Alice, 100 south of Tenant Creek. www.darwintoalicesprings.com
1168km north of Alice and 314km south of Darwin, is Katherine “where the outback meets the tropics”.
In this region, you’ll find the Katherine Gorge and Nitmiluk National Park where you can walk the Jatbula Trail (5days) and learn about the spiritual significance of the gorge from its traditional owners, the Jawoyn and Dagomen people; the hot springs of Mataranka, or Douglas (to name just a few); the Butterfly Gorge near Daly River; or travel east to the Gulf of Carpentaria and the amazing sandstone pillars of the Lost City.
A further 304 km north of Katherine, or 254 km south of Darwin is spectacular World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park. Kakadu is fed by pristine river systems, alive with the calls of 280 bird species, home to crocodiles and one-fifth of Australia’s mammal species, giant termite mounds and 40,000 years of indigenous art and culture. www.travelnt.com/kakadu www.kakadutourism.com
Across the East Alligator River, to the east of Kakadu, is Arnhem Land, belonging to the Yolngu people. Arnhem land is known for its isolation, its extraordinary diversity of landscape, and the strong continuing traditions of its people. The communities of Yirrkala and Gunbalanya (formerly Oenpilli) are especially famous for their bark paintings, while rock art can be found at Ubirr Rock, Injalak Hill and Canon Hill.
In recent years, indigenous leaders have become increasingly concerned about the viability of their remote, marginal communities and homelands as state and federal government support has been withdrawn.
For a stunning portrait of Yolngu culture, past and present, and Arnhem Land’s beauty, see Rolf de Heer’s 2006 Cannes Special Jury Prize-winning film,Ten Canoes.
Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory. www.travelnt.com/darwin-and-surrounds
Western Australia is so huge it’s hard to know where to begin. The capital is Perth. www.experienceperth.com
Three hours drive south of Perth is the Margaret River region, famous for its vineyards, gourmet food and surfing beaches… www.margaretriver.com
Try whale watching at Flinders Bay (June-August). Or see fossilized remains of Australia’s megafauna (like a giant wombat-cum-hippo!) in the limestone caves http://www.margaretriver.com/nature-adventure/caves/
Walk through the canopy of some of the tallest timber in the world: The Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk is 40 metres high up in the tingle eucalypt forest, 15 km east of Walpole on the south coast, 4.5 hours drive from Perth.
See the lunar-like Pinnacles just 2 hours north of Perth in the Nambung National Park on the Turquoise Coast. www.visitpinnaclescountry.com.au Or living stromatomolites at Shark Bay, and meet the very friendly dolphins at Monkey Mia… www.sharkbay.org.au Dolphin watching tours in Bunbury, Rockingham and Mandurah operate September-May…
swimming with whale sharks (up to 16metres long) on Ningaloo Reef between April and July each year… And see manta rays, migrating humpback whales, pods of dolphins, tropical fish, rare turtles…www.vistningaloo.com.auYou can go
Ride a camel on the white sands of Broome’s 22 km Cable Beach… While in Broome, you may be lucky enough to see the Stairway to the Moon from Roebuck Bay. Dates and times for 2017: June 10: 6:07pm; June 11: 6:55pm;
June 12: 7:44pm www.visitbroome.com.au
Drive the 660 km Gibb River Road through the heart of the Kimberley region in the north, from Broome/Derby on the coast, to Kununurra/Wyndham in the east. Kununurra is a 55minute flight from Darwin. Buy pink diamonds in the Argyle region. Or pearls in Broome.
Explore the orange and black striped dome-like Bungle Bungle Mountains in the Purnululu National Park. This area was only “discovered” (by whitefellas) in 1983! www.visitkununurra.com
And while in the Kimberley region, try to visit one of the 100,000 Gyorn Gyorn painting sites, spread over 50,000 square kilometres… Also known as the “Bradshaws”, the paintings are estimated to be 60,000 years old, quite unlike other rock art in Australia, and amongst the oldest figurative art in the world http://www.australiasnorthwest.com/attractions/Art_history_and_culture/aboriginal-rock-art
There are many cruise ship operators in the Kimberley region, and many light plane/helicopter options and combinations thereof. Try www.visitbroome.com.au/to-do/cruises or www.visitbroome.com.au/to-do/tours/air
Victoria’s capital city is Melbourne, home of AFL (Aussie Rules football), excellent dining, elegant and quirky little lanes full of bars and boutiques, great galleries, public art and graffiti, and a much loved colony of fairy penguins on Philip Island in the middle of Port Phillip Bay.
For what’s on in the art scene:
www.acmi.net.au The Australian Centre for the Moving Image;
www.accaonline.org.au The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
The Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square is dedicated to Australian Art;
From Melbourne, drive southwest along the bay through Geelong and on to the coast towns of Torquay, Lawn and Anglesea, where you can play golf among the resident kangaroos.
Then on to world famous Bell’s Beach. The excellent right hand break off the exposed reef and point is at its best in autumn and winter, but for experienced surfers only. The rest of us can watch from vantage points along the cliffs.
Apollo Bay, at the foot of the Otway Ranges, is the midpoint of the drive and boasts spectacular bushwalking, rainforests with their own microclimate, petrified forests, cliffs and waterfalls…
Then take in the views from Cape Otway Lightstation, and learn about the local Ganubanud people of the Gundidjmara language group at Mia Mia or search for fossils at Dinosaur Cove. And ponder the 1978 mystery of a young pilot who reported a strange object hovering above his plane – it’s got green lights and is sort of metallic, like it’s all shiny on the outside – before he disappeared completely.
The Great Ocean Road’s most famous feature is the 12 Apostles, limestone stacks towering as high as 45 metres above the surging Southern Ocean just off the sheer limestone cliffs. Sadly, the soft limestone is eroding the Apostles; 8 remain.
They are some 275 km, or 4 hours drive from Melbourne.
Amongst the many other highlights of Victoria are its wineries.
While the island of Tasmania looks small compared to the rest of Australia, it is in fact about as big as Ireland, Switzerland, or the State of West Virginia. Forty per cent of the island is protected in national parks and reserves.
Here you’ll find extraordinary seafood, cheeses and other gourmet delights, harrowing indigenous and convict history and breathtaking scenery. Hobart, the capital, lies between the Derwent River and imposing Mt Wellington, and its rocky subalpine summit. www.discovertasmania.com.au/about/regions-of-tasmania/hobart-and-south/hobart
It is home to Australia’s biggest private gallery, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). www.mona.net.au Each year, MONA celebrates the darkness of the winter solstice with its Dark Mofo festival. 8-21 June 2017. See www.darkmofo.net.au for a taste…
For other popular “to-dos” in Hobart and surrounds: www.australia.com/en/places/hobart/top-10-things-to-do.html
Stroll around the sandstone Georgian buildings housing galleries, boutiques, restaurants and bar in Salamanca Place, and the Saturday Salamanca Market. From here it’s a short climb up stone steps to the Georgian cottages and mansions of Battery Point.
Port Arthur was considered a model prison when established, an example of “Separate Prison Typology” based on Jeremy Bentham’s theories and panopticon. www.portarthur.org.au
Point Puer, which housed 3000 boys and youths between 1834 and 1849, was described as “a wretched, bleak barren spot without water, wood for fuel, or an inch of soil” by its first commandant. It became a model for the British “borstal schools”.
Port Arthur is 101 km from Hobart and the 90 minute drive offers detours to extraordinary sights like the Tessellated Pavement, The Blowhole, Tasman’s Arch and spectacular views from Pirate’s Bay Lookout. Or take a little extra time and walk the Three Capes Track… www.threecapestrack.com.au Four days, 46 km.
Coach tours are possible, Monday-Saturday www.tassielink.com.au/timetables/tasman-peninsula
Bruny Island, where you can eat amazing oysters, and sample local cheeses, berries, whiskies and wines. Or clamber over the crags at the Fluted Cape, gaze out at the wild Southern Ocean towards Antarctica, or take scenic flight or a half day cruise to see the high cliffs, rocky outcrops, seals, dolphins and seabirds. www.brunyisland.org.au www.brunyisland.net.auAnother popular short excursion from Hobart is to
Tasmania is paradise for those who like to walk; there are short pleasant strolls, strenuous short hikes; romantic lake circuits, and rugged multi-day challenges, like the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair Overland Track, some 65km long…
The Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park offers many other walking options, like the Dove Lake Circuit, Crater Lake Circuit (both 2 hours) and Cradle Mountain Summit Track (6-8 hours return and not always possible in winter) and a range of accommodation.
One of the more spectacular possibilities is the Pumphouse Point Hotel, at the end of a long jetty in the middle of Australia’s deepest lake. Book well ahead! www.pumphousepoint.com.au
For information about the overland track and the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park:
Please note: During the popular walking months, from 1 October to 31 May, it is essential to book the walk, pay a fee, and walk from north (Cradle Mountain) to south (Lake St Clair). During winter and early spring, bookings, fees and direction of travel are not mandated. Winter weather conditions are unpredictable and can change very quickly.
For other walking possibilities: 60 Great Short Walks www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=1315 Now available as an app
To the south of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair region is the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rives National Park, the subject of one of Australia’s most fervent conservation battles and catalyst for the foundation of The Wilderness Society.
Tasmanian east coast highlights include the Bay of Fires, considered one of the world’s hottest travel destinations by Lonely Planet. www.discovertasmania.com.au/about/regions-of-tasmania/east-coast/binalong-bay
Or make a base at stunning Wineglass Bay and explore the Freycinet National Park. www.wineglassbay.com, www.parks.tas.gov.au/?base=3363
There are about 6 direct flights from Sydney to Hobart daily, and 2 direct flights to Launceston in the north. And up to 17 direct flights to Hobart from Melbourne; 10 flights to Launceston.
There are also day and night ferries across Bass Strait from Melbourne to Devonport. Probably not such a good option for those inclined to sea sickness.