Pre-trip Report October 2016


Written by Kev

So it seems like ages since our last holiday to visit friends in Oklahoma and Texas, but it’s only been just over a year. Mind you, we haven’t been exactly idle in that time as we’ve been pretty busy with various music events including Glastonbury and trips to Madrid and Gothenburg to see Bruce Springsteen.

This trip is just going to be Tam and myself. India and Georgia have both moved out and are making their own way in life, although a family holiday to Florida is being planned for 2017.
Tam’s sister has lived in Sydney for nearly 20 years and we’ve never been to see her. Well, it’s not like popping a few miles down the road now, is it? It’s Serena’s (Tam’s sister) 50
th birthday year and Tam decided several years ago that this would be an appropriate, if somewhat overdue, time to visit.

Serena lives with her partner Fiona and their son Perry who is 11 years old. They’ve all been over to visit the old English family (makes us sound like sheep dogs) several times over the years. The last time they came, I introduced Perry to the delights of A Nightmare Before Christmas, as he’d never seen it before. See, I knew I could fit a little Disney in there somewhere.

Our itinerary is looking something like this:

Friday 30th September – fly from Heathrow to Singapore and then on to Sydney. We are using Singapore airlines and leave around 10.00pm, so a drink or two at the airport will be required in order to snooze as much as possible on the first leg of the flight. After a 2 and a half hour stopover we fly on to Sydney, arriving close to 7.00am on Sunday 2nd October.

Sunday 2nd October to Saturday 8th October – we will be staying in Serena and Fiona’s house for the first 3 days before moving to the Sebel Hotel in Manly Beach for a further 3 days. Serena and Fiona have been planning extensively on our behalf and we have a lot pencilled in over the 6 days in order to explore the Sydney area thoroughly.
A day trip to the Blue Mountains could well be the highlight, as well as the essential views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Tam and I also plan a long walk along the coast from Manly to Spit Bridge.
We are also visiting the Capitol Theatre to see Aladdin. Even more Disney! Serena and Fiona are not doing this part, so Tam and I will be relying on Perry to look after us that night. I’m thinking he can be our Crocodile Dundee on the wild streets of Sydney. Oh, don’t worry, I shall be fitting in all the clichés and stereotypes that I possibly can in our trip report. Fair dinkum Cobber. If nobody says ‘G’day mate’ to me I’m going to be very disappointed.
I will make one concession. In light of the fact that Serena and Fiona are being very gracious with their hospitality, I promise not to mention how well the British teams did at the Olympics and Paralympics this year. Disclaimer: this is a promise that I will not be able to keep.

Saturday 8th October to Saturday 22nd October - so, when we were starting to plan this trip, we were trying to work out where to go and what to do after Sydney. Being such a vast country, it meant seeing a small corner of it or taking a number of internal flights in order to see more.
I’m not sure why, but a thought crossed my mind that it might be worth looking at cruises out of Sydney. I may not have many thoughts (none that can be safely written in a trip report anyway), but this turned out to be a real stonker.
I found a Celebrity Cruise on the Solstice from Sydney that stopped off at Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Yorkey’s Knob (stop sniggering), Darwin and Bali before ending up in Singapore. Now this achieved several things for us. We get to see a few places along the coast of Australia (if only for a few hours) and visit Bali and Singapore – all from a wonderful floating hotel.
All will become clear as we go along, but some of the highlights are a snorkelling trip in the Whitsundays, riding the Katoomba railway and a trip to visit Balinese temples.
Crikey, I nearly forgot the premium drinks package. We will be drinking cocktails.

The only slightly disappointing thing is that due to the lack of any more holiday days we will have practically no time in Singapore. We will need to disembark the ship and go straight to the airport. I think that’s a pretty minor irritant in an otherwise wonderful itinerary. One of the best things is that we will reduce the flight home by nearly half.

Tam doesn’t know it yet, but she can do the trip report for the Sydney part of the holiday and I’ll pick up the cruise element. Talking of Tam – how lucky is she? 3 weeks with her beloved husband. What girl could want more? I know she’s looking forward to it as I’ve heard her as she tosses and turns in bed at night muttering ‘Holiday… 3 weeks …. Kev’. I’ve assumed that the small tear running down her cheek at this point is a sign of pure happiness and joy.