First time in Australia

Jun 26th, 2005, 09:14 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 21
First time in Australia

My wife and I will be traveling to Australia for the first time in Sept/Oct. Our tentative agenda calls for 3 full days in Sydney, a day to travel to Adelaide, 2 days on Kangaroo Island, a day to travel to Alice Springs, a day and one half in Uluru, half a day to travel to Cairns, 5 days in Cairns, a day to travel to Sydney, a final day in Sydney and then departing. With the exception of the last day in Uluru, we’ve allowed a full day for travel to each destination. Is this too ambitious? My wife and I both prefer nature to cultural activities. Should we add another day to Alice Springs/Uluru and delete one of the days in Cairns? Any “must see” places we’ve missed? Any advice greatly appreciated!
Mtneer93 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 11:45 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,119
Unless you intend doing some long walks in the Olgas or Uluru,the time allocated should be enough. Instead of another day at Uluru, how about a day sightseeing in and around Alice Springs. The gorges in the east and west MacDonnell Ranges are really beautiful and the Desert Park (animals and birds) is well worth visiting.
marg is online now  
Jun 26th, 2005, 11:55 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,018
I'd agree with a day (at least) in & around Alice. There are some wonderful walks not too far out of town - lots to see & do. I took a helicopter trip (about an hour) which was sensational. Also sunrise Hot air ballooning is a great way to start the day - and see the area from a different perspective.
Bokhara is offline  
Jun 30th, 2005, 06:37 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 21
Marg and Bokhara,
Thanks for the advice. We'd only considered Alice Springs as a jumping off point to Uluru but will now explore the options around Alice.
Mtneer93 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2005, 11:18 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,018
I think you'll really enjoy Alice Springs. I only went to visit my niece who's working there and was so surprised at how much it has to offer and how much I really enjoyed it. I'd go back in a heart-beat and spend another 10 days or so very happily. You can take a drive out to lots of the landmarks from there. Although you've said you're more intersted in nature than culture per se, I'd really recommend a visit to the Cultural Centre, Gueth's (?) Panorama and the Desert Park. There's a v.good hop on/hop off little bus which takes in all the "sights". $38 for 2 days, I think. Book at the Travel Agent's near Todd Mall. Couple of restaurant tips: The Lane in Todd Mall and Blue Grass.

Take a jacket - can be cold early mornings & evenings. And v.windy at Uluru & Kata Tjuta. Days will be great.
Bokhara is offline  
Jul 1st, 2005, 09:00 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 21
Bokhara,
You’ve convinced me, we’ll spend at least a full day in Alice Springs! Thanks!

Thanks also for the tips about where to eat. Speaking of food, I’ve never (knowingly) sampled kangaroo, wallaby, or any other animal, fish, or bird native to Australia. While I appreciate wild life and would never wish to see any endangered animals harmed, I also understand the need for culling animals when their population is too high (if you’ve ever been to almost anywhere in the states, deer are a serious problem in need of population control). Could you give me some idea what the local creatures’ texture and taste are like? I’ve eaten alligator (which I assume is similar to crocodile) and ostrich but never a marsupial. Thanks.
Mtneer93 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2005, 10:09 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
Have eaten alligator only once in New Orleans and it is a bit like crocodile, our crocs are protected in the wild so only farmed are available. As they're fed on chicken, that's what they basically taste of. However, croc., wallaby, kangaroo etc, are generally reserved for restaurants which specialise in native foods, mostly our meat is farmed chicken, beef, lamb, pork, veal, etc. As you'll be in Cairns, you should try "Red Ochre" restaurant for "bush" tucker, the redclaw, a type of crayfish there is rather special. "Bugs" are a delicious shellfish similar to a small lobster. Barramundi is probably the best known eating fish in northern Australia, although there are plenty of other varieties which are just as good.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jul 1st, 2005, 10:15 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
Native animal meat isn't at all common in the domestic kitchen but can be found in quite a few restaurants. I can't comment on other marsupials but kangaroo is I suppose has similarities to venison. It's very lean meat, and fillets must be cooked quickly, never well-done or they'll be too dry and inedible. Other cuts can be used for slow-cooked casseroles etc.

A local (Canberra) Chinese restaurant does very good kangaroo, thinly-sliced fillets stir-fried and served in a sort of brown bean sauce. For some reason the chef only advertised it in Chinese until we grilled him (so to speak) about what was in the menu offered to Chinese patrons.

The one time I had crocodile it was cooked tempura style (in a light batter) and wasn't too different to chicken, I thought. When I tried alligator in Louisiana it tasted somewhat fishy, I thought - is this typical?

Apart from necessary culling, native animals are protected, so you don't have to worry about munching into a protected species.

I did once see a traditional bush recipe for galah (a common pink-and-grey parrot). It consisted of throwing the galah into a pot of water with seasonings and two river stones and boiling for a very long time, at the end of which you throw out the galahs and eat the stones.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Jul 1st, 2005, 10:39 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,119
There used to be a restaurant in Alice Springs that specialised in 'different' meat - camel, buffalo, crocodile etc. If you ask at the visitors' centre, they may be able to tell you a good place to try out different things.
Make sure you check out the lookout on Anzac Hill in Alice Springs for a good view of the town.
And if you are into golf, check out the course - it's reputed to be one of the best desert courses around.
marg is online now  
Jul 1st, 2005, 10:41 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,018
Hi Mtneer93,
Well, I guess over the years, I've tasted "the usual suspects" plus a few, having grown up in the far north west, with an Aboriginal settlement on our place.(In retrospect, "our place" was on their place - but in those days we were all pretty laid back about it and just got on with sharing the land together & learning from each other in our part of the world.)
To my taste buds:
Kangaroo: Agree with NeilOz - closest to venison. V.good cooked rare(ish) & accompanied by beetroot, quince or pear.
Emu: Dark, coarse grained, bit gamey. V.good in casserole/cassoulet -slow cooked. The best I've had was cooked by a French chef in Manly (Sydney)and that was really sensational. I think it's a bit gamier than ostrich and, from memory of ostrich, a darker, coarser meat.
Snake,Crocodile: Bit like a mix of chicken & prawn.
Wild ducks: Dark, slightly gamey meat - bake or casserole - slowly.
Witchety grubs: Nutty, perhaps a little like a Brazil nut.

There is a restaurant in Alice Springs which features "Australiana" food, but I can't remember what it is. If you're interested, I'm sure the Manager at The Lane (James) will be able to tell you. I think Blue Grass had 'roo on the menu when we were there in April.

You raised the question of culling of native animals. We do have a problem in many areas with overpopulation of kangaroos and sometimes emus. Despite what some (mostly o/s, urban dwellers) assert, the fact is that there are now more 'roos than at any time since 1788 and whilst it is an unpleasant and highly emotive thing to have to do, culling is a necessary fact of life for those whose lives & livelihoods depend on being able to successfully farm/graze their land.

And, unless one is growing one's own meat and vegetables,those farmers & graziers are growing the food for our tables.

So, IMO, it is better to carry out the culling where possible so that the meat can be used either locally or for export, for human or pet food, than to leave it in the paddock where it will waste and become food for feral pigs, foxes and other introduced vermin.

BTW, as you'll be driving, keep a good eye out, particularly around dusk and dawn, for roos, pigs & emus when they come out to graze. If there's water in the table drains (along the sides of the road) and not much elsewhere, they will often be there. They're very fast, hard to distinguish and can do you serious damage if you hit one.
Bit like a deer, I guess. So, you'll understand I'm not trying to scare you - just to put you on your guard. You may not even see any - they're mostly having a rest in the shade during the day.

You'll also see herds of camels and some donkeys. I was fascinated to see a big mob near Kings Canyon.

Ooohhh ... wish I was going again !

I'm off to NY in August, and am looking forward to an adventure in your part of the world !

Bokhara is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2005, 03:08 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,077
Hi there,
I assume all your travelling between destinations will be done by air - in which case, no probs - but check that you can go when you want to between Alice and Cairns.

Re Alice Springs - the Desert Park is a great place and well worth half a day - try and catch the birds of prey show.
If you were interested in Australian history and what it means to live away from the cities - then you could visit the School of the Air, and the Royal Flying Doctor HQ on that hop and hop off bus. Also the Telegraph Station which is the reason why a settlement like Alice exists in the middle of nowhere!

But as you say you are more interested in nature, then check out the half day trip to the East Macs with an excellent small company. I've travelled with Outback Experience three times. Once back in 1998 and twice last year. Lee and Sandra know their stuff and offer small group trips that are a little bit different. You can contact them at:

[email protected].

Happy travels.

fuzzylogic is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2005, 08:48 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,530
I think the restaurant in Alice Springs is called Outback Restaurant. Food is good there as is the service and they sometimes have a country music show on after dinner. Mtneer ....if you have kangaroo ( and you should, it is delicious ), make sure they do it rare as it is too dry otherwise. Have fun!
Peteralan is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2005, 09:45 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,479
Rare kangaroo with Beetroot should our national dish!
Sarvowinner is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 11:30 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 21
Marg, Bokhara, pat woolford, Neil Oz, Peteralan, and Sarvowinner,

Thanks for all the great advice and comments! I’ll give ‘roos and emus a try and possibly some of the others. I’ve eaten insects, both intentionally and unintentionally, on several occasions. Don’t mind the crunchy ones (ants) but not found of larvae/grubs.

Bokhara,
I agree that culling is a necessity and I believe more humane than some of the alternatives (starvation, disease, hit by cars, etc.). We have similar issues of city versus more rural although even city dwellers have begun to recognize the problem with deer. This is what happens when you eliminate all of the natural predators (mainly wolves and mountain lions). For instance, primarily rural western Maryland, a state that borders Washington, DC, has a problem with bears while the eastern parts of the state, where most people live, have virtually no bears. The eastern parts of the state want to ban hunting of bears. Bear populations appear to be increasing and many areas are allowing or at least considering increased hunting of bears.

It remains to be seen if we will do any driving. Last year we spent a few weeks in the UK driving on the "opposite" side of the road. I enjoyed the modest challenge but my wife was not too fond of it.

There are many possible ‘adventures’ in NY, depending upon whether you mean NY City or the rest of the state! Lived in upstate a few years and it can be very beautiful but very different from the City! Happy travels!

We will do some cultural things while we are there so advice on those activities is also appreciated!

Thanks again to everybody!
Mtneer93 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2005, 05:02 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 8
If you're feeling adventurous, and you enjoy waterfalls, wildlife, Aboriginal cultures, and remote islands (without the crowds of the East coast) then visit the Kimberley. I recommend this website www.kimberleycruises.com.
fellowtraveller is offline  
Jul 8th, 2005, 05:29 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
Mtneer93, you mentioned cultural things - I'm sure we can come up with some good suggestions, but what way do your tastes run?
Neil_Oz is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 08:14 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 21
Neil Oz and others
Our primary cultural interest probably centers on Aboriginal life. While we love your wines, we’ve toured numerous vineyards in this country on both coasts and in the interest of time we’ll probably skip them in Australia for this trip (we will, however, sample as many of the wines as possible while there!). Any unique whiskys or liqueurs we should try? We’ll have some time in Sydney to explore the beginnings of your European-based history and welcome suggestions about how and where to learn about it. We’ll also have some time in Adelaide, Alice Springs, and Cairns but, with the exception of Sydney where we have more time, we don’t want to go too far out of our way to experience European-based history. For Aboriginal culture, we’ve considered Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide and Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park in Cairns. I know that these exposures will be somewhat superficial but I don’t think we have the time to get a more in depth experience. Maybe these can serve as a sampler for future visits. Any suggestions about either European or Aboriginal culture in or close to the cities listed above are greatly appreciated.

All of the suggestions and information provided by the various correspondents has been very valuable. Thanks to all!!
Mtneer93 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2005, 10:24 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,530
You could do a day trip by train out of the city to Parramatta to have a look at Government House and Paramatta Park, Elizabeth Farm etc for some history of early Sydney settlement days.
Peteralan is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
bemardus
Australia & the Pacific
10
Dec 29th, 2015 11:59 AM
Shianne
Australia & the Pacific
8
Feb 26th, 2011 10:50 PM
Piya
Australia & the Pacific
8
Nov 3rd, 2009 06:27 AM
TheVillageIdiot
Australia & the Pacific
17
Apr 5th, 2009 05:14 PM
sockboy
Australia & the Pacific
10
Aug 9th, 2004 04:57 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:46 PM.