image of snorkeling the great barrier reef in Australia

A Trip Home to Australia on the Company Dime!

I have a big confession to make. I’m not really Canadian. It’s true. I’m actually Australian. Put another shrimp on the barbie while I grab us a couple Foster’s Lagers and I’ll tell you about “my trip home to Australia” tale over a Vegemite sandwich.

Before I go into it, Vegemite is actually quite terrible. As an Australian who has been away from Australia for many, many years, I have finally come to terms with this. In fact…watch what happens when you eat Vegemite (warning; video contains course language, viewer discretion advised 🙂

 

Okay, joking aside, here’s how I’m kinda, sorta “Australian”…Back in 1994 my friend and I were underage to…uh…vote. So we wanted to be of legal age to…uh…vote. So we went to a shop in Toronto and had a couple of fake ID’s made. Okay, again, joking aside— the ID was so we could get into bars.

I have a few tales about that ID, mainly how I put on a fake accent to trick people into thinking I was from Down Under. I even went as far as to buy $10 in Australian currency and carry it with me, in case I had to say “Yeah, look mate, I’ve even got Aussie currency on me”.  But have a look at my ID, I mean really, I look so Australian with my pasty-white winter Canadian face and leather jacket. Why would anyone doubt this ID:

How ya go’in mate?

Fast forward 25 years and I finally made a trip home to Australia. This is one of the perks of having a travel job, and I can’t stress enough that when you do get to visit places on the company dime, that you take as much time as possible for yourself to explore.

As luck would have it, my trip home to Australia was going to butt right up to an already booked vacation over Canadian Thanksgiving. So it was time to pivot and have my wife join me in the land down under. After all, my flights were paid, so it was practically half price for both of us to go!

So what did my visit to my trip home to Australia consist of?

Perth

Perth was beautiful, sunny, and warm, and it was the destination my employer needed me at. Work comes first, but play is right there behind it. So when I wasn’t working, I was venturing out. My four days in Perth included:

  • A bike ride down to the Indian Ocean to dip my feet
  • A Gold Rush walking tour
  • A party held for the Aussie Football League champs, the West Coast Eagles — talk about great timing and a unique experience!

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Melbourne

After Perth I was needed in Melbourne for a day. I landed late in the day so didn’t get to explore too much, and I was going to be working well into the night. After getting back to my hotel at 1 am I grabbed some quick Z’s and was up at 6 am for the three hour drive to the Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles for an amazing view of these rock formations.

image of the 12 Apostles in Australia

From there it was a three hour drive back to the airport to fly into Sydney to meet my wife. If you only have one full day in Melbourne take a drive along the Great Ocean Road – it’s truly an amazing site to see.

Sydney

My first day in Sydney was actually a 12 hour layover before flying to Perth, so I ventured out on the Big Bus Tour’s Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus. I love these buses, you see so much of a city when you have limited time, and you get some historical tidbits too! I got a great sense of the city and was able to see all the major tourist attractions. I even scarfed down a pie from the famous Harry’s Pies:

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The most memorable thing we did in the Sydney area, though, was a walk from the world famous Bondi Beach to Coogee on a beautiful sunny day. It was about a three hour walk in total, which we celebrated with a couple of drinks on a patio. And Shelly Beach was a must-see for my wife…Shelly.

Just like any major city in the world, there’s something for everyone in Sydney — from food to museums, and art to nightlife. Me, I’m a scenery person, so it was time to venture north for our favourite part of the trip…

Cairns (Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest)

When we landed in Cairns it was already everything we’d hoped for. Warm tropical weather! We decided to rent some wheels and drove out to the Daintree, stopping in Port Douglas and a few other beaches along the way. We then stopped at Mossman Gorge for a hike and a picnic lunch.

The next day we ventured up the cable-cards to the mountain village of Kuranda. It’s your typical tourist-trap, but we were glad we visited here because we took the Kuranda Scenic Railway back and that was awesome! I recommend splurging on the Gold Tickets — you get snacks and drinks of the alcoholic variety pretty much the entire way back – they didn’t even ask me for my ID 🙂

We saved the best for last though, as our last day in Cairns had us take a catamaran ride out to the open ocean to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. The GBR is on many people’s bucket list, and I’m proud to say it was on mine too.

The way out was a little choppy, and Shelly took advantage of the on-board seasickness pills. We were glad she did as it calmed her stomach, while others who didn’t take a pill had to take advantage of the on-board barf bags.

The GBR is definitely a sight to see. We snorkeled in two spots and saw a variety of fish and coral, and crossed something off our bucket list (confession: I don’t really have a bucket list, but the GBR is something I always wanted to experience).

After the reef it was home time and then back to Sydney where we happened to meet up with some friends from Canada who were arriving that same day. We spent the day teaching them the easy-to-learn Sydney transit system and had a blast bar-hopping. They took our advice and booked a flight to Cairns the next day!

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So, after 25 years I finally made my trip home to Australia and it was everything I’d hoped it would be. While in Perth I was chatting with a local about the places I was going to see, and he said “wow, you’re going to see more of Australia than most Aussies do!” But you know what, when work pays for you to travel somewhere you need to see as much as you possibly can, because you never know if you’ll ever make it back!

Now go sell all your stuff and explore your home country!

 

 

4 thoughts on “A Trip Home to Australia on the Company Dime!”

  1. Pleased you enjoyed Australia but you’re fake Aussie accent gives you away. No-one in Australia calls them Foster’s Lagers! He he. Hope to see you back here soon as there is so much to explore!

    1. Not even Paul Hogan in his comical Fosters Lager commercials? Crikey! Definitely wish we had more time to plan the trip, because yes, so much to explore!

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