Sunday, March 14, 2010

Next Trip - Cairns, Australia

After many months of reading, planning, deliberating and waiting, I finally booked my air tickets to Guilin, China, on 15th August 2009. The trip was to take place from 15th - 24th May 2010 and the cost of the air tickets was MYR331. With the unexpected move from Malaysia to PNG, my dream of visiting Guilin, China was shattered. The cost from PNG is now prohibitive and the time not available.

I have been in PNG for slightly over 3 months now. Moving to PNG offers new travelling oppportunities. Though Australia is never in my sight of countries to visit, I do not want to regret not visiting the country when I have the opportunity. I do not want to return to Malaysia later in life and regretting not visiting the land down under.

Air Niugini flies many times from Port Moresby to Brisbane and Cairns. These are the two most common destinations. I have been doing a fair bit of reading of both Brisbane and Cairns, and I guess between the two, my choice of destination for my first Australian visit is Cairns.

Friends going to Brisbane would usually end up at Gold Coast, with Brisbane being the transit city only. Gold Coast is famous for the theme parks such as Dreamworld, Movieworld, Seaworld, Wet 'n' Wild, etc. These were just not my cup of tea.

Cairns would offer two World Heritage Sites, namely Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree National Park.

The long Easter holidays over the weekend from 2 - 5th April 2010 offers the opportunity for me to travel. During the Chinese New Year Dinner on 14th February, 2010, I won the first prize of a return ticket from Port Moresby to Brisbane. The value was PGK1,089. However, the return ticket, including tax, to Cairns would cost me slightly more, at PGK1,300.40, even though it is nearer to Port Moresby. Well, I only needed to add PGK211.40. That's fine with me.

However, what hurt was not the ticket price. It was accommodation. Australia is not a cheap country to stay. I have booked and paid for myself four nights at Koala Beach Resort, a backpackers' place. Total price for four nights is PGK924 or about PGK231 per night or about MYR277 per night!! That hurts.

With the air tickets and accommodation taken care of, I am now looking for money to pay for the day trips to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation and possibly the trip on the Historic Railway to Kuranda/ Skyrail. That means getting about AUD500 ready before the start of my trip... and I still have to take care of my budget for food, transport and shopping.

This trip to Cairns is one hell of an expensive endeavor. I hope it is well worth it.