By the time you read this I’ll already be in Australia and enjoying the sunshine and out of the cold, damp Norther Hemisphere winter…at least for a while. I’m in Australia for a month now that my most recent contract is complete, and before I start my new role.

It’s been another fabulous year work wise and couldn’t be happier with all of the outcomes from my hard work!

So, why not, while I have the opportunity get on a plane and go visit family and friends? Especially because, as I mentioned in last week’s story given that both Zach and Sam are away at school I have much greater freedom with my time.

This time, instead of flying from Toronto to Vancouver and then onto Melbourne I decided on a different route with a completely different airline partner. My normal go-to is Air Canada, but because I’m always on the lookout for a new experience I decided on Etihad Airlines.

I flew from Toronto to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates which is a little over 13 hours flight time. Then the best laid plans came undone as my flight was late in arriving. Initially I had planned for a two hour stopover to change flights, however, because of the delayed flight into this remote desert kingdom as well as a change of terminal required I found myself running to catch my flight that was already “boarding” as I landed.

Having made the flight successfully it was an uneventful and easy final 14 hours to Melbourne. 🙂

I left on Saturday night and arrived on Monday night…thanks to the International Dateline and flying time I missed another day in my lifetime calendar!

My plan is spend time with my sister and brother-in-law in Ballarat, with some day trips to Melbourne to visit friends and catch up. As well, one of my brothers lives in Tasmania and he and his wife haven’t feeling well and so definitely have a trip booked to visit them.

I’m not sure if any of you have been to Tasmania when visiting Australia, but it should be on your list of places to visit, as not only is it filled with pastoral beauty, but it’s quiet and peaceful and just the type of place that you can seek solitude and simplicity in your life.

It’s a throwback to an uncomplicated time and place…very chill! Stay tuned for some photos from my visit to Tassie.

I also have two brothers and their families that live close to my sister and hoping to also catch up with them. Yep, they’re still in the town I was born and brought up in (Pop. 500).

There are a couple of things that are guaranteed when visiting Australia at this time of year. Firstly, the weather is incredible! Although anything is better than a cold, dark, arctic freeze at this time of year in Canada.

I’ll be basking gorgeous 20 – 30C weather. Now that makes me smile 🙂

Just love the heat of the sun on my skin! Just sayin…

Second, and this is the “less good” part, the exorbitant price of an airline ticket! Given that it’s high season there is a premium to be paid to get there.

Clearly, if you’re going to Australia you really want to go as no matter which way you cut it, its going to be expensive and long. I’m talking a flight time of between 25 and 30 hours. Not for the faint of heart!

Actually, I don’t mind long flights and become used to them given my love of travel. My advice is to embrace every aspect of your trip, even the flight, it makes for a much less stress free experience.

I often spend my time contemplating the world (nothing like a little navel gazing), meditating, sleeping, writing and watching a movie or three.

I often get asked how long should I go to Australia for? Well, although this may be surprising to some people, but Australia is the same size as the continental United States but with only 8% of the population… . Crazy huh?!

In addition, of the 25 million inhabitants more than 90% live in the major cities – Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart. This means that if you want a real Australian experience you’ll need to get outside the cities!

Australia is known for its big sky, laid back culture, cafe scene and beaches. Clearly, not necessarily in that order. 🙂

So where to start is the question. So many choices of things to see and do once your jet lag is in hand (usually a couple of days, but be prepared to be up in the middle of the night).

Generally speaking you’re going to fly into either Sydney or Melbourne as your port of entry. Both incredible cities and definitely worth spending a couple of days (depending on how long you’re in Australia) exploring.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be taking you to some of Australia’s most beautiful regions so stay tuned!

Until next week