I love Australia & New Zealand, and I will be headed back to both on January 18.
My first trip Down Under was in the 1980s, when I backpacked and bicycled around the world. I spent six months in New Zealand, working for three months in Auckland and cycling for three months on the north and south islands. I spent the same amount of time in Australia, where I worked in Melbourne, pedaled along the east coast a little, then gave up the bike for a friend (from North Carolina) and a van. Rusty and I drove all the way up to Cape Tribulation. What a trip!
Since those early backpacking days, I’ve returned a few times to Australia, once on assignment for a travel agent magazine, where I took part in exploring the outback and wrote the story that appears below. If you subscribe to Avid Cruiser’s email newsletter, you’ll receive twice-weekly updates from my voyage Down Under on Silver Shadow. I’m actually doing a back-to-back. Traveling that far to get on a ship, why not make the most of it?
Exploring Australia’s Outback
Australia’s Outback is wild and rugged, and you can get there on a cruisetour before or after your Australia/New Zealand cruise.
Beneath the starry skies of Alice Springs, billy tea boils over a blazing campfire, kangaroo stew simmers on smoldering coals, and Rod Steinert, a rugged outback bushman, allows a three-inch witchetty grub to dangle from his lips.
‘The witchetty grub,’ Steinert explains while attempting to keep the writhing creature from escaping his lips, ‘was a major source of food for Aborigines who traveled Australia’s outback.’
Then, with his forefinger, he gives the white, wiggly creature a push on its tush. The Southern Cross winks as the last bit of the grub’s rear slips through his lips. ‘You have to be careful to close your mouth when you bite down,’ he warns just before doing so, ‘or else the yellow custard shoots out everywhere. They reckon that’s how Australia’s first cave painting happened.’