Saturday, December 11, 2010

Where will you sleep tonight? (Day 50)

Greetings from the sunny Australia! This blog post is really long due, since we've arrived more than 10 days ago, experienced the heat of the Brisbane sun for one day and then the tropical rains have started... and didn't stop till, well, yesterday. For a big portion of time this kept us mostly indoors, cut away from the world and Internet, cuddled in a blanket with a book and a glass of wine, or beer, or juice...

Australia was the first country on our itinerary, where we had nothing booked - no transportation and no hotels, not even for our first night. While this kind of traveling style is usual for regular backpackers, certainly very few families would dear to be so spontaneous, especially on the night of a big cricket game (Australia - England) in town (= booked out accommodation).

Even though it's summer, apparently, it's still a low season in Australia, so we've got quite lucky and productive with our bookings (not with the weather though):

- using a free info phone in the Brisbane airport, we've booked ourselves into Chill backpackers in town for our first night. I've never been to a place like this before... 150 people when on full capacity, you must leave a deposit for the key, for dishes (even if all you need is just one white plate), tiny little rooms with paper walls, no control whatsoever over your AC and no possibility to open the windows, noise from the corridors comes as a natural ingredient of the backpackers, of course. All this comes at the price of 90 AUD (approx. 70 euro) for a triple bedroom per night. Even though it was a charming place for socialising and meeting other travellers, we were quite quick to decide it was not suitable for families...
- for our second night in Brisbane we've moved to B&B Annie's Inn, which was a delightful change from the backpackers and for the same price! The place is being run by one family for over a hundred years and it so reminds of some of the best Irish B&Bs. In fact, the founders of this charming place came from Kerry. I absolutely recommend this B&B to anyone, who is looking for some charm in a big city.
- we've also managed to get a great campervan relocation deal, which has allowed us to do 6 more days of camping in a luxurious 6 berth motorhome for just a fraction of what it really costs. The itinerary was very simple this time: Brisbane - Sydney (1000 km or so drive), visiting Australia's best surfing beaches on the way.
- our surfing experience has started in Caloundra though, where we've booked a 2 bedroom self contained business class apartment for just 90 AUD a night (same price as the backpackers!!!) using the website for last minute deals (the place came for less than 50% of it's usual price).

With a bit of luck last minute booking (which come with excitement of not knowing where you will sleep tonight) can give you flexibility and save a lot of money, but I guess the opposite can happen just as easily. What are your experiences on this?

Family pictures and documents in Annie's Inn

Old house squeezed in between the modern buildings

Love letters from the guests

Getting into the colonial style!


  1. A big hello to the 3 of you and a late "happy birthay" for Austeja!
    Great pics, it is so nice to travel a bit with you!
    Big hugs from both of us
    PS: your plants suffered a little bit from the snow but they look better already :))
    Gabor & Estelle

  2. So what book is there in the last picture? :)

  3. We found that while this can be adventutous and interesting, it is also very tirening, to the point when you end up wanting to talk to a travel agent to arrange your next two weeks. So our rule was never stay anywhere less than 3 nights and have accomodation booked before you arrive somewhere. Also this saves you from dodgy accommodation pushers at airports, train and bus stations, while you will have some bad experiences sometimes, because you dont see the places you are going to stay at before.

  4. @Estelle: thank you so much - for everything! It's not the first time that our plants had to suffer Irish weather extremes, they will survive, I am sure :) Greetings to Gabor!

    @Koabanga: very very secret book written by an anonymous writer... I've picked it up at Brisbane backpackers :)

    @Peti: would be hard not to agree with you... we were lucky in Australia and Vietnam so far, but it takes much more time than you are willing to spend. In just a few minutes we are moving to another hotel in Saigon, cause ours (which we booked for 1 night only and really liked) was not available anymore for tonight. I think we might want to use your rule of booking for min 3 nights from now on. Wish us luck!