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I freely admit that I have no idea what I'm doing

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I freely admit that I have no idea what I'm doing

Hi -

I know, in advance, that in this case I'm probably the worst sort of forum poster with relation to this subject, but hopefully some of you will take a little pity on me, because I'm simply overwhelmed.

After 4/30, I will be jobless, but with enough cash in the bank that I can travel for a while and do things that one cannot do if they are actually employed and expected to return to the office at some point. So I have some time.

I will be in Hawaii until the middle of May - after that, I still have enough HawaiianMiles to get to Auckland for a total service charge of $2.50. It makes sense to go to Australia from there.

I guess that the largest question is where do I go and what do I do? I'm 44, single and traveling alone. Traditional attractions have no attraction for me - I am remarkably ok with getting comfortable in a neighborhood and making friends with whomever is in the bar at the time.

As I said, I'm completely overwhelmed by all of the choices, even if I limit it to the east coast of Australia.

Here's what I need a sense of:

- In the major cities (Melbourne, Sydney, and maybe Brisbane), where should I look for hotels? As a general rule, I am fine with crappy rooms in very good hotels, as opposed to great rooms in terrible hotels.

- How much time should I plan for each city to get a sense for them? Is one of the big 3 better than another?

- I've been studying WWII history since I was about 7. Any areas that I need to visit to satiate that interest?

- I can snorkel for a couple of hours before I start to lose interest.

- I plan to travel to some other points in Asia - Tokyo, Manila, Hong Kong, Taiwan after I spend time in Australia. Trying to figure out what the best travel hub is for flights out.

Thanks in advance to all for their advice.

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11. Re: I freely admit that I have no idea what I'm doing

I was going to mention Darwin also!

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Darwin
Darwin
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Darwin
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12. Re: I freely admit that I have no idea what I'm doing

I second or third, or fourth Darwin for WW2 history. Pity you are not in town for the Bombing of Darwin Service in February. Lou

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Darwin
Darwin
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Seattle
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13. Re: I freely admit that I have no idea what I'm doing

I'm only planning on staying for a comparatively short time (10-14 or so days), because the rest of my trip will be taking me to Japan and Europe before finally winging my way home.

I've always done best when I identify a couple of things in each area that I will be in, and then making decisions on the fly according to both how I'm feeling at the time and whatever advice I get from bartenders / servers / concierges / random passers-by.

Someone up-thread laid out a reasonable itinerary, at least with regards to the number of days in each city that I can work with, and I think that I'll definitely have to get up to Darwin after so many recommendations.

As far as coffee goes, while we are the home of Starbucks, we only go there in case of an emergency. Too many great local places.

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Darwin
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Melbourne, Australia
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14. Re: I freely admit that I have no idea what I'm doing

You will be fine in Melbourne then, we have some excellent coffee places. I think the only Starbucks left is in the CBD & no local will go there :)

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15. Re: I freely admit that I have no idea what I'm doing

Hi,

I thought the terms Starbucks, Americans and coffee were mutually exclusive?

Cheers,

Seattle
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16. Re: I freely admit that I have no idea what I'm doing

Not sure exactly what this means, although I willingly put my countrymen at or near the top of the list of people who do things that make you scratch your head, but which make sense in their own context.

Most Seattleites that I know have a saying: "friends don't let friends drink Starbucks."

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17. Re: I freely admit that I have no idea what I'm doing

Oh, I like that saying :)

You will find that Australia has an espresso based coffee culture & filter coffee isn't common, though you will find the pour over method at third wave cafe's. For this reason we struggle with brewed coffee which has been left to sit & thus have a perception that 'good coffee' is hard to find in the US. Quite often I see Aussie's & Kiwi's asking on the forums where to get good coffee, only to be told where the nearest Starbucks is. I do now have a list of places in LA which serve great coffee though :)

A word of warning though, while many of us have high standards for our coffee, unfortunately Instant Coffee is quite popular for it's convenience. Don't expect a coffee machine in your hotel room though. If you are unlucky enough to have Instant Coffee sachets, at least you know that you should be able to find a good coffee at one of the many cafes near your hotel.

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18. Re: I freely admit that I have no idea what I'm doing

Ok... so just to lock that in.. my first thought for WWII history was Darwin also... then the AWM in Canberra.

With your interests I would visit the Naval Heritage Centre at Garden Island. They have one of the midget subs that attacked Sydney on display among other things (obviously).

http://117.55.225.121/Navy_Museums

There is also an excellent small museum at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park Sydney,

http://www.anzacmemorial.nsw.gov.au/

You might also enjoy exploring some of the harbour defenses.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Harbour_defences

...PS if you're heading to Auckland the Navy Museum there was very interesting even before they moved to new premises a couple of years ago.. should be awesome now. Their Army museum at Waiouru is excellent also if you happen to be passing that way.

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Darwin, Australia
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19. Re: I freely admit that I have no idea what I'm doing

Here is a link on some WWII sites in Darwin that may be useful.

www.defenceofdarwin.nt.gov.au

Depending on which way around you plan to do your trip it may also be useful to know that Jetstar offers flights from Darwin to Japan via Manila.

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Darwin
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Seattle
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20. Re: I freely admit that I have no idea what I'm doing

As always, I thank my fellow TripAdvisor commenters for the assistance. No matter where I've gone, I've always had assistance from you guys. I'll try to pay it forward with (at the very minimum) a trip report, as well as responding to questions when I can.