Where we stayed

From February 4 - November 7, 2002, Dan and Chris were on sabbatical in [mostly] Australia. This is a list of where we stayed:

NB: All prices are in Australian dollars. In 2002, A $1 was equal to US $0.54.

February 2002

3, 4 United Airlines business class 80,000 frequent flier miles We were lucky to get these tickets; this was a very comfortable flightI have to admit, though, that I don't like eating with plastic knives.
5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 Clarion Suites Southern Cross Towers, Sydney $154 + $17 parking charge - 1 bedroom apartment The first room we got was a dump, complete with burn marks on the lampshade. Changed rooms - the next one was OK. Wouldn't recommend the place though.
12 Gold Panner Motor Inn, Bathurst $80, deluxe twin share room Our first Aussie motel. Realized that a fridge and toaster are standard equipment in most, yay!
13, 14, 15 Mercure Grand Hydro Majestic, Bath Spa $140, queen room with buffet breakfast Tiny rooms, but it's a historic hotel. OK brekkie but nothing special. You could do better elsewhere.
15 The Oxford Koala, Sydney $120, twin room with parking and buffet breakfast Not very pleasant but great value for Sydney, really. V. handy if you need to hire a prostitute, apparently.
16, 17 Russel's house, Rozelle Free! No air con, but R. is a great host!
18, 19, 20 The Lantern, Thredbo $100 - two bedroom apartment The start of a trip to Kosciuszko with Neville, hence the two bedroom apartment. Great views!
21 Flag Inn Canberra $120 - two bedroom apartment Very plain concrete block building wiht basic facilities. Good value though.
22 - March 6 The Waldorf, Sydney $129 - one bedroom apartment, including parking Great location, decent facilities, all in all a great choice for a short-term place to stay in Sydney. Rooms slightly tatty but acceptable.

March 2002

7 Wangaratta Central Motel $60 - twin share Strong smell of insect spray, but that's typical of many Aussie motels! Clean and friendly, right in the heart of town.
8 MV Spirit of Tasmania $440 - twin share porthole cabin, breakfast and dinner, and transport to Tasmania (with car) Surprisingly, it was a smooth trip. OK buffet food, fun pinball machines. Cheap beer too!
9, 10 Mole Creek caravan park $10 - unpowered tent site Small, pleasant, near the caves and honey farms!
11, 12 Elphin Villas Motel, Launceston $90 - queen room Fab! Pleasantly phony Tuscan style inn.
13 Bridport Motor Inn, Bridport $74 - twin share Typical low end motel - concrete brick construction, nothing fancy.
14 Campground #2 [?], Stumpys Bay, Mount William National Park Free unpowered campsite Brrr! Realized my sleeping bag isn't warm enough! Replaced it with a down bag later in the year.
15 Heinous backpackers near Freycinet NP $60 - twin share What a fucking dump. Vinyl mattresses,  terrible toilets down the hall, miserable.
16 Emerald Cottage [?], Richmond $135 - cottage with kitchen and breakfast supplies Just down the road from a great hotel with terrific counter meals. Realized I'd been eating too much the next day, though.
17, 18, 19, 20 Port Arthur Holiday World, Port Arthur $95 - isolated two bedroom cottage, kitchen Great location, could've used a heater at night though! Typical for holiday units, cabin only had a wood stove.
21, 22, 23, 24 The Savoy, Hobart $135 - suite with kitchen Brand spanking new hotel with luxurious suites. Lame-ish health spa in basement.
25 Dover Hotel, Dover $60[?] - twin motel room out back Smelled kind of bad, but the hotel had great food. Very 1970s.
26, 27 Russell Falls Holiday Cottages, National Park $78 - two bedroom cottage Funky 1950s washing machine, and a beautiful place to stay. Home to the Yalumba Rosé Experience.
28 Oatlands Lodge B&B, Oatlands $95 - twin room Built by an ex-pat Californian, complete with US-style light switches. Pleasant enough, stingy breakfast.
29, 30 The Strahan Village, Strahan $99 - twin room OK, nothing special. Bland and touristy.
31 Burnie Ocean View Motel, Burnie $95 - twin holiday flat Noisy, good view of the sea.

April 2002

1, 2, 3 Weindorfers $66 - donga unit Ugh. Not particularly nice - but cheap. Oven in donga kitchen v. tiny. Great restaurant though - excellent ratatouille!
4, 5 The Maldon Inn, Launceston $110? - king suite A perfectly decent B&B, although brekkie = some bread and Vegemite in your fridge. Cheapskates.
6 MV Spirit of Tasmania $440 - twin share porthole cabin, breakfast and dinner, and transport to Victoria (with car) No seasickness again! Yay!
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 Wilshire Heights Apartments, c/o Apartments of Melbourne $86 - one bedroom apartment Skanky 1960s flat from hell. Great location, though, and great value. You could do worse.
14, 15 The Duxton Hotel Melbourne $125 - king size deluxe room with parking Perhaps the most magnificent place we stayed in Australia, certainly up there with the best hotels in the world.
16 Flag Inn St. Georges, Melbourne
[now the Comfort Inn St. Georges]
$112 - twin share Feh. Decrepit, dirty, and disgusting. Very friendly owner, though. Home of the phone line that fried the modem in Dan's laptop!
17, 18 ? holiday flats, Foster, VIC $80 - two bedroom holiday flat Friendly owner, quiet and clean.
19 Lighthouse, Wilsons Promontory NP $100 - two bunks in a house, BYO sleeping bag Wow. Highly recommended, but you have to walk 24km to get there!
20 Best Western Mitchell Motor Inn, Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, VIC [?]   Fine place, great food, left our laundry behind (oops - they sent it on to Sydney)
21, 22, 23 The Waldorf Canberra $159 - one bedroom apartment, with breakfast Swank new corporate apartments, very very beautiful. Extra friendly staff.
24 Stamford Sydney Airport $210 - deluxe king size room with buffet breakfast and one week's parking They even gave us a free bottle of very good red wine! The seafood buffet dinner was amazing, and the room was plush with a view of the runways... planespotter heaven.
25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, May 1 Novotel Le Surf, Nouméa, New Caledonia $2400 - package tour including hotel, flights, breakfast, and 3 dinners A perfectly ordinary middle class resort hotel on l'Anse Vata. Not bad. Great breakfasts!

May 2002

2, 3, 4, 5 Medina Grand, Sydney $165 - one bedroom apartment with parking and breakfast Sweet! Got a balcony as well that accumulated interesting debris over the weekend... mostly cigarette butts, but also a dead bird.
6 The Cattleman's, Dubbo $110 - triple The room - which was OK - was permeated by some really awful floral odors.
7 Clansman Motel, Glen Innes
[alternate Web site here]
$75 - twin room Delightful owners, tidy room. Best choice in town by far.
8, 9 Aanuka Beach Resort, Coffs Harbour
[note: property has changed hands since]
$175 - two bedroom apartment Perfectly ordinary place, wildly overpriced. Did the Mark Bingham interview here.
10 Best Western Lakeside Lodge Motel, Lismore $99 - triple Ordinary hotel room. Great vegetarian restaurant in town though.
11 Goodearth Hotel, Brisbane $99 - queen size room with parking and breakfast Not worth the money. Tired 1960s hotel that looks like it should have been built in Brasilia.
12, 13, 14, 15, 16 Binna Burra Mountain Lodge, Lamington NP $248 - twin room, no ensuite, with three meals a day and activities [e.g. naturalist-led hiking expeditions, abseiling...] One of the high points of our trip to Australia, Binna Burra is a wonderful place to spend a week. I was hesitant due to the price but it's worth every penny. I want to go back.
17 ANA Grand Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, QLD $120 - twin share Nothing special, sadly. Only Japanese touch: over-packaged toothbrushes in the room.
18 Hotel George Williams, Brisbane $78 - twin share A YMCA, actually, with great, tidy rooms. Going back in December!
19, 20, 21 Carringtons, Brisbane $125 - master suite A gay B&B. Not too bad, although I wish they didn't have a dog. Great bathroom!
22, 23 Bunya Mountains NP $80? - holiday cabin Brrrrr. Freezing cold, only a wood heater. Owners stingy with wood for the stove.
24 Overlander Homestead Motel - Roma $88 - double room One problem with small town motels: if it's nice, the décor will feature pink flowers EVERYWHERE
25 Berkley Lodge, Mitchell $85 - double room Good God what a depressing town. Overpriced, dirty.
26 Albert Park Motor Inn, Longreach $95 - double room Clean, new, and comfortable. Great buffet dinner, only $20 extra.
27 Emerald Explorers Inn [?], Emerald, QLD $120 - deluxe king room Pretty swank place. Only splurged after seeing what else was available - the 707 Motel was scary. Book ahead!
28, 29 Takarakka Bush Resort, Carnarvon Gorge NP $65 - tent cabin They were kind enough to loan us a pot to cook our rice in! Last of the mystery Japanese kari raisu.
30 Best Western Tropical Wanderer Resort, Rockhampton $90 - deluxe queen room OK. Nothing more. Clean.
31 Eungella Chalet $95 - master suite Noisy as hell, bad food, OK view (only from the suite though). Historic property, but so what?

June  2002

1, 2 Coral Sea Vista Apartments, Airlie Beach $95 - one bedroom apartment Great view out over the harbor, but up four flights of stairs...
3, 4, 5 Ocean Pro (boat) Part of a $595 dive package OK boat, but never made it to the Great Barrier Reef due to high winds
6 Mercure Inn Townsville $63 - twin share Very basic motel room but close to McDonald's and KFC :)
7, 8 Holiday Inn Townsville $95 - king room A circular high rise with great views out over the harbor and a curious 'use this phone line' modem scam.
9 Malanda Hotel Pricing: included in our Great Divide Tours 'Cape York' tour... An old wooden country pub with amazingly great food (roast root veggies). As with most Aussie hotel rooms, hard to sleep due to poor beds, paper-thin walls [note: "hotel" == "pub"]
10, 11 Jowalbinna bush camp ... Decent shady sites, nice hot showers
12 Archer River Roadhouse ... Worst shower in Queensland, but decent sites
13, 14, 15 Weipa Camping Ground ... Little shade, tiny pool, dirty showers - but no other choice in town
17 Jardine River bush camp ... Love that smell of improperly buried human excrement. And flies!
18, 19, 20 Punsand Bay Resort ... Sandy, hot, no shade... and it rained while I was sleeping outside under a mozzie net!
21 Captain Billy Landing ... Where Dan accidentally broke his camera - lots of sand and high winds. And thongs!
22 Archer River Roadhouse ... Get the Archer Burger - it's good!
23 Kalpowar Crossing, Lakefield NP ... and the end of the group tour. Hot, dusty, no shade.
24 Exchange Hotel, Mossman $35 - twin share Yet another nasty Aussie hotel. Home of indigent alcoholics begging for change at 5 AM. Good barra burgers though.
25, 26 Palm Villas, Port Douglas $110 - one bedroom apartment Great deal, but they don't have enough phone lines for modem use. Lovely owners.
27 Chillagoe Roadhouse $45 - donga unit Pretty basic stuff but what did you expect for $45? Toilet far away.
28 Undara Lava Lodge $12 - numbered campsite Great spot, but their lava tube tours are a total rip-off.
29 Croydon Council Caravan Park $12 - campsite on lawn Nice and green with great showers. Hardly the hellhole LP says it is. A pleasant stay.
30 - July 1 Adel's Grove, near Lawn Hill NP $12 - numbered campsite One of the best campsites on this trip... would liked to have stayed longer.

July 2002

2,3,4 Copper City Motor Inn $99 - 2 bedroom self-catering unit Swamp cooler in unit; not enough phone lines to use the computer. Friendly and clean, though.
5 Simpson Desert Oasis caravan park $16 - en suite campsite A truly heinous experience. Dirty, cold, sad, AVOID.
6 Birdsville Hotel $90 - quad motel room Much nicer than you'd expect; showers with hot bore water. Excellent restaurant. We had pumpkin soup and verdelho, shortly before getting completely trashed at the bar.
7,8 Cunyamulla waterhole, Innamincka Bush campsite (Desert Parks Pass required at $85/year) A lovely spot on Cooper Creek. Melancholy somehow.
9 Arkaroola $12 - bush campsite Annoying tourist resort; overpriced for what you got
10 Beresford rail siding, Oodnadatta Track Free - bush camp "Don't stay here if you value your health!" - Lonely Planet Outback Australia, 2002 edition (no idea why they wrote that)
11 Mud Hut Motel, Coober Pedy $98 - twin share motel room Best motel in Australia, hands down; Georgian cuisine at restaurant. Cheap VCR rental, good laundry facilities, wonderfully friendly owners.
12 Dalhousie Springs Free campsite (Desert Parks Pass required at $85/year) Extremely crowded (Victorian school holidays). Home of The Taj Mahal [the fanciest toilets in the Outback].
13 Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve $6.60 - campsite Crowded, but beautiful.
14, 15, 16 Rydges Plaza Resort Alice Springs $115/night - king hotel room Run-down hotel; best in town. Used to be a Sheraton; now, it's more like a Motel 6.
17, 18 Trephina Gorge $6.60 - campsite Pleasant campsite, not crowded.
19, 20 Yulara $24/night - campsite Right next to the diesel generators at the Yulara power station! Welcome to Ayers Rock, where we'll make damn sure you'll regret not having spent $500 on a motel room.
21 Kings Canyon $25/night - campsite OK campsite, marred by American teenagers up at all hours of the night gossiping with each other in the toilets. Kings Canyon is worth the drive.
22 Redbank Gorge $6.60 - campsite A problem with bees at most campsites - we had to move our tent, breaking a pole in the process.
23, 24, 25 MacDonnell Ranges Holiday Park $45/night plus $9 linen rental - budget cabin Not bad, but not good either. Home of the d'Arenberg piss-up.
26 Daly Waters pub $45 - twin share room Typical Aussie pub room - OK, but you can't sleep due to thin walls. Here, we put up with a mother getting up once an hour to check on her kids in another room. - Beef and Barra special really delicious in the restaurant, and good beer on tap.
27 Best Western Pine Tree Motel, Katherine $99 - quad room First of the freezing swimming pools. Pleasant motel, very welcome after Daly Waters.
28, 29, 30, 31 Carlton Hotel, Darwin
[now the Holiday Inn Esplanade Darwin]
$126 - queen room A wonderful hotel, but the phone lines don't work with modems. :(

August 2002

1 Marl campground, Kakadu NP $11.20 - numbered campsite OK campsite, near Ubirr, the best thing in Kakadu
2 Davidsons Arnhemland Safaris, Mt. Borradaile, Arnhem Land $820 - twin share safari tent Price includes 3 meals, tours, land access permit - still outrageously overpriced [the pricing seems to have doubled since 2000]. Beer and wine extra.
3 Jim Jim billabong, Kakadu NP Bush campsite (free) Crowded, flyblown, dusty, stinks of human excrement, but better than most other Kakadu campsites
4, 5 Lee Point Caravan Park, Darwin $70 - queen room (no ensuite) The only thing available in town due to the Beer Can Regatta being on that weekend
6 Victoria River roadhouse caravan park $15 - unpowered tent site Absolutely disgusting toilets, worthy of a Moldovan truck stop
7 Fletcher Creek, just off the Great Northern Highway Bush campsite (free) Just a wide spot in the road somewhere south of Turkey Creek
8 Purnululu NP [a/k/a the Bungle Bungles] $18 - unpowered dusty tent site As seen in Penelope Bungles to Broome!
9, 10, 11 Hidden Valley caravan park, Kununurra $20/night - unpowered tent site Crowded, hot, little shade, OK showers - we were waiting for repairs and had to stay in town
12 El Questro Station $25/night - bush camp, no facilities $25 permit required to enter station. Site wildly overpriced, horrible flies, no shade, but private
13 Silent Grove, King Leopold Ranges Conservation Park $18/night - dusty campsite Crowded as hell, but clean toilets
14, 15, 16, 17, 18 Habitat Beach Resort, Broome
[now the Habitat Resort - it's not near a beach, after all!]
$131/night - 1 bedroom apartment Pretty fabulous and great value for Broome. Lovely pool, good facilities.
19 Marble Bar Caravan Park $16 - campsite, some grass Friendly manager, pleasant town
20 Rest area on the road between Marble Bar and Newman Free Lots of loud cows!
21 Karijini NP $10 - rocky, dusty 'campsite' (really a place in the parking lot) Grubby and unpleasant. Home to Victorians with boom boxes.
22 Ningaloo Lodge, Exmouth $90 - twin share No phone jack in room! OK common kitchen
23 Potshot Hotel Resort, Exmouth $85 - twin share budget room Pretty decent room, better than their 'standard' rooms at $129. Overpriced seafood buffet
24, 25 Kurrajong camp, Coast Range NP $10 - numbered campsite (no. 9 of 10) Great beachside campsite, friendly hosts who gave us fish!
26, 27 Best Western Hospitality Inn Carnarvon $93.50 - king room Cozy! Funky 1970s ambience, complete with shag carpeting!
28, 29, 30 Tropical World Holiday Village Denham $85 - one bedroom apartment "Modern"(as per their ad) = 1960s concrete block, no phone, mice, 1950s washing machine, broken stove = SUCKS
31 - September 6 Muggon Station $200 - Landscope expedition (ie, bush camping) Who knew it would cost so much to do volunteer work for the WA government?

September 2002

1, 2 Best Western Hospitality Inn Geraldton $100 - queen size room, with breakfast and newspaper Exactly the same as the Carnarvon room, right down to the shag carpeting!
3 Kalbarri Beach Resort $99 - two bedroom apartment Great view out to the ocean!
4 Best Western Hospitality Inn Geraldton $100 - queen size room, with breakfast and newspaper  
5 Hampton Arms Inn, Greenough, WA $75 - double room It's a bookstore! No, it's a hotel!
6 New Norcia Hotel $80 - family room Noisiest room in the hotel, sadly. Old, decrepit, cold.
7 Best Western Pinnacles Motel, Cervantes $99 - queen size room Beautiful motel! Not much to do in Cervantes, though.
8, 9, 10 Quest West End Apartment Hotel, Perth $103 - one bedroom apartment Fantastic value! Great bathttub.
11 Glenn's house, Busselton Free! With dinner! Totally unexpected. Glenn's the tasting room dude at Capel Vale.
12, 13, 14 The Old Bakehouse B&B, Cowaramup $75 - queen with breakfast Friendly hosts, OK accomodation. No windows in bedroom!
15 Best Western Pemberton Hotel $95 - triple with breakfast Rammed earth building, IKEA doonas, very cool. Good brekkie.
16 Tree Top Walk Motel, Walpole, WA $93 - queen size room Friendly staff, very well appointed room.
17, 18, 19 Albany Foreshore Apartments, Albany $88 - huge studio apartment Great location, comfy beds.
20 Valley Views Motel, Mount Barker $79 - queen motel room Best motel in Australia. Fresh milk, free movies, great room.
21 Stirling Ranges Retreat (= caravan park) $59 - donga Dirty, drab, hopeless.
22, 23 Esperance Seaside Apartments, Esperance, WA $140 - two bedroom villa Absolutely fantastic place. After staying here, I wish I owned a vacation rental like this one. Fantastic.
24 Wave Rock Motel, Hyden $108 - twin motel room Overpriced. Lots of German tourists complaining about their wives in the restaurant.
25, 26 Quest West End Apartment Hotel, Perth $91 - one bedroom apartment Same room as before! Yay! I love this hotel.
27, 28, 29 The Chifley on The Terrace, Perth $89 - king size hotel room Wonderful bed, great location.
30 Mercure Hotel Plaza Kalgoorlie, WA $90 - queen hotel room Fine breakfast, best in town. Easy to walk around downtown Kal from here.

October 2002

1 Eucla Motel, Eucla $82 - twin motel room Surprisingly good given the location - in the middle of nowhere. Definitely felt like going back in time, though.
2 Port Augusta, SA $60 - twin motel room By far the worst place we stayed of the entire trip. Dirty, horrible, rude management.

Clare Central Motel, Clare, SA

$99 - twin motel room Wonderfully large room, great restaurant, friendly owners. Highly recommended.
4 Chateau Barossa, Lyndoch, SA $78.80 - double room Kind of a hole. Cold as hell, and they overcharged for phone calls.
5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Franklin Central Apartments, Adelaide $104 - two bedroom apartment; parking $15/night extra Scarily tight parking space, lovely room, good location. V. loud fire alarms
10 Best Western Limestone Coast Motor Inn, Mount Gambier [then known as the Red Carpet Inn] $80 - queen room Accidentally broke the mirror in the room... cold!
11 Best Western Magdala Motor Lodge, Stawell, VIC $90 - king room Utterly relaxing room.
12, 13, 14 The Duxton, Melbourne $102.85 - economy twin room Car was broken into; $1,500 worth of stuff stolen. Not fun. Not a particularly nice room, either. A disappointment.
15 Sovereign Motor Inn, Gundagai $85 - queen room Lovely new motel annex, breathtakingly clean.
16 Rydges Lakeside, Canberra $123.85 - Queen room including fully cooked buffet breakfast and parking Funky 1970s hotel with amazing green shag carpeting in lobby. Cool room.
17 Face and Sarah's house, Woden [Canberra] -  
18, 19 Julian and Bill's flat, Sydney -  
20 Best Western Wanderlight Motor Inn, Mudgee $76 - Queen room  
21 Best Western New England Motor Lodge, Glen Innes, NSW $77 - Queen room  
22 Hotel George Williams, Brisbane $88.80 - Twin room, parking, and breakfast Again, fantastic value!
23 Taree, NSW - I can't remember the name of this motel! $80 [?] Run by a Rhodesian immigrant and his wife, who were exceptionally helpful.
24 Hotel Grand Chancellor Auckland Airport, Auckland, New Zealand NZ $113 - Double room with parking, shuttle from airport, newspaper Kind of a strange hotel; far more English than Australia, somehow. Clean, friendly.
25, 26, 27 Crowne Plaza Hotel, Auckland NZ$80 - parking extra. Phenomenal deal on a brilliant room.
28 Baycrest Lodge, Taupo    
29 Coromandel Court Motel, Coromandel    
October 30, 31
November 1-6
The Waldorf, Sydney