Post-mortem #adventuredownunder

I always conduct a post-mortem once we’re back on home soil. However much time you spend planning and preparing for a trip, there will be stuff that you learn along the way. As I mentioned in my road trip summaries, there are always more places to visit or to tarry longer than you have time available – that’s life! Friends often ask if there’s anything I would have done differently and my reply is pretty much always: “Stay longer!”

This time however I needed to be more objective as dear friends were planning to visit similar territory but with only two weeks to spare, and with two young boys in tow, it rather focussed the mind. I advised basing themselves in Byron Bay and Noosa where I thought they’d enjoy the laid-back beach lifestyles while also providing sufficient attractions. They followed my advice and look (from Instagram and Facebook) to be having plenty of fun.

In conducting my post-mortem, I like to examine every aspect of the trip looking where I could have made different or maybe better choices. Tongue-in-cheek I said we should’ve taken a helicopter ride to Wolgan Valley but that’s largely because my beloved disrupted my carefully made plans. Short of leaving him at home, there’s not much I can do about that.

There were a couple of disappointments. For example, I didn’t see a koala bear in the wild. Lots of signs, lots of statues but no actual bear. But that was offset by meeting a load of woolly, shy wombats in Wolgan Valley. I never managed to get a great photo of one as they tended to scamper off whenever I got too close, though I did visit one of their burrows, but there was no one home!

I scored my usual number of room upgrades – always pleasing – but never got to the bottom of why it tended to involve a spa bath. What is it with Australians and spa baths? Answers below please. We never made use of any of them, much prefering the ease and speed of a shower.

Despite not making any advance bookings, we ate at all the restaurants we’d wanted to visit though I suspect that might have not been so easy in high season. That said I don’t like to pre-book too many things, after all you don’t always know what you’re going to feel like eating. I like some scope for spontaneity and sniffing out places that aren’t already on tourist maps.

Some of the drives took longer than anticipated, largely due to roadworks. Aside from Wolgan Valley, we never got lost though we did wander off grid at times to better investigate some of the smaller, charming towns close by where we were staying.

Gratifyingly our holiday post-mortem contained many more highs than lows and threw up plenty more places we’d be happy to visit again.