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Old    Tings (tings00)      Join Date: Aug 2005       02-24-2010, 8:36 AM Reply   
I am heading to Australia in a couple of weeks for a vacation. We will mainly be in Sydney and possibly going up to Brisbane but wont make it up to the great barrier reef.
My main question was what is the best way to get money converted and manage it over there? I thought about trying to open a checking account so I can use a debit card. I have visa debit card through my credit union and an American Express credit card but figured they would charge a fee for every purchase. What have you guys done for international travel?

Also, any tips on what to see besides the usual. I plan on spending a lot of time at the beach and going to some rugby games. Cant wait to get over there.
Old    Jeremy (wake77)      Join Date: Jan 2009       02-24-2010, 9:27 AM Reply   
I went to Australia back in 01. It took me about a week to readjust to the time difference once I got back to the States. LA to Sydney is about a 14 hour flight.

Try the kangaroo. Best cut of meat you'll ever have, seriously.
Old    Tings (tings00)      Join Date: Aug 2005       02-24-2010, 10:00 AM Reply   
I have had Kangaroo before, next thing I know you are going to recommend vegemite to me.
Old    Trace (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       02-24-2010, 10:08 AM Reply   
Use credit cards. They can and do usually negotiate the best exchange rates.
Old    Trace (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       02-24-2010, 10:15 AM Reply   
...and as you alluded to, there are usually currency exchange fees which will vary from card to card. Make sure you use the one with the lowest or no fees.
Old    Trace (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       02-24-2010, 10:15 AM Reply   
...and as you alluded to, there are usually currency exchange fees which will vary from card to card. Make sure you use the one with the lowest or no fees.
Old    Jeremy (wake77)      Join Date: Jan 2009       02-24-2010, 10:16 AM Reply   
No Vegemite and no Fosters. I had a wonderful time, spent 5 days in Cairns and 2 in Sydney. I would love to go back, I just hated the flight. Plus, right before I left to go to AU, I watched that movie, Castaway (with Tom Hanks), so imagine what was going through my mind flying over the Pacific.

I primarily used cash and traveler's checks (they're insured if they are lost or stolen) while I was over there. Not sure what the current exchange rate is now, but in 2001 the AUD was worth about .75 in US currency.
Old    Tings (tings00)      Join Date: Aug 2005       02-24-2010, 10:45 AM Reply   
I called american express and they said it is a 2.7% conversion fee on every transaction. Thats not to bad, but for some reason i have a feeling there will be a hidden international transaction fee on top of the conversion fee.

I am very pumped, we are going for 12 days.
Old    Trace (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       02-24-2010, 11:30 AM Reply   
Amex is usually the most expensive from what I've heard. (I don't have an Amex)
Old    Richard (nauty)      Join Date: Feb 2004       02-24-2010, 1:42 PM Reply   
My buddy Brad went there last year. He did a pretty nice write up of his trip on the other site:

http://forums.wakeboarder.com/viewtopic.php?t=81115&highlight=bora+bora
Old    Tings (tings00)      Join Date: Aug 2005       02-24-2010, 1:53 PM Reply   
thanks for the link. I cant wait to get over there. T-minus 15 days but who's counting. Tahiti is the next top place on list of things to do. I will be sure and post lots of pics.
Old    Tings (tings00)      Join Date: Aug 2005       03-04-2010, 10:16 AM Reply   
It looks like we may now try to go to Cairns and the great barrier reef while we are there. Has anybody been there or can offer any tips on how to get the most out of going there. I have never scuba dived before so I am not sure if that means I can only snorkel or how that works.
Old    Alice W (aliwake)      Join Date: Dec 2006       03-04-2010, 3:56 PM Reply   
Hey Tings, I grew up in Cairns, so hopefully I can give you some tips. Firstly, you're going to love it, except it is still really hot and humid there at this time of year.
Definitely go to the reef. If you want to scuba dive, most of the big boats will train you on the way out, and you can do your first dive out there. If you don't want to dive, the snorkeling is always fantastic anyway, and if you're on the outer barrier reef the coral and animals are very shallow, so you can see plenty just by snorkelling. everything has more colour when it's shallow too.
Great Adventures are one of the biggest reef tour companies up there. I'm sure you'll have an awesome time whoever you go with though - there're heaps to choose from.
http://www.greatadventures.com.au/
diving info:
http://www.greatadventures.com.au/ou...e-snorkel.html

Not sure how long you plan on being in Cairns for, but I'd also reccommend a visit to Port Douglas, and then onto Mossman Gorge - it's a beautiful river running through a gorge in the rainforest, and the water is freezing cold and crystal clear. there're a few spots where you can swim. It's usually packed with tourits, but is one of the most beautiful places ever I think
this link lists some of the tour companies that go there, if you're not going to have a car:
http://www.thenewport.com.au/MOSSMAN_GORGE.55.0.html

Also, I meant to post the other day, that if you want to ride while you're in sydney, there's a school there:
http://www.blackdiamondwakeboarding.com.au/
and a cablepark has just opened a couple of months ago in sydney too:
http://www.cableswakepark.com/

Hope you have an awesome trip! let me know if you have any other questions.

Last edited by aliwake; 03-04-2010 at 4:05 PM.
Old    Alice W (aliwake)      Join Date: Dec 2006       03-04-2010, 4:01 PM Reply   
I just realised that I forgot the main tour boat company - great adventures is pretty big, but I actually prefer Quicksilver. If you are up for more than one day on the reef, their sailing trip to low isles is awesome as well.
http://www.quicksilver-cruises.com/
Old    RileyBangerter (steezyshots)      Join Date: Feb 2008       03-05-2010, 10:04 AM Reply   
Going to AU and not going to the Reef should be a crime! There is a reason it is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world
Old    Chris Butler (xistential)      Join Date: Jul 2007       03-05-2010, 1:28 PM Reply   
If you go to any rugby matches try and get to see some Super 14 games. I don't know if you are aware of it but it is a yearly comp with the best provincial teams from South Africa, NZ and Aus. Just the best rugby man.
Old    Tings (tings00)      Join Date: Aug 2005       03-05-2010, 2:40 PM Reply   
thanks for all the help guys. I am looking into the different diving options you gave me, that really helps, and the rain forest sounds really cool.

We are planning on going to a couple of rugby league games. I enjoy that more then rugby union.
Old    Alice W (aliwake)      Join Date: Dec 2006       03-07-2010, 3:35 PM Reply   
I forgot to say there's a cable park in cairns too!
http://www.cableskicairns.com.au/

Also, when exactly will you be here? there may be some pre-season rugby league games on, but I don't think it's properly kicked off yet, whereas super 14 are in the middle of their season, so if you get deserate, you might have to watch some union...
Old    Tings (tings00)      Join Date: Aug 2005       03-08-2010, 8:21 AM Reply   
I leave on wednesday. the rugby league season starts this weekend. I am not sure if it preseason or regular but their website says week 1. We are going to a game this sunday at the olympic stadium and then one the following friday in a town called Wollongong. These next 3 days are going to be long./

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