This is the website of Neil McDougall, a musician/blogger/podcaster/bookie from Ayrshire.

STRAYA update – Almost time!

Greetings, fellow interweb denizens.  Some of you may recall I wrote a thing on here a few months back cataloguing my planning thoughts about what was, at that point, a distant plan to travel to Australia for an extended holiday.  Now, some 10 months after writing that post, I sit here a few days out from getting on the plane.  So, what’s happening, how did my plans change, for better or worse?  Let’s do this using the same section headers I used in the original post and compare my original plans to how things panned out.

How I’m Getting There

In my original post, I stated that my plan was to fly Emirates out of Glasgow.  That didn’t happen.  Instead, I’m flying Qatar from Edinburgh, as I mentioned as an outside possibility in the original post.  Why?  Because it was approximately £500 cheaper than flying Emirates.  Etihad had flights from EDI at similar prices, but apparently the overall soft product on QR (food, service etc) is a smidge better than EY, although there has apparently been the odd cutback (free champagne in Economy Class is no more, as I understand it.  Booo).  Skyscanner was a big help in this regard.  If you’re pricing up flights and you’re not using Skyscanner or the likes, UR DOING IT RONG.  Oh yeah, and I booked about 4 months out, as that’s apparently the sweet spot for these sort of things.

So yeah, flying from Edinburgh will be alright, I suppose.  I’m heading up to Edinburgh the day before the flight and staying at the Holiday Inn Express at the airport after a recommendation from my cousin’s wife (but before I go to Edinburgh, I’ll be having a couple of shandies with an old pal in Glasgow.  At Walkabout, of course).

I understand these Qatar flights aren’t exactly jam packed, so with any luck I’ll have a wee cheeky row of three seats to myself in the final analysis.  8 hours or so on a shiny new 787 Dreamliner (hoping to get some kip on that flight, as it’s during Western Australia’s night), three hour layover in the brand spanking new Hamad International Airport in Doha (a bit more compact than the gargantuan Dubai airport – one terminal with three concourses, but that’ll get bigger over time, apparently), then 11 hours on a 777-200LR to Perth, probably playing my 3DS and watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the IFE about 4-5 times, most likely.

What I’ll Be Doing

The word ‘Doing’ is strange, isn’t it?  If you look at it enough it starts to look like an onomatopoeic word for the sound a cartoon spring would make.  DOOOOOOIINNNNNNGGGG!


So, aye, In the OG post, I stated my plan was to be mostly about Perth, with a side trip to Sydney as a possibility, and those things are happening.  Yay!

Additionally, I also posted about the possibility of my uncle and his family’s camping trip at Easter weekend – I’ll be joining in on that too, staying at a campsite in a little holiday destination town called Kalbarri, which is about six hours’ drive north of Perth.  Living in Scotland my whole life, the idea of driving six hours north is kind of alien to me.  That kind of distance would probably drop you in the sea between John O’Groats and the Hebridean Isles.  Cool stuff.  At least I can say that ‘I went to Australia and I got fired right into some proper Aussie bush’.

The Sydney trip will be intriguing – the Mighty Car Mods Nationals (a massive meetup for the fans of the Mighty Car Mods Youtube channel) takes place the day after my uncle and I arrive in Sydney, but I dunno if we’ll be able to go, as the venue is quite a ways out from the city centre, where we’ll be spending the first couple of evenings in Sydney.  Other than that, we’ll be seeing the sights, drinking a few brews and whatnot, before going out to Chipping Norton in the Sydney ‘burbs to stay with my mum’s cousin for a few days.  My uncle flies back to Perth on the Monday, and I have an extra couple of days in Sydney, during which I’ll be doing (dooooiiiiiinnggg!  Arf arf arf) a Sydney Harbour Bridge climb.  Eek!  I’m not afraid of heights, but the prospect of hauling my fat ass up a World Heritage Site is quite the thing.

The only downer about the Sydney trip is that it’s during Wrestlemania weekend, so chances are I might not see any of ‘Mania (or the ‘will probably be way better than mania’ NXT Takeover: Dallas) until I get back to Perth.

Also planning to meet up with my mate Jonny in Sydney, which is great.  Haven’t seen the dude in a few years, and he’s the soundest of cunts, so it’ll be a treat to see him.

Perth-wise, a notable thing that I plan on checking out other than the stuff mentioned in the original post is the grave of AC/DC’s Bon Scott in Fremantle.  Not every day you get to pay your respects to a rock legend, especially one whose resting place is literally on the other side of the planet, so this is a box that has to be ticked.  Nearest thing to a celebrity grave around here is Rabbie Burns’ uncle.

What I’m Taking With Me

Remember how in the original post I said, and I quote, ‘by hook or by crook, my DSLR comes with me.  No exceptions’?

Well, turns out there is an exception – it’s called ‘buying a Sony RX100’.  What a fantastic wee camera.  I’d’ve loved to have splashed out for the Mark III or Mark IV models with the electronic viewfinder, but they were a bit too rich for my blood, so I got the Mark I, which still takes great photos, many of which will no doubt end up on here in some capacity during, or after, the trip.  Some drawbacks to the camera – the lens could be a little wider for travel stuff, at a 28-100mm equivalent, but there’s an auto-stitching panorama mode on the camera that’s fuckin’ dyno (as we say up here), so that takes a bit of the sting out, and I doubt I’ll be needing massive focal lengths, as I doubt I’ll be doing a lot of wildlife shots or portraiture.

Not taking my iPad as I originally supposed.  I decided to splash out and got myself a 13″ Macbook Pro Retina.  So much for not buying a laptop eh?  It’s a very lovely thing indeed though, and it’s nice to have a ‘legit’ OSX machine again.  Or any sort of OSX machine, for that matter, after a hooky HFS+ driver rendered my Hackintosh drive on my main PC unbootable.  Whoops.

Taking my iPhone 6S+ too, but leaving my SIM at home and getting a PAYG sim over there, probably Optus or Amaysim, mostly for data.  If I need to phone home, I’ll just use the O2 Tu Go VOIP app on wi-fi at ‘home’, or just Facetime or whatever.  I think I can get about 8GB of data for the equivalent of £25 or so, so that should do.  I hope.

3DS and games are coming with me too.  Gonnae get ALL THE MIIs at the airports and whatnot.  Streetpass like a MUFUCKA.  Green LEDs lighting up all over the shop.

What I Want To Know

Erm…not much at this stage, I mean, I fly out in four days.  Four days from the exact moment I’m typing this I should be bumming about Hamad International waiting for my flight to Perth.  So, yeah, this is happening.  If you’re not following me on the ol’ social media, hit me up on Twitter (@NeiloMac), Instagram (neilomac), Snapchat (neilomac), fuckin’…whatever.  Or just read any shite I stick up here.  No doubt I’ll be posting stuff about the trip on here as it happens as well.

Catch ye’s in STRAYA, Y’CUNTS.  Well, once I get these next two days of work out of the way.  Cheltenham Festival, oooft.

This entry was written by NeiloMac, posted on March 16, 2016 at 10:20 pm, filed under life, musings, travel. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.


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