After leaving Cairns we spent a couple of days in Sydney, using the ship as our hotel. We had a guided tour of the city and met up with one of my high school friends who had moved there after college and ended up marrying an Australian guy and had recently given birth to their first child. We had a nice leisurely diner and drinks at a corner pub before making it back to the ship.
Our first stop after departing Sydney was Melbourne. Melbourne is located in a large inlet that makes a perfect natural harbor. It also makes for good sightseeing as the ship is navigating its way to the dock. Melbourne was one of my favorite cities that I’ve visited, partly because we had an outstanding guide, but also partly because it had an artsy and alternative feel.
The true highlight of the cruise came after leaving Melbourne and sailing across the South Pacific to New Zealand’s South Island. Early in the morning after arriving our ship carefully navigated the narrow and very scenic Milford Sound. The steep rock banks had been carved over thousands of years by a slowly retreating glacier. They were covered in vegetation with the occasional waterfall. At the end of the sound was the glacier itself.
Probably the coolest part of this journey was when the mountaintop called Miter’s peak emerged from the cloud cover, followed by the stunning view of the glacier. This is one of the times when having a balcony really changes your cruise. One problem is that many cruise ships have very few if any accessible rooms with a balcony. Its important that you book early. We at All Access Travel will assist you in making sure your cruise experience is what you want it to be. Contact me for any travel needs you have firstname.lastname@example.org
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Packing your prescription pills is necessary for every trip. For me, however, it is critical. If I don’t have my meds then my function seriously decreases and my entire trip could be ruined. Therefore I have worked on a system to make sure I never leave home without them (and an extra set as well).
This first suggestion seems pretty obvious but my Mom who is a physician tells me that I would be surprised at the number of people who call their office at the last minute. Make sure you have enough pills to last your entire trip. Don’t call your doctor’s office the morning you are leaving with a panic message- “I’m leaving town today and need a refill right now.” Trust me, you won’t be popular at the doctor’s office and you may not be able to get a refill. I have learned to count my pills a full week ahead of a trip. If you don’t have enough and your refill is not due you can often get a “vacation override” from the drug store. But this won’t happen if you don’t plan ahead. The drug store has to actually call your insurance company to get this approved so beware and plan.
Once you have all your meds there are several ways to transport them with you. It’s very cumbersome to carry all your med bottles so I have come up with some ideas. First you really need two sets of meds. If you are traveling with someone you should each have a set of meds. Even if you don’t have enough for two full sets for the time you are gone be sure your companion at least has a few days of everything you need. I know you aren’t planning to leave your bag on the plane but it does happen. And by the way, don’t EVER put your meds in your checked luggage. (My Mom says she has heard it all when it comes to patients out of town and out of medication.) Yes luggage does get lost, you do put down your carry on bag and forget it, some people even check their pills.
I take all my prescription labels and photocopy them on a single sheet. This is really helpful both for security and in case you end up needing to call about a refill. You can peel the labels off the bottles or just copy the extra info from the sheet/receipt you are given every time you fill your meds.
I then put one week supply of meds in a medication case. I’m giving a link to the one I use since it is very secure . I then put this in a zip lock gallon bag and put it in my bookbag. (I’ll be posting more about general packing tips in the future .) I put my copy of the labels in the bag with the pills. Then I take the bottles and make sure there is one full week longer than I plan on being away and put them in another ziplock bag. This goes in my companion’s bag. If you have those giant bottles of 3 month’s supply you have a couple of options. You can ask for a set of smaller bottles just to use for travel (be sure and label them or ask the pharmacist to label them for you), or you can set up a week’s supply for every week you are gone plus an extra and put this in your medication holder. Just be sure you have a copy of all the labels.
Hope you never leave home again without your meds. Your companion, your friends and your doctor will thank you. Remember if you have kids don’t use any pill containers that do not have safety caps. There is a 7 day pill container which is child proof.
This week I am going to return to my 2013 trip to Australia. After the ordeal that was the flight over, we were exhausted. I was cranky, and my mom was hobbled by an ankle injury. Hopefully if you ever make the trip to Australia you won’t arrive in nearly as bad of shape as we did, but just in case I highly recommend you do what we did and spend your first three days on the north shore in Cairns.
Yeah, the extra flight was brutal, but it turned out to be worth the extra hassle. By the time we finally arrived we only had energy to order room service and collapse into bed at 7PM. By the time we awoke 12-13 hours later we felt a hundred times better ( except for my poor mom’s ankle).
Cairns is a tropical paradise with luscious rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef just off its shoreline. On the first day we took an old train to the top of a small mountain that included stunning vistas and a scenic waterfall. The train was accessible, but the only accessible car didn’t have enough seats for our friends to sit with us. The views were spectacular however and at the top and it was pretty easy to get around the little town. There was a great little animal park where you could see native animals and birds up close. Most of these are quite exotic. On the way down we rode in a gondola over top of the rainforest canopy. You could hear the animals and catch a glimpse of the occasional bird many of which are brightly colored. The secret to a gondola and accessibility is to make sure the gondola has totally stopped before trying to board. This was no problem at Cairns as everyone was very helpful.
The next day we took a glass bottom boat and semi submarine to the Great Barrier Reef. This was truly wonderful and made me envious of those that scuba dive. The semi-submarine wasn’t really accessible in the traditional sense but the staff was great helping me get down there and they had a glass bottom boat that was accessible and gave almost as good a view of the reef. We had leisurely meals every night and woke up on the third day rejuvenated and ready to fly back to Sydney.