Planning Australia for this year’s big total eclipse?

Posted by David Eicher
on Friday, February 10, 2012

OK, a few days ago I told you about Astronomy magazine’s planned trip to see the June transit of Venus in Hawaii. Now I’m going to suggest you also go to Australia to see the big eclipse event of the year, the total solar eclipse on November 14. This will be a nice one, lasting just over four minutes if you’re out at sea in the middle of nowhere, but about 2 minutes near the most populous city in the path, Cairns, Queensland, in northeastern Australia.

Wikimedia Commons
Once again, Astronomy magazine will be hosting a tour for readers to travel to Australia, enjoy the magic and adventurous land with its many sights, and see the eclipse. Our travel partner, Melita Thorpe of MWT Associates, has received such great interest in the big Australian eclipse that she has six groups on the tour, all of which will witness the eclipse from the Green Island Resort, a luxurious hotel and beach complex on the Coral Sea, 17 miles (27 kilometers) offshore from Cairns.

Senior Editor Rich Talcott and I will have the pleasure of escorting readers along on this trip and observing the eclipse with them. Rich and I will both be on the “Kangaroo” arm of the tour, which takes place November 3–15, 2012. This magnificent tour will take us to the city of Darwin (where we’ll dine on a schooner), to Kakadu National Park (for incredible wildlife viewing), and ancient Aboriginal rock art at Nourlangie Rock. We’ll then board The Ghan, a famous first-class train, for a southward journey to Alice Springs. There we will see Uluru, better known as Ayers Rock, the largest exposed sandstone rock formation in the world, home to rock caves, springs, water holes, and ancient paintings.

The desert oasis will then give way to a flight to Sydney, the country’s most populous city and the capital of New South Wales. We’ll tour the city to see the famous Opera House, the harbor, botanical gardens, beaches, and skyscrapers. Following our time in Sydney, we will fly back to Darwin to make our way back to Cairns in preparation for the eclipse. We’ll see the eclipse either from Green Island or the Cairns Wharf, and follow up the great event with a barbeque at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure, one of Australia’s premier croc reserves.

The Great Barrier Reef looms offshore. Some travelers will extend their stay to go scuba diving there, or carry on with other sightseeing. The five other tour options offer many other possibilities, including Tasmania, the Great Barrier Reef, New Zealand, Perth, the Indian Pacific Rail, Canberra, Melbourne, and more.

Read about more options here.

For more information on the eclipse itself, see “2012 — A historic year for solar eclipses” by Rich in the March 2012 issue of Astronomy.

I hope to see you there!

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