As for weeks 3 and 4 (drum roll please), I found a pretty unbelievable deal, so we're going to be headed "down under" to Perth in Western Australia. We're all excited and looking forward to a fortnight in the Margaret River region south of Perth. Ursula and I have warned the kids we'll be back on our "Europe budget" for Australia and Singapore - that means sandwiches and fruit from the backpack, and no lattes or lagers in the cafe for mom and dad.
We depart Kuala Lumpur on January 20 (Ursula's birthday) and return to Singapore on February 3. (I guess this gets me off the hook for buying a present too!) We will rent a car and stay mostly at "holiday camps" - which are basically campgrounds with a few rental cabins. They aren't fancy, but have good cooking facilities, recreation facilities, and lots of other kids for George and Molly to play with. I'm also looking at a couple of farm-stay options. That would be fun too.
Anyway, that's my big news for today. Australia has been on our family travel "bucket list" since we starting planning this big adventure, and I have been concerned we weren't going to make it. This resolves that issue. As for visiting Western Australia instead of the more populous east coast, I'm okay with that too. We will get to see some of the big open spaces, some great beaches, and a popular wine producing region. In term of missing the big cities, I guess it's like spending a couple of weeks driving around Nova Scotia or Alberta rather than visiting Toronto or Vancouver. Who wouldn't love that?
BTW - the total, total cost for tickets was C$1552. That's Kuala Lumpur to Perth (a 5.5 hour flight) for C$201 each, and Perth back to Singapore for C$187. I should do this for a living!