A Few Days In

How to See Australia in Twelve Days

by Jay Riedl
Sydney: Palm Beach on one side, the harbor on the other. All photos by Juliana Jaoudi.

How do you show a visiting American who wants to travel to Australia everything your vast continent has to offer? Sydney native Jay Riedl devised a two-week tour.

SYDNEY – How do I show you a good time down under? It's a valid question. I'm Skyping with my friend Julie, who's arriving in two days. I'm on my annual Christmas pilgrimage visiting family in Sydney, and Julie has decided she needs to get the hell out of dodge. Dodge is New York, and apparently Australia is the ultimate get-out.

It's Christmas Eve, and we have no idea where we're going or what we want to do. I haven't lived in Australia for years, so I'm not much help. The only thing I know is that the entire country is about to grind to a halt and go on holiday. "It's a really big country," I tell her. We discuss the options: a little Sydney, a little beach, the outback, some coastal, the rainforest, wine country, scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and meeting friends at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Essentially, she wants to see everything. In twelve days.

"Sure," I say. "That sounds doable."

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