Oz Fest #11" – "The Red Centre" Northern Territory - Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-26, 2014
There have been 10 successful OzFests so far - in Sydney, (twice) Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart Tasmania, Cairns Queensland, Adelaide South Australia, Darwin Northern Territory, Canberra in the ACT, and lastly, Perth Western Australia in 2013.
There are near no other large annual FT Doos outside the USA that have chalked up 11 years running AFAIK.
Polling of FT'ers who attended Perth, and via many private emails seems to have decided that the choice for 2104 will be -
The Red Centre - Alice Springs & Uluru/Ayers Rock, Northern Territory
The location of which, for the benefit of our overseas members is shown below - right between nowhere and nowhere.
See Australia - via OZFESTS!
Democracy rules supreme with all OzFest’s, and after some emails with Itsalongwaydown
and Sarah, ozbeachbabe
, I have started this thread today to officially kick off OzFest #11
This location has been identified as a very interesting location that will work fine, and be somewhere an Ozfest has NOT
been held in before.
As always we will get a very good roll-out, made up as always, as history assures us, of a fair % of folks who stated early on they will "absolutely 100% not be coming to that location because .............."
The very strong feeling prevailing among those I spoke to in Perth was that 2015
was a perfect year to spread our wings a little, and aim for a NEW ZEALAND
location. I feel sure that will occur. Hopefully one or more of our Kiwi Cousins can offer more suggestions for there later on.
April 25, 2015 marks the Gallipoli Centenary, an historic date for citizens of both countries. To many, Gallipoli marked when both young new Nations truly 'became of age', and became real countries in their own right. Both saw a high % of their male population volunteer to fight in a foreign war, with an equally high casualty rate. Anyway, we are getting ahead of OzFest #11.
Hobart had 40 members signed up - pretty amazing seeing only one attending was a local, Cairns saw 59 turning up – just beating out by 1 the then previous record attendance of any OzFest - number #2 in Sydney - 58 attendees.
Adelaide was a little too
big, with 75 attendees, but not all of whom were active FT'ers causing some issues. The slightly less accessible Darwin kept numbers down to previous sort of levels - 44. Canberra had 51 "Platinums" sign up. Perth had a surprisingly large number of Platinums - 59 - an equal record number of attendees
- pretty amazing given the cost and distance of attending for most -
Oz Fest #10 – Perth Australia - Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-26, 2013
The "OzFest" threads each attract between 35,000 and 57,000 page views - pretty outstanding records for any FT Doos anywhere. Each thread runs to very many 100s, well into the 1000+ post numbers. Perth 2013 had near 50,000 page views, and 825 posts, so interest stayed high.
"The Red Centre" will attract lesser numbers I feel sure, as airline access is not really ideal, but the 40 or so FT'ers that take this reality on board will enjoy the weekend I am sure, and be true OzFesters to get there and back.
Sarah has spent a good deal of time behind the scenes, and got some plans and costs in place that she will I am sure share with us later on here.
My personal plan idea that will work well I think, and book flights based on this I suggest -
1. Friday - START in Alice Springs with a Friday night dinner. Overnight Alice. We arrive on a direct Qantas flight at 12.25pm so doubtless others will be about, to have an initial lunch on Friday.
2. Spend Saturday in and around that town (there is a lot to see nearby) with Welcome Dinner on Saturday night. Overnight Alice.
3. Then charter a large coach to drive Alice Springs to Uluru/Ayers Rock on Sunday. Several of us looked up the time span to do that in Perth, and it is about 6 or so hours normal driving.
There are a number of interesting things to see spread along the journey - DO take a look at this thread before the inevitable few moans about long drives across desert
So my plan would be to do that as an early start full day, with a lunch stop en-route.
Overnight Sunday at Uluru and Sunday dinner there too. We will undoubtedly be able to talk to hotel to get a deal for combined accommodation and dinner there.
Uluru accommodation is limited and expensive, and that will be the way to go I think.
Coach would take us on a circuit of the Rock Sunday evening at Sunset, where by far the best photos are to be had.
4. Monday morning, we can almost certainly get to the nearby Olgas or whatever they are called these days - photoshoot dream. If we book the large bus for ourselves for 2 days we can do that kind of thing, and split 40 ways or so, the cost will be reasonable to all.
Members will mostly choose to fly out Monday, as we will likely do, as Virgin has a daily direct flight to SYD from Uluru.
Monday May 26 - VA 1628 - depart Uluru 13.45 - arrive SYD - 17.20
Bill was hoping to talk to a contact at Virgin about a group fare if enough folks wanted to be on the ULURU-SYD flight 1.45pm Monday. Sarah got prices for Qantas flights beween ULURU-ALICE SPRINGS as some will prefer to fly out of there.
Some will choose to linger a day or so more at Uluru to climb the rock etc, and that will be possible of course.
and I will certainly be among the first confirmed starters to attend, barring any calamities, and as with all the other Oz Fests, I'll be pleased to assist where I can, and if required.
I have attended all OzFests, and will not miss Number ELEVEN.
I've been to both Alice and Uluru several times, so no personal reason to go there, but a great location for many overseas visitors, the purpose of OzFests, and indeed masses of ozzies have neither been to either.
Regrettably I do not have as much free time as I once did, and can't add much to the mix, but hopefully we can get the basics pulled together. Bill thought he might be able to make a "reccie" visit there to assist with that.
and I have been in contact on this, and Bill and Sue are also certain attendees for The Red Centre. Bill as always has offered to lend a willing hand in the planning and cat herding, that is associated with these large events, and helped mentor the ground organisers in Canberra and Perth where needed.
Other volunteers will I am sure add links to activities and suggestions for The Red Centre in the next few posts, so we can get it all moving along.
has offered really invaluable back-up those helping organise all the previous Ozfests, and to ALL members and has agreed he’ll be able to assist again – I am sure he will "place-marker" several early posts to add to later, as he always does and assist.
He will hopefully be tracking attendees and hotels and activity sign ups etc via his legendary and super detailed Excel spread sheets, and trust he can join us in person for this one. These are incredibly time consuming to keep updated, and all attendees owe him a huge vote of thanks.
If anyone is good with detail, and is happy to volunteer to co-ordinate the payment website, please by all means put up your hand! Not my scene, as small detail is not my forte, but getting that side of things under control early on, will ensure a smooth event.
looks to be the “king of airline movements” for attendees to and from, and his most useful link to that aspect for Cairns, Adelaide, Darwin, Canberra and Perth helped lots of members buddy up for Cabs etc, and book seats together, and cut costs etc, and hopefully he can assist here again in 2014.
Flights in and out of these places are nowhere near as frequent or as flexible as large capital cities, but we are Flyertalkers and will cope with the existing realities. The airline gurus here will I am sure post deals and routes and options possible to fly into Alice and fly out of Uluru for various cities.
And hopefully we can once again call on the falconea’s
to be name tag/table tag supremos, and we are well on our way! :d
(David) did a really wonderful job as lead organiser on the ground in Canberra hometown and also in Perth, when the locals did not take up the baton and run with it as we had expected, and we all owe him thanks for a superb job well done there.
There are of course a VERY limited choice of ‘major’ brand Hotels in The Red Centre ... I'll let others expand on that aspect. That is a bit of an issue.
There is a Hilton Doubletree, and that is where I'll be staying for sure. They have a ton of great offers and rates are MOST affordable - around a THIRD that of Perth!
Having ONE central hotel location that most folks use, is a VERY large plus I always feel. The long bus delay on Saturday in Canberra, and messing about driving all over Perth CBD are prime examples where FT'ers being at one place is a HUGE plus.
And it gives the organisers some leverage to extract a great group booking deal, instead of 50 FT’ers being like Brown’s cows, and all doing their own thing.
We will always get the few who insist the Todd River Bed Motel is $2 a night less, and only 20 minutes away from the Doubletree, and they will always be with us, bless their souls.
The May "Memorial Day" weekend seems very popular with USA based Flyer-talkers, and that is the weekend that was most favoured by far. We have bowed to that request, and again chosen that weekend - as we have for all other OzFests. Around half the attendees are US based at each OzFest.
That public holiday in the USA is Monday May 26, 2014. Remember if you LEAVE Sydney on afternoon of Monday May 26, you ARRIVE back in the USA also on the morning of Monday May 26.
Tons of time no matter where you live in the USA, to get back home, unpack, have an early night and get organised for a day at the office next day etc.
Mid afternoon is the usual flight time back for United, who have direct daily flights from SYD to the west coast (to both LAX and SFO) ex Sydney.
The weather for the past 10 "Oz Fests" has been in general, superb and sunny. Despite June 1 - a few days later, being our official Winter
start date. Even in Tasmania our most southern city, we were truly blessed with unusually nice weather.
We all thought Canberra would be a weather challenge for sure, but the Saturday and Sunday gave quite perfect weather.
The Red Centre, is desert pretty much, so for overseas attendees, you can near certainly count on a weather friendly weekend!
I get the feeling this as usual, may also turn out to be a very
Gentleman ... please start your Engines .....................