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Ayers Rock or The Great Ocean Highway?

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Hello - We will be visiting in Australia for 17 days in July - flying into Melbourne and out of Sydney. We do plan on also getting up to Cairns for several days, probably renting a motorhome in the area and exploring that area. But we're uncertain about whether to go to Ayers or take the Great Ocean Hwy from Melbourne to Adelaide.

Background info - we live in Palm Springs, California - the desert. It's summer here and getting hotter by the day.

Our question: Will we be underwhelmed with Ayers because we come from a desert area? We have already seen Sedona in Arizona. It sounds similar to Ayers Rock (lots of red dirt and sceneary). Would we be happier driving from Melbourne to Adelaide (even in the winter but blessedly cool for us) and flying to Cairns? Or is Ayers a "must".

Thank you all for your suggestions, much appreciated!

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