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Finalizing OZ Itinerary

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We are a little more than 5 weeks away from our long planned trip to OZ. So excited! I'm finalizing our itinerary and would like any comments or suggestions about things to do along the way or any tweaks we should make. We are interested in seeing cities as well as wildlife and naturally scenic places. Trying to incorporate a good variety of city/beach/bush/mountain etc. We decided to limit ourselves to one internal flight since we really hate airports and enjoy a good road trip. Don't want to be too rushed but also want to see as much as we can while limiting the time in the car to 3-4 hours (5 hrs max) for each leg. Here goes:

9/20/16 - Fly PHL to BNE (via LAX)

9/22/16 - 9/25/16 - Arrive Brisbane stay 4 nights at AirBnB rental

9/26/16 & 9/27/16 - Drive to Byron Bay 2 nights at Watermark at Wategos

9/28/16 & 9/29/16 - Drive to Bellingen 2 nights at Casabelle B&B

9/30/16 - Drive to Harrington - Overnight at Ibis Styles River Lodge

10/1/16 & 10/2/16 - Drive to Katoomba 2 nights at Echoes Boutique Hotel

10/3/16 - 10/6/16 - Drive to Sydney, turn in car, 4 nights at ???? (open to suggestions on where to stay in Sydney, thinking about staying in the Rocks, but would be open to a more laid back Neighborhood/suburb with easy access to ferry terminal)

10/7/16 - 10/11/16 - Fly from Sydney to Melbourne 5 nights at ????? (open to suggestions on where to stay in Melbourne, thinking about a 2 day trip on the GOR with a tour group and an overnight somewhere along the way)

10/12/16 - Fly home MEL to PHL (via LAX)

So, at this point, I would love suggestions on where to stay and what to do in Sydney and Melbourne and anything else that is a must see or do along the way. We are pretty much set on this itinerary. We ruled out red center and GBR on this trip and want to concentrate on the highlights between Brisbane and Melbourne. Would also love any info on where to see wildlife and particularly Koala's and Kangaroo's in the wild.

Thanks all!

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