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Planning a trip in Australia

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Hi all
My husband and myself have flights booked for 28 December this year to arrive Adelaide 29th December. I would like to put my iteneray to you all and appreciate feedback and advice. Thank you in advance.

29 Dec we are staying with relatives in Adelaide. Hoping to pick up a car when we arrive at Adelaide Airport.
We are hoping to drive from Adelaide to Melbourne on 4th - 7th January, stopping for 1 night at each of Robe, Mount Gambier, Port Fairy & Princetown.
Staying in Melbourne 8th - 11th jan before driving on to Sydney, stopping at Lakes Entrance, Merimbula, Batemans Bay and Woolongong.
Staying in Sydney 15th - 18th jan then flying on to Brisbane, hiring a car for 2 days, as we really want to visit Australia Zoo.
Flying to Mackay 21st jan to visit with relatives, who are then going to drive with us to Airllie Beach where we will board a ferry to Hamilton Island, staying there 24th - 29th Jan before flying back to Adelaide until 4th Feb then flying back to the uk.
My two main concerns are 1) Car hire. I have trawled the net, read copious reviews and am still daunted about which hire company to use, after reading advice re insurance cover etc and toll road tags.
2) I have not booked the internal flights yet. My uncle in Mackay has suggested Flight Centre.
Having justs read some other blogs a post suggested to someone else to skip the drive from Melbourne to Sydney, which I may take on board. I am thinking about my husband, who will be doing all the driving, plus the many blogs I have read are tempting me to just drive Adelaide to Melbourne and fly the rest, after all he is supposed to be on holiday too.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, sorry it is so long and I look forward to any advice from you.
Donna & Ricky

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