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Very Early planning for Australia tour 2014

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Leaving from the east coast of the US, planning 14 days in Australia, hope you can give us some helpful suggestions.

Plan 5 nights in Sydney. The first day, of course, will be jet lagged and planning no significant sightseeing that day. As for the rest of the time, plan to do as much as we can, including a day in the Blue Mountains. Looking at Russell House as a base for this.

Next, fly to Melbourne, try to get a flavour of the city in an afternoon/evening. Next AM, rent a car, drive to the Yarra Valley. See some vinyards, Stay overnight.

Next, the Great Ocean Road. Will plan 2 nights stay for this. Would it be preferable to have a base in one town for exploration, or stay in different towns? The plan would be to return to Melbourne late afternoon of the second day. This part of the trip requires your assistance. Ideally, would like to have a rental place in which to do some laundry if this makes sense here.

After the night in Melbourne, its on to Cairns for 4-5 days. GBR snorkeling, visiting the rain forest. And thanks to Songdoc, want to spend one night at Thala Beach Lodge. The last evening would be at an airport hotel prior to an early flight back East.

This is a long trip and an expensive one. Hope to have your input to make the most of it. Would love any lodging recommendations, sightseeing out of the ordinary, or any other suppestions.

Cheers,
Cheryl

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