19 Day Itinerary OZ/NZ in November

Oct 12th, 2010, 02:31 PM
  #1  
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19 Day Itinerary OZ/NZ in November

My husband just got booked on a business trip to the Far East ending in Melbourne where I will join him in early November. Since we probably won't have an opportunity to go back to that part of the world, we want to divide our 19 full vacation days between Australia & New Zealand.

We only have about a week to plan this before he leaves on business, and we are beginning to feel overwhelmed by all the choices, travel books, postings, etc. We hope you can help us!

As a quick intro, we are in our early and mid-60's, in fairly good health except for we each have back issues, so we won't be doing any adventures such as bungy jumping, zorbing, abseiling, and hiking is out due to hubby’s bad knee, but walking is OK. We love to snorkel so definitely want to go to the Great Barrier Reef. Other than that, we want to sightsee as much as we can to feel we have experienced at least some of the flavor of each country/area, while acknowledging that we are only scraping the surface of the large countries. We don’t want to spend a lot of time driving or riding in large tour buses (day trip mini-bus tours are OK), and will plan to fly between some of the cities. We can fine tune what we are going to see later, but are trying to figure out how to divide of the time so we can pick hub cities/areas to book accommodations there and air travel between areas.

Tentatively, we were thinking:
1 day Melbourne sightseeing
1 day mini-bus tour of part of Great Ocean Rd, http://www.atwad.com.au/tour_gor.html
1 day fly to Ayers Rock (or Alice Springs?) - see Kata Tjuta and sunset at Uluru (Ayers Rock)
1 day Ayers Rock – Kings Canyon or is that too far & is the hike too strenuous? maybe sightsee in Alice Springs instead? Would like another day in the Red Centre but probably can’t do it.
1 day fly to Cairns
1 day Cairns day trip – Great Barrier Reef snorkeling
1 day Cairns day trip – Kuranda – Skyrail – Tjupukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
1 day fly Cairns to Sydney – sightsee afternoon
1 day Sydney sightseeing, harbour cruise, bridge walk?
1 day Sydney day trip – Blue Mountains, wildlife part, or?
That would be 10 days - more or less time where?

1 day to travel to NZ (to Christchurch?) and this would leave us 8 days to sightsee NZ before flying out of Auckland on our 20th day back to the U.S. East Coast .

We haven’t had much time to research NZ but think we want to see Rotorua (Maori), Auckland, Mt. Cook, Franz Josef Glacier, take the Shotover Jet Boat, Milford Sound cruise, Christchurch, Queenstown, maybe Wellington. We love wine, but don't think we have time for wine tours. Again, we will try to fly between long distances since we don't have the time for long drives.

So much to see – so little time so please HELP!
B_and_B is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 02:56 PM
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Fly into Christchurch, overnight one night to see the Botanic Gardens (will be nice in November). Pickup car the next day. I think you will have to chose between Mt. Cook or the west coast glaciers. My vote would be Mt. Cook, it's an easy drive from Christchurch. Spend the night, you can reach Queenstown the following day. I'd base myself in Queenstown and do the rest of the itinerary. Scratch Wellington. Fly to Auckland from Queentown the day before your return.

You might consider doing a tour to Milford since you don't want to do long drives. You could also fly one way and coach back the other.
mlgb is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 03:13 PM
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Hi B&B,

Sadly, I'm going to suggest you take out the central Australian part of your trip - it's just not enough time, not near enough and if your DH has a crook knee well King's Canyon might be a bit challenging for him.

Add the spare day to your Blue Mountains trip and overnight and perhaps include the Genolan Caves and add another day to Victoria perhaps.

That's just my thoughts and I hate saying don't do something but in all honesty I think to include the Centre is a bit adventurous once I've read your itinerary.
stormbird is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 11:55 PM
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I've replied on your other thread. You will be racing, but that is fine if that is all the time you have and you want to see the highlights.

There is scientific evidence to show that while you will feel the holiday went fast at the time, your memory tell you that it went for ages.

They are big countries, but is is doable.

I would skip the North Island of New Zealand as most of what you want to do is in the South Island. From memory, the Maori stuff is predominantly tourist traps (dances and food etc.) with little to actually see, that would be worth the distance, unless you have a genuine interest in them.

Rotorua is great for the thermal activity if you have not seen hot pools and mud. There is only one geyser and they set it off using soap powder.

Christchurch is a lovely city. But a city. The recent earthquake may have some impact on what you can see or do.

Where are you from? I assume by you calling it the Far East, you are from England. Christchurch is very similar in feel to many English towns such as Cambridge. England and New Zealand are similar in many respects so focus on the south part of the South Island which is quite different.

Mt Cook is really something to look at rather than something to do.

Queenstown is in a lovely location but is mainly a tourist town.

Do you have your heart set on the Shotover river or is that just the one you heard about? There is one that leaves the wharf in Queenstown and goes across the lake before doing some of the jetboat tricks on a river. It is not a gorge like the Shotover, but gives a good overview of both the lake and river.Food for thought.

Keep in touch.
peterSale is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 12:23 AM
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I'm with Stormbird on this one, if you only have two days to go to the Red Centre I would cut that part. Don't forget you will lose at least half a day getting there from Melbourne which leaves you with a day and a half, if that. It's a very expensive side-trip.

I'd add that time into your Cairns leg. Also that gives you more leeway if the weather isn't suitable for snorkelling on one or more of the days you are there.
Susan7 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 01:12 AM
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I disagree. Seeing that you comment lots on the Carribean Forum, I assume you have snorkelled there. You need to ask yourself - what will you see at the Great Barrier Reef that you haven't already seen at other snorkel spots? Will it be worth it? Is this your dream location? How disappointed will you be if you get to Cairns and can't go snorkelling due to illness or weather.

OR is it better to see Ayers Rock and the Olgas which are like nowhere else that you have been to? How disappointed will you be if you come all this way and don't go to Ayers Rock?

Only you can answer this.

Expense is largely irelevant if it is something you have always wanted to see or do. If you have the money to go and you really want to go. It will be money well spent.

You will have plenty of daylight time, around 13-14 hours, so you can pack quite a bit in if you desire. The South Island should have even longer days being further south.

I say go for it. Pack in as much as you can cope with. You are a long time dead.

Here are the sunrise and sunset times.
http://www.ga.gov.au/geodesy/astro/sunrise.jsp

MELBOURNE Lat=-37°50'00" Long=+144°58'00"
TIMES OF SUNRISE AND SUNSET
(for ideal horizon & meteorological conditions)
Time zone: +11.00 hours
01/11/2010 Rise 0613 Set 1954

CAIRNS Lat=-16°55'00" Long=+145°46'00"
TIMES OF SUNRISE AND SUNSET
(for ideal horizon & meteorological conditions)
Time zone: +11.00 hours
01/11/2010 Rise 0639 Set 1922

AYERS ROCK ULURU Lat=-25°20'00" Long=+131°02'00"
TIMES OF SUNRISE AND SUNSET
(for ideal horizon & meteorological conditions)
Time zone: +9.50 hours
01/11/2010 Rise 0558 Set 1901
peterSale is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 06:17 AM
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Thanks for the great feedback so far. We are from the East Coast of the U.S.

Yes, we have snorkeled on several Caribbean trips, but we can't imagine not going to the Great Barrier Reef. It is good advice to have an extra day in Cairns so we are sure to get a good snorkeling day. We are torn because we can't imagine going to Australia without seeing Ayers Rock and the area, as it seems so unique.

I agree that we probably need to build in some down time somewhere, and would appreciate advice on where the down time should be in OZ and in NZ.

At this point, I think we need more help on our NZ itinerary because we have so little time there, and there is so much to see. Rotorua was on the list because we wanted to see/learn something of the Maori culture, so it there somewhere else to do that? We will be flying out of Auckland which is why it was on the list.

Thanks everyone, please keep the ideas coming.
B_and_B is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 07:57 AM
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They have Maori cultural performances at the Auckland museum.

I haven't been so can't tell you how good or not it is.

http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/?t=80

There is lots of misinformation in peterSale's post, eg that there is only one geyser in Rotorua. Perhap he only knows about one, (the Lady Knox) but there are others,eg Pohutu.

8 days is really only enough for one island. Auckland and the South Island.
mlgb is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 02:32 PM
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I stand corrected. I wasn't aware of the others. I thought I saw pretty much all there was to see in the thermal bits. Must go back again.
peterSale is offline  
Oct 15th, 2010, 10:58 AM
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We have decided that we were going to be too rushed trying to see both Australia and New Zealand so we are going to concentrate our 19 days just in Australia, and save NZ for a future trip.

I am interested in other possibilities such as spending more time in Queensland or maybe going to Tasmania or Darwin/Kakadu or Brisbane, but most likely will just spread the extra time amongst the places on our original itinerary. Would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
B_and_B is offline  
Oct 15th, 2010, 09:45 PM
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Wise choice. Tasmania is lovely and compact and there are lots of current threads about it.

There is so much to see and do here, that I would pick three or four main places and explore them well.

Cairns - Snorkel, Reef rainforest, caves, tablelands etc.

Outback - Alice Springs; Ayers Rock; The Olgas; Kings Canyon and the West MacDonnell ranges.

Sydney - Convict history; Harbour; Blue Mountains; City life and surf beaches.

Melbourne - Ballarat Gold Rush; Great ocean road and the Otway forest.

These four will give you nice overview of the range of climates and environments.

Darwin and Kakadu would be great, but it will be the start of the Wet season. Very Humid, very hot and very wet.

Anywhere you go will be fantastic and you will find lots to do.

Keep in touch.
peterSale is offline  
Oct 16th, 2010, 11:08 AM
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"We have decided that we were going to be too rushed trying to see both Australia and New Zealand so we are going to concentrate our 19 days just in Australia, and save NZ for a future trip."

I agree. That is a wise choice. And...I would stick with 3-4 locations as peterSale suggested. Regarding Darwin and Kakadu, I would also agree that it would be wise to skip them for the same reasons mentioned: the beginning of The Wet. As for the Red Centre and Far North Queensland, you will likely encounter hot & humid weather, but that cannot be avoided, so dress appropriately. Also, Darwin is about 2,000 miles from Sydney and about 4 hours by air, so that may also factor into your decision, especially since the weather will be miserable and many roads in Kakadu will be unpassable.

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Orlando_Vic is offline  
Oct 16th, 2010, 07:14 PM
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The Outback shouldn't be too bad as you will go from Air Conditioned plane to Air Conditioned bus to Air Conditioned accommodation etc.

You probably won't be able to do the climb due to all the restrictions they place on it. So the only walking will be flat. And you can choose how far you want to go.

Drink plenty, walk slow, dress right and use plenty of sun screen and you will be fine.
peterSale is offline  
Oct 17th, 2010, 12:15 PM
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OK, sounds as if Darwin/Kakadu is out, and spending more time in Melbourne, the Red Centre, Cairns and Sydney is in.

Would like to hear your thoughts on Adelaide (if we drive the GOR all the way there) or Brisbane or the Whitsundays as an additional location for us to visit?

A few questions about the Outback: We will be flying in to Alice Springs or Ayers Rock. Should we sign up with a tour group or can we rent a car and self-drive, and if so, do you recommend that? Never having been there, what exactly is "dress right/appropriately"? Will sneakers be sufficient footwear? What type of hat is recommended?

Thanks.
B_and_B is offline  
Oct 17th, 2010, 01:32 PM
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Regarding the Red Centre, I recommend a tour for these reasons:

1. Your time is limited and you will see more on an organized tour. There are many to choose from. APT (Australia Pacific Touring) is one good choice.

2. If you were thinking about driving from Uluru to Alice Springs, you will be crossing some very harsh territory and nighttime driving is definitely not recommended (because of the risk of hitting a roo).

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Orlando_Vic is offline  
Oct 17th, 2010, 10:56 PM
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Out back dress sense - It is hot and sunny with little shade.

Sneakers will be fine.

Clothes is up to you, but light long sleeves and legs will protect you from the sun.

I suggest a hat that has a brim to give you all round protection, particularly the ears and back of the neck.Plenty of sun screen.

Insect repellant. Apparently the flies can be quite annoying. You can get a face net from camping shops for about $5.

They recommend you drink about a litre of water per hour if it is hot. The forecast for this week is 25-36 degrees Celsius.

I would recommend a tour due to time available and hassle of getting a car. Ther is not much out there, that a tour won't take you too. Also if you get too hot etc. they will be able to look after you.

The park is closed at night so they would do a check of the carparks if you did have a car and did need help. At the base of the rock and at the Olgas are emergency radios. The Olgas also has several water tanks on the walk as well. This is not to frighten you, but is is the Outback. It is the people who are not prepared for the heat that get into trouble.

Enjoy.
peterSale is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 11:39 AM
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Thanks for all the good advice for the Outback.

Think we have eliminated a trip to Adelaide, so if we don't add in more days to Melbourne, Cairns/Port Douglas and Sydney we may still have 2 days, maybe 3 and wonder if we should go somewhere else on the East Coast - suggestions anyone?
B_and_B is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 01:33 PM
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I just want to elaborate on what peterSale has said about flies. Buy mosquito head nets from any sporting goods store in the US and take them along with you. They weigh next to nothing and can be purchased for no more than $5 in the US. The flies around Uluru can be awful and the head net can be your best (IMO) line of defense. They are also troublesome in Alice Springs, but I don't know the peak seasons. Believe me, the mosquito head nets are very cheap insurance.

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Orlando_Vic is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 03:13 PM
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Having the two threads running is a bit confusing - so I've copied a reply from the other one for you in case it is missed. It is about visiting Brisbane.

I would always put my hand up for someone to visit Brisbane - being a Brissie girl, born and bred.

It's the gateway to a lot of great destinations such as Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast but something you might be interested in is North Stradbroke Island. I actually have a view of the island from my deck and it is a popular spot, particularly for whale watching.

Nearby too, is Australia Zoo, which may interest you. I enjoyed my visit there and you are able to get up close and personal with the elephants there which was a treat for me. Of course there is the Crocoseum where they have the crocodile show etc.

Nearby too, is the Australian Outback Spectacular, which I went to see recently - it really is a fabulous show that features our beautiful outback and the horses and riding is outstanding. This is their new show that incorporates the story of our Light Horse Brigade from World War 1. Very well done indeed.
stormbird is offline  
Oct 21st, 2010, 05:36 AM
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Stormbird - share more on Brisbane! Will have 8 days on the Gold Coast in February.
Tks!
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