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andi Jan 24th, 2003 01:57 PM

1st time trip - 8days
Never been to Oz before. Flying into Sydney, (3-4days?), probably want to see Melbourne and wine country near Adelaide. I love to drive; (I live in California so Big Sur is familiar to me) Is it worth it to drive from Sydney to Adelaide, i.e., the Great Ocean Drive and how long should it take to do it in a reasonably leisurely fashion? (I'm not a backpacker - I prefer comfort and good food and wine.) Any suggestions on best places to stay would help too. Thanks

andi Jan 24th, 2003 02:13 PM

P.S. Also wondering how many days to allot to Melbourne.<BR>Thanks to you all!

john Jan 25th, 2003 12:53 PM

Gee andi...8 days and those are going to have to spend a majority of your time on the road.<BR><BR>Forget Adelaide/melbourne....spend 3 -4 days in sydney and then do a driving,hunter,mudgee,blue mountains,cowra,canberra,south coast,sydney.<BR><BR>What time of year?

andi Jan 26th, 2003 11:44 AM

John-I'll be there mid-March. Forget Melbourne? The loop sounds interesting - but I've heard Canberra is not much at all. What defines &quot;south coast&quot;? Between Sydney and ?? Also: weather??<BR>Thanks much!

liz Jan 26th, 2003 12:00 PM

The answer to your question is NO. If you are in Sydney for 3 days then you only have 5 left - hardly time to get to Adelaide driving - the driving time alone return would be more than 2 days. <BR>Because of the bushfires that we have had this year down south perhaps you may wish to restructure your trip to take in Sydney and then a flying trip to the GBR. <BR>Prices are great up there in March and weather is wonderful. There are some great holiday specials. <BR>Alternatively what about Tasmania - there have been some bush fires but not where you would notice all that much. Plenty of wine in Tassie too<BR><BR>

john Jan 26th, 2003 05:54 PM

Andi<BR>Mid march is a good time for weather and to be touring in nsw. Weather should be summery by west coast usa standards.<BR><BR>Get yourself a road map of south east oz and just look at some of the distances compared to the west coast.Remember oz has only limited &quot;interstates&quot; and country roads are not the same standard as the usa.<BR>Melbourne is just too far for a driving holiday with the limited time you have.In any case it is pretty similar to many north american cities.Sydney however is special.<BR><BR>Canberra is certainly worth a visit as part of the driving tour outlined above.<BR><BR>The south coast is anything south of sydney.Remember Sydney dominates the state of new south wales.<BR><BR>The hunter,mudgee and cowra are wine districts with good B&amp;B accomodation close to the vineyards. see<BR><BR>A drive up the south coast via jervis bay,berry,pretty beach,stanwell tops,royal national park is great and IMHO rivals the PCH.<BR><BR>Get youself a very economic car rental ex bayswater car rental in sydney.

Alan Jan 26th, 2003 10:15 PM

Hi, Andi!<BR>8 days... well, I don't know if I can advise better than the people above, who have all made excellent suggestions. I do wish you could extend by just two or three days... not possible, I guess?<BR>I don't think you should miss Melbourne, but I do think perhaps you might be best to skip Adelaide and the Great Ocean Road. How about this: spend two days in Sydney, and on the third morning catch a train to Canberra. As soon as you get there hire a car from a company that will allow you a Melbourne drop-off. After two half-days looking at Canberra, head for Melbourne and catch the night ferry across to Devonport, Tasmania. In March the weather there should be great... nippy at night, pleasant days. You can take your car across on the ferry at no cost at present. Next morning... day 5 ... you are in Tasmania and ready to drive through Days 5, 6, and 7. Back on the ferry to Melbourne at the end of Day 7 (there are cabins available, so you don't have to sit up all night), arriving in Melbourne on the morning of Day 8. Return your car and see Melbourne on foot before boarding your plane at the end of Day 8. It's a bit of a rush, but you could do it, I think, and see a lot of what the east coast has to offer. I have only allowed a day in Melbourne, but I think you will at least get a taste of the city in that time... it's not nearly as much a &quot;must-see&quot; as Sydney.<BR>Hope this has been of some help.

andi Jan 27th, 2003 03:51 PM

Thanks to all of you! You're all great!!<BR>Where are the bush fires occurring? I thought they were inland, not so much on the coast? If I did decide to drive to Melbourne from Sydney, would the fires be a problem?<BR>Thanks for the Tasmania suggestion, but I'm ending up in New Zealand and some said it's too similar so skip it. Alan, if I followed your route, what would you suggest instead of Tasmania for those days?<BR>I'm happy to return these favors with any info you need about San Francisco, LA and California in general!

Alan Jan 27th, 2003 06:23 PM

Hi, again, Andi!<BR>This year there is no telling where the bushfires might strike next, so it's impossible to answer your question about inland or coastal. The chances are strong, however, that you won't be affected, wherever you go.... as extensive as it looks on television, this is a big country, and if you think of the US parallel... would fires in LA make you hesitant about driving from San Francisco to Carmel? <BR>I have never heard it said before that Tasmania and New Zealand are similar.... I will be interested to hear what other posters say about this. I can't think of a great &quot;southern&quot; alternative for those three days in Tasmania, so if you decide not to head that way, I think I would take Liz's advice earlier and head north for the Great Barrier Reef. But, before you commit yourself, wait and see if other posters agree that New Zealand and Tasmania are so similar that one precludes the necessity of seeing the other. Maybe you've been badly advised there (I don't really know Tasmania well enough to say anything authoritative about this).

lizF Jan 27th, 2003 06:43 PM

The only comparison between Tasmania and New Zealand is that they are fairly small islands. The South Island of NZ has high mountains, snow and glaciers ( Tassie doesn't have those) The north Island of NZ has thermal springs, some high mountains and is as different from Tassie as chalk and cheese. Tasmania has World Heritage wilderness country - NZ does not- Tasmania has many interesting native animals - NZ does not. Tasmania has a lot of convict history and building - NZ does not. Tasmania has Australia's most wonderful food and is reknowned for it - NZ is not, its about the same as the mainland of Australia. <BR>The fires in Australia are still raging and we cannot say where they may go at this stage. I did suggest going into Queensland because although we are not as lush and green as we normally are we have still wonderful climatic conditions, even just the drive from Sydney to Brisbane would be nice and certainly doable in that time frame. Alternatively John had some good ideas for shorter drives around the part of NSW south of Sydney and just to the north. <BR>Perhaps keeping your options open is the best suggestion for you because then you will be able to change things if conditions are not favourable. <BR>Personally I would go to Tasmania and check it out myself as I jump at the chance to go every time its offered.

lizF Jan 27th, 2003 07:00 PM

PS <BR>Another reason I suggested going to the GBR is that if this is your first time to OZ and you only have 8 days then I would be going to the best place for that time of the year and that would be the GBR. It is one of the Natural Wonders of the World and for very good reason. I just don't think that Victoria would have recovered well enough by March to get a full picture and that is not the best time of the year to go.

andi Jan 29th, 2003 10:40 PM

To all of you: Thanks again for all your thoughtful tips. Liz, I think I may take your suggestion to keep our options open; in the meantime, I'm learning lots through this message board, internet surfing and travel books, so at least I'll be somewhat informed! Looking forward to my visit!

johhj_au Jan 30th, 2003 10:05 PM

Another &quot;youger&quot; more backpacker forum but still worth visiting is the australian board at the thorn tree

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