2 weeks in Australia-help

Feb 27th, 2007, 03:19 PM
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2 weeks in Australia-help

What are the highlights to hit in two weeks at the beginning of May. Thinking Melbourne - Cairns - Sydney but is this the best way to spend our limited time? Planning to get the Qantas Airpass. This forum is great and I look forward to getting suggestions.
raerose is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 06:58 PM
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Melbourne, Cairns, Sydney in May would be a great trip. Australia is such a vast country and where we don't have medieval Castles and Cathederals we do have incredible scenic attractions, amazing flora and fauna, plus beautiful cities. Consequently you just can't see everything in a short time. Therefore you are very wise to limit your itinerary. What you have chosen gives you the opportunity to see big attractions from the Great Ocean Road to the Great Barrier Reef and the magnificence of Sydney Harbour. Keep the Outback for another time. You could easily spend two weeks just in that area.
DownUnder is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 07:10 PM
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Agree on previous reply, but would need to travel by road out of Melbourne/Sydney. My preference for sightseeing is Sydney, with less time in Melbourne - dowdy like Boston, but without the revolution! Sydney is more expansively Aussie ['tinsel town'], while Mel is more sedate, classic and restrained. In Cairns, do railway to tablelands - and do the reef.
AussieBear is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 12:39 AM
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Depends what you mean by "best way".

You could spend the whole time in NSW - it's all there - except maybe the snorkel/dive stuff (depends how hardy you are).

And depends what you are coming here for.

If big cities and touristville are your thing then go with Syd - Mlb - Cairns. But some folk would just hire a car and head west.

What are your interests, and what is your comfort level?
fuzzylogic is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 04:17 AM
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Thanks for the responses. Our son studying in Australia has prompted this trip, unfortunately our time is limited. We like cities but enjoy being outdoors and away from crowds. We will definitely spend more time in and around Sydney and Cairns than Melbourne but thought that would be a good place to begin. Should we skip Melbourne and divide our time between two areas? Who knows when we will get back. I also keep thinking about Ulura as we could get there on the AirPass. I would say our comfort level is above average but not extravagant. Thinking of day tours out of the city because I am concerned about driving on the other side of the road. We have never done it. Please keep suggestions coming. Will be looking at the train from Cairns to tablelands. I am considering the Air Daintree flight to Lizard Island. Would love to stay there but it would break the bank. Thanks
raerose is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 05:18 AM
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You ask if you should skip Melbourne and perhaps add Uluru--
Well, it is, of course, a matter of personal preference, but I think if you go to Australia, you should see something unique to Australia. Melbourne is a nice enough city, but it is just a city. On the other hand, Uluru is about as unique to Australia as you can get. If you go, I would suggest you plan to stay at least 2 nights so you have time to spend one day walking around Uluru and one day hiking through the Olgas. Many people rave about the Sounds of Silence dinner, but I can't comment as ours was rained out! Also, reserve a rental car for your visit there. (The traffic is light and driving on the left-hand side is not as difficult as you imagine.) If you do not rent a car, you will have to rely on tours (which I found expensive) to get you to Uluru and the Olgas and you have to go on THEIR schedule.
Finally, I would suggest you stay somewhere else but Cairns for your trip to Far North Queensland. My personal preference is Port Douglas, just an hour's drive north of Cairns. If you don't want to bother with a rental car, there are shuttle buses which you can book to take you to PD (we used Sun Palm, but there are others). There are plenty of accomodations within walking distance of "downtown" PD and the great beach and there's an excellent bus there too, so you don't have to rely on a car.
longhorn55 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 10:37 PM
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I also think adding Uluru would add more to your experience,giving another perspective of the country as a whole, instead of seeing just another city.
navgator is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 12:35 AM
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I agree it would be good to see something you can't see anywhere else on the planet. So one of those cities has to go - and with all respect to Melburnians - Sydney is by far the better bet for a visitor.

And FNQ for sure. So you must decide whether you want to take in a third destination.

You could go to Uluru (May is a good time to visit). I disagree that tours are expensive but then it depends what sort of tours you are talking about.
If the idea of camping under the stars appeals there are several very good companies who would take you on a 3 day trip (of a lifetime) and of the 'highlights' as they are generally perceived - Uluru itself, the Cultural Centre, Kings Canyon and Kata Tjuta - for about %550aud.

Extra outlay - cost of getting there - but with an Aussie Pass?

But then you don't need an Aussie Pass perhaps if you just travel Sydney to Cairns and return.

The alternative, to my mind, would be to hire a car in Sydney and go for a bit of a wander. But then you say you don't want to drive - fair enough - you are on holiday!!

There are also options for day trips/multi day trips out of Sydney that go to places other than the Blue Mts.

Hope this helps.
fuzzylogic is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 12:36 AM
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For someone visiting the US, "big cities and touristville" would describe on the one hand New York, San Francisco, New Orleans and Charleston SC, and on the other hand Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, leaf peeping in Vermont and many other scenic wonders. And I would advise a visitor to see as many of them as they can. They attract tourists for a very good reason.

Apply that logic to Australia, and by all means visit Sydney, Far North Queensland and Uluru. Do not, I suggest, "hire a car and drive west". That advice is at best misguided and at worst mischievous. One might wish to do that - perhaps - after several visits to Australia, during which other great areas like Tasmania, the South Australian wine country and the national capital had been explored, but not one one's first visit.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 05:47 AM
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Any suggestions for specific tours or tour companies in Uluru. We are leaning the direction of Sydney-Uluru-Cairns-Sydney.
Thanks so much.
raerose is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 06:59 AM
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Hi Raerose,

I second the others on the board in eliminating Melbourne from your schedule. Most visitors to Australia don't go to spend their time in cities, but rather to experience all the unique things Australia has to offer.

And many of these can be done in and outside of Sydney. Cairns also has a huge number of things to enjoy.

Now, about Uluru - if you've always wanted to see it, then by all means, include it as you say that you may never get back to Australia.

If, however, you're basing your decision on the fact that you think it's a "must do" or are trying to take advantage of the Air Pass, then you might want to reconsider. There are enough specials out that can be "tweaked" and you shouldn't fit in an extra stop "just" to use the AirPass!

The way I usually describe it for clients with limited time is: it's a long way to go for a 1 or 2 day stay and will add approx. $500 per person onto your budget.

Hope this is helpful!


Certified Aussie Specialist
wlzmatilida is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 05:04 AM
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raerose is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 10:21 AM
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I will toss in a recommendation for a few days outside of Sydney. Head down to the Jervis Bay area. We stayed in Huskisson at the Jervis Bay Guesthouse. it was fabulous location and the owner was a wealth of information. It has changed hands since then (we were there his last week of owning it), so hopefully it has stayed the same quality. But that area was wonderful. There are lots of great walks in Booderee National Park. We wanted to get down to Pebbly Beach area, but with only one night we didn't have time. If I had it to do over again I would have planned at least two nights in that area. We also drove back trhough Kangaroo Valley which was lovely, but we hit a very rainy and foggy day so didn't get to see much. Driving on the "wrong" side of the was freaky at first, but we quickly got used to it. For heading out to Jervis Bay, we took the train from Sydney to Campbelltown and then rented the car from there. That worked out much better than trying to contend with Sydney traffic.
jcasale is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 12:27 PM
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Raerose, driving in Australia takes a bit of an adventurous attitude and a place without a lot of traffic (basically the whole country.) Driving in Uluru would be great--your own schedule and hardly any cars (and all going slow to savor the views.) My husband loves left-hand driving so we got a car for the Blue Mountains and Cairns area, too, both were very easy to navigate (my department) and relatively light traffic. Have fun planning!
Sally in Seattle
SnRSeattle is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 09:33 AM
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We are now considering 4 nightsSydney - 4 nights Cairns - 3 nights Whitsundays, Hamilton Island or onboard something - 4 nights Sydney. We arrive late on the first night in Sydney and depart the morning after our last night so these will not be tour dates. Thoughts? Recommendations?
I appreciate all the comments we have been receiving!
raerose is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 09:36 PM
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Intinerary looks good but with 3 nights in the Whitsundays, perhaps the Cairns nights should be on the Atherton Tablelands to provide a different experience. Or split them between the two.
Saltuarius is offline  
Mar 7th, 2007, 01:44 AM
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Looking good - especially time in the Whitsundays (but afloat a much better idea than Hamilton Is!!).

However, re Sydney. Look I love it to bits, and you could easily spend weeks here, never mind 4 days at the start and 4 days at the end.

But if you are not the wandering the streets type - then what are you going to do with those 8 days in Sydney?

If you are planning visits to the Blue Mts/Hunter/etc, etc, Jervis Bay - why not? But all of those places are better done staying overnight,

If you are not planning that sort of stuff - then do yourselves a favour and add a day or two to Cairns (not for "Cairns" itself but for what else you can do roundabout). You might consider a trip up to Cooktown.

I'm trying to get a picture of what it is that you want.

Would a day on a bus be anathema?

Would a day spent walking in the bush appeal?

chimani is offline  
Mar 8th, 2007, 04:39 PM
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We still have 2 weeks, actually 15 nights. Need 6 nights in Sydney. How to divide the other nights...Options: Melbourne and/or Uluru and/or Cairnes (Port Douglas) and/or Whitsundays and/or Fraser Island. Just too many choices. This has been the most difficult trip we have ever planned. I have been reading all of these posts and many books and still can't make a decision.
raerose is offline  
Mar 9th, 2007, 11:14 PM
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Went for two weeks in Aug 2005. Weather was ideal everywhere except one day of rain in Sydney.

We did Fiji/Darwin/Uluru/Sydney. Fiji worked out great because it broke up the trip, but you substitute GBR for your beach stop(we had been there before).
crosscheck is offline  
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