2 Weeks in Australia in January

Sep 30th, 2009, 03:57 PM
  #1  
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2 Weeks in Australia in January

Looking for suggestions re: where to go/what to do during the first 2 weeks of January. We are two women, one 18, one older, who will be flying to/from SFO to Sydney. Would like to visit the GBR for snorkeling and turtles (Do we need to go as far north as Cairns, where I hear the weather is hot and humid, or are Heron Island/Lady Eliot Is. just as nice?), see some nature (Kangaroo Island? Tasmania? Others?), explore Sydney and, if it makes sense, more. Driving/flying within Australia are options.
OAKtravelers is offline  
Sep 30th, 2009, 10:54 PM
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Heron Island is a turtle breeding island so it's ideal for viewing both hatchlings going down to the water (at dusk) and mothers laying (at high tide in the evening)and both things happen in January. There's also a resident population of turtles, but in the nesting season there are lots of turtles coming in over the reef so you see a lot more of them.

Heron Island is a coral cay, so you can easily go snorkelling right off the beach. I'd highly recommend it, but be aware it's not cheap and it's not a 4 star resort--the service and food are patchy.

The attraction is the fact that it's a national park with migratory bird nesting, as well as the turtles. In January, the shearwaters are in residence (they nest underground). They make the most peculiar noise at night--a bit like someone pretending to be a ghost or a baby crying. There are also lots of noddies in the trees. The island smells very strongly at this time of bird poo. I love birds so this is an added attraction for me, not the smell, but the proximity of so many birds.
Susan7 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 12:22 AM
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Go with susan's suggestion but forget the nonsense about the weather being much different in Cairns or off shore. See the debate on the 'Weather in Queensland in December' thread and go to the website mentioned to get facts if you would prefer that over fantasy.
Saltuarius is offline  
Nov 25th, 2009, 06:50 AM
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Hard to believe the trip is just over a month away. Have decided on Sydney, Tasmania (4 full days, 3 nights) and Heron Island.

Has anyone taken the helicopter from HI to Gladstone? If so, is it worth it? Is the luggage limit a problem?

Recommendations for hotels in Hobart? Planning to use that as a base, and either rent a car or take a couple of tours. Again, suggestions welcomed.

And as always, thanks for your time and suggestions.
OAKtravelers is offline  
Nov 25th, 2009, 12:42 PM
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I've only ever taken the boat to HI, it's about 2-3 hours. There is a luggage restriction for the helicopter.

For hotels in Hobart, last time I had a splurge and stayed at the Henry Jones Hotel which is really well located and has a fabulous breakfast. It's in a converted jam factory, right by the wharves.

The time before I stayed at the Casino which is just outside town, but easy walking into town via Battery Point. The rooms were very cheap through GoStay and had fantastic views of the river. The casino itself is a bit tacky.

Can I suggest that you split your time in Tasmania, rather than being based in Hobart? The west coast and Cradle Mountain ae the main wilderness areas and they are not an easy day trip from Hobart.
Susan7 is offline  
Nov 25th, 2009, 02:02 PM
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Thanks, Susan. Would you suggest getting a car on Tasmania, and driving around? Or is there good public transport? I had been thinking that 4 days (including a Saturday and a trip to the market) was not enough time to venture too far from Hobart, and appreciate the encouragement to see more. The list of what we want to do is fairly short at this point-Point Arthur, Fayecnet, so your suggestions certainly will be taken seriously. I did look at the Henry Jones-a bit pricey. Any thoughts on the Fountainside? We are leaning toward the HI helicopter because it provides a bit more flexibility with flights back to Sydney.

Thanks again, Susan, for being so generous with your time and thoughts.
-BF
OAKtravelers is offline  
Nov 25th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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Chiming in to endorse Susan's comments, Tasmania's easy to get around and there's a lot outside Hobart to see & do. Do get a car, public transport's not really the thing outside the city.

Take your walking shoes, drive up to Freycinet and walk to Wine Glass Bay http://www.freycinetcolesbay.com/ It is heartstoppingly beautiful. Promise. I did it with my Mother and we both adored it. Best pies in the universe at the Richmond Bakery.

The Salamanca Market on Saturdays in Hobart is fabulous. Check out also the shops in the old buildings behind the markets. Wonderful craftmanship in wood, fabrics, metals. I still wear a glorious cashmere & alpaca coat I bought.
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Nov 25th, 2009, 08:08 PM
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My pleasure, BF. I agree with Bokhara get a car for going around the state. With 4 days, I'd only go to one other location so perhaps follow Bokhara's advice and go to Freycinet. You will have to come back for the west coast!

In Hobart, I don't know Fountainside, but Bed and Breakfast places in Battery Point could be another more reasonably priced option (search for Melnq8's trip report for Tasmania, I think she stayed at Battery Point).

When we went to Freycinet we stayed in Swansea at a fabulous B & B called Meredith House, great breakfast. You could also go to the Bay of Fires on the east coast.
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