3 weeks Australia 2 weeks NZ

Old Apr 25th, 2009, 01:59 PM
  #1  
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3 weeks Australia 2 weeks NZ

I am trying to make the most of our 5 weeks in Australia/NZ. We fly into Auckland mid Oct. I'm thinking we will spend a few days in that city then head over to Australia for app 3 weeks then back to NZ for the remainder. We must fly home from Auckland. I am open to all suggestions. Priorities are Great Barrier Reef and rainforests. My husband thinks Uluru will take too much time but I don't want to miss it. Also the GOR sounds right up our alley. We love hiking and even driving, and are not so much into cities and museums or wineries. Also might rather see Tasmania than Perth or Darwin. We also love the ocean and all the wildlife. So much to see, so little time.....
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Old Apr 25th, 2009, 09:36 PM
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If you have three weeks to spend in Australia, you certainly have time to go to Uluru. For instance, you could fly to Uluru (Ayers Rock Airport) from Sydney on "Day 1", arriving around noon. Spend half that day, all of the next and then depart on "Day 3" at various times depending on where you are going next (but you'll either be routed through Alice Springs or Sydney). In that time, you can hike around the base of Uluru (I've done it twice and highly recommend it), do a guided walk with a ranger, visit the cultural center, drive to Kata Tjuta and do a couple of hikes, do the Sounds of Silence Dinner, do a sunrise or sunset camel ride, etc. You can pack a lot into a 3-day trip like this and if you don't want to miss it, you shouldn't.
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Old Apr 25th, 2009, 09:42 PM
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Hi

If you are not so much into cities then you are coming to the right place. New Zealand is not a destination that one comes to for our cities and in the case of Auckland the best is to be found in the surrounding area. Given your interests I would suggest that you take a look at the Waitakere Ranges, an area of exceptional natural beauty under an hour from Auckland’s CBD and international airport. Here you will find black sand surf beaches , notably Piha and Karekare, regenerating rainforest, approximately 250 kms of walking tracks, waterfalls, stunning views and not too many people.Have a look at:
www.destination-waitakere.com
Keith
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 10:51 AM
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longhorn55 I appreciate your suggestions and most likely will plan a short visit to Uluru....
kiwikeith...I have looked @ accomodations for Waitakere area and will plan to go there as well.
But I'm still overwhelmed by all the choices in Australia for only 3 weeks time. I would love a prioritization from anyone (or everyone!)...including Uluru area, Darwin, Perth, Tasmania. I realize it will be personal preference and that's fine.
Thanks....lynniewinnie
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 03:40 PM
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OK, here's my personal preference for 3 weeks in mid-October in Australia:

1. Sydney (3 - 4 nights)
2. Canberra (2 - 3 nights)
3. Port Douglas (4 - 6 nights)
4. Uluru--included because you want to go there (2 nights)
5. Tasmania (5 - 6 nights)

I really like Darwin, but in mid-October it's going to be getting humid (pre-monsoon season), so it might not be so pleasant.
Also, I wouldn't try to do more than 5 destinations for 3 weeks because you'll probably find yourself spending more time in transit than enjoying the sightseeing.
Finally, I'm sure others will question my inclusion of Canberra, but it is MY personal preference, after all! Seriously, though, I lived there for 3 years and fell in love with the city. There's so much to see and do, including some of the best hiking around. You could even add on a night or two in Thredbo and walk up to the top of the highest peak in Australia, Mt. Kosciuszko, which is easy and fun to do.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 10:10 PM
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As much as I love my home town, given your time and preferences you are probably doing the right thing to forget about Perth. It's a lovely place to live or spend a few weeks / months on a long trip, but for a few days it's an awfully long way to travel from the East. But you might enjoy the North of the state - Broome is meant to be fabulous, though I'm not sure about the time of year.
I absolutely love Melbourne, and really enjoyed Sydney, both have some nice day trips starting there as well as fun cities in themselves. Since you enjoy wildlife and the outdoors, look into the penguin parade at Philip Island (near Mel) and the Blue Mountains near Syd.
Oh and definitely look into hiking on the glaciers in NZ (Fox and Franz Josef, we did a half day on our honeymoon and it was awesome in every sense of the word.
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Old Apr 28th, 2009, 11:38 AM
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Thanks Thorn, longhorn, kiwikeith....I am getting the hang of it (have been reading all the other pertinent posts as well) and I have tentatively formed an itinerary. First I will check airfares and may switch around order, but here's the 1st draft: (again, starting in Auckland)

Renting auto
1. Sydney (3 nights)
2. Canberra (2 nights)
3. Melbourne (3 nights)...or 1. Melbourne 2. Canberra 3.Sydney
Fly to
4. Alice Springs/Uluru (2 nights)
Fly to
5. Cairns (5 nights-rent car, stay in Port Douglas)
Fly to
6. Tasmania (5 nights)

Tasmania could be either at beggining or end, so it could be Auckland>Tasmania>Sydney or Melbourne, or the way I state it.

I will plan NZ (and the glacier hiking!) next, but first want to get Australia mapped out.
We are not opposed to driving anywhere (we easily do 400 miles a day on our trips in the states) or taking the train.....any more suggestions/changes totally appreciated.
and Thorn, it seems that I should save Perth and the North--Broome for our next visit.
longhorn--I upped our destinations to 6 but doesn't look like it's too crazy....?
Please note that I have also skipped Brisbane unless we can do it in a day trip from Sydney? I have 1 day unaccounted for.
Thanks all
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Old Apr 28th, 2009, 03:48 PM
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Brisbane is a nice city but I doubt that you'd get much out of a day trip - travel time, including trips to and from airports at either end, would use up half your day.
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 01:01 PM
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Thanks Neil_Oz. So far I will skip Brisbane. I have been pricing air travel between cities, and with my current itinerary it is getting very expensive. I have been checking on webjet and also looked into the Quantas Aussie pass, but that originates from US and I already purchased those tickets. Any other suggestions? I might have to skip either Tasmania or Alice Springs/Uluru.
Any ideas welcome
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 03:59 PM
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lynniewinnie, how are you pricing the domestic air travel? All three main domestic carriers offer frequent cut-price specials, often dirt cheap.

You should be able to sign up on their websites for automatic email alerts of upcoming sales: www.qantas.com, www.jetstar.com and www.virginblue.com.au. Jetstar is Qantas' budget subsidiary but the parent company also offers specials - it depends on the route.

Tiger Airways also operates limited domestic routes ex MEL, ADL and PER - www.tigerairways.com.au.

Note that Jetstar rigidly enforces its 30-minute check-in deadline.
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 06:12 PM
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Thank you thank you thank you Neil_Oz for the suggestion----the lowest combined price I could find is $1251 per person for 5 flights (trying different departure dates and destinations in another order). I will sign up for the specials that you mentioned and hope for lower prices and maybe keep itinerary the way I'm planning.
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 09:35 PM
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You might check out the Airpass offered by Virgin Blue. It covers only flights within Australia (not from the U.S. like the Qantas Airpass). The Airpass can be purchased for 3 - 8 flights within Australia and their website says the fares can run as low as AUD 69.00 each. Their map shows destinations all over the East coast, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Tasmania. However, there are no flights to Uluru. I have no personal knowledge of this airpass, but it might fit your travel plans and budget.
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Old Apr 29th, 2009, 10:07 PM
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Yes, longhorn, I just checked out Virgin Blue ( and the other sites provided by Neil_Oz) and it appears to be the answer. I need to change my itinerary around but it looks like it will save us a lot of money. I had to add 1 more destination---Brisbane(!!), to meet the minimum # of flights (since they don't fly to Uluru). I also got on the lists to be notified by the other airlines. So I added 1 more day to Australia....6 destinations 17 nights (with 5 nights in Port Douglas) and Tasmania 5 nights, then back to NZ.

Does that sound too hectic?
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Old May 5th, 2009, 10:01 PM
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What about taking a ferry from Mel to Tassie? I've known Taswegian students to do it to go to a concert over a weekend, so I'd guess it can't be too expensive / time consuming. Just means putting tassie in the middle of the Melbourne days. It's not something I've done myself tho, so I could be wrong.
Suggestions for hiking and wildlife respectively - Blue Mountains from Sydney and Penguin Parade (Phillip Island) from Melbourne. Both easy day (or evening for the penguins really) trips, and well worth it. Not too expensive if you're driving yourself too, most of the cost is in getting there if you do a tour.
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