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3 Weeks in Australia Sans Sydney & The Blue Mountains

3 Weeks in Australia Sans Sydney & The Blue Mountains

Old Oct 25th, 2022, 01:51 PM
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3 Weeks in Australia Sans Sydney & The Blue Mountains

Looking to plan out a rough itinerary to Australia in Jan-Feb 2024 so that we can redeem FF miles when available early next year. We had a one week visit Sydney and the Blue Mountains before flying to Bali and loved it several years ago. Now we want to dive deeper. We can fly in and out of Melbourne or Sydney from/to the west coast US, whichever makes the most sense. Ideally we would do Melbourne, Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and Perth but we prefer spending time at destinations and doing day trips, when called for. We enjoy great food, hiking, upscale shopping, wineries, snorkeling, culture, museums and live performances. On our last trip, highlights were the Royal Botanic Garden, "The King and I" at the Sydney Opera House, the Bridge Climb in Sydney, walking and shopping in Sydney, Featherdale Wildlife Park, a morning hike from Katoomba in the Blue Mountains as well as the aboriginal center and great restaurants throughout that visit. I prefer driving over flying so if a more consolidated itinerary that includes other cities on the west coast has more to offer, I would consider that. Your thoughts?
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Old Oct 25th, 2022, 02:34 PM
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January and February are not good times to visit Central Australia (too hot) or the Barrier Reef (too wet) unless you are really desperate to go to these places and this is the only time you are likely to visit Australia. If you are planning a road trip, you could fly into Sydney, drive to Canberra (our national capital) for a few days, then head to the coast and drive south to Melbourne. A few days there to visit museums, parks, art galleries and enjoy the shopping. Then along the Great Ocean Road and onto to Adelaide with a few side trips to wineries. That would comfortably fit into your three week holiday. Get air tickets into Sydney and fly home from Adelaide.

Bear in mind that January is our main school holiday with schools closed from late December to early February, so you will need to be quick to make car hire reservations and accommodation bookings.
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Old Oct 25th, 2022, 03:12 PM
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I just have a few suggestion about wineries, snorkeling/scuba diving, and museums. How long will you have for your entire trip? Could you travel in Feb-March instead? I'm thinking January would be very busy due to school holidays. It could also be hot. Another reason I suggest March is because that's when it's possible to snorkel with whale sharks in Exmouth, Western Australia. It's also possible to snorkel with manta rays. My husband and I found both experiences unforgettable. The scuba diving is also good (my favorite dive was the Navy Pier). If also traveling to Perth, it'd be best to fly to Exmouth because driving would take 15 hours (though I'm sure it'd be interesting--we've not done this drive). Western Australia is Australia's biggest state.

If going to Perth, plan to spend at least a couple of nights in the wine region of Margaret River. The drive from Perth to Margaret River is lovely. My husband and I especially enjoyed the beautiful coastline of Leeuwin Naturaliste NP. From Melbourne, try to visit the Yarra Valley wine region. it's very close to the city. You can self drive or take a wine tasting tour.

As you enjoyed Featherdale Wildlife park, while in Melbourne, you might enjoy visiting Penguin Parade on Phillip Island (I've never seen so many fairy penguins). I took an afternoon viewing tour from Melbourne, which also included a visit to the Moonlit Wildlife Sanctuary, the Nobbies, and a chocolate factory tour. Other tours visit the Koala Sanctuary. Some tours combine a daytime visit to the Mornington Peninsula and a nighttime viewing of Penguin Parade (though this sounds like it would make for a very long day).

I can't visit Melbourne without stopping into these two of the National Galleries of Victoria.: The Ian Potter Centre and the NGV International. They're within walking distance of one another. Your 2024 visit might coincide with the NGV Triennial (though I'm not sure.) My husband and I also very much enjoyed our visit to the Melbourne Museum, a natural and cultural history museum in Carlton Park. Melbourne's a fun and interesting city. Queen Victoria Market is a must! (Luscious produce and other comestibles as well as souvenirs.)You'll easily find upscale shopping and great food in Melbourne.

I'll assume you'll be visiting the Great Ocean Road.

Last edited by Diamantina; Oct 25th, 2022 at 03:28 PM.
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Old Oct 25th, 2022, 08:01 PM
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Three weeks sounds like a lot but the places you mention are all a long way apart. Personally, I wouldn't fly to Perth unless I had at least 3 or 4 full days, more is obviously better. If you wanted to cut out one place, I'd say either Uluru, because of the summer heat or possibly Cairns/Port Douglas area. The far north of Australia will be hot and humid and most likely, very wet. They only have two seasons up there, hot and dry or hot and wet but having said that, we had some cold days there this winter which is unusual. Sydney or Melbourne would be more likely to have live shows as the population is greater. We saw Moulin Rouge this year when visiting Sydney and thought it was fantastic. If you do find a show you want to see, don't delay booking tickets.

You'd also lose a day each time you fly from one place to the next so factor that into your itinerary. Melbourne to Perth is about a 4 hour flight, Cairns to Perth is at least 9 hours plus. I like marg's idea above but bear in mind it will still likely be really hot (and busy due to school hols).
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Old Oct 26th, 2022, 06:10 AM
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Sorry, how did I miss that line about "3 weeks in Australia"? No that isn't a lot of time. Looking at "Jan-Feb 2024", I was thinking you'd have about two months!
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Old Oct 29th, 2022, 01:48 PM
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3 weeks in February 2024 works fine for us if that eliminates the school vacation crowds. March or later really does not work. So what if we flew into Melbourne and drove via the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide, flew to Perth and then departed Australia from Perth? It seems we could hit a lot of highlights of the south, see some wineries on both coasts, and take our time. We would miss Canberra and would not be able to return to Sydney unless you think it would make sense to do so. Again, your thoughts?
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Old Oct 29th, 2022, 09:25 PM
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Start with the Great Ocean Road - some nice places to stop on the way. Perhaps stay at Port Fairy (little old fishing town with a lot of charm). Perhaps go from Warrnambool north to Dunkeld and drive through the Grampian Range to Halls Gap for spectacular scenery and lots of good walks, There are some very old wineries nearby at Great Western and from there you would be on the main Victorian/SA highway. Perhaps keep closer to the coast and try the reds in the Coonawarra wine region. You could leave the main Western Highway and take the ferry across the Murray river at Wellington and visit the McLaren Vale wineries south of Adelaide, Or you could detour north through Hahnhorf to the Barossa and/or Clare valleys for more wine tasting. Lots of choices.

I'll leave WA advice to people who know more about their state than I do but I'm sure you would want to visit the Margaret River area for good wine and food. Our big must in Perth is visiting Kings Park - beautiful park with great views across the city - walking distance from the CBD or get the free bus from the city.

Although school holidays will be finished, February is a very popular time for holiday makers so still best to make bookings well ahead.

Hope this is of help to you.



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Old Oct 29th, 2022, 09:58 PM
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It would take longer but there are wineries around the Mornington Peninsula area and a ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff. Queenscliff is a nice small town with a number of historic buildings. Halls Gap and the Grampians area is great for seeing animals in the wild, particularly kangaroos and wallabies. We used to see emus and the occasional koala but they are not as common now.
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Old Oct 31st, 2022, 06:08 PM
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visiting Margaret River whilst in WA is a great idea. Its cooler down there than Perth as well.
personally i would stay in Fremantle -itsa lovely old historic town built around shipping-so well preserved.
Dont miss Kings Park in Perth -its one of the largest inner city parks in the world.Over 3000 species of the States unique flora and the views are spectacular
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