advice needed for 1 month Australia trip

Aug 26th, 2005, 01:36 PM
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advice needed for 1 month Australia trip

We are 2 couples-active 50s in age, going to spend 28 nights in Australia next March. Looking for experts advice on how many days to spend in each location.
Our preliminary plans is: first 7 nights in Sydney, fly to Melbourne-4 nights here, drive GOR to Adelaide
(1 night stay Warnambool), Adelaide for 3 nights ,1 night on Kangaroo Island, fly to Alice Springs for 3 nights in Uluru-Olgas-Alice Springs region(with rental car), fly to Cairns-rent car-drive to Pt.Douglas area for 4 nights, fly to Brisbane-stay 5 nights in Brisbane-Gold Coast-Sunshine Coast region, fly home from Brisbane.
All advice greatly appreciated. This will be the first trip to Australia for all 4 of us ( & hopefully not the last!)
DavidBklyn is offline  
Aug 26th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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Firstly let me have my little whinge " why oh why is it that Tasmania is not in the forefront of people's trips when to my way of thinking it is Australia's best kept secret and you get more wild-life, scenery, magnificent ocean views and more and more and more than anywhere in Australia?" Thank you I feel better now! Its just that I see people doing the Great Ocean Road - going to Adelaide and Kangaroo Island when more and better is just across the waves. I guess its because there are only 450,000 people in Tasmania and there are 5 Million or whatever in Victoria and there have not been enough representatives on this forum for Tasmania or it never gets the right attention. When I was in Tasmania about 2 weeks ago I was driving along a road and in about a distance of 2 miles I saw some of the best and rarest animals in Australia. This was from my car just using the headlights. I was also stopped by a Wombat while driving during the day. All this for free!!!!!
Your Sydney stay is about right, ( I am not saying anything about the rest till you get to Uluru). I "suppose" that 3 nights there would be OK if you had more time in Cairns as I do not think you have left enough time there at all. 4 nights is far too little if you want to see anything of that area let alone the reef.
I live near the Brisbane - Gold Coast area and although there is a lot to see in this area I am sure that you would regret not staying in Cairns/PD longer. So I really think that I would be taking days off somewhere and adding them to the Tropical north. PS 3 nights in Adelaide is 3 too long!
lizF is offline  
Aug 26th, 2005, 03:11 PM
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Hi David
Safe yourself the money for the car rental in Alice. Why don't you fly into Yulara (Ayers Rock)?? It saves you a 6 hour drive through the desert to reach Ayers Rock. Alice is not a must see in my opinion.
For Port Douglas, you don't really need a car either. It really depends on what you want to do. There are buses running to/from Port on a regular basis.
In Port you might wanna do some tours, eg. Reef, Rainforest, Kuranda and during those days you wouldn't need a car.
In Port everything is walking distance or you can get on the local bus or why not renting a bicycle?!
You can always rent a car if you want to visit Cairns. For a large car I would guess you will be spending around AU$100 per day.
What are your plans during your time in Port?
For the reef, I would highly recommend the Wavelength (snorkelling only), the Poseidon or Calypso (snorkelling or diving) or, if you prefer to stay dry while out on the reef, the big Quicksilver (glass-bottom boats, snorkelling and diving).
For the Daintree I would highly recommend Pete Baxendell's Daintree-Specialised-Tours into the Daintree & Cape Tribulation NP.
If you want to drive somewhere yourself, the Tablelands are a great place to visit on your own.
For more info and links, just visit

myaustralia is offline  
Aug 26th, 2005, 07:52 PM
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LizF - we must try to keep some of our gems, like Tasmania, a secret. Its best for overseas visitors, to do what like doing, that is, racing around the country, trying to seeing the "main sights", in a very short time frame, then go home, & tell everyone, that you have seen Australia.
As you would be aware, backpackers are the ones who see the most australia has to offer, they usually stay for 6-12 months, and tend to stay longer at each location, to get a good feel for the place.
I have a swag of places that consider to be the "gems" of Australia, but I tend to only talk about a few of them, otherwise, they get discovered, and every man & his dog will be there.
I have a very special drive in Tasmania, just south of Hobart, with stunning scenery, great cafes/restaurants nearby, and a few wineries thrown for good luck. Very few tourists know about it, or drive it.
tropo is offline  
Aug 26th, 2005, 09:16 PM
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Don't stay in Warrnambool. There's nothing wrong with it but Port Fairy (about 25 km further) is a delightful little old fishing village and much nicer. Plenty of B&Bs, couple of motels, good eating places etc.
marg is offline  
Aug 27th, 2005, 12:18 AM
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You are absolutely right Trop, and when I move to the Huon Valley you can come and visit us with your good wife and we can go fish'n in the Huon.
lizF is offline  
Aug 27th, 2005, 12:59 AM
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Liz, if I had a month, I'd spend it ALL in Tassie!
oliverandharry is offline  
Aug 27th, 2005, 04:01 AM
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I would also choose Pt Fairy over Warnabool. We stopped for lunch at a vineyard (Hollicks) in the Conawarra on our way to Adelaide. Great views and good food.

Sarvowinner is offline  
Aug 27th, 2005, 02:47 PM
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Hi DavidBklyn,
Sounds like Tasmania should definitely be included in your itinerary.
Having spent 3 weeks there(not long enough in my opinion)LizF.trop.oliverandharry all spot on, what a wonderful place, it's like all of Australia rolled into one, and extremely easy to get around in a car or camper.
We did Port Douglas in 2003 and went on tour to the reef with Wavelength and did a Daintree Rainforest tour with Tony's Tropical Tours. Thoroughly recommend the two,both great tours.
Just had friends return from there and they also did the two after our recommendation and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
KatieP is offline  
Aug 27th, 2005, 03:36 PM
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Tropical North Queensland, the Red Centre, Sydney and Tasmania sounds like a good start - four radically different experiences, four different climatic zones (add Adelaide and you have a fifth). You can certainly add Tasmania if you snip a day or two off the other destinations, and maybe drop one altogether.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Aug 28th, 2005, 04:46 PM
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Skip the night on Kangaroo Island (plenty of roos whereever you drive !) Take one day off Adelaide, take one day off Sydney and add three days on Fraser Island (stay at Kingfisher Bay resort). Definately fly direct into Uluru, Alice Springs is a dive !
Marko is offline  
Aug 28th, 2005, 05:25 PM
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LizF - you know we thought of living in Tasmania, we just the love the place to bits, but unfortunately my wife, doesn't like the cold weather, so we headed north. I do envy you, its such a lovely place. We may take you up on that offer one day, would love to visit Tassie again next year.
We leave for London in a few weeks time, mainly to see our eldest son, wife & our "first" grandchild, a little boy, they all live permanently in London now, so we have a long journey just to see them, but we are pretty excited to see the little chap.
tropo is offline  
Aug 28th, 2005, 08:10 PM
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No mention yet of Melbourne by others but rather than launching into anything can you please advise what you are interested in generally , accomodation budget and the like .After that I am happy , as others no doubt will be as well , to give you considered advice.
JohnFitz is offline  
Aug 28th, 2005, 09:55 PM
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Congratulations Trop and Trop's wife and hope you have a wonderful visit with your littliest addition.
Bon Voyage as well to you both. Have a great time!
lizF is offline  
Aug 28th, 2005, 11:16 PM
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As for Tassie , I was down in Hobart in June and we stayed at The Henry Jones Hotel in Sullivans Cove. Really excellent . Highly recommended ,as is the whole state but I must say the towns south of Hobart within an hour or so ( Snug , Huonville , AND OTHER REALLY ODD NAMES ), had a distinctly back blocks / banjo -strummimg feel to them as against those on the History Highway or just off it between Hobart and Launceston .
JohnFitz is offline  
Aug 29th, 2005, 02:39 AM
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Ok thats it! Where does this JohnFitz come from? Melbourne I bet. This is what he said " I must say the towns south of Hobart within an hour or so ( Snug , Huonville , AND OTHER REALLY ODD NAMES ), had a distinctly back blocks / banjo -strummimg feel to them". Obviously John comes from that part of the world where the airwaves are tainted by that Kiwi ingrate, fuzzy faced fellow who resembles the backside of a hairy nosed wombat and whose name I can't think of just at the moment but who is always saying uncouth things about people or places.
Of course we all know why people from Mexico, ooops Victoria, say things like that, its because they really would love to move from a place with names like Dandongadale, Yackandandah, Wandiligong and Tallygaroopea and my absolute favourite, Boomannoomoonah.
lizF is offline  
Aug 29th, 2005, 06:30 AM
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Your itinerary looks very typical of what most visitors do. Personally I would make some changes.
When arriving in Australia, avoid Sydney Airport. Nearly all long haul flights arrive early in the morning and, as Sydney Airport is virtually downtown, it has a curfew. You can get into holding patterns as bad as LAX or LHR. If you are flying direct over the Pacific, fly into Melbourne. If you are breaking your flight in Fiji or New Zealand, you can choose Cairns, Brisbane or Adelaide as well.
Sydney is as pretty as a postcard. How long does it take to look at a postcard? I once got talking to a solo Japanese tourist (a rare creature indeed) in Sydney. He had been on two tours and wanted to know why they kept stopping for views of the little patch of water. At home he looked out over Tokyo Bay and he assured me it was more beautiful.
Melbourne is not a picture postcard city but is the sports and many say Arts capital of Australia (Others give the Arts title to Adelaide). The evening trip to the Penguin Parade is an absolute must. If you don't fall in love with the Fairy Penguins, you have no heart. A cruise on the Bay to see the dolphins (and swim with them if they let you) is a good idea if it gets too hot (Melbourne can reach 43C in March) At least a day should be spent in Ballarat (my UK niece went for a day and stayed for four). The Sovereign Hill gold mine is a combination of real goldmine, theme park, folk museum and conference centre. You might like to stay in the 19th Century Hotel (named after a small US city located on Manhattan Island) or in more modern facilities. I can spend half a day in the Gold Museum.
Several people have advised staying in Port Fairy instead of Warrnambool. I am rather fond of Warrnambool. The whales will be far away in March, but it is still a pleasant place. I would recommend a bus tour along the GOR. The driver will miss everything and too many tourists drive off the road.
Adelaide is a favorite of mine. If you don't mind light aircraft, you can make Kangaroo Island a day trip. It is worth going there. There are seal and sea lion colonies, you can see (and eat) kangaroo and the Remarkable Rocks are remarkable. From Adelaide a day or two in the Barossa Valley (depending on how much you like wine) and possibly a tour of the Adelaide Hills if it gets hot (Adelaide can get to 45C in March. If you must go to Centralia at that time of year, fly into Uluru, see the rock and maybe walk around it if it is cool (it can get to 52C). See the Olgas by light plane and then head for a sensible climate. Cairns is a starting off point for Barrier Reef. If you are not visiting the reef, or even if you are, there are some pleasant ecoresorts tucked away in the Daintree, just a little north of Cairns. Avoid the Gold Coast, it makes Miami Beach look the ultimate in chic. Brisbane is rather dull but the Sunshine Coast is pleasant and the islands are attractive. By flying to Brisbane you are probably missing the best of Queensland. I strongly recommend Fraser Island and Kingfisher Bay is the best place to stay. You must be able to relax to enjoy a long stay.
Fly into Sin City (aka Sydney), look at the picture postcard views, see the Opera House, take the Manly Ferry or a Harbour cruise and then take two or three days to drive back to Melbourne, seeing what was once the tallest tree in the world (it was struck by lightning and you can see the huge piece that was broken off), 90 mile beach (which with typical Aussie understatement is 120 miles long) and the delightfully named Cabbage Tree (a hamlet notable only for its name and high fuel prices). There is a belief that early settlers introduced the Tasmanian Tiger to this area and there are frequent claims of sightings of this large marsupial.
By the way you will almost certainly see many galahs, they are a pink and gray cockatoo which will hang upside down on power lines when it rains after a dry spell. A person is a 'galah' if they are foolish, which I feel rather insults the galah.

Galah is offline  
Aug 29th, 2005, 07:37 PM
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I knew it would provoke a response but not a rude one .
Does noone else think think a town called 'Sandfly' is odd ? Hardly a name to attract you unless you like the concept of being bitten by a bug .
As I recall Liz lives on the Gold Coast a hell on earth with no planning controls that has lead to unfettered bad and ugly development along large tracts of its coast .
She was dismissive of Adelaide. That is unfair .
In case it was not clear - I like Tasmania . Visit it .But be selective where you go .Any experienced traveller will tell you that .
Parochialism offends me. Each Australian City is quite different to the other .Their appeal lies in their differences . The Gold Coast has a lovely climate most of the year and gorgeous beaches despite so much being overshadowed by huge apartment towers .Rivers or estuaries have been diverted and wetlands drained to make canal residential developments with all the consequent risks to water tables and nature in a drought proan country. As a balance , Melbourne has 4 distinct seasons and sometimes in one day .More black clothing is sold in the State than the whole of the rest of the country.People live here and holiday in Qld in winter - often on the Gold Coast 'cause it is cheap to do .They go to North Qld or Noosa Heads if they have more $ .
Melbourne was once the most intact and grand Victorian Architectural streetscape in the world as a result of the Goldrush during the 1850/60's and the vast sums of money made .As a result of 'cultural cringe' in the 60's and 70's its consistency was ruined as many great buildings adding to the integrity of the streetscape were demolished for towers .It is still however a very well preserved city especially its inner suburbs such as Carlton , Fitzroy , Richmond and Albert Park .These suburbs are charming ,lively and full of shops and cafes serviced by lots of public transport ( trams )etc .It has great shopping at all price levels .Worth a look .
May I renew my offer David of advice with respect to Melbourne once I know what your budget and interests are .There has already been some good advice from Galah .
JohnFitz is offline  
Aug 29th, 2005, 08:40 PM
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LizF - thanks, we will make every endeavour to enjoy ourselves, we have also fitted in a side trip to the greek island of Samos, staying in a little fishing village along the south coast.
DavidBklyn - you will come to notice, that a lot of members have "different" opinions on various sights & localities within Australia. I would take more notice of members who frequently answer questions & give "sound" advice, also if a number of members give the thumbs up for a particular locality, then you can trust their judgement.
Throughout Australia, there are various attractions, that will appeal to every tourists, or only a certain age group. I think its important for any message query, to mention you likes/dislikes, hobbies, what price range, do you like action sports, or quiet locations, fishing opposed to bungee jumping, etc.
By doing that our members can then steer you in the right direction, with best advice on this board.
Example: When I travel to NZ, its for scenery, bushwalking & trout fishing, and a few good wineries on the side (nothing like eating a freshly cooked trout, a few good nz mussels, and a bottle of Marlborough Sounds Sauvignon Blanc, whilst in our campervan, overlooking Lake Hawea at sunset, with snow capped mtns, in the background)

Whereas, other overseas visitors, will want take more of the action sports & activities, train trips, and so on.
tropo is offline  
Aug 29th, 2005, 10:53 PM
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JohnFitz: so you think I was rude do you? That's exactly what Queenslanders are expected to be isn't it?
Actually I do not live on the Gold Coast I live on Mt Tamborine which is nothing like the Gold Coast and it is not just everyone from Melbourne who visits the Gold Coast - it is Australia's most favourite holiday destination and not because its cheap as I doubt that Versace Hotel 6 star is cheap but because it is the most diverse and entertaining place with the best beaches. We, in Queensland, always point to the Melbournites down Hastings Street Noosa as they are the ones with ALL the jewellery and Gucci shoes trying to outdo all the other Melbournites parading in the same direction. You see Noosa is small and the impact would not be as great on the Gold Coast because they would be invisable because there is more money there than in Melbourne despite the size difference.
No, JF I decided to be rude, as you say, because someone has to defend the Tasmanians from the twaddle that some people speak.
As for Melbourne, well everytime I go there I ask myself the same question " why does anyone go to Melbourne".? It would have to be the most boring place in Australia with the worst climate of all cities and the most number of offensive upstarts.
lizF is offline  

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