Advice Needed for New Zealand & Australia

Jan 10th, 2011, 07:02 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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Advice Needed for New Zealand & Australia

I will be travelling with my 24 year old (2 women) to New Zealand and Australia in May for 3 weeks. Please advise me if people think that our itinerary is ok. Would you leave it as is or change anything? Would you do the day cruise or overnight cruise of Milford Sound? Is it worth going to Kuranda? How about Phillip Island? Has anyone heard of the Ginger Factory in Yardina, it is 1 1/2 hours north of Brisbane? But, by going here, it would mean 2 more flights and about 2 or 3 days as we would rent a car. I would like to do the Opera House High Tea, which is Wednesday afternoons, should we do the Essential Tour or the Backstage Tour? Should we stay overnight in the Blue Mountains? A friend recommended that we possibly end the trip with a stopover at a "relaxing" place. I have thought to spend 3 days at one of the islands somewhat nearby, like Fiji.

Day 1 - arrival from US to Queenstown by way of Auckland
Day 2 - Day cruise Milford Sound, overnight Queenstown
Day 3 - bus trip to Franz Josef, overnight here
Day 4 - train from Franz Josef to Christchurch, overnight Christchurch
Day 5 - fly Christchurch to Melbourne
Day 6 - take in Melbourne city sites
Day 7 - we are hoping to meet family
Day 8 - should we do Phillip Island or fly to Cairns
Day 9 - fly to Cairns or if there already, do reef tour
Day 10 - reef tour/Kuranda
Day 11 - Kuranda or fly to Sydney
Day 12 - fly to Sydney or do Sydney sites
Day 13 - Sydney sites
Day 14 - Blue Mountains
Day 15 - Bridge Climb
Day 16 - Opera House High tea
Day 17 -
Day 18 - optional flight to an island
Day 19 -
Day 20 -
Day 21 - fly back to US

Thank you to all in advance for any advice you can give us.
stitchingmom is offline  
Jan 10th, 2011, 07:13 PM
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The train to Christchurch leaves from Greymouth, which is a 2.5 hour drive north of Franz Josef.
Melnq8 is online now  
Jan 10th, 2011, 10:31 PM
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The ginger Factory is fine but not what I would rate as an international tourist destination. It is in Yandina, by the way.

In the time you have got you are not seeing much of anywhere but you will have a lot of places to add to the conversation at home once you have recovered from all the travel.
AlanJG is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 05:51 AM
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To Melnq8, I realized that as there is a bus train tour that would take you there.

To AlanJG, my error on the spelling of Yandina, I was trying to write it all down and didn't proofread. What places would you suggest as we are open to suggestions. I don't want to drive unless it is absolutely necessary, so we will take day trips from the cities or in the cities themselves. Is Kuranda worth the trip? Thanks again.
stitchingmom is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 06:58 AM
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Of course, it would help to know what your interests are, but I'll make a few comments anyway:
1. You are giving short shrift to New Zealand. I would spend a least a full week of your 3-week stay on the South Island. You don't necessarily need to add any more destinations in NZ, just add more days to the destinations you have already selected. (Also, a day cruise on Milford Sound was sufficient for me.)
2. For the remaining 13 days in Australia (depart on day 21), divide your time thusly : Melbourne (3 days) Sydney and environs (5 days), Cairns or Port Douglas (5 days).
3. Skip Phillip Island
4. If you want a relaxing stop before going home, then plan to visit Cairns last. I wouldn't try to visit another tropical island when you've got Far North Queensland for that. Hopefully, you can arrange a flight so that you can fly from Cairns to Sydney in time for your international flight home. If not, you can overnight in Sydney, perhaps near the airport if you like.
5. With 5 days in/around Cairns, I would definitely include: Outer Reef tour, Daintree National Park tour and train/Skyrail tour to Kuranda. Kuranda is a bit touristy, but the trip there for the scenery is worthwhile and there are some decent markets and other attractions.
6. I think the Blue Mountains is doable as a day trip, but if you want to do some hiking in the area, you might want to overnight to give you more time for that.
longhorn55 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 09:36 AM
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I Agree with longhorn55, NewZealand is awesome. There are some amazing little town around Christchurch, like Akaroa (little french village), Hammnerspring, Kaikora (swimming with the dolphins there is wow). Christchurch initself is a great lil city. It will be cold in May though, especially Franz Josef.
If you can, rent a car and drive, its easy and wonderful, check the road conditions though as it might be snowing.
I would spend more time in newzealand, but then thats just me.
i lived there for 3 years and i think i still needed more time.
travelonmymind_girl is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 05:35 PM
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Hi, stitchingmom.
I would agree 100% with longhorn55. Spend a week in NZ, the rest as she has suggested. While in Cairns don't forget the Atherton Tablelands - fantastic day trip, and the Daintree. I have been to Phillip Island, and while it was very interesting there are other more interesting places to visit in Melbourne if you have the time after meeting family.
dotty is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 06:05 PM
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Kuranda is interesting but if you can get to the Atherton Tablelands as that is where the endemic wildlife is. Lots of beautiful lakes and a few waterfalls as well. There are day tours out of Cairns.
AlanJG is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 07:39 PM
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Hello, stitchingmom.

That really is a whirlwind itinerary, but it has the potential to give you a smorgasbord of the sights and experiences that Down Under has to offer. Is this likely to be your one and only venture down here and would you consider hiring a car for your NZ bit?

kiwi_rob is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 08:46 PM
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Hi kiwi!
Just you say right here hiring a car is a best option here.
JackDarcy is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 11:03 PM
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I think that it would be, Jack, but there may be a reason why car hire is not an option (or the preferred option).

kiwi_rob is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 04:42 PM
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A lot of things that you have planned for a very short time. Do you really want to visit both countries in this time? Your itinerary will give you an impression, but to really experience everything you need much more time. You will be on your way all the time and won't be able to do a lot of things.

When it comes to Australia: do the bridge climb (if you really want to do it, I consider it a waste of money, but that's only my personal oppinion) together with the Opera tour (if you're doing it, do the backstage tour) and visit the Botanical Garden afterwards. Blue Mountains are worth two days, spend one day at the Jenolan Caves.
Kuranda is very touristy, better do the Waterfall Circuit at the Atherton Tablelands or Daintree.
If you're into nature you should consider visiting Tasmania, if you're more after entertainment and beaches go to Brisbane and Surfers Paradise. Perth is also great with a fascinating nature... If you just want to stay on the East Coast you might want to consider renting a car or campervan and driving part of the coast, it is definitely worth it.
TravelSarah is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 09:36 AM
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Thank you to all for your responses. I do not like driving long distances and therefore do not want to rent a car in NZ as everything is so far away from each other. We are not looking to spend time at a beach (perhaps just for an afternoon) or some place that has entertainment.

We are definitely making some changes in our itinerary - I hope for the better. I have adjusted our plans for New Zealand and plan a week there as suggested. Christchurch, Milford Sound day cruise, Franz Josef (observatory and glacier walk) and possibly Akaroa.

As for Australia, time in Sydney and Cairns definitely - and staying up by Port Douglas / Daintree and not in Cairns itself. We are debating whether it is worth the short time to fly to Melbourne as we would definitely need to know if our relatives are free on the day we are there.

If we consider Tasmania, how much time should we allow, as for each place, we need to allow a day travelling there and a day leaving.
stitchingmom is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 10:41 AM
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I wouldn't try to visit Tasmania for fewer than 5 days. We did a 5-day trip there and barely scratched the surface. I wished we had had at least a week or 10 days there.
longhorn55 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 02:59 PM
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Agree with longhorn55. We've been to TAS on two occasions, once for 13 days, the second for 16 days, and we still missed a lot.
Melnq8 is online now  
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