Advice on Itinerary

Jul 8th, 2005, 01:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1
Advice on Itinerary

Hi all,

My husband and I are taking a trip to Australia this August and would love some feedback on our planned itinerary. My husband has been to the Northern Territory and Alice Springs, so we've decided to omit those from this trip. We're in our late twenties and are especially looking forward to exploring the outdoors and the wineries and seeing wildlife.

Aug 9-11: Blue Mountains & Hunter Valley

Aug 12: Fly to Melbourne, tour city

Aug 13: Drive to Mornington Peninsula and Philip Island, overnight somewhere near Sorrento.

Aug 14: Ferry to Queenscliff, drive GOR, overnight Port Campbell/Warrnambool, Port Fairy

Aug 15: Either drive back on GOR to Melbourne or detour to the Grampians (would it be possible to do this and still get back to Melbourne sometime that evening or is that too much?)

Aug 16 - 18: Fly to Adelaide and arrive by 10am. Drive to Flinders Ranges and tour/hike (is this best done on our own or with a tour?). Drive back to Adelaide on the 18th (would it be possible to stop in the Barossa to try a few wineries on the way back to Adelaide if we left early in the morning?).

Aug 19-20: Trip to Kangaroo Island, probably with Adventure Charters

Aug 21: Explore Adelaide city. Fly to Cairns that evening.

Aug 22 - 25: Visit Daintree (probably on a tour), Mossman Gorge, snorkel on the Reef, visit Atherton Tablelands. One question about the tablelands - we've heard the train/skyrail are great, but we'd like to do more than just go to Kuranda. Is it possible to rent a car in Kuranda or should we just plan to drive from Cairns?

Aug 26 - 29: Sydney

Aug 30: Return to US.

Many thanks in advance for any advice! Thoughts on affordable but nice hotels and restaurants are also welcome.
nycam is offline  
Jul 8th, 2005, 03:37 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 130
Aug 22-25: Yes, you can do the Daintree on your own. You will have to stick to the main "touristy" areas.
Mossman Gorge is very nice, however it can happen that you end up in a traffic jam as it is very popular, especially for people who hire cars. Lots of tours go there too.
I would recommend to go on a tour where you go to places "self-drive" tourists don't have access to. Depending on what you want to do, there are different options. A hands-on tour is the Bushwalk with Pete Baxendell from Daintree-Specialised-Tours (he offers also charters). It is fun, educational and a little adventurous. Or you can go on a regular tour like Trek North, Gary's Safari or Tony's Tropical Tours - depending where you will be staying.
If you want to see the tablelands, I would suggest to rent a car from Cairns and drive yourself. It is very easy driving and you can visit all the places you like.
If you like to see wildlife, the Tablelands are a good place to visit. A great tour is with Personal Adventures, visiting some really great spots on the Tablelands.
For the reef, there are lots of options. From Port, there is a great boat called Wavelength. They only take snorkellers so the visit the best snorkelling sites.
myaustralia is offline  
Jul 8th, 2005, 04:23 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 8
You've missed the best part of Australia - Western Australia. I have met quite a few Americans who have been to the East, and West coasts and many have said that they prefer the West! Check out this site for some great tours to do in the West Have a lovely holiday!
fellowtraveller is offline  
Jul 8th, 2005, 05:33 PM
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Posts: 3,680
For Pete Baxendell's trip book now, he's heavily booked for August but you might be lucky. Yes, there's often a traffic jam at Mossman Gorge, a similar spot not visited by tour buses, or indeed any bus, is Crystal Cascades about 25 minute drive north of Cairns city. And south of Cairns there's the lovely Josephine Falls and Babinda Boulders, Bellenden Kerr in that area is the highest mountain in Queensland.

If its not a Monday or Tuesday, when its closed, do stop at the Mareeba Wetlands on the Tableland. Amazing variety of bird life with wild kangaroos - you do not need a tour for this, its about AU$8 admission and you can rent a canoe or walk around the entire wetland area.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jul 9th, 2005, 05:41 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 987
Your plan is fairly well thought out and is certainly doable. Only hesitation I have about it is how much ground you are covering. There is a lot of driving involved in this and there doesn't seem to be any days set aside for just relaxing. Mind you, the first few times we went overseas we did the same too so I can hardly complain.

If you come back from Warrnambool/Port Campbell by the inland route you could certainly fit in a quick stop at the Grampians but I tend to think that it might be better to skip it. It will add an extra few hours of driving, and despite it being a lovely area, it will not be substantially different from other areas you are already intending to cover.

I was unable to come up with a car hire place for Kuranda on my quick search, but there may well be a small company which doesn't use the internet hiring out of there. Perhaps one of the locals will respond to that one.
If you go with hiring a far from Cairns, I would tend to skip Kuranda itself and head straight towards the Atherton Tablelands proper. Kuranda is quite sweet but the major reason everyone goes there is because they want to do the Railway and/or Skyrail trip.

Have a great trip.
shandy is offline  
Jul 9th, 2005, 06:59 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,119
The itinerary sounds good, but personally, I would not plan to spend so much time in the south of the country in August. Yes, winters in southern Australia are quite mild, but nonetheless, don't be surprised if it's cool, overcast, windy and damp some of the time.

I'd stick with Sydney, Blue Mts and the Hunter and then spend most if not all the remaining time in north Queensland where there is an incredible number of things to see and do, especially if you are willing to set out on your own. The weather should be fabulous at that time of year.

With 10+ days up there, you explore from Cape Tribulation all the way to Townsville, both along the coast and inland. There is far more to see on the Atherton Tablelands, than the touristry town of Kuranda. I really liked the Undarra Lava tubes, SW of the outback flavor and lots of wildlife.
RalphR is offline  
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