Advice on OZ trip, please....

Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 06:51 AM
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Advice on OZ trip, please....

I am going to Australia on my honeymoon in July/August.

We are spending 5 nights at the Beach Club on Hamilton Island. Does anyone know anything about it or have you stayed there before?

We are then thinking about flying to Brisbane and taking 4 days to drive to the Hunter Valley, where we will spend 2 nights, followed by 4 nights in Sydney.

Could anyone recommend a really luxurious hotel in the Hunter Valley with great food? I have read about the Tower Lodge but it is pretty pricey? Is it worth the money? Is there anywhere better?

Also, I'm wondering if the three nights between Brisbane and HV would be better spent elsewhere. Should we go up north to the rainforest instead and fly straight to Sydney? Or is there anything else you would recommend?

A few years ago, we visited Sydney and the coast from Brisbane to Airlie Beach, including Fraser Island, so we have seen that part of the country.

All advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Grainne
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 01:13 PM
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What about the rain forest and the border ranges behind the Gold Coast and down into northern NSW?
Remembering that it will be winter in this part of the world at that time so that you can hike to your hearts content. Depending on what you are interested in we could suggest heaps of places to see and things to do.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 02:52 PM
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Thanks. We're not big hikers but would definitely like a chance to see some more of the wildlife. We will get to dive in the Whitsundays, so that's seen to, but I like the idea of seeing a bit more of nature.

Would it be worth flying into Ayers Rock for the 3 nights? Or perhaps heading up to Daintree? I would prefer it if we could count on good weather... I don't know the area round the Gold Coast you are referring to. Can you enlighten me?

Thanks,
Grainne
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 03:55 PM
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If you want a guarantee of good weather, head for either NT (Ayers Rock etc) or north Queensland. July/August are winter and the Hunter Valley will be cold and probably (hopefully) wet. You could fly from Hamilton Island to Cairns and use your time to explore around Cairns, Port Douglas and the Daintree. Hire a car and you will have the freedom to stop and look when you feel like it. The traffic in the area is light and the roads generally well sign-posted.
It would be more difficult to get to Ayers Rock as you would have to fly to either Brisbane or Cairns from Hamilton Island and then connect from there ensuring a long day of travel both ways and time lost from your holiday. NT is well worth visiting, Ayers Rock and the Olgas are spectacular so it would be better to have a longer visit there next time.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 07:20 PM
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I second the idea of heading up to North Qld and the Daintree area etc. Winter in Queensland is the dry season and you should be able to expect nice weather all the time.
The centre will be very cold at night and I am not a fan of The Rock, preferring to take in more of the far north of the Northern Territory.
There is actually another rock in Australia that is Waaaayyyyyyy bigger than Ayers anyway. You could guarantee good weather and critters both in north Qld and in and around Darwin/ Kakudu.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 10:16 PM
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Hi Grainne

Give Cairns a big miss. Full of tourist shops where only Japanese is spoken.

I had to go through there on my way to the wonderful Cape Tribulation. We stayed at the Cononut Beach Rainforest Resort which is right in the middle of the rainforest. Spectacularly romantic. http://www.coconutbeach.com.au/

The activities there were great. Diving, snorkling, beach horseriding even tropical fruit tasting (accompanied by a local with a bottle of champagne!). You avoid the Reef crush of the Cairns/Port Douglas area.

I, personally, have Uluru (the now official Aboriginal name for Ayers Rock) as the next on my list of destinations. Apparently that and Kings Canyon are spectacular and perfect at that time of the year.

The drive from Brisbane to Sydney is a long haul with some amazing beaches the whole way down. As someone mentioned it will be a tad cool that time of the year July/August being our coldest months.

Hope all that made sense. Please do not hesitate to ask...
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 02:47 AM
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Thanks, everyone, for your advice.

I think I'm leaning towards northern Queensland at the minute. The company I'm travelling with from Ireland, Trailfinders, have a lodge up north called Bloomfield Lodge, which appears to be pretty spectacular. Have any of you heard of it. You have to take a scenic flight and boat to get to it, but it is all-inclusive once you get there and is right on the beach and by the rainforest. So that's a possibility?

Do you think then that 3 nights is too short to get from Brisbane to HV in any kind of comfort? We don't want to spend all our time driving...

Grainne
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 03:05 PM
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Hi Grainne
I would fly down to the Hunter from either Brisbane of better still - the Gold Coast because you will be here in winter and the beach areas are not all that great with cold winds blowing. However if you are from Ireland then you may find them just fine. You only really need 2 days driving so you would need an overnight spot between. It would be pretty constant driving though as it takes about 10 hours total driving time so you can decide if you want to do that.
The border ranges behind the Gold Coast have many National Parks within them where there are lovely walks, waterfalls, flora and fauna and different from what you will see up further north. There is a quaint little village called Nimbin in the northern part of New South Wales which is a "must see" time warp from the 60's and all around that area is beautiful countryside. Byron Bay is also worth a visit and a must do is to walk up to the lighthouse there and check out the fantastic beaches where you can see for miles.
Bloomfield Lodge is wonderful - I envy you because you are in for some wonderful surprises there with wildlife etc.
Enjoy
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 08:24 PM
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Re. the Beach Club on Hamilton Island. Friends stayed their in January for their honeymoon and they absolutely loved it. Their room was superb and they literally walked the door onto the beach. They highly recommended the sea plane joy flight. Very pricey normally but they got lucky with a 'standby' fare.
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 02:15 PM
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Thanks for all the advice.

I think we're decided - 4 nights on Hamilton Island, 3 nights in Bloomfield Lodge, 3 nights in Sydney and 2 nights in the Hunter Valley.

Unfortunately, due to the connections to Bloomfield, we have to stay a night in Cairns. We only get in at 6pm and are leaving the next morning at 8am, so we're not too worried about facilities, etc. We really just want a bed for the night where we can walk to a decent restaurant and have a nice meal. Have you any recommendations?

We're also considering staying in the Hunter Valley Resort? Has anyone ever stayed there or do you know anything about it?

Thanks again, all - you really are making my life a lot easier....

Grainne
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 02:32 PM
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Hi again
If you are just wanting something ok for the night in Cairns why not wait until less than 2 weeks before you are due and get on the www.wotif.com.au site, click - Qld and then North Queensland area or specifically Cairns. Most of the accommodation is close to everything anyway and you cannot go wrong and you'll get a bargain as well. Also have a quick look at the Hunter Valley in NSW and see what they are offering - the time you are coming is not high season there and so getting a good deal is quite on the cards.
Also perhaps consider a nice B&B in the area as there are some wonderful ones. OR stay somewhere along the Hawkesbury River and drive to the wineries because there sure are some lovely accommodation places there.
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 02:47 PM
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You might want to check these two out in the Hunter Valley on this site:
http://www.wotif.com/holiday/SearchResults.asp
Note that this is not the same site as
www.wotif.com.au for Cairns or just plain accommodation.
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Old Apr 28th, 2003, 07:29 AM
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Thanks again.

I think I'll wait to a couple of weeks before and try and get the Cairns and Hunter Valley accommodation then.

I really appreciate all the help and can't wait now...

Grainne
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