Aussie in Dec or NOT?

Old Sep 20th, 2004, 07:26 AM
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Aussie in Dec or NOT?

Friendly Australia People and Traveled-

I have a dilemna. I want to go Australia in DEC for 3-4 weeks. My best airfare I found is United dec 19th- Jan 10th for $1595. Its the cheapest and convienent in regards to the end of my internship and my return to school in Jan. My father thinks I should wait until another time (havent said WHEN though) to go.

December is summer there. My friend who lives there in Chittaway NSW is offering me a free place to stay and wants to travel with me when I come. She's even offered to quit her retail job to go with me. Thats quite a lot to offer. Her family is even excited to have me over there.

Despite all this, I feel slightly uneasy about deciding so quickly, but time is running short on getting a ticket reserved early enough? Im a fulltime student and December would be my only available time for the next 2 yrs or else May/June. Im trying to read up as much as I can so I can decide how much I need to budget and if I can get my $1600 worth on the trip. Is DEC a good time to travel or is it too High tourist season? Is it better to wait until I am married and travel with my wife there? Should I go in February in a couple years when I am outof school? I want to hear from those who have traveled or those who live there, what their opinion is.

My best ticket price is $1600 to SYDNEY. Is $600 enough to budget for seeing australia? Great Barrier reef... worth going?

Basically, Im looking for quick justification/unjustification for my $1600 trip without putting enough time into reading about where/what/when I want to see in Sydney.

Yesterday was 75 degrees.. today its 34 and snowing. I cant believe Idaho.

THANX
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Old Sep 20th, 2004, 09:57 AM
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Rahul,
I think there are more experienced people on this board than myself but I just can't help sharing my experiences.

The first time I went to Australia it cost me $1200 from N. FL and I went in the middle of Sept. My area is not a major hub so, to me, getting over the cost of getting to LAX was bigger than LAX - MEL. I have friends there so hotel, transportation and most meals were something I didn't have to budget for. But when my friends would take me places I paid their way ... it's the least I could do. And I helped with gas and some meals (I did some southern cooking for them).
The 2nd time I went to visit them my ticket was free (brother's frequent flyer miles) but I did go in Dec (day after Christmas) and for me it was the perfect time of year. Again, I repeat ... FOR ME. I prefer warm weather to cold. Since you are in Idaho you probably can handle cold weather better than I can.

Have you tried Travelocity just to see how much airfare is from LAX - where ever you want to go? Don't include the Idaho part just yet. You might be able to get cheaper airfare Idaho to LAX thru Priceline. That's what I'm doing but I know that Dec/Jan is their high-season.

As to only having $600 to spend ... is your room free? Will you have to pay for all meals? Will you have to rent a car & pay for gas? These are all things you need to think about. Both times the exchange rate was in my favor ($100USD was about $200AUD). Personally, I think $600 is not enough for 3 or 4 weeks in that area for that time of year.

Hope I helped. I'm sure if I said something incorrectly someone will straighten me out (no shy people on this board!).

Best of Luck,
Sandi (Tally-Lass)
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Old Sep 20th, 2004, 10:31 AM
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Sandi -

I've done awesome research on tickets. Make a huge spreadsheet with 4 diff sites on a weeks variance. Best I found was a webfare only on priceline for $1578. I didn tlike the dates though. Through a agent I got $1595. I been very careful and researched a LAX ticket separetly and found that extra cost be the same as if I bought the tickets separetly. Ill be flying out of Seattle. First have to move back to Seattle from Idaho. Then leave few days after. I plan to only pay for gas, food (I can cook @ their place), and prolly some of my friends travel if she is to travel with me. The hotel/car cost is my biggest saved expense. I

I love hot weather and spend every summer out on the lake waterskiin. WOuld be nice to ski out in Fl though, just once.

What can you get for a Low season ticket? I just got a quote back for $1200 in low season. that seems high to me. Can you travel in May/June or too cold to really do much.

-Rahul
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Old Sep 20th, 2004, 12:49 PM
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Rahul, December is hot in some places in Australia but it can be a fabulous time to come here. If you have accommodation available ( I must admit I don't know where Chittaway N.S.W is) you could have a fantastic time. Sydney is more alive at that time than most with everyone on holiday and the beaches are at their best, as are the areas north and south of Sydney.
I could live on $600 US for that time if I had to because you will have someone with you to show you where you get the cheapest meals, travel and entertainment.
I always say "never put off till tomorrow, what you can do today".
If you are in or around Sydney at New Year it will be fabulous because it puts on a terrific display.
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Old Sep 20th, 2004, 02:16 PM
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LizF is right, just do it, go for it. Your lucky to have an Australian friend who can show you around (nothing like local knowledge).
LIz, I think Chittaway is in the Newcastle/Lake Macquarie region?
Rahul, don' worry about the price of the airline ticket, etc, just imagine if you put it off for a later date, have ever seen international airline ticket prices go down, no, they usually keep going up & up, with running costs, increased fuel costs, anti terrorism measures, etc, etc.
December is a hot time of the year, but everything is happening then, great swimming on the beaches, parties, etc.
Just do it.
(P.S. I had a relative of mine who recently returned from Britain/Europe, and complained about the cost of the english pound to the aussie dollar. I told her before she left to "forget" the conversion, just think of 5 english pounds being equal to 5 Australian dollars. I also told her, "Your only on this planet once, its not a dress rehearsal, so enjoy it". But she apparently, went ballistic, about the costs over in the old dart, and hence bought cheap meals wherever possible, and missed out on some great dining experiences) Her husband didn't even try a pint of ale, whilst there.
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Old Sep 20th, 2004, 02:40 PM
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LizF, Tropo-

Thank you guys so much. I been reading all these forums and my head is overwhelmed with it. I think i need to go the gym from sitting here so long. I think it was Tropo who got in a fight with Jane a couple weeks back. That was funny. I look forward to being a routine person on here. I'd love to take someone around seattle, W coast area since I am extremely familiar with it.

My trip has been hard to personally justify. Its been such a 50/50 for me lately, I cant really decide. I read what you two had to say and I got the justification I was needing and not receiving from anyone else. Because so, it made me cry. It must be the exciting emotion I have from this forum. I can almost taste the beaches.

I think after wasting away 8 hrs at work today reading all these forums (at forum 256 now) I pretty set on going to Australia in Dec. I just bought two books online 15 mins ago. Fodors: Sydney ($8) & DK witness: Australia ($20). I hope to have my ticket booked by the end of this week. Im going to enjoy my time in and around sydney, maybe make it to melbourne to visit my cousins, but have decided to make two trips. This first one being a local sydney adventure, then the second one in the next 15 years to Queensland and either tasmania or New zealand maybe when I am married. It would be nice to enjoy something like that with a wife or family. For now, Im going to enjoy being young.

In bright light and thanks,

Rahul
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Old Sep 20th, 2004, 03:35 PM
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Rahul,

My wife and I had been wanting to go to Australia for years. Many years. Many, many years. One night, we were wathcing television and a commercial for Australian vacations came on. We started talking about it that night and decided that if we waited until it was the right time or until we could afford it, we would never go.

The next day, we started our research and a few weeks later, purchased our airline tickets. This was a huge thing for us, never having travelled overseas before.

We ended up having a wonderful trip. We had such a good time and made so many friends that we went back again! I'm sure that there will be several more trips to Oz in our future.

I think you'll find that getting out of the U.S. and seeing the world from a non-American perspective will be a real eye-opener. It's changed the way we think about our country and the rest of the world.

My advise - go to Australia, NOW!

John in Miami
(a former Idahoan from Coeur d'Alene)


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Old Sep 20th, 2004, 07:13 PM
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Yes yes yes yes, for all the reasons mentioned above, and then some!

First of all, your 1600 doesn't seem too bad at all . I went in December last year, and fares were all over 2000. I got lucky when through some fluke USAir charged 600 bucks less for the same United flight than United's site (codeshare). In fact, check USAir's site to see how much they'll charge for that exact same flight. Yes, fares are low during offseason (I've seen repeated fares the last few months for 600-700 round trip) but you never really know when those will pop up.

The weather treated me very well. I was there for three weeks right after Christmas to mid january. I visited Adelaide and Sydney, and didn't think anything was particulary crowded. Can't speak for the GBR at that time of year though. When I went to Port Douglas 3 years ago, it was the beginning of November. But yes, it's really amazing up there.

Enjoy. I am willing to bet you will not regret it. 600 seems low, but if your lodging is paid for, that would help tremendously.
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Old Sep 20th, 2004, 07:26 PM
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Rahul

Go for it! It's a great time in most parts, although not so great on the Reef - but...if it's the only time you can go, then just go!

JohninMiami - trip report?????
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Old Sep 20th, 2004, 09:52 PM
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Rahul
I agree with everyone....GO FOR IT!
Its not a dress rehearsal... too right Tropo.
My husband and I leave for Australia on tuesday for 6months. We are spending our savings and are not sure if our jobs will be there when we get back... but Hey!
Adam's dad has been diagnosed with altzheimers at 56, my boss has just had extensive surgery for lung cancer at 42 (never smoked) and its made us sit up and think. So follow your dreams Rahul. Good Luck
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Old Sep 21st, 2004, 01:14 AM
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Hell what are you waiting for !!!!
DO IT !!
Life's too short, follow your heart (and occasionally your mind)
Accom is free, and it looks like you will be really welcome with friends family.
Air fares tend to increase for the xmas rush at around 9th or 10th, before that they could be cheaper, can you possibly travel earlier, will school accomodate that?
I suggest you do this trip get back there in Feb in a couple of years , get married and take your wife there too.
Just consider this a reconnaisance mission...lol

Muck
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Old Sep 21st, 2004, 05:32 AM
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Louy - best of luck to you & your husband on your upcoming "round Australia" adventure!! Do check in now and then to let us know how things are going

Margo - trip report is coming soon, I promise!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 11:13 PM
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"Tropo who got in a fight with Jane a couple weeks back. That was funny."

No not me, I love Tropo's posts. They just give me the travel bug more than I have already.

But to your story, $600 will not allow you to travel about much. It will not get you to the great barrier reef . If it does you must know the main attraction is the reef and can cost minumum $70 for a boat trip.

If you do want to do it your friend will need to provide all transport and most accomodation. You will probably not be able to afford a beer or anything sinful (we charge a lot for sins .

On my web travels though I noticed a place in Sydney called the Wood Duck Inn, (backpacker accomodation) they charge $145 for one weeks accomodation (share room with 5 others), one beer, and one trip to the beach. This includes a pick up from the airport. Throw another $50 in and they take you for a blue mountain tour.

On top of this add $50 for food basics and maybe $30 for some take out. One travel 10 bus pass, (i think about $13).

So you could do Sydney for about AUD$300 for one week(about one third your budget). If you like beer add another $50. I think backpackers spend half their life drinking beer and showing off their backsides if they are male or breasts if they are female.


Then take a train to the central coast to stay with your friends family and you could probably live on quite a small amount. This wuld leave a couple a hundred for another trip but best to talk with your friend.

It is doable but will need a lot of research into cheap deals and a lot of support from your friend and family.

Have fun if you decide to go ahead with your plans.
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Old Sep 24th, 2004, 07:15 AM
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whats there to think about? - go for it. get those flights booked NOW.

Boyfriend and I are off to Oz and Fiji 5 weeks tomorrow. We were supposed to start saving months ago and the holiday has just crept up on us. Who cares. We will go and have the holiday of a lifetime and just worry about the visa bill when we get home.

we all work hard and must be due some quality time to enjoy ourselves!

we are a long time dead!
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Old Sep 29th, 2004, 10:57 AM
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Thanx guys-
Jane, I really liked what you said about Sydney. First off, Im booked for the 19th- 10th Jan. $1595 for United and Visa is Electronic and all free; squared away this morning. I have 3 weeks to spend in SYD. I might try to fly down to MEL to see cousins there, but am not doing GBR until next visit during the off season. I hope to make this trip half tourist and half spending time in New Castle with my friends family during xmas. I dont know how xmas is celebrated in AUS, but my friends said they are 'non-traditional'??? Sitting outside all day in the backyard playing Vball with the family or on feeding pelicans on the beach is something Ill get to experience that most tourists wont. Im hoping to get a relaxed trip out of this, but also partying it up in SYD for new years and a few nights before that. Im big on seafood and cooking and saw there was a good place to get seafood in downtown on TV. Dont know what its called, but was one of the most extensive seafood markets around.

For SYD:
Blue Mtns, Darling Harbour, Walking the entire bridge and back (no bridge climb), Seeing some vineyards in ???, Pitt Mall?, Aquarium, REAL aussie pubs in downtown, Hyde Park?.

I cant really have an idea of what to see in SYDney because I got most of my ideas from reading the most recent 250 forums. I am awaiting my books (eyewitness AUstralia $20, and a Syndey (fodors?) Travel guide ($8) all off Ebay) to arrive this wknd. Im going to Boise for the wknd, but hope to see my books on monday so I can get prepared for my trip. So for now, Im in the beginning plans of what I want to see in and about Syndey. Train ride would be NICE!

IF anyone has a top 10 list they want to put up, DO it. In fact, make it top 20 since I have 3 wks in Sydney.

ALso - Ideas for gifts to Aussie's?? I can think of a few - smoked salmon, Deer meat!, Native American art from Seattle.

Thanx guys,

-Rahul

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Old Sep 29th, 2004, 07:36 PM
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Rahul -

Re - food gifts. I'd check with Australian customs before you bring them - there are heavy restructions on the type of food that can be brought in. It'd be a pity if you had them confiscated at the airport.

The seafood place you are thinking about is the Sydney Fish Markets, at Pyrmont. You can buy there to take away, or eat there. A reminder, though, that most seafood restaurants are quite expensive. Fish and chips at the beach are a good alternative.
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