Aug 25th, 2009, 11:16 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2009
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I am planning to go to Australia in February 2010. Right now I have the following schedule.

4 days in Sydney
3 days in Cairns
2 days in Uluru
I day in Adelaide - Tour Barossa Wine Region
3 days in Kangaroo Island
2 days in Melbourne

Is this a realistic schedule? Is it worth going to Uluru in February based on heat? Also should I stay in Cairns or Port Douglass? Have also read about the box jellyfish in February along the Great Barrier Reef. Are we not going to be able to swim in the water there? Will beaches be closed?
AliG is offline  
Aug 25th, 2009, 02:52 PM
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I would not go to Uluru in the heat for love nor money. There will also be flies in abundance as well which make life miserable.
I would be only go to 3 places and probably a cross section of Australia such as Sydney, GBR, Tasmania. The latter has wonderful wineries and unique places to go and see.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Aug 25th, 2009, 04:48 PM
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Are you counting travel days in your schedule? If so, I think you have too many places and too little time. Sydney - Cairns, for example, will take you more than half a day by the time you leave hotel, wait at airport, fly, get to hotel etc.

Personally, I wouldn't go to Uluru in February, but I might if I were from a hot/hotter climate. I have the opportunity of going any time, but if this were my only chance and I really wanted to go, I probably would just put up with the heat for the couple of days.

Adelaide & The Barossa will be pretty warm too, it's our hottest month.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2009, 06:05 PM
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Unless you wear a stinger suit, you can't swim on Far North Queensland's un-netted coastal beaches, including those of Cairns or Port Douglas between about Nov-May, because of danger of marine stingers. Stinger nets are in place on beaches at this time of year, only on beaches which are life-saver patrolled. You don't have this problem off-shore on the Great Barrier Reef, but all reef boats supply stinger suits just in case, and they are a protection from sunburn. Cairns city has a stinger free huge public lagoon right on its Esplanade; Port Douglas doesn't have one at all. But all resorts have swimming pools, and there's inland rivers and waterfalls which are safe at any time - more refreshing with much cooler water than on beaches in February.

Life savers check daily for presence of stingers, if they are detected the beach will be closed, including the netted area. Also will be closed if there's crocodiles about, not uncommon at that time of year. Once again, no crocs out on reef.
pat_woolford is offline  
Aug 25th, 2009, 07:17 PM
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The heat is part of the Ularu experience. Sure, the days are hot, but it's as dry as dust, zero humidity. I've been there in January and late March, and it was OK, February may be a little hotter.

If you go, please do not climb the rock. It is sacred to the traditional owners.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Aug 25th, 2009, 09:42 PM
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I was in Uluru one March and the heat was extreme but the flies were horrendous . Apparently they are not in abundance by about May. I much prefer Port Douglas to Cairns but others may differ.You are doing far too much in 15 days. I think the area you want to do is far larger than you expect.
Peteralan is offline  
Aug 25th, 2009, 09:49 PM
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I was in Uluru one March and the heat was extreme but the flies were horrendous . Apparently they are not in abundance by about May. I much prefer Port Douglas to Cairns but others may differ.You are doing far too much in 15 days. I think the area you want to do is far larger than you expect.
Peteralan is offline  
Aug 26th, 2009, 03:14 AM
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How do you plan to get from Uluru to Adelaide?

If your schedule doesn't include travel times you really need to rethink. It will take you, as Bokhara says, at least half a day to a day to get from some places to the next on your current schedule. Australia is an enormous place!

It will also be very, very hot wherever you go in February which might be OK with you, but you need to be aware we are talking about days in excess of 40C in some cases. This can make touring around (and travel) pretty exhausting on your extremely tight schedule.

Just a query - why three days on Kangaroo Island? There seem to be number of people (Americans mainly) who always include this in their Australian experience.

Do travel companies encourage this?

I just don't get the inclusion in almost every North American's Australian trip. It's a just OK place and on such a tight timeframe I wonder what's the attraction?
Libretto is offline  
Aug 26th, 2009, 04:58 AM
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I agree with everyone else regarding the heat & trying to cover too much ground in too little time. You need to factor in travel time as well -- every one of those flights from Point A to Point B is cutting into your vacation time (not to mention costing you money).

Libretto -- re: K.I. - yes, I think touring companies DO feature K.I. quite a bit and I think it gets all the "press" because of the name - people think they're going to have this unique experience of kangaroos hopping everywhere, coming up and saying "hi, my name's Skippy!" or something. Personally, when I have someone who says they want K.I. for "all the wildlife" I recommend Tasmania everytime.


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wlzmatilida is offline  
Aug 26th, 2009, 05:20 AM
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Thanks so much for all your help on this. To be honest I had never heard of KI. My friend mentioned it and wants to go there badly so I included it in our schedule.

As for the travel time, I had looked online at the available flights and was thinking of flying out on the earliest flights possible. For example, I see the following flight options:

6:25 am flight out of Syndey to Cairns. (3hrs),
6:40 am flight out of Cairns to Alice Springs (4hrs)
1:10pm flight out of Alice Springs to Adelaide (2hrs)
9am ferry to KI on Day 1 of KI and a 7:30 pm ferry leaving KI on Day 3 of KI.
7am flight out of Adelaide to Melbourne (1 h 15min)

Will have to rethink Uluru based on heat and flies. Maybe I can spend more time in another area. Any suggestions?
AliG is offline  
Aug 26th, 2009, 02:56 PM
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I too was puzzled that KI was included at all, let alone for 3 whole days, in a tight itinerary. I endorse Libretto's comment, although some others will argue with us - OK, but that's all. I hear what you say about your friend "badly" wanting to go there - but why?

It seems to me that you'd have a richer experience of Australia if you deleted the 3 days in KI entirely - in which case there's no point going to Adelaide just for a day in the Barossa Valley. There are excellent wine regions all over SE and SW Australia, including the Yarra Valley outside Melbourne.

I would reallocate those rescued 4 days by adding a day in Melbourne for a winery outing and tacking the other 3 on to Sydney (1 day) and Far North Queensland (2 days). I believe excellent wildlife tours are offered ex Cairns.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Aug 26th, 2009, 03:11 PM
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You have received some very good advice for the last few posters. Kangaroo Island is nothing really special in the scheme of things in Australia and the wildlife there is no different from anywhere else - except its restricted to cooler ( but not is summer) southern animals. For diversity Far North Queensland is much, much better and if you really want to get up close and personal with some of the animals then stay Daintree Wild B&B for a night or so and play as much as you want with the kangaroos, wallabies, birds, etc etc and the very illusive Cassowary. Its a great place.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Aug 27th, 2009, 03:39 AM
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Thanks Melodie, KI has always seemed a very mysterious inclusion! And I agree with you about Tassie - so much wildlife without actually looking for it, which is the best way of getting in contact with our wonderful and unique animals.

Ali, again just to pick up on your travel've quoted only the actual flying time.

If you add the required time to be at the airport before your flights and the actual time to get out of the airport you are still really looking at a least a half a day out of your vacation time on each occasion.

Even the shortest flight, from Adelaide to Melbourne, will end up being well over three hours. Just the journey from the airport to Melbourne city will take over an hour for example, and you need to factor in any potential delays, plus baggage collection, and finding your way around.

Please consider the good advice you have been given about travel times, you really are trying to pack in a huge amount over a vast area for such a brief visit.
Libretto is offline  
Aug 27th, 2009, 05:05 AM
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Thanks again for all your help. I will need to discuss this with my friends and come up with a more realistic schedule.
AliG is offline  
Aug 28th, 2009, 04:05 AM
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When in north Queensland spend some time on the Atherton Tablelands as that is where one can see the wildlife in the wild. There are a number of tours running out of Cairns and a back packers called On the Wallaby but If there are three or more of you it will be cheaper to pick up a step aboard guide and get a personalised tour. See if Alan Gillanders is available, he often goes away on holidays at that time of year.
Saltuarius is offline  
Aug 30th, 2009, 05:15 PM
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Sydney and Melbourne can do with more time if you can fit it in?! so much to see in both great cities!
ac291 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2009, 06:21 PM
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As for the stinger situation check out . I'm a local here and basically you wouldn't want to be at the beach in the wet season anyhow as the water/sand/sun is disgustingly hot. We either go to the reef on a nice air con boat or spend the day in the shady cool rainforest
marty_yates is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 08:47 PM
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Ali, when you mention your flights to/from the Red Centre you say "Alice Springs". Are you aware that Alice is hundreds of miles away from Uluru? You fly directly to Yalara (I think that is the correct spelling) which is the town near Uluru. Unless you want to spend time in Alice and drive out to Uluru, which at the hottest time I don't think would be fun, look at the flights to Yalara. Also think about the logistics of getting to the airport for that early flight--getting there 1-1 1/2 hours ahead of time to check in, travel from town to the airport (a fair distance in Sydney), etc. Do you really want to get up at 4 am or earlier on your vacation??? Also I second the Atherton Tableland tour with Alan Gillanders. We did the day and night tours and they were great. Are you planning on the Great Ocean Road? That is a tour we really want to do someday--you can take a day tour out of Melbourne or drive yourself. Just google it and see the sights. RE Kangaroo Island, the Australians think it is nothing much but almost all the trip reports from North Americans rave about the place. Do a search on Fodor's for it. There are lots of other places to see seals, koalas, kangaroos, etc. but I think that the people who go there like that they are all there (but you need a tour or knowledge of where to find them) I believe it is quite expensive on KI as well as to fly there or take the car ferry, so factor that in. It is quite confusing and overwhelming when you start your planning, but rest assured that Australia is a great place no matter where you go and the people are also wonderful and you will have a great time, so relax and try to plan out a few gems of places you want to go and then plan on coming back soon. We have been twice for a total of 8 weeks and are longing to come back. Happy planning!
Sally in Seattle
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