Australia Advice Please

May 6th, 2009, 12:01 PM
  #1  
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Australia Advice Please

The on–off-on-off trip to Australia is on again. After our initial plans were killed by the wildfires and the stock show canceled we decided not to go. In yesterdays email Qantas had such a deal $459. + tax that we couldn’t refuse to quote the Godfather, so we booked. Now a couple of questions. We are now going for 15 days in late September. Not perhaps the best weather wise, we will be limiting our time to Sydney, area between it and Melbourne and Tasmania. I need recommendations for:
Accommodations 3* or other midrange places in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart.
What not to miss in the time we have or the must see first type things.
And advice on how you would split up the time between the places.
We are thinking 4 days Sydney drive south to Melbourne 2-3 days
3 days Melbourne the rest in Tasmania.
Open for suggestions etc.

Thanks in advance
JoanneH is offline  
May 6th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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JoanneH, these are wide-ranging questions requiring very lengthy responses. I really think you need to do some prior research aided by a good guidebook (e.g. Fodors, Frommers, Lonely Planet or Rough Guide - see which ones your local loibrary has or browse them in a bookstore to decide which best suits your needs).

Once you have a rough itinerary mapped out, more specific questions can be asked on this forum - or you could post a draft itinerary for comment. You could also peruse the official website www.australia.com.

This approach worked for us when we last travelled to the US and Canada. Certainly I wouldn't think of visiting anywhere without investing in a guidebook, the price being trivial in the scheme of things.

As for accommodations, the last-minute deals (actually last-3-weeks I think) site www.wotif.com will if nothing else acquaint you with a choice of accommodations in your preferred price range by location. Again, if you have questions about specific properties post them here and I'm sure you'll get as much help as people can provide.

The search function on this forum also has a lot of useful past threads, including options for the Sydney-Melbourne drive.
Neil_Oz is offline  
May 6th, 2009, 05:15 PM
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Hi Joanne: I am so surprised that you were able to get that price through Qantas. Where would you be traveling from and also a second question is did you get that price on line? I have been searching for a good price from Canada, Toronto and all I get is $1,500 plus taxes. Consider yourself very lucky.

Rozy
rozy is offline  
May 6th, 2009, 10:10 PM
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Hi Joanne,
Seems like you have a reasonable allocation of days given the number you have and weather should not be too bad at around 20C mark, possibly warmer in Sydney and cooler down in Tassie and though Spring can bring some glorious days, changeable rainy/colder stuff should also not be unexpected.
Hopefully tress will be a blossoming, wattles and wildflowers on the go.

Wotif and www.lastminute.com.au and the like allow you to look for what's available within price ranges, a recent thread having some B&Bs listed at about $145/n I think it was but for a heritage stle place in Rocks precinct, if you can forego the need for an ensuite, you'll not be disappointed with http://www.australianheritagehotel.com/

Sydney Cove, with the ferry terminal Circular Quay, Rocks on one side with Harbour Bridge as backdrop and Opera House/Botanical Gardens other side is the epicentre for what Sydney is renowned for - its Harbour and there're many interesting trips and walks within the City area itself, on the harbour and further afield like the Blue Mountains.

There is a great Visitors Information Centre very easily found in the Rocks, about opposite from where Ferry Terminal is and they have a superb range of free info including heritage trail maps [ different themed ones to be asked for if not on display].
http://www.sydney100.com/ lists you guessed it, 100 different things to do and no surprises either that a ferry ride over to explore Manly is top of the list - a great way to keep yourself occupied on first day of arrival in adjusting to time change/warding off jetlag - do not have a nap and walk about the harbour, take that ferry trip etc.

I'm surprised that the trip across to Watsons Bay, a lunch at Doyles [great pub at end of complex] and a walk up around South Head, upper and lower is not higher as also a very pleasant part of the Harbour.
http://www.131500.info/realtime/newjourney.asp will give you public transport info and consider getting a three day pass at the airport as there's a train from there right to Circular Quay and a pass will get you a cheaper ride in [you'll still need to pay a platform access fee - it's a private/public combo]and be good value re ferry trips etc.
www.sydney.com.au will also give you a heap of info and with sites like that I find they allow you tyo focus on what you want for a shorter stay than getting a guide book - they're OK for longer trips where you intend to explore a much greater range of locations.

www.drivenow.com.au will scan car hire company rates but you could leave booking until in Australia and so if there is an inflight magazine on the plane, check out whether there're any discount offers in it.

For your drive Sydney to Melbourne, you do not need to book accommodation as you'll find heaps of good quality motels along the way in range $80-100/n and if you have an auto association membership back home you may see some with NRMA/RACV signs and so you can ask for an auto club rate - do it anyway or ask if they have a standby rate and you'll probably even see many with offer signs out.
I'd sugegst you take the Princess Highway around the coast and first thing you ought to do is a detour into the Royal National Park on Sydneys southern door step, some great coastal lookouts and then continue on to the Lawrence Hargreaves Drive [spectacular].
There's a lot of smaller towns and villages along the way, and places like Berry, Milton, Mogo Town and Central Tilba may catch your eye for cuppa breaks and lunch etc.
You probably ought to be able to make it as far as Merimbula if you get away from Sydney at an early hour but you could do far worse than a short distance out of Narooma, look for a road on right that says Scenic Drive and alomg it you'll find Tilba Valley Winery - http://www.tilba.com.au/tilbavalleywines.htm and continue on and you'll find http://www.centraltilbafarmcabins.com.au/ arguably the best value place you could find to stay at in Australia.
With a couple of bottles of good red, an outside fire, some snags and rolls etc. bought in Narooma, sit back and live it up - it's a most beautiful part of Australia and to be honest, as much as there is to be seen in Tasmania, very sadly you will be missing just as much by whizzing through too quick.

And on packing what you can in, if you feel the urge to get out to the Blue Mountains, you could leave that until what was to be your last day in Sydney, hire the car a day earlier and drive out and stay at http://www.jenolancaves.org.au/ , maybe allow time for a cave tour in afternoon and then next morning you could cut across to Heathcote via Route 7 and into the Royal National Park, missing inner city traffic.
www.travelmate.com.au or www.nrma.com.au [its travel planner] will be handy for you to plan driving distances and times.
If you want to get a little further along, you could do a lot worse than http://www.seahorseinn.com.au/ complete with old whaling station museum.

Anyway, day 2 ought to see you get from Tilba, Merimbula or the Sea Horse on to close to Melbourne and I'd suggest that you could do worse than take the Strezlecki Highway from just past Morwell through Mirboo North and Leongatha onto Inverloch and then via Wonthaggi and San Remo, get to Phillip Island for the evening Penguin Parade - well body surf in from the sea!
Along the way, Lakes Entrance for some fish and chips to be taken over the foot bridge to the beach will make for a nice lunch and just out of town there's a pull off for looking and a bit further along on right there could be an opportunity for a light aircraft flight over the area.
At Traralgon, a little detour just south out of town a couple of kilometres will allow you to view a huge brown coal hole - quite spectacular and also on approaching Morwell, just other side of the hill [there's only one], turn at the Power Works sign for another holey look.
Strezlecki turn-off is just another couple of kilometres ahead.

Plenty of motels and B&Bs around Cowes on Phillip Island.

There'll be many who will say it would be remiss of you to not drive The Great Ocean Road and you can possibly just squeeze it in by instead of heading straight into Melbourne on day 3., get an early start and head around onto Mornington Peninsula [ another great area to be whizzing through] and down to Sorrento to catch http://www.searoad.com.au/flash/searoad.html to Queenscliff and then on to GOR and you could consider to loop back to Ballarat for http://www.sovereignhill.com.au/ there being an evening dinner show, "Blood on the Southern Cross" based on history of Miners Rebellion at Eureka Stockade and there's accommodation there too.

That'll get you into Melbourne on day 4 and you will not need the car, there being a free City Circle Tram and like Sydney, plenty to do.

An exploration of http://www.underdownunder.com.au/ may give you some ideas on Tassie but your best bet is to fly into Launceston [ www.tigerairways.com.au ] hire a car and do Cradle Mountain, stop a night there and head across to east coast for Wine Glass Bay and Port Arthur before looping back to Hobart to fly back to Sydney from there.

If you're in Melbourne near a weekend, you may be able to get a ticket for a www.afl.com.au final and if stopping a night in Hobart, dine at the http://www.ballandchain.com.au/

Happy travelling.
Bushranger is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 04:28 AM
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Rozy - a couple of comments. To me, spending half your time in cities is a waste as they are not what make Australia unique. Unless you have particular reason to go Melbourne, I would leave it out. (Actually I like Melbourne, but I would put it at the top of my vacation destination list.) And I would cut down the time in Sydney by a day. Also, why head south from Sydney other than it's in the general direction of Tasmania? In Sept, I'd consider heading north to northern New South Wales and Queensland for lovely warm weather, great scenery, and beautiful beaches.
RalphR is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 05:27 AM
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Sorry Rozy, I meant Joanne!

Ralph
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May 7th, 2009, 08:23 AM
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Roz the fare was offered in a email directly from Qantas and we fly out of San Francisco non-stop, fare was offered as set dates so I assume they had empty plane on those dates, why else would it be such a good fare?
Ralph: The reason we are going to Melbourne is that we were to attend,one of us to judge at the canceled stock show. The people involved have asked that we stop and visit at a few farms between Sydney and Melbourne and some in the general area of Melbourne. Since the air dates are totally fixed due to the great price we are trying to work around them. I thank you for the suggestion re Sydney cutting a day.
Everyone thanks for the advice. I do have a guide book 3 in fact, but group is so great and always has great and better ideas on how to do things than I can come up with. Keep them coming. jh
JoanneH is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 05:32 PM
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If you have set farm locations to visit, that may well determine your route and if it's inland, there's still quite a few places of interest about and with 2-3 days you have time to meander a bit.
If no set farms, there's also plenty of farming areas about the coast, south coast of NSW and then Gippsland/South Gippsland in Victoria both rich farming districts, dairy and beef cattle predominantly with a couple of hundred kilometres or so of State Forest in between.
Bushranger is offline  
May 8th, 2009, 11:38 AM
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Yes the farm locations are pretty set mainly horse breeding operations as a the judge is a breeder and judge of same. Local breed assoc. has also lined up some things dinners lunches etc. I am bookseller by trade any tips on good places to scout out used books in the cities? Last year in Italy I bought so much I had to pay for 4 extra suitcases, but worth it, I tripled my money .
JoanneH is offline  
May 8th, 2009, 04:39 PM
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Joanne, Berkelows are very well known booksellers, both new and secondhand - they have a shop in Oxford Street, Paddington in Sydney close to the CBD and another large one in the Southern Highlands, a beautful place to visit, located about 1.5 hours from the city.
prue is offline  
May 10th, 2009, 06:22 PM
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Berkelows Booksellers are about the most expensive booksellers in Australasia - you only need to do a comparison on the websites to note that. Having said that, a visit to the one in the Southern Highlands would be a nice start and then visit a cheaper secondhand bookseller. The Southern Highlands are worth the visit anyway and especially at that time of year.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
May 11th, 2009, 12:00 AM
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Just about every suburb has a 2nd hand bookshop or two - King Street Newtown is a good start and close to the city.
I wouldn't go to Berkelows if you're buying for re-sale, unless you're looking for specific, limited or first editions where you can add a hefty margin and sell into a select market.

They are a great company though and well worth the hour and more to explore. The suggestion about visiting their Southern Highlands store is a good one and if you combine it with a trip to Bowral or Moss Vale, it would be a very nice day.
Bokhara2 is offline  
May 15th, 2009, 10:03 AM
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Great info keep it coming. re books I am speaking of 2nd hand shops were I can purchase for resale at reasonable prices.
jh
JoanneH is offline  
May 15th, 2009, 12:53 PM
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A couple of tips.

JohanneH ,

Look at www.visitmelbourne.com.

If you can tell us a little more precisely where the farms etc are you will be visiting in Victoria we will all be more precise as well.

Hard to know if our bookshops will fit the bill as I find I am often buying from the USA as the books are so often cheaper even with the exchange rate and shipping costs.Also it depends what you are interested in - eg rare and old or ???

But here are the names of a few in Melbourne that are wonderful

Gaston Renard Fine Books ; Kay Craddock Antiquarian Bookseller -www.kaycraddock.com ( she is in Collins St in the city ); and http://www.sufface.net/links/online-...books-oz.shtml . The latter is a site for onlne bookstores in Australia and might be a good starting point.

Also www.aba.org.au is the site for the Australian Booksellers Association which might be useful .They have a national conference in June or July I think in Sydney .

I buy garden references from Florilegium in Glebe , Sydney

Happy to assist further .
JohnFitz is offline  
May 16th, 2009, 07:55 AM
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Wow thanks so much. I don't know exactly what the farms are I do know we are to go to Toowoomba area,Wodonga/Albury,Hameron Park,Mt Creek the horse assoc. is arranging it so I don't have the real details as of yet. thanks
JoanneH is offline  
May 16th, 2009, 03:54 PM
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Here is a site in Sydney that you may want to look at: They have auctions each week at Annandale with books and every so often they have specialist auctions with books in them as well - note here on this site there is an auction coming up with 20,000 books for sale at The Abbey
http://www.lawsons.com.au/ You should also be able to find places in Toowoomba as that is a good little place to sniff around for that sort of thing.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
May 17th, 2009, 04:57 AM
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Just on Toowoomba Joanne, you had better do a bit of sniffing out your itinerary becaus it's the opposite direction from heading to Melbourne from Sydney, like up inland from Brisbane, about 1000km. away by road.

No idea where Hameron Park or Mt Creek are but if they're not near Albury/Wodonga [on Hume Hwy - inland route between Sydney and Melbourne] they could be in Upper Hunter Valley, Scone, about 300 km. or so away from Sydney is thought of as Australias Horsey Capital - it's kind of on way to Toowoomba.

But sounds like you'llbe doing some flying more so than driving.
Bushranger is offline  
May 18th, 2009, 02:13 PM
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As to just exactly where we are going I am awaiting that information they said it was all driving and mentioned those areas, but to be honest I have no idea of what they have in mind. It does sound like its all over the map and looking at the map I see some places are northwest of Sydney and others more directly west. I guess I will find out.
Bushranger:
In checking into sim cards these www.optus.com.au - Telstra - www.telstra.com.au and Vodafone - www.vodafone.com.au., are the mobile companies I come up with but I can’t seem to find on their sites where they just sell sim cards. Lots of stuff on phones. I have a unlocked phone that I have used the past couple years in Europe and Middle East. What do you think is the best bet for sim card service that will work between Sydney and Melbourne and points west. I see Vodafone has several stores in Sydney but the others seem to want you to buy on line. Are there places are the airport. We will mainly be using it for emergency or if we get lost going from point A to B. Thanks jh.
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