Australia for 14 full days

Feb 16th, 2019, 03:46 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 311
Australia for 14 full days

Hi all, I use this forum a lot for planning and am doing so again for an upcoming Australia trip. We're at the beginning stages of planning, so it will evolve a lot as it always does. We are also planning it much later than normal, but that's because of other things going on right now.

Us: Family of 4 with two teenage kids from Austin. We like traveling and adventure and usually take very active vacations with lots of moving around, with or without the kids.

Trip constraints: July 4 - 20, 2019 with 14 full days on the ground. Start in Sydney (visiting family there) and ending in Cairns (Great Barrier Reef is a must for my daughter). Airfare is pretty good right now arriving in Sydney and flying out of Cairns without having to go back to Sydney. I would have loved a driving trip as that's usually more our style, but I realize that's too long up the entire east coast. We plan on all kinds of activities including city site seeing, hiking, wildlife (zoos, koala park, nature preserves, etc.), snorkeling, beaching, mountains, national parks, etc.

We are thinking of either 2 locations - Sydney (and surrounding area) and Cairns (and surrounding area) only for the entire 14 days with approximately 7 in Sydney and 6 in Cairns with 1 travel day - or three locations - approx. 5 days in Sydney, 4 days in Brisbane, and 4 days in Cairns (+/- 1 day in any location depending on the detailed planning). Normally I would do the latter as the airfare between cities is very reasonable and I feel like we'd be missing out with just 2 locations in 14 days. However, with family in Sydney, we may also want more time there to spend family time with then while still seeing everything, including day or more trips like the Blue Mountains. Also, it seems like there is more in the Cairns area (north) than I originally thought there was, so conceivably 6 days there does not seem overdone.

So I'm collecting input on whether you would do 2 locations only with a longer stay in each or all 3 locations, and why.

Thanks in advance for your input.
paulg is offline  
Feb 16th, 2019, 07:07 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,195
Both of your suggested options are very reasonable. There is plenty to do in the Sydney area and in Far North Queensland that you would not be bored.

Sydney itself is worth at least 2 to 3 days even on the fastest trip. With a week, you could take advantage of much of the outdoors right from your doorstep. July will unlikely give you beach weather but you may enjoy a hike from Spit Bridge to Manly. You could also get on the ferry and go to Watsons Bay and from there visit South Head and Bondi Beach; the walk from Bondi to Coogee is also very worthwhile for the beautiful coastal vistas. I always enjoy a day trip to the Blue Mountains; its easy to do by car or by train and there is something no matter how active you are. Do make sure you go on a good-weather day though.

From Cairns, you have the Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, the Atherton Tablelands, and of course the beaches.

If you do decide to visit the Brisbane area, there is plenty to do there too. I was just there in December and really enjoyed my time there. With three nights, I found myself very busy.

If this is your first trip to Australia and you are looking for something different, I would suggest a visit to Uluru or Kakadu between Sydney and Cairns. It is about 3 hours by air from Sydney to Uluru and another 3 from Uluru to Cairns, but it would give you time in the Outback and the landscapes will be very different than what you will see if Sydney and in FNQ. July is a good time to visit Uluru too as the weather will be comfortable.

Similarly you will find July to be a comfortable time to visit Kakadu. To access the national park, you would fly into and out of Darwin. Like Uluru, you will find the landscapes at Kakadu to be very different than your other destinations.

If you like history and politics, then Canberra, the national capital, is easy to reach by car from Sydney. There are numerous museums and monuments you can visit, as well as parks and gardens. From Canberra you can fly to Cairns without having to go back to Sydney.

If there are specific sights and experiences you have in mind, please share and we may be able to give you more specific advice.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2019, 11:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,966
I think if it was me, I'd stick with two locations - Sydney and Cairns. Brisbane is good and you can easily reach the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast by car (check distances on Google maps) but there is a lot to see and do in the other two places. It will be more relaxing and also cost less, due to fewer airfares. That may not be an issue but cost generally comes into it for most people. It also eats up less of your time in checking out/checking in/travel to airport/on flight etc etc.

If you are looking for ideas, you might have heard of Paronella Park, south of Cairns. We found it so interesting. You could hire a car and make a day trip of it from Cairns. There are stacks of places to visit from Cairns - Port Douglas, Palm Cove, Kuranda, Daintree, Mossman Gorge, Fitzroy Island etc.

Whatever you decide, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
KayF is offline  
Feb 18th, 2019, 07:42 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 311
Thanks, TripPlanner and Kay. It won't be our last trip to Oz, so we do have that to consider as well. We are leaning towards the two locations for the very reasons that Kay listed, and agree with you both that we can't go wrong either way. Can't wait to plan the details.
paulg is offline  
Feb 19th, 2019, 05:28 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,195
Awesome. I hope you fall in love with Australia as much as I did. Weve been back four times since and are thinking about yet another return.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2019, 11:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 5
Adventure to Australia is incredible in itself! I have not been there yet, but I plan to visit Ay with my family too
I think that if you were not in these cities, it's better to leave two days for every minimum.
bettybenson is offline  
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