Australia: "Home" for the Holidays

Jan 14th, 2017, 11:46 AM
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Glover, we did not notice much remnants of bushfires at Cradle Mountain, but did in Southwest Tasmania, around the Franklin River region.

Yestravel, plan for some wet weather and be pleasantly surprised. Also the paths along the Great Ocean Walk are gentle - either gravel paths or boardwalk. If you do go to Cradle Mountain, it may be worth bringing hiking boots if you plan on doing more serious hiking. For most paths, good broken-in tennis shoes would be okay.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2017, 01:10 PM
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Well, my goodness, tripplanner, I seem to have a lump in my throat & a leaky eye, too. I have so enjoyed your trip reports and it feels like farewelling a friend to see you off on your way back to the US.

Your GOR trip could have been better managed at a number of significant points.

The time management one does underline why most locals will advise at the very least one night along the road, and optimally 2 or 3. Your point is well made about an alternative being to find a tour that goes straight to Port Campbell, if the visitor really cannot stretch to an overnighter.

Some of my friends have done the Great Ocean Road walk, both the full length and in parts & they all thoroughly recommend it.

You didn't, but many, many people underestimate both the distance and the time it takes to drive that windy road, and to get out & see the coastline. It's not a "whiz along, looking out the window" experience.

All in all, your day seems a little like the "curate's egg" : Excellent in parts.

I'm so sorry your final night's dinner at Pure South was marred by such poor service. I hope you drop them an email. Any place can have an "off" night, but your waiter/waitresses' lack of apology or mention of the reason would seem to indicate these delays may not have been all that unusual. Just as well the food was good!

Thank you again - safe home and please let us know when you're coming back. We would love to meet you & can usually get a few together for lunch, dinner or just a coffee/vino.

Your writing reminds me of SONGDOC, another regular visitor from the US. He & his partner have travelled many of the same places in Australia as you, and a lot of others. I commend his trip reports to you. And those of MELNQ8, an American who lived in Perth for some years with her husband, took every chance to explore Australia & NZ. Their reports are a delight - will make for great reading & both extend your memories & make you homesick for your "2nd home " before you even get back to your first home!

Yestravel: It's often cold & blustery along the GOR, even in high summer. And it can be cold at the Penguin parade on Philip Island in summer, too. My nephew is driving along the GOR at the moment & his photos have him rugged up in a coat against the blustery wind at several points. They're taking 4 days.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2017, 01:26 PM
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Wonderful report, safe travels home. Thanks for the link about the DC GTG in late April, I'm not sure yet if I will be in town.
FromDC is offline  
Jan 14th, 2017, 05:00 PM
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Thanks for the weather info. I'm rethinking my clothes. We have 5 nights along the coast in 2 places and then drive back inland staying over 2 nights. Hopefully it will allow for plenty of time.

TP-welcome back to D.C. At least you are returning to a moderate weather week.
yestravel is offline  
Jan 14th, 2017, 07:05 PM
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Just had an excellent flight on Qantas business from Melbourne to Sydney (BA miles) and am now onboard the connecting flight to Dallas, in economy this time.

Bokhara2, thank you, thank you, thank you. I agree that Songdoc's and Melnq8's reports are excellent; their reports were very helpful to me as I was planning my report and this is my way to pay it forward. I would make sure to give advance notice of a future visit as I would love to get together. If you're ever in the DC area, do let us know too. As for Pure South, it just seemed unusual that nobody said a word and we weren't the only ones waiting; I do hope that any problems get resolved as the food is truly good.

FromDC, thank you.

Yestravel, you're welcome. I am glad for more moderate weather to help reacclimate as its the big temperature changes that get me sick.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2017, 03:09 AM
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Loved being with you on your journey. How disappointing about Pure South. I have had 2 great experiences there.
GOR - a highlight for us was the tree walk - up in the trees . Next time ???
northie is offline  
Jan 19th, 2017, 06:21 AM
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Northie, thank you. We did a rainforest walk at Great Otway, which was a highlight. The food at Pure South was so good that we would give it another chance should we have the opportunity.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2017, 02:28 AM
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The tree walk is actually up in the trees.
northie is offline  
Jan 20th, 2017, 07:02 AM
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Northie, thanks for the clarification. We did not have the opportunity to do the tree walk. Perhaps next time.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2017, 04:30 PM
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This sounds amazing, I couldn't recommend Tassie any higher. It's an amazing place. I'm from Melbourne and have seen a fair bit of the south east coast and I think a lot of people skip there in order to see Sydney and Melbourne which is a shame. I recently got put onto a site called which seems to have a lot of unique things on it that aren't on trip adviser and the sorts. Anyway I hope this helps. Enjoy
Jake18 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2017, 01:58 PM
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Thanks so much, tripplanner, for posting this report.

We will be in Sydney for the first time in a few weeks and I am just getting around to the detailed planning. We will have one day off a cruise ship, and then another three full days post-cruise.

On our cruise-ship day we will do one of the 3-hour guided walking tours to get the lay of the land and see the basics. Post-cruise we are planning on a ferry to Manly for an afternoon/evening venture. And we are staying in the Rocks so we'll see enough of that area, and I will get one of the DIY walking maps.

We love to walk, especially in neighborhood areas, so we may try to follow some of your Sydney's East route. Did you use any particular mapped route, or just wander? And do you know about how many steps or miles it was? (We are good for up to 20K steps a day on vacation for a few days in a row if necessary.)

Any other neighborhoods we should seek out?
GinnyJo is offline  
Feb 1st, 2017, 05:22 PM
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Jake18, thank you.

GinnyJo, you will love Sydney. My recommendation would be to pick a section or two of harbor foreshore for a nice walk and you can easily wander into the neighborhoods no matter which you choose. On the east side, my choice would be the walk from Bondi Beach to at least Bronte (1-1.5 hours), but Coogee Beach (3 hours) if you up for it; the seaside views are gorgeous and you get to see lovely homes along the way. I also very much enjoyed the Spit to Manly walk, which takes 3-5 hours depending on how much you linger; this is probably my favorite. For walks in the neighborhoods, take a ferry from Circular Quay to Milson's Point and have a look all around there. Balmain and Woolrich are also accessible via ferry. Rose Bay and Vaucluse are nice too. Take a look at Wild Walks ( for more detailed information about some of the walks / hikes we did.

Try to spend at least one day in central Sydney, walking around the Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and Hyde Park. Both the Australian Museum and the Hyde Park Barracks are nearby and worth dropping in. When you are in the Rocks, walk up to the Harbour Bridge and enjoy the views from up there, even if you are not doing the BridgeClimb. You can go up the SE pilot of the bridge for similar views at much lower cost. There will be plenty to keep you occupied and wanting to return for more.
tripplanner001 is offline  
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