Australia in January


Sep 6th, 2010, 06:12 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 423
Australia in January

Dear Fodorites,

First, I have done a search on this topic and appreciate the plentitude of good advice about a vacation in Australia in January. My questions get a bit more specific.

Key questions: please recommend a beach community in southeastern Australia for someone who wants to combine this stay with other days in Sydney and Melbourne, perhaps a trip to Tasmania.

Background: we plan about 2.5-3 weeks in the late December - January time frame; not nailed down yet, but it will be.

We want to focus on Sydney and Melbourne, and parts in between, perhaps Tasmania.

We know that this is high time for school vacations, but we'll deal with it. We prefer not to go gold-plated hotels and their very high prices, but our budget allows us some financial flexibility for the right place and situation (e.g. truly fabulous on-the-beach location.)

My husband has been to Australia a few times for business, but we'd like to visit to enjoy more of the leisure culture. We'd like to explore Sydney and Melbourne for the interesting neighborhoods and culture (museums, performing arts, etc.). Sydney might be good for the Christmas-New YEar's holiday week as that seems to be a low time for many business-oriented cities, even though some things will be closed? For example, he's stayed (and enjoyed) the Intercontinental on the Harbor a few times, especially for the ferry accessibility. That price range is acceptable, however a good B & B is a treasure.

So: could Fodorites recommend a good beach situation in this southeastern Australia area? We know about Bondi beach, which is an option. Recommendations would be appreciated -- I think we could get there from downtown Sydney, but would also re-locate to a beach after staying in Sydney proper.

I'll research Tasmania, but consider this an invitation to submit your comments about touring that, too.

More background: we are middle-aged, but quite fit, i.e. runners, hikers, etc. Any hotel or B & B with a good kitchen is appreciated. We're not ones for disco nightlife, but if anyone knows a place to dance to Sinatra, etc. that would be valuable to know.

We decided to omit Adelaide -- my husband has done that and nearby wineries; had a good time; but not a priority. Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, etc -- we've been put off by the possibilty of too much rain. We can take rain in the cities or when we're hiking, but not as much when outdoor beach life is the point of the visit.

In advance, thank you for your thoughts.
madameX is offline  
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Sep 7th, 2010, 03:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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There are fabulous beaches literally everywhere along the coast so I think it would be easier if you narrow it down a little bit to a region. You would also need to start booking promptly if you wanted to get accommodation as you rightly point out. In Sydney Bondi is OK but it's a tourist beach, crowded and highly overrated (my opinion, before I get flamed by others). There are a good 150 beaches in Sydney alone! But bigger Sydney ones are Manly, Cronulla; a beautiful beach which attracts holidaymakers is Palm Beach, which is on the outskirts of Sydney. On the South Coast (i.e. south of Sydney) you might consider Jervis Bay (numerous beaches) or Mollymook; on the North Coast you might consider Forster / Tuncurry, Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour (which has a few beaches). That's just for starters and highly Sydney-centric. People from Victoria might well recommend the beach resorts on the Bellarine Peninsula (I think Portarlington is one). Give us an idea of where you'd like to end up and we can probably suggest beaches in that area.

lavandula is offline  
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Sep 7th, 2010, 02:49 PM
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Come futher west in Victoria to the Discovery Bay Coastal Park just west of Portland. It's warm but not too hot then and this park is 50 miles of lovely untouched beach with a nice cool ocean if the air is too hot. You will often be the only people on your part of the beach. The town of Portland has lots of accommodation and there are 5 national parks within a short drive (plus heaps of koalas that time of year). Also, I love the eastern beaches of Tassie in January. Go to Boltons Beach, best in the state. Freycinet will be lovely but PACKED with tourists. Tas in January is ok IF you stay away from the famous spots and camp (stay in B&B) in lesser-known sectors. Tassie is the highlight of Oz during the summer - see as many national parks and especially the huge WHA as you can.
AussieSteve is offline  
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Sep 7th, 2010, 04:15 PM
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I will have to push for Lorne. We have holidayed there for years which makes it a favourite. Wonderful location, great for hiking, a very safe beach and good cafes and restaurants. On the Great Ocean Road and about a 2 hours drive from Melbourne. Jan. is the perfect time, but you will need to book anywhere now!
DownUnder is offline  
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Sep 7th, 2010, 05:47 PM
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Saw you were also looking at interesting neighbourhoods and culture - in Sydney Woollahra and Paddington are interesting suburbs - Paddington has distinctive 19th C. architecture (terrace houses) and both suburbs have numerous galleries and antique shops (Queen St Woollahra in particular has high-end antiques). Paddington also has a lot of fashion shopping and a market (Paddington Bazaar). The galleries are mostly off the beaten track and take you into residential areas. There used to be a tourist pamphlet regarding the 2 suburbs but I don't know how widely it's distributed.

lavandula is offline  
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Sep 7th, 2010, 09:17 PM
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Okay as a beach loving Sydney person I have been up and down the New South wales coast. My parents also have a house at Palm Beach in Sydney, and we have spent many January weeks there. If you want to stay there you need to rent a house or you could stay at Jonah's at Whale Beach. I have stayed here and it is very nice.

If you want to get out of Sydney for the beach I would suggest Central Coast - about an hour drive north of Sydney. You could stay at Avoca Beach where you could rent a house

or Terrigal where there are hotels on the beachfront



Or you could go south of Sydney where I would recommend Jervis Bay area (but there is no surf here) or Kiama area.
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