Australia intinerary help!

Jan 9th, 2007, 01:32 PM
  #1  
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Australia intinerary help!

My husband and I will be in Australia for the first time in July. We have a business obligation in Canberra from July 10 - 13. We are thinking of flying in and out of Sydney and renting a car. We can spend about 3 weeks, give or take a few days. I'm thinking we get to Sydney a few days early, spend some time there and then drive to Canberra. Should we bother going further south? What would be the best way to get to the Cairns area? Is visiting New Zealand out of the question? Any help is greatly appreciated!
Thanks
reginaca is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 02:08 PM
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Regina,
If you give us some idea of your interests, it will make it easier for people to make some meaningful recommendations for you.

I think your initial plan to fly into Sydney, drive to Canberra is a good one.

Cairns: Fly. Have a look at www.qantas.com.au and www.virginblue.com.au for specials. Virgin has lunch time specials 12 - 1 or 1-2.

Bokhara is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 04:55 PM
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We're interested in seeing as much as we can by driving and making stops along the way to hike, tour a city, etc. We especially like odd-ball stuff that you can't find anywhere else. Not big into a recreational vacation (kayaking, etc.) plus this will be in the Australian winter so we need to keep the weather in mind as well. Thanks!
reginaca is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 05:15 PM
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I am from Canberra and it is an easy 3 hour drive form Sydney airport to Canberra, with many nice places to visit on the the way dow, like Bowral. The south coast is beautiful but can be a bit cold and hopefully wet (we are in a drought. Snowfield are a couple of hpours drive from Canberra.
The Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley both out of Sydney are great. I am not sure how long it would take to drive to Cairns from Sydney but over 20 hours, so most people fly unless they are doing an around Australia trip.
Georgie2007 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2007, 08:27 AM
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Hi, even though it is "winter" in Australia, it is warm in many parts of the country! We were there in July 2004 and it was in the 90s in Kakadu and 80s in Cairns area. I would strongly recommend you go to Cairns and visit the Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef. There are boats out to pontoons (Reef Magic from Cairns is highly reccommended, we went out from Port Douglas on the Quick Silver) where you can use the underwater viewing platform and the glass bottom boat if you don't want to snorkel. But I HIGHLY reccommend snorkeling, it is a totally awesome experience to see the sea life under the surface. There are nice places to see and things to do out of Cairns if you want to drive around the Atherton Tableland--waterfalls, caves, lava tubes, rainforests, outback, gorges, night spotting of animals, etc. etc. You could spend months and still not do it all. We had nice weather in July (you may not, the Queensland weather has been very changeable apparently) but it is so fabulous up there, I don't think you'd regret going there!
Sally in Seattle, currently in sunny Orange County, California visiting grandbaby
SnRSeattle is offline  
Jan 11th, 2007, 10:11 AM
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I would agree that Cairns is a place you should visit. Passions of Paradise does a nice snorkel trip. Billy Tea Safaris does very nice tours north of Cairns to Cape Tribulation.

I have taken seven groups of college students to Australia and have been very satisfied with our experience with these two tour companies.

One of the nice things about tours in Australia is that they include everthing in the price and they do not hit you up for more money, such as the junk they try to sell on so many tours in the US
Magilla is offline  
Jan 11th, 2007, 10:39 AM
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I used to live in Canberra and the drive between there and Sydney is an easy, 3-hour drive. Since you will have a car in Canberra, I'd recommend going out to Namadgi National Park. (The Visitor's Center is about 30 minutes from the CBD.) There, ask for a map and directions to the Yankee Hat Hike. It's an EASY 6-km round trip hike through the bushland to a rock with some Aboriginal drawings on it (which are interpreted for you there or in the brochure you get at the Visitor's Center). But to me, the highlight of this hike is walking amongst all the kangaroos. You will definitely walk amongst hundreds of them on this hike and that will definitely be someething to tell your friends back home.
If you enjoy skiing, south of Canberra are several ski areas. The closest one is called Selwyn Snowfields and it's a small, old-fashioned ski area with 1 chairlift and a few T-bars. We loved going skiing there with our family because we could drive down after breakfast (2 hours), ski for 4 hours after lunch and then drive home. For a larger ski area, go to Thredbo, which is just over 2 hours from Canberra.
Also, I wouldn't worry too much about the winter weather in July. It doesn't get as cold in Australia as it does here in the States. Even Canberra, which is inland and at some elevation has mild winters compared to here. (Although the Australians would always say to me, "Oh, doesn't it get awfully cold in winter in Canberra?") We visited last in August 2005 and I only wore jeans and a long-sleeved shirt when we did the Yankee Hat Hike. When we were in Sydney a few days later, I was wearing lightweight slacks and a T-shirt!
Finally, visiting NZ is probably not advisable. You can't do either country justice in less than 2 weeks each and I think that a minimum of 3 weeks in Australia is preferable.
longhorn55 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2007, 09:46 AM
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Thanks everyone for the tips. I think we'll skip New Zealand and go north to Cairns for sure. Any more responses are most welcome!
reginaca is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 05:01 PM
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Try Tasmania. Easy 1 hour flight into Hobart and easy driving everywhere. We visited Cradle Mountain and Freycinet and loved both. Wineglass Bay is incredible
br935 is offline  
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