Australia Itinerary & GBR Questions!

Old Feb 4th, 2017, 09:07 AM
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Australia Itinerary & GBR Questions!

Hi! My husband, myself and our two daughters- ages 3 and 1.5 years old will be going to Australia mid-August for 10 days! We're super excited and everyone calls us crazy for traveling with our girls. As background, my husband and I have been to about 30 countries and traveled backpacker/hostel style but are planning to spend more, travel slower and do a kid-oriented activities with our girls.

Arrive Sydney Monday late night, stay 3 days and fly out late to Brisbane. Use Brisbane as home base to go to Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, the Australian Zoo & Koala Sanctuary. My husband has been looking into Whale Watching?

3 days in Brisbane. Fly to Cairnes for 4 days. We're looking into a reef tour, the Kuranda/Barron waterfalls, Daintree Rainforest and the Tjapukai tour. Cairnes? Port Douglas or Palm Cove? We will rent a car. I'm looking for a family oriented reef tour for our girls to still enjoy the day - glass bottom boat, lunch, etc. My concerns are travel time between experiences, time spent in the car and overall feel of the city. I've spent hour reading and trying to decide to stay in Cairnes for the convenience or tours or Port Douglas for the charm, the beach, etc. Is easier to stay in Cairnes for getting to the tourist attractions? Or is Port Douglas just as central? Palm Cove?

We're not party people or late nights. We love adventure, culture and meeting new people.

Any suggestions on reef tours for families with littles? Suggestions on where to stop or go? Australia is so HUGE and BEAUTIFUL! I want to see it all so it's hard to choose places with 10 days and two littles!!! Thanks in advance for recommendations, help and opinions!
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Old Feb 4th, 2017, 02:24 PM
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Your plan looks good. Suggest you stay in Port Douglas. Having a car will allow you maximum flexibility & somewhere to put the girls down for a rest if necessary.

Apart from the glass-bottomed boat trip to the reef, I'm not sure I would be taking children that young on organised tours, possibly better to use your own car. Caveat: I've not tsk with toddlers to FNQ - others who have may have some useful input.

You're going at a good time & you can follow the Itineraries of the tours yourselves - or modify to your interests & needs. It's a very easy region to get around

BTW - it's CAIRNS
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Old Feb 4th, 2017, 03:06 PM
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We're looking at the Reef tours for families with all the pools, observation decks and touch pools on board. Because of the 830 departure we're contemplating staying in CAIRNS the first two nights and then staying in Port Douglas the other nights.

How many days are needed to experience the rainforest? Is it worth it to divide up and do one day in the rainforest and another in the Tablelands? It seems like the Tablelands are much more accessible out of Cairns

Is it possible to do the Skyrail to Kuranda and the Tjapukai Cultural park in a day?
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 01:53 PM
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I think there are package tours which include Skyrail and the cultural park in one day trip. From memory, I think the cultural centre is near the Skyrail station. There was an aboriginal dance group performing at Kuranda for some time - don't know if they are still there. There is also a butterfly farm at Kuranda which the children would enjoy.

Personally I wouldn't take small children on a long day's boat trip. If you want a short boat trip from Cairns, Green Island is very close to the mainland and has a nice beach As you may be aware, Cairns does not have a beach but a really large man-made lagoon on the waterfront which is great for small children, as well as swimming for adults.

Palm Cove is a nice place to stay - about 20 minutes north of Cairns. Quieter than Cairns or Port Douglas, with a beautiful beach and plenty of accommodation right on the ocean.

If you stay in Brisbane, it will take you about 90 minutes to get to either the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast. That's three hours travelling on busy roads. With only three days, it may be better to stay at one or the other, and sightsee that area. If you choose the Gold Coast, you'll miss out on Australia Zoo but you can visit the koala sanctuary at Currumbin which has lots of Australia animals and birds.
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 02:11 PM
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In August the sun starts going down just after 5PM.

I can't see what would amuse you on the Gold Coast at that time of the year, except maybe the views from Tamborine Mountain?

I suggest basing yourselves north of Brisbane, north of the airport (Nudgee, Nundah etc) - a half hour to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and under an hour to the Australia Zoo.
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 04:05 PM
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Not sure I would base in Brisbane if you are really wanting to see things at either coast. When my girls were that age sitting at the beach and letting them play in the sand and splash at the waters edge was something they absolutely loved. With all the travelling they will be doing I would stay at one of the coasts close to the beach and after some sightseeing they can sit on the beach and play and squeal with delight. There is a motorway connecting both coasts that you can use if there are places you want to visit at the coast opposite to where you base.

There are places on both coasts if you really want to see Koalas. You don't necessarily have to go to both coasts. If you do stay in Brisbane I would suggest close to the motorway so that you have easy access to it. You don't want to be driving in Brisbane in peak hour traffic with tired children in the car.

Check the tours for the reef. I am sure I read that there could be age limits. Some of those boat trips can take a lot of hours as there is a distance to get to the reef and it can be a bumpy ride getting there. Whale watching is doable from both coasts and Brisbane.
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