Australia/New Zealand July

Old Apr 20th, 2003, 09:32 AM
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mjs
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Australia/New Zealand July

We are a family of four (children 11/13) traveling to Oz etc. in July. Have a whole bunch of FF miles which I thought we should use. Experienced in independent travel in Europe/Asia. Never been to Aus/NZ.
Read through many relevant posts here Jan-April 2003 so far. Just starting to read Fodors/Frommers guide book.
Would like help on Itinerary and hotels. leaving USA July 2 to Auckland, returning to USA from Sydney July 20. How much time for NZ? Considering weather should we spend time only on the north island? Where to go/stay? Considering Sydney, Tasmania, Alice Springs and GBR in Aus. Would like to budget less than US $200/night for apt or hotel per night but willing to splurge on ocassion if the situation is worth it. Consider ground package tour in Aus to lower costs? I believe we are going in the off season which may either help or hinder things. We tend to go to Europe in November and March during our school hols. Going to vacation during this summer to use the miles this year. Any help appreciated.
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Old Apr 20th, 2003, 01:36 PM
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We spent 1 week in NZ & 2 weeks in OZ. Although we wish we had more time in NZ, it was just enough time to hit the highlights of each country.

It's the winter in NZ & Oz, so if you are into winter sports, the South Island of NZ is the place to go. You can go skiing etc.. On the North Island, you may consider Waitomo/Rotorua. You might try repelling with the kids in Waitomo or going to Rainbow Springs in Rotorua.

An affordable hotel we stayed in and would recommend is the Quality Terraces in Queenstown, NZ. Also The Lake Plaza Rotorua was nice. It's not the most luxurious hotel, but it is close to downtown & we found it safe, clean & comfortable. Also, surprisingly, the Hotel Inter-Continental Sydney was affordable and in a great location!

All the hotels I mentioned, I spent no more then $150/night for. I found great deals on their internet web-sites or by emailing them directly. The earlier you reserve, the better. At least that was my experience.

Amy
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Old Apr 20th, 2003, 01:55 PM
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I would suggest that you spend time in the South Island of NZ and then fly to Sydney and onto the Great Barrier Reef. I would suggest a sea trip on the reef which you could do from Cairns to Townsville and which goes to the Coral Cays and around islands. I "think" it costs about 500 US for 4 days 3 nights. Alternatively base yourself in say Port Douglas and do reef trips and other trips around that area.
You have not got a lot of time and I would suggest at least 4 days in and around Sydney and about one week on the Reef which leaves you the rest for NZ. I don't think you could do justice to yourself or your destinations if you added anything else because it would take 2 weeks just to see Tasmania properly and you would need a rest when you got home.
It is the peak season on the GBR but not peak ( unless its school holidays) elsewhere. I would use www.wotif.com.au for your accommodation in Sydney and either stay at The Hyatt which has the very best position or Quay West Suites in a family suite and get one with views. If you do a search for Sydney on this site you will come up with more information than you can handle and much better that anything in the guide books.
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Old Apr 21st, 2003, 01:45 AM
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Hi mjs
Some facts on weather in July in New Zealand.
1. July is the coldest month of the year in new Zealand. The mean daily maximum temperature ranges from the north to the south with Auckland being 15C(60F); Wellington 11C(52F) and Dunedin 10C(50F)
2. It is NOT our windiest month so the chill factors is not a big problem.
3. You can expect rain and or snow on about 2 days in a week with the weather coming in the form of southwesterly fronts the sweep across the country followed by days ranging from overcast to clear and sunny.
4. Driving requires a bit more attention than in summer and increased times should be allowed. Most roads, apart from alpine passes will be clear and passable. In 2002 I spent July traveling from one end of the country to the other - from Gore in the deep south to Whangarei in the north and never experienced a single holdup or delay on the road - and very little traffic.
5. Where to go? Depends a lot on your family interests. You can get good skiing in both the North and South Islands at that time of the year. Adventure activites like white-water rafting are most certainly operating. For a quick trip I would certainly take in Auckland, Rotorua, Taupo, the central volcanic plateau and the Waitomo Caves in the North island. With a family you will need at least 4 days to do this loop route.

To do the South Island I would fly Auckland to Christchurch and tehn do a loop down the inland route (weather permitting) to Mt Cook and on to Queenstown, back to Dunedin and up the coast to Christchurch. A minimum time would be 6 days.
6. Accommodation - Our school holidays run from 4 July to 21 July so you would need to watch out round the ski resorts. While there are a number of hotel chains that may suit you for value family accommodation in comfortable, safe, clean properties you cannot go past our motels and motor lodges. For two bedroom self-catering family unit you will pay between ,$100 NZ ($55 US)to $200NZ ($110 US)

I hope this helps

Kerry
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 05:00 PM
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You shouldn't have any trouble finding good accommodation for US$200 per night. That exchanges for about $325AUD, which is heaps. I suggest you look at "resort" style, which would give you a separate bedroom for the kids. Look at www.wotif.com. You can only book on the net, and it has to be less than two weeks in advance, but I've never had any problems getting what I want at a good price.
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 12:22 AM
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Here are two websites that looked good:

www.lastminute.com.au

and

http://www.esydneyhotels.com/

I haven't tried these but have been told good things about them.
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Old Apr 26th, 2003, 09:41 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I have been talking to several friends and reading more. We are not into skiing/sporting other than scuba and snorkling. It seems that the south island of New Zealand is more spectacular in terms of scenery than the north island but I wonder if this is true in the winter? Perhaps we should only spend a few day on the north island of New Zealand and move to spend most of our vacation in Australia? It also seems that Tasmania would be too cold to explore in July so we probably will skip Hobart. Friends who have lived in Oz suggest at least a week in Sydney. Still considering Alice Springs etc. but am getting a rather luke warm response. Have talked to my wife about driving or training from Sydney to the GBF but my wife does not want to drive 1500 miles with me. Something about knowing what I am like in a foreign country with a car. Anyway still considering my options and appreciate all your help. Need to firm up my plans by May 1.
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Old Apr 26th, 2003, 10:40 PM
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If you really plan on spending one day in the north island I would say forget it, that would be like visiting the States for a day.
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Old Apr 27th, 2003, 12:18 PM
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I wouldn't consider driving to the Reef, from Sydney, considering the extremely limited time you have. It'd take about 4 full days of often tedious driving, on not-so-good roads (on the left hand side). Consider how bored your kids will be. Bite the bullet and fly. Both Qantas and Virgin fly Sydney to Cairns.

www.qantas.com.au
www.virginblue.com.au
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Old Apr 27th, 2003, 02:10 PM
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I am sorry as I did not mean to imply we would only be staying one day in New Zealand. We are using FF miles so there are unfortunately some limitations on our dates for flying. At the moment we are scheduled to leave the west coast July 4 for Auckland, fly to Sydney July 11, return to the US July 22. Can make changes to our Auckland to Sydney flights easily and am considering limiting our New Zealand time so we leave July 10 instead to give us more time in Australia. May be able to extend our vacation by two days but no more. I originally planned this as a Australia trip only, but added in New Zealand as it was the only way to get to Australia with FF miles. One of my partners spends alot of time in New Zealand and has advised me that the weather is not that great for touring in July so concentrating on Australia would be the best way to spend our time, leaving the South Island of New Zealand for another time. Am considering 5 to 7 days for Sydney, and 5 to 7 days for the GBR. May even consider a club med package to Livingston island for 5 days from Sydney but am leaning towards flying to Cairns, than either going to Port Douglas or to a island resort. Am alittle concerned about how you get to these island resorts as I do get sea sick despite the use of medications. I can take short small boat trips in decent weather reasonably well, but do not like small single engine planes. It also seems that some of these island resorts are quite pricey. Anyone know of a good one for less than say $500 US/night for a family of four which I can get to reasonably easily?
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Old Apr 27th, 2003, 02:21 PM
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Buy your medication in Australia for sea-sickness called Kwells. This information is coming from one who used to get sea-sick in a bath tub and plane and car and Ferris wheel etc. They can be bought over the counter at any Chemist in Australia. The Islands are not that far and depending which one you go to they have various ways to get there. Most of the time in winter i.e. July the weather is nice and calm so you shouldn't worry about it.
Hayman would be my pick in the Whitsunday Island group and if you can afford it Lizard Island up near Cairns. However you can have a fantastic holiday on one of the mainland resorts in Port Douglas and do island trips from there or dive trips, rain forest etc.
Do a search on this site for the areas that you are thinking about staying in and you will have more information that you can poke a stick at.
Leave out Cairns though as its really only a transit place.
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