australia/new zealand with 16 yr. old

Feb 23rd, 2010, 05:53 AM
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australia/new zealand with 16 yr. old

I am planning a trip with my 16 yr. old daughter for late May/June 2010. We really don't have time constraints, however, I am concerned about keeping daughter's interest for that long. Like most Americans, since we will be traveling so far and don't know whether we will get back, we want to get in as much as possible without burning out. Any suggestions from those that have traveled with teens/young adults would be appreciated. I've done some research on Australia and would like to include Sydney, Cairns, and possibly Ayers Rock area. Haven't researched NZ much, but am open to anything. I like hiking (daughter, not so much) and we both like adventure ( such as white water rafting), animals, shopping, and experiencing the local culture. Don't know if I'm being too ambitious with this long of a trip. Maybe it would be better to stick with one country for shorter time. Any thoughts?
rj0956 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2010, 07:40 AM
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I don't think you will have any problem keeping your daughter's interest in Australia and NZ. I've been to Australia and NZ with my kids several times (including when they were 16) and we never had a problem finding something fun/interesting to see or do.
You say you don't have any time constraints, so this is the schedule I would recommend: For Sydney, Cairns and Uluru, I would allow a minimum of 14 days. While I have been to Australia in the May/June timeframe, my visits to NZ have always been in summer (January-February). There's lots to do at that time of year, but I'm not sure about the May-June timeframe because it's getting to be winter then and winter in NZ is generally colder than in Australia. I would think that a minimum of 10-12 days would suffice in NZ then.
It's important not to try to cram too many destinations into your schedule and to remember that each destination will require travel time/airport time/etc. which takes away from sightseeing time.
longhorn55 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2010, 07:10 AM
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We've taken our three boys back to Sydney and the Gold Coast many times over the years. We took some incredible family trips to different parts of Australia when they were teenagers. I'm sure they'd agree the times we went to Heron Island on the Barrier Reef and our campervan (RV) trips in the Red Center and Top End were the best - many beautiful walks, lots of wildlife and, in the Top End, some fantastic swimming spots. They loved sleeping in the RV too.

More recently we took an excellent trip to Far North Queensland - trip report, with photos linked below. Worth skimming for ideas. Your daughter would find the ARGO 8x8 tour in Daintree a lot of fun I'm sure. We didnt go there on this trip, but Undara, inland from Cairns is a great place to experience "the bush", with easy walks and plenty of wildlife around.

RalphR is offline  
Mar 7th, 2010, 02:28 PM
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Thank you Longhorn and Ralph for your input. Ralph - great trip report, gave me lots of ideas. I have been reading and researching the past week and have a preliminary itinerary. I would love your comments. I have decided to concentrate on Australia this trip; doing both Australia and New Zealand would be a push. Actually, I am having a hard time narrowing down our itinerary just for Australia - so much to see and do. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

5/25 Fly LAX-SYD
5/27-5/31 Sydney
5/31 Fly SYD-MEL
5/31-6/03 Melbourne
6/03 Rent car in Melbourne
6/03-6/05 Drive to Adelaide
6/05-6/07 Adelaide
6/07 Drive to Kangaroo Island (by Ferry)
6/07-6/09 Kangaroo Island
6/09 Return to Adelaide and drop off rental car
6/09 Fly MEL-ASP, rent car in Alice Springs
6/09-6/11 Alice Springs
6/11 Drive from Alice Springs to Uluru
6/11-6/13 Uluru
6/13 Return rental car and fly AYQ-CNS, rent car in Cairns
6/13-6/17 Cairns area
6/17 Return rental car and fly CNS-BNE
6/17-6/19 Brisbane
6/19 Return rental car and fly BNE-LAX

I’m not sure whether the time spent getting to Kangaroo Island would be better spent as additional days in Alice Springs/Uluru area and Cairns area, especially that time of year. Without Kangaroo Island, we wouldn’t go to Adelaide. The reason to go there is the wildlife. Will we experience that anywhere else we are going? I am open to anything. The main reason for Brisbane is to fly home on a direct flight. We can eliminate that stop also. Also, not sure about Melbourne. Anything we have missed? The only places that are definite are Sydney and Cairns area.
rj0956 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2010, 05:14 PM
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I would fly into KI to give you two days there and use the other travel day in the Cairns/Tablelands area or out of Brisbane. Do not forget that as most of Australia's animals are nocturnal it would be wise to pan on a few late nights with the wildlife.
AlanJG is offline  
Mar 11th, 2010, 05:42 PM
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Oops, that should be "plan on a few late nights."
AlanJG is offline  
Mar 17th, 2010, 03:09 PM
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i have been researching the past week and this is what i've come up with so far:

5/27 - 4 nts. Melbourne

5/31- early flt. to Adelaide w/ connection to Kingscote

5/31-2 nts. Kangaroo Island

6/2-afternoon flt. to Adelaide

6/2-2 nts. Adelaide

6/4-morning flt. to Ayers Rock (connect in Alice Sprgs.)

6/4-3 nts. Ayers Rock

6/7-afternoon flt. to Cairns

6/7-5 nts. Cairns and north

6/12-afternoon flt. to Sydney

6/12-5 nts. Sydney

6/17-midday flt. to LAX

1. Thinking about renting a car in Melbourne and take 2 days/1 nt. driving the GOR. Is this a bad idea due to time? Would we be better off spending those days in Melbourne?

2. Melbourne hotels under consideration-Alto on Bourke or Vibe Hotel Carlton. Any comments or other suggestions? Probably will stay at the Mantra Tullamarine Hotel on 5/30 as we have a very early flt. on 5/31.

3. Kangaroo Island- K.I. Wilderness Retreat or Wanderers Rest?

4. Adelaide - 2 preferred hotels are not available. Is there something major going on the 1st week of June? Narrowed down to Clarion Hotel Soho or Rendezvous Allegra Hotel.

5. Do shops close on the Queens Bday?

6. Ayers Rock-can't decide which hotel/apt. is better. Is there a big difference btw. Emu Walk, Desert Garden, Outback Pioneer, and Lost Camel? There doesn't seem to be a big difference in prices.

Enough for now. I plan to get everything arranged this weekend and purchase air tkts. One more question, when I book the regional express flt. to K.I., do you know how the currency conversion works. Is there some sort of fee for this? Do I purchase the same as I do for domestic US air?

Thanks in advance for advice.
rj0956 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2010, 01:47 PM
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to pan on a few late nights with the wildlife

Well - you can eat them, too!
margo_oz is offline  
Mar 19th, 2010, 05:01 PM
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1. Definitely drive the GOR from Melbourne to Adelaide for some of Australia's best coastal scenery and Kangaroos ( Anglesea Golf Course) and Koalas (Kennett River) in the wild. The GOR is great at any time of the year with winter making it that much more dramatic, especially between Lorne and Apollo Bay. I would suggest an overnight at Pt. Fairey. The inland Western Highway is shorter, but very boring and as you have come so far you might as well see the best Australia has to offer.

2. The Alto is a in a more central location for you, but Southbank is the best area to stay. It is walking distance to everything and has heaps of restaurants etc. The Travelodge (reasonable) or The Langham (expensive) are two hotels in the area, but there are lots of apartments including Pacific Apartments and Quest
DownUnder is offline  
Mar 20th, 2010, 01:39 AM
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I might add that the word Kangaroo attracts many people to KI
It is expensive to get there and you can see plenty of wildlife in other places. To me the GOR returning to Melbourne through the Grampians and perhaps a day trip to Phillip Island from Melbourne would give you a similar experience at a fraction of the cost. As mentioned above there are Kangaroos and Koalas on the GOR, you also find them in the Grampians and also Koalas, a seal colony and the experience of some 700 penguins returning to there burrows at dusk from the ocean at Phillip Island. If you are short of time you can also return to Melbourne from the GOR. without the Grampians, but you need to drive as far as Port Campbell with perhaps an overnight at Apollo Bay. There is much to explore on the GOR
DownUnder is offline  
Mar 20th, 2010, 12:48 PM
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Thank you so much for the info. The main reason to go to KI is for the wildlife, and yes, it is expensive to get to. It does look nice and the reviews are glowing, and make it sound as if it is worth the trouble and expense. The only reason Adelaide is on my itinerary is because of KI. If I omit KI, I will have time to do justice to the GOR. Do you think 3 nts. is adequate? How is the driving and what will the weather be like? I imagine it will be cool and windy. Is there much to see between Port Fairy and Adelaide? If we drive to Grampians, how much longer will it take to get to Adelaide and are the roads good. It will be myself (mom) and 16 yr. old daughter. Other than the usual cautions, do we need to avoid any areas or be overly cautious anywhere? If KI is off the itinerary, I will probably only spend 1 day/night in Adelaide before flying to Ayers Rock. Does this sound good?

Thanks for the tip about staying in the Southbank area. The Quest looks good and the Langham has a special rate of $212/nt. Is the Langham a stuffy hotel? I really don't like staying at hotels that are pretentious. Since I will be with my daughter I would rather find "fun" hotels that are different and that she will enjoy (ie, Hard Rock).

One more question - re: air, it seems as though rates for the same flightts. are less expensive if you book direct with jet star rather than with Qantas? Why is that? Would I be better off booking the domestic flights apart from the international?

Sorry to bombard you with so many questions. I really want to get this planning stage done this weekend and book everything. If you ever need help planning a trip to the US, I will be happy to reciprocate.

rj0956 is offline  
Mar 20th, 2010, 08:48 PM
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The Langham is probably the best located hotel in Melbourne. It is elegant in the grand manner and it's buffet restaurant is very popular with families especially the chocolate fountain which your daughter would love.I would not call it stuffy. Another suggestion is the Adelphi on Flinders Lane
Flinders Lane is THE lane in Melbourne with lots of trendy restaurants etc. Flinders Lane is another great location close to everything.
Re the GOR It does involve a lot of driving but really it is worth it if your daughter doesn't mind the hours in the car. The best stretches are Torquay to Port Campbell. There is not much to see after Pt. Fairey, but it is more interesting than Horsham ( after the Grampians and about 5-6 hours on a boring road) to Melbourne. All roads, especially the GOR are well sign posted and in good condition. I can see the attraction of flying everywhere with a teenager and your itinerary looks good. However if you want to explore the grander picture of OZ the GOR is my suggestion.
Jetstar is the no frills airline of Qantas hence the cheaper prices. It is perfectly adequate for exploring OZ.
Australia is a very safe country so you will have no problems.
Overnight suggestions for the GOR/ Grampians could be Apollo Bay and Hall's Gap and the weather at time should be cool to cold, but not freezing. You will need warm clothes.
If you are in Melbourne on the Queen's Birthday the shops will be open. Melbourne is a great place for shopping with Chapel Street being the mecca for teenagers and the tennis playing Williams sisters when they are in town. Chadstone Shopping centre is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere.
DownUnder is offline  
Mar 20th, 2010, 08:51 PM
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oops! it should be Horsham is about 5-6 hours to ADELAIDE on the Western Highway.
DownUnder is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 04:02 PM
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Air tickets are purchased. Now for hotels. Comments are welcome. For Melbourne, I am thinking of either the Sofitel on Collins or the Marriott in CBD. Are they on a par or is one better than the other? Next is Kangaroo Island. My daughter won out. I wanted to explore the GOR, but she didn't relish being in the car so much, so K.I. it is. I was thinking of staying one night at the Wanderer's Rest B&B one night and at KI Wilderness Retreat one night (although it doesn't get the best reviews). I have been having trouble getting a room in Adelaide. My preferred hotels are not available. Any ideas. Next stop is Uluru. I am thinking the Desert Garden (again, not the best reviews). Is Sails worth the extra $ ? Next, Cairns, 2 nts. Cape Trib Exotic Fruit B&B and 2 nts. Fantails B&B, 1 nt. somewhere else. Any ideas? Sydney - 5 nts., maybe Four Seasons. Not sure, but I was thinking on splurging for a room with a view. I want to start booking this weekend. Comments/suggestions are appreciated. One more question-daughter's 17th bday is while we are in Sydney. Any ideas for dinner? Thanks in advance.
rj0956 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2010, 04:21 PM
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I went ahead and booked some accommodations today. All can be cancelled/changed. It's not easy to find places that don't require payment up front. Hopefully someone will comment on the following -

Melbourne Marriott

Desert Gardens at Ayers Rock Resort

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat, still trying to decide between Wanderers Rest, Correa Corner, or Fillmore's Lombardy.

Adelaide- does anyone know anything about the Richmond Hotel?

Sydney-Sheraton on the Park

Thanks for any advice.
rj0956 is offline  

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