Australia - three weeks....what to do?

Old Oct 20th, 2010, 03:28 PM
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Australia - three weeks....what to do?

My husband and I will be in Australia in May for three weeks. The current thinking is a week or so in Sydney and the Blue Mountains, 4 days or so on Kangaroo Island and finally several days in and around Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Given the month of May, are those all good locations? Should we do Tasmania instead of Kangaroo Island? What else around Cairns would be good to see and is Green Island a good choice for seeing the GBR? Lastly, what am I missing if we are in the Sydney, Adelaide and Cairns areas?
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Old Oct 20th, 2010, 04:44 PM
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The Adelaide area is a treasure trove - if you like wine, you might want to explore a wine region or two, such as McLaren Vale, Clare Valley or Barossa. Then there's the Flinders Ranges, Wilpena Pound and Coober Pedy (although it's some 800 km from Adelaide, but a great experience). As you'll be right there, be sure to explore the Fleurieu Peninsula, perhaps Victor Harbor and Deep Creek Conservation Park.

I've heard good things about the Adelaide market, but haven't yet seen it for myself.

The Adelaide Hills are full of quaint towns and pretty scenery. We adored SA - all that good food and wine (great German fare too and some wonderful spots for chocolate).

All this talk is making me hungry.
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Old Oct 21st, 2010, 12:32 AM
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Well I would put Adelaide way down the list of "must dos" sure there are nice wines but there are nice wines in all States of Australia with the exception of the Northern Territory.
Kangaroo Island was named that because the explorers saw some Kangaroos there - had they gone anywhere else in Australia they would have found Kangaroos there as well. Its not special to my way of thinking and I have a first edition book written by the surgeon on the first ship into that area who stated that he would make sure that anyone in England contemplating going there knew that it was a stumpy treed, isolated wasteland!
You need much more time in North Queensland ( GBR) and perhaps other parts of Queensland, Sydney and surrounds and perhaps the Northern Territory. The south will be in winter so the weather will not be wonderful and that includes Kangaroo Island and Tasmania - although I would put Tasmania way ahead of Kangaroo Island any day.
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Old Oct 21st, 2010, 01:09 AM
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The long term forecast is for a long wet season so it may still be raining around Cairns. However I suggest that there lots of things to do in the hinterland.

If you return to this thread and let us know your interests and activity level then we can make some more specific suggestions but I am guessing that you want to see the wildlife in the wild. In that case visit the Atherton Tablelands and should give you a starting point. Don't forget to include a nocturnal tour or two in the higher areas as that is where the endemic animals hang out.
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Old Oct 21st, 2010, 04:27 PM
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Why Kangaroo Island?

Give us some hints as to what you like and we will help.

Are you active types? Cafe Types? Like long internal flights? Want a variety or want detail?
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Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 03:37 AM
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I think May is an excellent time to visit Sydney - days are getting cooler and you may have one or two wintery episodes by that time, but probably also clear skies. You'll just need layers - a warmish jacket with a sweater underneath. Beaches won't be so interesting but if you are going to Cairns you'll have your fill of those. Be aware that the Blue Mountains will be a good 5 degrees cooler than the city so add perhaps a beanie, scarf and gloves to your dress just to be sure.

Not sure what you mean by what you are missing - there is a lot to see and do in the Sydney region. Since beach culture won't be your thing at that time of year I would suggest some bushwalking in the Mountains and a trip to Jenolan Caves, just on the other side of the Mountains, perhaps a drive from Sydney to Wollongong on the Sea Cliff Drive with a stop at the Scarborough Pub for lunch; Museum of Contemporary Art and Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney; a meal at Circular Quay (there are several restaurants in the building the locals call 'The Toaster', as well as a funky bar called Minus Five where everything is made out of ice), a visit to a Yum Cha restaurant (there are lots but Din Tai Fung at World Square is quite good, as is Zilver at 477 Pitt St near Central - hard to find but worthwhile); a visit to Taronga Zoo, which is a world class zoo with fab views of the harbour. A bridge climb is pricy but you can easily walk across the pedestrian's pathway on the Harbour Bridge for nothing and get your own views of the Opera House from high up. I am sure people could add more, this is just to get you started.

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Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 02:38 PM
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4 days on Kangaroo Island is far too long - unless you have heaps of time. Tasmania is a good idea - but perhaps theRed Centre would be better.
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Old Oct 25th, 2010, 04:55 AM
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Eat at Quay.
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Old Oct 26th, 2010, 07:27 PM
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You should plan less days for Kangaroo Island and use it for the Centre, it's definitely worth visiting. With only three weeks time you have to miss out on some things, but for a good impression of the East Coast of Australia your trip should be fine. May can be fine in Cairns, but no one knows how long the rainy season will last next year and what kind of weather you will have when you're actually there. But there are so many things to do around Cairns that you should be fine. You can do trips to Cape Trib, Atherton Tablelands, GBR,...
Tasmania can be fine in May, but it will be cold compared to the northern parts of the country, and it all depends what you're after. If you wanna go hiking, you should go. If you're into nature, you should go. If you prefer city and nightlife it is the wrong place.
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Old Oct 26th, 2010, 08:26 PM
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Kangaroo Island is not full of kangaroos, despite its name.
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Old Oct 27th, 2010, 09:16 PM
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I'm not one to comment much,'s the thing. My husband and I spent a month in Australia May into June of 08 with our then 9 and 7 year olds. We spent time in and around Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast visiting friends, headed up to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, then down to Adelaide and Kangaroo Island before finishing off in Sydney for a good week. Our Aussie friends, and friends of friends sort of laughed at why we would go to KI or Adelaide, but....I think it was the highlight of the trip. Yes, the weather is always up in the air no matter when you travel. But we had fabulous weather in Adelaide and KI, and we loved the raw open feel of the island. We easily saw kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and even an echidna crossing the road in front of us. So much better than a zoo anywhere! I do have to say that we avoided the boat with our kids which we heard could be rough. We flew in early morning, got a car, and had 2 full days on our own before flying back to Adelaide, which we enjoyed 2 days in and would have liked more time to head to the hills. We are considering a trip back to cover new parts of the country this summer and my husband has mentioned he wouldn't mind going back to KI if possible. Just sayin....
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Old Nov 2nd, 2010, 12:01 PM
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I believe that we will spend a week in and around Sydney and the Blue Mountains as well as a week in and around Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. The big question is whether we if split a week between Tasmania and Melbourne adding in the Great Ocean Road or do we spend a week split between Kangaroo Island and Adelaide with time in the Barossa wine country. I think we would be happy with either but since this is probably our only trip there, what is the better option?
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Old Nov 2nd, 2010, 02:14 PM
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At least you came back, but to quote myself, "AlanJG on Oct 21, 10 at 6:09pm
"If you return to this thread and let us know your interests and activity level then we can make some more specific suggestions."
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Old Nov 6th, 2010, 11:41 PM
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I would do Tasmania and Great Ocean Rd.
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