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Australia Trip Report (Sydney, Cairns, Hamilton Island) 2012

Australia Trip Report (Sydney, Cairns, Hamilton Island) 2012

Old Apr 29th, 2013, 01:04 AM
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There is a bus that picks you up from the airport and takes you to the port. It's included in the ferry cost. The flight from Brisbane gets in about 10 AM, the bus meets you at the airport, then you check in at the port and the ferry take about 2-3 hours depending on the boat and the weather. I have been quite sick when the weather is rough, so take a sick sickness tablet if you are prone.

I agree with Ralph, don't linger in Gladstone, it's a grim mining town.
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Old Apr 29th, 2013, 01:15 PM
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Brill, Susan, thanks. just the sort of thing that it's so difficult to find out without "talking" so someone who's done it.
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Old May 28th, 2013, 02:22 PM
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Really interesting to see (as an Australian) where overseas visitors go to and what they see. I kind of wish there was a place on Fodor's where locals could write their recommendations of what they believe is the best.
Definitely Heron Island (or Lizard if you can afford it) would be a top choice for a reef experience.
The ideal is to get away from the "tourist traps" areas and see what's real. Poor old Tasmania is so often overlooked but I love it.
We had Canadian visitors recently and in a day took them to the Dandenong Ranges (we're in Melbourne) where they hand fed native birds in the bush, then saw roos in the wild come out to graze with stunning views across Port Phillip Bay (Seawinds garden). Next day we took a steam train then ferry to French Island to see all the koalas in the wild.
Anyway all is good and like I said it is interesting to see where our visitors are visiting!
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Old May 29th, 2013, 12:31 AM
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Hi maplebjb,

I too enjoy seeing what visitors to the UK are doing, and what they think about it, and us, afterwards!

Heron Island is definitely top of our GBR wish list at the moment, if I can get the logistics sorted. As DH will be diving, he needs 24 hours post his last dive before he can fly, so I was thinking that we would fly from Brisbane [where we arrive] to Gladstone, get the boat to HI, spend 3 days there, then get the boat back, and drive back from Gladstone to Brisbane, where we are going to spend 5 day watching the first test match.

That gives us approx 3 days and 2 nights to drive from Gladstone to Brisbane, which googlemaps tells me is 534 kms or 5 hours driving. Long enough? places to see en route?

any tips gratefully received.

[and BTW, I like the look of Tasmania too but DH is determined to see NZ this trip, so we'll have to postpone it til next time!]
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Old May 29th, 2013, 12:48 AM
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Although. I'm not from Queensland, I've been there quite a bit. Naturally you could literally spend weeks between Gladstone and Brissy but I would have a little side trip to the hinterland behind the Sunshine coast, for the views, forest, quaint atmosphere and waterfalls, but if you prefer beaches, there are plenty of those along the way, nice ones too. But if I was to recommend anything it would be a day trip to Fraser Island, I think it's the largest sand island in the world. Has it all, incredible beaches, crystal clear lakes and forest. It's feasible with even your schedule. Look at it anyway on line. You can even get a light plane there, at Noosa I remember seeing heaps of day trips advertised.
I bet a Queenslander would have more ideas than me for sure. Gladstone itself as I remember is unremarkable, the highway the whole way is easy. Between the Sunshine coast and Brisbane I think is around a 2 hour straight (and a little dull) drive full of pine plantations for timber lining the freeway.
Hope you have a fabulous time, good luck
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Old May 29th, 2013, 09:24 AM
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IMHO, Port Douglas is the best place to enjoy GBR!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 11:20 PM
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brief trip report. I loved to read it. I thing you might have enjoyed a lot with this journey.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 12:23 PM
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Interestingly, despite trying for "the best" of everything, there doesn't seem to be any contact with Australians, apart from those in the tourist industry.

The people are one of the outstanding things in Australia!

...and Hamilton Island....really?
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Old Jul 5th, 2013, 10:27 PM
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I agree about the people being the best part of visiting Australia. I've been twice, primarily to visit family, and spent a lot of time in places in Queensland rarely mentioned on the forums or in travel guides. As a child we spent time at Happy Bay on Long Island, an idyllic place in those days. Recently, we passed by on our way to other islands and it still looked much more appealing than Hamilton Island, which seems overdeveloped and touristy. Next time,I hope to try a different area. I will say that I thought Whitehaven Beach was worth more than a look. The texture of the sand is something I will never forget, and walking from the beach into the depths of that blue water is something I've never experienced elsewhere.

I loved the small towns, the friendly people, walking the beaches, walking through the mangroves, seeing a platypus in the wild, the herds of kangaroos on beaches, having conversations with friendly young people in the mall, having tea with people I met along the way, hearing about the history of various towns during WWII. And the birds!! Listening to their incredible symphony of song in the mornings! Unlike anywhere in the US! Discovering unique creatures in their native habitat. Trying various Australian beers (the best)! Australia is a very different place and wonderful to savor.
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Old Sep 28th, 2016, 07:57 AM
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I have read 1000's of trip reports and this, by far, the best one I have ever read. Extremely helpful!

We will be visiting Australia in March with the GBR the main destination. Hamilton Island sounds good to us (we like 5 star luxury hotels) but want to consider other options. We will look at Heron and Fraser islands. What other places should we consider as a base?
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Old Sep 28th, 2016, 08:02 AM
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I have read 1000's of trip reports and this, by far, the best one I have ever read. Extremely helpful!

We will be visiting Australia in March with the GBR the main destination. Hamilton Island sounds good to us (we like 5 star luxury hotels) but want to consider other options. We will look at Heron and Fraser islands. What other places should we consider as a base?
darnestown is offline  
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