Australian Itinerary Help

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Jan 12th, 2014, 05:53 PM
  #1
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Australian Itinerary Help

We are planning our first trip to Australia. We are looking at traveling beginning of July since my son is in college and has limited availability. I know this is not the ideal time of year but it is only time available.

I am a 55 year old woman traveling with my 21 year old son. We like any kind of sightseeing (interesting things to see) on land or water. I am not much of a swimmer so any sights to see in water has to be from a boat or another viewing platform. We like short walks (1-2 miles) but no real hike.

I know its limiting but we will only be taking public transportation (and maybe an occasionally day tour).

I was looking at a map of Australia and was quite overwhelmed with everything so I am hoping to get some help with the initial planning so I have a place to start. The only place I know we want to go is Melbourne in order to visit Philips Island as my son has loved Penguins his entire life so I figured this was a must. Anything else is open for consideration.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
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Jan 12th, 2014, 07:03 PM
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Hi jj100, Australia is such a vast country that there is always somewhere with pleasant weather any time of year. That said, Melbourne in July will be on the colder side and there could be rain, but that did not keep me from visiting during the same month several years ago. Without a car, the best way to see Philip Island would be to take a day tour.

Depending on how much time you have, I personally think Sydney is a must see, and I could easily spend a week or two there. There are several scenic walks that you could do around Sydney Harbour, both longer and shorter ones. Greater Sydney is also very easy to get around using public transportation; just get a MyMulti pass that is good for unlimited use of buses, trains, but most important, ferries.

I also enjoyed Uluru and Kata Tjuta, and it will be pleasant weather-wise at that time of year.

If you give us more insight into your interests, then we may be able to give you more pointed suggestions.
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Jan 12th, 2014, 07:27 PM
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How many days will you be on the ground in Australia? That would help us with suggested itineraries.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 10:20 AM
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Thank you. We will be on the ground for 14-16 days.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 12:37 PM
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OK, how about the iconic City , Rock , Reef combo (Sydney, Uluru, Cairns) + Melbourne? For a 14 - 16 day trip, I'd recommend Sydney (5 days including a day trip to the Blue Mountains), Cairns/Port Douglas (4-5 days), Uluru (2-3 days) and Melbourne (3 days). You should be able to visit all of these places easily using public transportation and an occasional tour.

In Sydney, you can get around by feet (IMHO, the best way), bus, taxi or even HO/HO bus. You can take an organized tour to the Blue Mountains or do a self-tour just by taking the train there and back.

In Cairns, you can arrange for day tours to the Great Barrier Reef, Kuranda, Daintree National Park, etc. You can do all the same tours out of Port Douglas and you might enjoy staying there more because PD has a beach, Four Mile Beach, while the only beaches around Cairns are in the northern suburbs. You can get from Cairns to PD by booking a shuttle bus (several companies do this). Since you are not much of a swimmer, you might want to book Quicksilver (out of PD) or Reef Magic (out of Cairns) for your GBR trip as both of those boats go to a fixed pontoon where they offer snorkeling for those that want to get in the water or glass bottom boat rides, semi-submersible rides and an underwater viewing platform for those that want to stay dry. The downside of these boats is that they can carry several hundred passengers. If you want a great experience on the Reef with only 30 passengers, I highly recommend Wavelength out of PD. They are GREAT with first-time snorkelers or people who are not "much of a swimmer".

At Uluru, there is a free shuttle from the airport to Yulara Village where all of the accomodations are located. To get to Uluru or Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), you either would have to pay for a tour or pay for the Uluru Express shuttle. These tours/shuttle fees can really add up, so that's why renting a car is a good idea here. It would be the perfect place to give left-hand driving a try because there's so little traffic and because you can't get lost--only one road to any destination.

Melbourne--Feet + city buses and trams to get around town. (The free City Circle Tram is a great way for tourists to get to major sites.) And then arrange a day tour to Phillip Island for the penguins.

Hope this info is helpful.
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Jan 14th, 2014, 06:53 AM
  #6
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Longhorn... That is fantastic! You have done a great job planning my itinerary. I will go through all your suggestions to pull out what works best for us.
Thanks!!
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Jan 14th, 2014, 04:48 PM
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If you go to Melbourne, Kelly Tarlton's SeaLife Aquarium has King and Gentoo penguins, which were fun to see at feeding time. The aquarium isn't as attractive as SeaLife Sydney, but the displays, such as the penguins and giant fish tank (with huge rays), were just as interesting. It's also easy to walk to if you are staying in the CBD, right on Flinders St., the free City Circle tourist tram goes right by there, if you don't feel like walking.
By booking two tours through Bunyip Tours (one to Phillip Island), I actually got free passes to the aquarium and Melbourne's Eureka Skydeck. There is so much to do in and around Melbourne. Maybe inclement weather just follows me, but I went in summer, and it was cold, windy and wet on Phillip Island so I was happy to have taken appropriate attire. July will probably be cold, as well.
http://www.melbourneaquarium.com.au/
http://ptv.vic.gov.au/route/view/1112
http://www.eurekaskydeck.com.au/
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