Ayers Rock or Melbourne?

Old Aug 18th, 2007, 08:33 PM
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Ayers Rock or Melbourne?


We (me and my wife) are traveling to Australia/NZ in October.
We plan to be there for 17 days. We can't see to make up our mind about going to Ayers Rock. We looked at all the
different threads on Forodrs and find that people have mixed opinion about going to Ayers Rock.

At present, our Itineray looks something like this:

1. Arrive in Cairns - Visit GBR (2 to 3 days)
2. Fly to Melbourne (2 days)
3. Spend 7 to 8 days in Newzeland by flying first to Christchurch and then travel by surafce to Auckland (Car + Ferry)
4. From Auckland fly to Sydney
5. Spend 3 nights in Sydney before flying back home

If we were to go to Ayers rock, we have the option to fly from CNS to ASP and then go to AYQ by road
From AYQ we can fly to Melbourne. With this option, we spend 1 extra day (18 days in total) and airfare
from CNS/ASP and AYQ/MEL is $500/person. Also I hear that hotels are expensive in the AYQ region. Is it really worth
spending $1000 extra only for the air fare for 2 people to AYQ?

One other option is to skip Melbourne and fly to Auckland from Ayers Rock instead. With this option we can still complete
both the countries in 17 days and air fare (CNS/ASP and AYQ-AUCKLAND) is coming out to be $350/person

What would you recommend? Melbourne, Ayers Rock or both? I know both the places are complete different in what they have to offer, Melbourne being a city and Ayers Rock being a desert. It's just that the trip to AUS/NZ is already expensive and with the addition of ASP/AYQ we are spending $1000 more only for the airfare.

Your opnion is much appreciated.

Nick04 is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2007, 09:19 PM
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I know there is mixed opinions on Ayers Rock. I have been to Melbourne and Ayers Rock twice. Melbourne is a beautiful city, but Ayers Rock is magic. I love the stark vastness of the Outback. Is Ayers Rock worth the extra money? I paid it twice. In fact I chose to celebrate my 50th birthday there (I live in California).

Ayers Rock is so different from the GBR (love, love, love it) and Sydney (the harbor is sooo beautiful).

Whatever you decide, you will have a wonderful trip.
BarbAnn is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2007, 10:32 PM
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Melbourne is my home city and I think it is a wonderful place. However, on this occasion I would suggest dropping it in favcur of Ayers Rock. You are already seeing several cities, Sydney, Christchurch and Auckland so I think that for a good mix and variety Ayres Rock will be totally different to anything else you are already doing.

You are trying to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time and will be spending a lot of time on the move. However I have occcasionally done that, epecially if I think I will not ever get round to returning to a particular country. It certainly can be done but be sure that you have realistic expectations as to how much time will be spent on travelling and can you keep up with the pace. Is it possible to organise your trip so that you are not going to and fro from Aust/NZ? It would obviously be more logical and time efficient to do the NZ portion at the start or end.

You also are allowing possibly only two days in Cairns which is a very short period of time. With only two days, one to the GBR and presumably one to the rainforest, you are scheduling two very long days immediately upon your arrival - think jetlag. Nor does it give you any leeway if it is bad weather out to the GBR. You should consider allowing an extra day or two there.

However you plan it, I'm sure you will have a wonderful time.
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Old Aug 20th, 2007, 03:39 AM
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I agree with Shandy. Although Melbourne is a fantastic city, it is just another city, whereas Ayers Rock is unique. In the time that you would have in Melbourne, you would only scratch the surface, but the magic of Uluru is something that you will never forget.
This will be a busy tour, but you will see some spectacular stuff. I wouldn't spend too much time in Christchurch. Nice as it is (I live there), given the limited time that you will have, I would instead pick up the car and head off up the east coast to spend a night in Kaikoura on your way to the ferry. The Kaikoura Coast has to be one of the most scenic dives in the world.
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Old Aug 20th, 2007, 03:48 PM
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Thank-you ALL for your quick response. I appreciate your guidance. Uluru does sound like a unique experience. I am kinda Convinced that Melbourne is a city and we are seeing many cities in this tour. What my wife is little concerned about is the "Penguins tour". I beleive it's on the Philip Island and that's close to Melbourne. Is that true? Has anyone seen the Penguin Parade ?

I know there is only so much we can do but more information will help us make the right choice.

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Old Aug 21st, 2007, 12:34 PM
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Nick, if it is a choice of penguins over Uluru, I would choose Uluru. It is the icon of the country, has meaning to the native people, and can give you a glimpse of the outback that makes up the majority of the country. The penguin parade (which I have only read about, maybe someone here who has been can chime in) is a mass tourist event, with bleacher seats, busses, etc. to watch the little guys walk up the beach. Kind of neat, but a long drive from Melbourne, a long drive back in the dark, and limited contact with the animals. No contest, in my book. BTW, I would suggest tallying up your "in transit" time vs. your "in country" time and see where you can limit the first and maximize the last in your itinerary. Seems way too many miles for the amount of time to me. Best of luck,
Sally in Seattle
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Old Aug 21st, 2007, 10:52 PM
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Nick, I have also been to the "Fairy Penguin Parade" on Phillip Island. Sally is correct. Masses of people and busses. We sat on concrete bleachers (in the rain) until it was dark. Then the penguins arrived. They ran up the beach and into their burrows. We saw them (from a distance) for many two minutes. If you ran up the boardwalks, you might catch a glimpse of one before it runs into a burrow. It was a bit of a disappointment to say the least.

My vote still goes to Uluru. The Sounds of Silence Dinner is fabulous if it is a full moon (or near full).

Be sure to visit Daintree NP/Cape Tribulation area when you visit the GBR area. We saw a lot of animals. We even saw a cassowary in the wild. Now that was cool.

Have a great time.

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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 01:54 AM
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Definitely Uluru. It is magical. Splurge on the Songs of Silence dinner in the desert.

While the penguins are so cute, I had better experiences in NZ and on Robbin Island in Capetown NZ. What I'm trying to say is that penguins can be seen in many different places whereas Uluru is truly unique.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 04:08 AM
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Can't understand why the "Penguin Parade" is such a must see. Never even been tempted to take such a packaged and soulless exercise (see comment above from BarbAnn). Sure if you have a week in Melbourne, why not? But as something you work an itinerary around when coming from overseas and having zilch days - no, I don't think so.

They are cute little things, and there may be far better places to see them than those I have managed - ie. outside Simonstown in S Africa, and outside Dunedin in NZ. Probably different breed of penguin at each but would you care?

Uluru is unique as others have already said.

If you think you will never come to Australia again, then skip Melbourne.

To be honest I'd skip NZ - not because it isn't an amazing place - just that 17 days for both countries is ...

manic; shortsighted; pretty crazy really.
chimani is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2007, 05:26 AM
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Thank-you all. Finally after looking at everyone's input we do have tickets on HOLD for AYQ and we are dropping Melbourne considering we have lot to do in few days. Now that the itinerary is finalized we will start looking for hotels in CNS, ASP, AYQ and SYD

Looking forward to the trip.
Thank-you all.
Nick04 is offline  
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