Best Australian Region for 7-9 Day Trip

Jun 11th, 2019, 11:54 AM
  #1  
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Best Australian Region for 7-9 Day Trip

Hi Everyone,

I am a single 23M (living in the UK) who is going to be spending 10-12 days in Australia in September/October 2020. This is going to be the trip of a lifetime for me, and I am honestly not sure where to spend the bulk of it. 3 nights are definitely going to be spent in Sydney - I went to primary school there and would like to revisit a few childhood memories + the usual famed tourist sites. However, the rest of the trip is up in the air. After excluding WA due to long distances & lack of time and NT due to relative barrenness between destinations, there are really only 2.5 contenders that I can see:

(1) FNQ - Cairns, Daintree, GBR, Cape Tribulation, Kuranda Skyrail, Atherton Tablelands.

I think this could be beautiful and would definitely be a satisfying trip, although I'm worried that it might be a little bit .. hmm, sanitized compared to the other 2 possibilities.

(2) Sydney to Melbourne Drive - Jervis Bay, Gippsland Lakes, Eden, Mt. Kosciuszko, Croajingolong National Park, Wilsons Promontory. I could spend a few days in Melbourne once I get there, but 'city life' honestly isn't a priority for me given that I'm living in London ...

I think this would give me a very good range of different landscapes (mountains, lakes, beaches, parks), and would feel like more of an 'adventure' compared to FNQ. There's a chance I might even be able to do the Great Ocean Road after completing the Sydney -> Melbourne stretch.
My concern with this one is that I wouldn't be exploring one particular region of Australia - unlike the FNQ & Tasmania options - and that I would somehow lose something because of it.

(2.5) Tasmania - I know nothing about this & I'm concerned about the temperature, but I think this could definitely be a wildcard. Curious what you guys think about it.

In cases (1) and (3), I would be flying to Cairns/Hobart from Sydney, and I would definitely be renting a car regardless of what I end up doing.

Which of these do you guys think I should go for? I can't really put my finger on what I'd like or what I'd prefer, I just want my breath to be taken away as often as possible. I guess points would be given to diversity of landscapes, and perhaps beaches could be placed slightly lower on the priority list (esp. as Sydney has Manly and Bondi, & I already frequently visit a country replete with beaches), but at the end of the day I'm open to whatever would leave the most lasting impression on me (vague, I know ...).

Any and all suggestions/opinions are welcome.

Thank you in advance!

DonWimble8 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2019, 03:20 PM
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Any of your options would work - just depends on YOUR interests.

I’m intrigued as to how you would imagine FNQ would be “sanitised”. Of course, if you go for a swim in one of the creeks or a night wander along the wrong beach, old mate croc will clean you up for dinner - so I suppose you could say you’d been “sanitised” then

Seriously - there’s so much diversity in this area on land & out on the Great Barrier Reef.

Are you an Australian? If not, you’ll need a Visa.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2019, 04:02 PM
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Haha, I was laughing out loud for a few minutes after reading that. What I meant by 'sanitized' was just ... 'touristy', I guess. Guided tours, lots of people snapping (ha!) photos ^ enjoying whatever you're doing with you, pre-set destinations with navigable routes ... I'm just afraid that compared to, say, my Sydney -> Melbourne drive idea - during which I'd stay at a new place every night, crafting my own route, without guided tours and without being surrounded by anyone - the FNQ trip might be a bit formulaic and touristy by comparison, despite the fact that I definitely acknowledge the area's immense beauty & diversity. Again, this is almost definitely just my gut instinct, which isn't backed up by any facts whatsoever, so feel free to correct me.
DonWimble8 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2019, 05:17 PM
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Gut instinct is good. Absolutely nothing wrong with FNQ, and/but it IS a popular area.

I think you could make a really good road-trip wandering down to Melbourne. Stop in Canberra for a couple of days. September/October is a lovely time for a Spring drive. Watch out for Floriade in Canberra, if your dates gell. (Look it up - it’s usually around 14 September to 13 October).

If those dates coincide with your trip, I thoroughly recommend a little detour to Tulip Top Gardens.
www.tuliptopgardens.com.au. An exquisite 100 acres, planted with wonderful shady trees, millions of tulips & other complementary flowers. Take a picnic - last year, the F & B wasn’t quite well enough organised to cater for the number of customers. This is NOT at all to say there were huge crowds; there was just a nice number of people; just that the Food & Beverage tent seems to be family/friends run & probably under-estimated the requirements.

Accommodation might be tight in Canberra; but if you’re flexible, you’ll find something. Weekends are naturally busier, so if you can make it mid-week, it will be easier.

Have fun.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2019, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bokhara2 View Post
Gut instinct is good. Absolutely nothing wrong with FNQ, and/but it IS a popular area.

I think you could make a really good road-trip wandering down to Melbourne. Stop in Canberra for a couple of days. September/October is a lovely time for a Spring drive. Watch out for Floriade in Canberra, if your dates gell. (Look it up - itís usually around 14 September to 13 October).

If those dates coincide with your trip, I thoroughly recommend a little detour to Tulip Top Gardens.
www.tuliptopgardens.com.au. An exquisite 100 acres, planted with wonderful shady trees, millions of tulips & other complementary flowers. Take a picnic - last year, the F & B wasnít quite well enough organised to cater for the number of customers. This is NOT at all to say there were huge crowds; there was just a nice number of people; just that the Food & Beverage tent seems to be family/friends run & probably under-estimated the requirements.

Accommodation might be tight in Canberra; but if youíre flexible, youíll find something. Weekends are naturally busier, so if you can make it mid-week, it will be easier.

Have fun.
Thank you for the comment - if I decide to go down the Sydney -> Melb route, I'll definitely stop by the Tulip Gardens and let you know how I find it!
I'm not sure if you're aware, but I've posted this exact same question on Tripadvisor, and have been met with many responses stating that the Sydney -> Melbourne drive wouldn't be advisable in Sept/Oct due to the possibility of late snow. They've instead guided me towards the Melbourne -> Adelaide drive along the GOR (+ Grampians), including 3 nights at Kangaroo Island. Honestly, this seems like an even more scenic version of Syd -> Melb!

What do you think? I'm still comparing a potential drive to FNQ, both in terms of scenery/wildlife &, ultimately, cost.
DonWimble8 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2019, 02:08 AM
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Hi Dan,
I’d agree with the Trip Advisor group suggesting the Melbourne to Great Ocean Road, Grampians & on to Kangaroo Island. It’s a great drive ... and you could easily - so easily - spend the whole time doing this drive. Have a look at the various websites & see what you think.

And ... I still think you need to crib an extra couple of days to nip into Sydney!

You’ll find the Trip Advisor forum is a lot busier than this one. As you can see, I post on both - but over the years, unfortunately, Fodors’ Australian board has become rather quiet.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2019, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Bokhara2 View Post
Hi Dan,
I’d agree with the Trip Advisor group suggesting the Melbourne to Great Ocean Road, Grampians & on to Kangaroo Island. It’s a great drive ... and you could easily - so easily - spend the whole time doing this drive. Have a look at the various websites & see what you think.

And ... I still think you need to crib an extra couple of days to nip into Sydney!

You’ll find the Trip Advisor forum is a lot busier than this one. As you can see, I post on both - but over the years, unfortunately, Fodors’ Australian board has become rather quiet.
I agree that Sydney would be the dream! Honestly though, a part of me is a little afraid that it won't be as great as I remember it to be - what if my wonder was just caused by childhood good times, and if going back would dispel all those preconceptions? What if my expectations are ruined? A part of me just wants to leave it in the past, unless I end up moving there in the medium-term (which is one of my life goals). It's good to hear, though, that you're still enthusiastic about the city despite having lived there for what I assume to be a long time.

Anyway, if you can swallow that I might not be coming to Sydney P), what do you think about the recent M->KI->M drive itinerary I posted on tripadvisor? I honestly don't think I'll have time to come to Sydney if I go through with that one, although if I go to FNQ instead I'll obviously make ample time for it!
DonWimble8 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2019, 04:30 PM
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Miss Sydney....aaarrrrgggghhhh!

I'm in both places too!
margo_oz is offline  
Jun 14th, 2019, 06:44 PM
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I have done the Sydney-Melbourne trip in a few ways and I do think it's a good way to get a look at a part of Australia that isn't on every itinerary. In a way, that trip does get a closer look at the temperate zone of Australia and rural/high country life. You just get little bonuses by skirting the coast, such as the chance to do some whale watching or wading kangaroos. Lots of dramatic seaside views, even before the Great Ocean Road, down at Phillip Island (touristy), or Sorrento and Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula (not as much). From Sorrento, there's a ferry as well, to Queenscliff where it's already within striking distance of the GOR (extremely touristed). Even having been to Sydney and London, I would suggest at least a day to poke around Melbourne's hidden laneways. All three cities have quite a different feel about them.
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