Cairns Itinerary

Dec 28th, 2008, 04:36 AM
  #1  
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Cairns Itinerary

My husband and I will be traveling primarily to New Zealand in May, 2009. However, hoping, but not knowing for sure if we'll get back to that area, we have to make a quick stop in Australia! We are not big city people so will not be going to Sydney. We are more nature/wilderness kind of people. Will the following be doable? We will be flying into Cairns late on 4/26.
4/27-Kuranda Skyrail (I thought this would be a slow paced day?)
4/28-29 Overnight on the Reef Encounter.
4/30-Wilderness Eco Safaris
5/1-Fly to Adelaide. Drive to Port Lincoln for my husband to do shark cage dive!
5/3 or 5/4-Fly from Adelaide to Christchurch to continue on with the vacation.
I thank everyone for the sound advice I know I'll receive. I've been reading these boards for a long time and rely heavily on your opinions. By the way, has anyone done the shark cage dive? I can't seem to find much about it.
rllit is offline  
Dec 28th, 2008, 06:09 PM
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No reason why you cannot do what you're planning and only alteration I'd make is re: "5/1-Fly to Adelaide. Drive to Port Lincoln for my husband to do shark cage dive!"

You ought to look at flying Adelaide to Port Lincoln for if you have a look at a map you'll see that it's two gulfs and over 700 km. by road away and probably less than an hour by air.

You'll certainly be mixing the weather from Cairns to CC but at least PL will offer a mid way acclimatisation - just have cool cottons for Cairns and something warmer for NZ.
Bushranger is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 02:38 AM
  #3  
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Thanks Bushranger. We are looking at REX and flying. Haven't made up our minds yet. We thought by driving one way we would maybe see a little more of the country, but unsure of a one way car rental. They say it is a 7.5 hour drive. I have not firmed up those plans yet. Also thinking we would ship home our "northern" clothes before leaving Cairns as we won't be needing them for the remainder of the trip.

Still debating between Wilderness Eco Safaris and Wait a While tours. Has anyone maybe experienced both and/or prefer one over the other?

Do you think we would need a car rental for Cairns?

Also, has anyone had any experience with Calypso Charter for a one day shark cage dive out of Port Lincoln?

Again, thanks for any help!
rllit is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 01:47 PM
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You won't need a rental car in Cairns for the short time you're planning and the trips you've mentioned will pick you up at accommodation or nearby.

Both Wait a While (which trip are you interested in?, they have several) and Wilderness Eco Safaris are good trips, run by long-time local owner-operators and the latter takes you off-road in 4WD to restricted areas of World Heritage Wet Tropics, well away from the usual well-beaten tourist track. Steve, the operator takes only a maximum of 7, so its a good idea to book in advance.
pat_woolford is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 07:25 PM
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I'd give even driving one way Adelaide to PL a miss as it is some of Australias least inspiring countryside you will be driving through - much open plains cropping country and being end of summer it will be browner than usual.

Haven't come close to wanting to do a shark cage dive and to be honest if that is the sole reason to be heading south, I'd say you ought to spend more time Cairns way and do a longer live aboard dive trip there, a few Fodorites having had great trips with Spirit of Freedom to Cod Hole and Ribbon reefs with a low level flight back to Cairns.

There's also one of the globes top wreck dives from Townsville if you want something different and then always the Whitsunday Islands not to be missed either.
Bushranger is offline  
Dec 30th, 2008, 07:17 PM
  #6  
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Thanks Pat and Bushranger. As for the eco tours - I would really love to be able to see a kangaroo, reptiles, crocs, etc. I know there are no guarantees, but would there be any tours that would gear that way?

Regarding the Reef Encounter, do you know if they go to the clam gardens? Debating on that too and wondering if we would be better off doing the one day Lizard Island trip with Daintree Air. I have read good things about both.

Bushranger, I know it seems silly to go all the way south just for the shark cage dive. My husband and I each picked a one must do for the Australia part of this trip and that was his! What can I say?!

rllit is offline  
Dec 30th, 2008, 08:16 PM
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As you have no doubt already discovered there's quite a few different forest/wildlife tours and some better than others and taking a 4WD one to get you off the beaten track is going to be the best chance of seeing any wildlife but they aren't always about waiting to be seen and most are out and about at night.

Failing spotting anything in the wild, crocs vis a Daintree cruise or Hartleys Croc Adventure you could do worse than visit the Tropical and/or Night Zoos - http://www.cairnstropicalzoo.com.au/

www.onthewallaby.com has night canoe trips which can be great for wildlife spotting.

Plains kangeroos are probably more easily spotted than forest dwelling varieties and though that drive Adelaide to PL would be through lots and lots of plains, still no guarantee of seeing them as main highways/farming areas are often fenced which tends to keep them away from roads.

There's also a few decent wildlife parks close to Adelaide - http://www.warrawong.com/ - http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/par...onservationwp/ and www.gorgewildlifepark.com.au any of which would give you some semi in wild experiences.

And then if you have a day free you could always consider a REX flight over to Kangaroo Island and do a days tailored tour there.
Bushranger is offline  
Jan 4th, 2009, 06:47 AM
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We've just returned from Australia, including several days in Cairns/Port Douglas. About Kuranda, I would plan on a whole day to do the following (which is what we did):
1. Train up to Kuranda (there's audio on the train that explains how the rail line was built, etc etc and it is quite scenic).
2. In Kuranda, go to Koala World and Bird World. We spent a fair amount of time at Bird World but also played with and fed wallabies and kangaroos at Koala World.
3. We took the Skyrail down - there are 2 stops at which you can get off and walk around, which my family did but I didn't (I hate heights so the skyrail was pretty torturous for me).
4. We went to Tchapukai Village (sp?) which was packaged in with our day at Kuranda. It was an excellent way to learn about the aboriginals. They do several "shows" and interactive "displays" - how to throw a boomerang, how to use a didgeridoo, etc. - that we really enjoyed.
DP521 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 01:13 PM
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Back again with a few more questions! Okay, we have altered the schedule somewhat. Instead of Eco Safaris on 4/30 we will be flying down to Adelaide and over to Kangaroo Island. My husband has decided not to shark dive (yeah!), so we have a few more days to play with. I'm getting ready to book my airfare between Cairns-Adelaide, Adelaide-KI with REX, and Adelaide-Christchurch. Will there be any problems booking my airfare over the internet with Jetstar, REX, and Virgin Blue being that I'm in the U.S.?

We have decided to do a nocturnal tour of some sort on the evening of the 27th. I have read good things about Alan Gillanders, however, we are trying to avoid renting a car and I believe he does tours with the client's vehicle? I've also read about Dan Irby's nocturnal tour and it sounds pretty good as well. Would we need a rental car to reach him, is there public transportation, do they pick up at our hotel (which by the way we have not booked yet).

Again, thanks for your help. I need to start finalizing plans. It is creeping up fast on us now that the holidays are over!
rllit is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 02:33 PM
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Niether Alan or Dan pick from hotels so it looks like Waot-a-While for you.
Saltuarius is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 02:40 PM
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Pat may be able to give some details re the tours up north and transport to them etc.

Booking direct with the airlines is no problems here and you'll be given a booking number and you just turn up and usually they'll just ask your name and for ID.

There's www.webjet.com.au which is a site that scans all airlines and lists all available flights/fares for any given day and then using best, book it with the airline as there's a fee on webjet.

There could be a possibility of some sales announced during February as the airlines will be looking to boost ticket numbers for the months following Xmas school holidays so you could wait until at least end of February if you wanted to check the jetstar and virgin blue web sites every few days, though Cairns to Adelaide is possibly not a highly frequented route and therefore not likely to be too discounted.
Bushranger is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 04:35 PM
  #12  
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Thanks so much for your replies. I'll see if Pat chimes in with her input regarding the nocturnal tour too.

Bushranger do you really think we could wait that late to book our Adelaide-Christchurch tickets?

rllit is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 11:35 PM
  #13  
 
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Agree with Saltuarius, its got to be Wait a While for nocturnal trip,if staying in or around Cairns they pick up at about 2pm for Tableland trip and get you back to Cairns by around midnight.
Well at least they used to, have seen somewhere that its changed ownership recently, but you can check this at time of booking.

Can't see how you could get to Daintree for Dan Irby's trip by public transport or much less back again at that time of day/night.

pat_woolford is offline  
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