Cairns/Port Douglas from Sydney

Old Jul 24th, 2016, 01:41 PM
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Cairns/Port Douglas from Sydney

We are traveling to Sydney in November and after exploring Sydney we'd like to spend a few days on the ocean. We have 3 days and we are contemplating whether we should fly to Cairns/Port Douglas or if there are similar beaches closer to Sydney that are within driving distance. We really want to see great barrier rief and snorkel there (we also love warm weather and nice beaches) but we'd rather not fly 3 hours back-and-forth if there are similar places that are closer to Sydney. We don't mind renting a car or taking a bus if necessary; I guess we are wondering if we are going to miss out if we don't go to Cairns. Is Cairns anything like Cancun or Carribean or Florida? Are beaches in Sydney or near Sydney much different? Any resort towns on the beach that are similar to Cairns but closer to Sydney?
Sweetness is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2016, 09:16 PM
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The famous Sydney beaches are Manly and Bondi but there is a string of beaches running south of Bondi and north from Manly. The northern beaches are great for a getaway and does not see the same number of visitors as their more famous neighbors. Further up the coast from Sydney is Byron Bay, which is hot at the moment if you believe the travel magazines. All of these options are easily reachable from Sydney by car.
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Old Jul 25th, 2016, 08:46 AM
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The reef does not extend to Sydney (from a marine biologist standpoint, maybe, but not from a tourist standpoint).
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Old Jul 25th, 2016, 08:25 PM
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There are beautiful white sandy beaches all the way along the coast from Sydney heading north. Cairns itself has no beach but there are beaches once you head north out of Cairns, towards Palm Cove and Port Douglas. As BigRuss says, the reef is only in the far north but if you just want a beautiful beach, without the reef, there is definitely no need to fly all the way to Cairns.

I can only compare Florida with Cairns and there are similarities I suppose - warm to hot weather, tropical cyclones and storms, gorgeous beaches (though no beaches in Cairns like I said). Also lots of tourists, from overseas and southerners heading to the sun in the north - the opposite of New Yorkers heading south for the winter.

In November you should have good weather in Sydney but it could be wet and humid in Cairns (wet season up north from Nov-Apr). If it was me and I only had 3 days I would skip Cairns and meander up or down the coast from Sydney with a car.

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Old Jul 26th, 2016, 01:23 AM
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You could take a one hour flight north to Gold Coast Airport (OOL). The Gold Coast is often maligned by Australians, but it's the number one domestic tourism city for a reason. There's plenty to do here, a vibrant cafe culture, beautiful national parks with walking tracks and 60 kilometres of white sand beaches.
Weather in November is lovely and warm.

Have a look at
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Old Jul 26th, 2016, 03:43 AM
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Or they could fly to the Sunshine Coast airport. But the point is flying anywhere takes time - travel to airport, check in and wait around, fly to wherever, wait for luggage, transport to hotel, check in etc. An hour flight can end up taking most of the day.

I don't mean this to sound narky, I just think if they only have 3 days and two days are spent travelling up there and see where I'm going.

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Old Aug 10th, 2016, 08:27 PM
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Crazy to fly anywhere from Sydney with just 3 days when there are so many great places up and down the coast that you could drive to in a just 1-3 hours. I am particularly fond of the South Coast and points inland on the Southern Highlands. Beautiful! But no reef of course.
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Old Aug 19th, 2016, 10:07 PM
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November is not yet vacation time for Aussies, so you can find accommodation on the spur of the moment. Drive up to Gosford and The Entrance, Tuggerah Lake, Toukley, thereabouts - look for a vacancy sign wherever you like the look of the place. Do the same going south.

That's if you really want to get away from Sydney, but why would you? From Manly heading north there is one good beach after another, for example. Or from legendary Bondi Beach you can walk south and come by Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly, and Coogee beaches, all along a good coastal walk. Further south is Maroubra - and you're still well within metropolitan Sydney, with buses etc getting you there and back to wherever you're staying.

Would you fly from NYC to Miami for a day or two? It's a lot further from Sydney to Cairns. 'Nuff said
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 04:14 AM
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Also, it's jellyfish (stinger) season in far north Queensland at that time so swimming at the beach is not recommended. As others have said, I'd drive north from Sydney, where there are heaps of beautiful beaches between Sydney and Coffs Harbour (but no reef).
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Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 12:01 AM
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Would you fly from NYC to Miami for a day or two? It's a lot further from Sydney to Cairns. 'Nuff said>>

we flew from Brisbane to Cairns and back a couple of years or so ago, and it took 2 ½ hours each way - about as long as it takes to cross from one side of the EU to the other - and we were still in Queensland. PD was lovely [and an easy 1 hour drive from Cairns] but certainly not worth it for such a short trip when there are so many great beaches near Sydney.

Also Queensland has a problem with stingers in the summer:

At PD we had to swim within the nets but round Sydney we had no such problems.
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