Day trips Sydney, Cairns, Melbourne

May 19th, 2001, 10:30 AM
  #1  
Jill
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Day trips Sydney, Cairns, Melbourne

My mom and I are going to Australia at the end of August for two weeks on the United airline deal. Has anyone else done this? How were the hotels & their locations?

I'm interested in knowing about day trips from these 3 places. Obviously, Great Barrier Reef and the gondola/train in Cairns. Is it possible to take a local train from Sydney to some towns in the Blue Mountains? The Great Ocean Road in Melbourne sounds fantastic. But I am a little leery about renting a car for the day and driving on the left side. Thanks for any suggestions.
 
May 20th, 2001, 06:33 PM
  #2  
Tony
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At all three of your destinations your hotels will have lots of info.on day trips, and will be able to book them for you.
Yes you can take a train to the Blue Mountains from Sydney, takes about 90 minutes each way. Trains also to the Central Coast area, just north of Sydney. There are masses of day tour coach trips out of Sydney, which may be your best bet if you don't wish to drive yourself. The Sydney Harbour cruises are a must, either with Captain Cook Cruises (check their website) or the Sydney ferries which are really cheap and worthwhile.
The Great Ocean Road is also spectacular, although the weather will be coolish in August. Driving out of Melbourne is not hard, the roads are good and the traffic disciplined. Once you reach the Great Ocean Road your own car is virtually essential, as you will want to keep stopping for a while with each new view. A car would also be good for a drive eastwards out of Melbourne into the Dandenong Hills.
In Cairns you seem to have researched one of the best day trips already, the other recommendation is of course a Barrier Reef cruise.
Weatherwise it will be perfect in Cairns (about 25C) and dry. Sydney will be sunny and dry usually in August, but just under 20C, Melbourne might be a worry, but there are good theatres and concerts and other cultural activities if the weather lets you down.
 
May 20th, 2001, 06:48 PM
  #3  
Dee
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Hi there,

How are you getting from Sydney - Cairns ? Is this also part of your deal ?

Public transport in and around Sydney is pretty good -- so you shouldn't have too much trouble getting to the Mountains. What might be better is to take a day tour out there because they know where to go and you don't have to try to get yourself around .....

Be sure to bring a sweater if you going to BM's in August !

Enjoy !

 
May 20th, 2001, 09:48 PM
  #4  
Matt
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One must-do from Cairns is a trip north to Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge, the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation. You can do this as a self-drive or a small tour (there are loads of operators). In my opinion this is a far better experience than the Kuranda Skyrail/Train which is scenic but very touristy and crowded.
 
May 22nd, 2001, 12:43 PM
  #5  
John
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Hi Jill:
Just a short note. Last November my wife and I took the Great Ocean Road motor coach from Melbourne. I too was concerned about driving on the left side of the road and missing the scenery. It was the right choice. The motor coach stopped numerous times along the way to take in the breathtaking views.
John
 
May 22nd, 2001, 09:15 PM
  #6  
ross
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A vote for driving the Great Ocean Road here! It's really not very hard to adjust to the left side of the road,and the GOR is one of those places where the freedom of your own car is essential, in my book at least. The road itself, once out of Melbourne (which isn't that hard to escape), isn't busy or difficult in any way other than being a bit curvy. If you take the bus tour, you'll definitely get to see the major views of the road, but you'll surely miss other good ones, and you'll always have to be watch-checking just when you want to explore a little side path or the view from a bit farther on . . . .
 
May 23rd, 2001, 04:41 AM
  #7  
John
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To Ross:
Yes, and at the end of the day Jill will be a basket case and not have enjoyed the trip. The motor coach tour that I was on arrived back in Melbourne at dusk, and the driver knew where and when to stop. Jill won't have a clue on finishing the GOR tour unless she's prepared to spend the night in Lorne.
Been there, done that.
John
 
May 23rd, 2001, 09:21 PM
  #8  
Ross
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Well, to each his (or her) own, of course. Jill did mentione she was 'a bit leery' of driving on the left side, not necessarily completely eliminating it. And the GOR is in fact pretty easy to drive, and the turn-outs for seeing the sights are clearly marked and have ample parking. It's not a bad place to experience driving on the left for the first time.

Anyway, I in no way intended to cast aspersion on those who favor the coach trips; the GOR is so glorious any way one gets out there is fine!
 
May 24th, 2001, 06:27 AM
  #9  
John
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Dear Ross:
You are right, of course. Well said.
John
 
May 25th, 2001, 08:24 PM
  #10  
Mike
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I took the bus tour of the Great Ocean Road last May ,and it was quite enjoyable. The scenery was outstanding, along with the guide's commentary, and after attempting to drive several times in Melbourne, I was glad to be able to relax and just enjoy the ride. It's quite a distance out to the Twelve Apostles and London Bridge area, and I definitely wouldn't have wanted to drive on the left in the dark. Either way, definitely do it. I also took the scenic train to Kuranda and skyrail back and a trip to the Blue Mountains, but I definitely prefer just going out to the Reef.
 
Jun 1st, 2001, 05:17 PM
  #11  
Jane
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For those of you who rented a car to drive the GOR:
Would you recommend renting ahead of time, from the states, or can you wait until you get to Melbourne?

 
Jun 3rd, 2001, 05:54 PM
  #12  
scurry
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If you know the dates ahead of time, I would reserve the car before you left, but it won't be that much more $$ booking over there (not like Europe).

The Great Ocean Road as a 1 day trip sounds like a lot to me, but ....
 
Jun 9th, 2001, 03:00 PM
  #13  
Jill
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Thanks to all who replied.

I'm still not sure how I will do the Great Ocean Road - car or tour. But I will definitely do it. Will decide once I get there.

We're use to traveling by train in Europe so I"ll probably just take the train to the Blue Mountains - I've been reading a ton of tour books so have an idea of towns to go to.
 
Jun 10th, 2001, 08:50 PM
  #14  
Marilyn
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I agree with Matt. I enjoyed the train/skyrail to Kurandu, but the day trip to Mossman Gorge, Daintree River and Cape Tribulation was definitely on my must see list and I wasn't disappointed.
 
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