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Eastern Australia-what 3/4 cities should we visit in 16 days?

Eastern Australia-what 3/4 cities should we visit in 16 days?

Jun 4th, 2013, 09:25 PM
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Eastern Australia-what 3/4 cities should we visit in 16 days?

I am planning on a 16-19 day trip to Eastern Australia the first part of September 2013 and want to know which 3 or 4 cities should we include on our visit? We will be flying into Sydney from the US and want to fly between 2/3 other cities from Sydney during our vacation. I would like to include the three from this list- Cairns,Brisbane,Melbourne,Adelaide,Canberra.
I will be traveling with my 28 year old daughter and will rent a car in each city to get around.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I am so confused which to pick. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
dutyfree is offline  
Jun 4th, 2013, 09:37 PM
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Cities are not really the thing to visit in Australia, they are all great but not why you would travel all this way. On the east coast, Sydney is the most spectacular because of the harbour and the beaches, but I also really love Melbourne and Brisbane. I also really like the capital, Canberra.

I would use Cairns as a base to explore the hinterland and the reef. My recommendation would be to visit Tasmania as the third location: that's where you will see the most marsupials and it is very beautiful.
Susan7 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2013, 10:19 PM
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Ditto for TAS - you can pack a lot into a visit to TAS and it's easy to access from MELB.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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I agree that Cairns, Sydney and Tasmania would make a great trip. That's what we did on our first trip plus Adelaide/Kangaroo Island over 17 days but that was pretty fast paced so I think 3 locations might be enough.
Patty is offline  
Jun 5th, 2013, 04:04 PM
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Actually,I am meeting my daughter in March 2014 after she finishes work in Antarctica to travel around Tasmania so might put Adelaide/Kangaroo Island on that trip!
I definitely want to do Sydney and Cairns but wanted to know from you experts if I should squeeze Brisbane in with Melbourne? I do appreciate your help.
dutyfree is offline  
Jun 5th, 2013, 07:05 PM
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You don't mention your interests, but if you are going to add Adelaide/KI to your March 2014 trip, then I would add Canberra to your September trip in lieu of Brisbane and/or Melbourne. Reasons:

1. September is a lovely time to visit Canberra--everything is in bloom. Floriade garden festival takes place in mid-September.

2. Lots of great museums, most of which are free.

3. It's called "The Bush Capital" because it's located in the middle of the bush. Within half-an-hour of driving from the city center, you can be at Namadgi National Park or Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve where you can do some great walks in the bush and see native animals in the wild. When we lived there, our favorite walk was the Yankee Hat Hike in Namadgi. It's an easy 6km RT walk with Aboriginal rock drawings at the turnaround point. Also, LOTS of kangaroos along the trail.
longhorn55 is offline  
Jun 9th, 2013, 12:55 AM
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Melbourne is a quick flight from Sydney and I would suggest would have more to offer than Adelaide and Brisbane. Depending on how much time you have, the Great Ocean Road on Victoria's south west coast is a spectacular drive. An overnight stay would be best otherwise it would be a big day. Lorne is a good place to stay.
If you had to choose two cities - my recommendation would be Cairns and Melbourne if you are willing to do the flying.
familyventures is offline  
Jun 10th, 2013, 10:14 AM
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If you decide to fly to Cairns, I would stay at the Port Douglas which is just one hour drive from the airport.
JNG is offline  
Jun 12th, 2013, 11:32 PM
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Compared to all the cities Sydney is the most beautiful in that Opera house,Luna Park Sydney and Sydney Harbour Bridge are the places must want to see.
ramanakumar569 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2013, 11:30 AM
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Okay-bit the bullet and booked our flights from the US leaving August 28th and coming home from Sydney on September 18th.Mr. Dutyfree(who is not going) mentioned that Canberra and Melbourne "are just big cities" and we should go somewhere else-considering he has not been there since the Vietnam days I just gave him "the infamous fish eye".

My daughter is an oceanographer so definitely want her to see the Great Barrier Reef before it is gone and we both enjoy walking on beaches and beach combing too. We both love history,eating and good wine along with trying to cultural things!

So with that in mind, here are several questions-how long would you allow in Sydney,Melbourne and Cairns at that time of the year?

We will fly into Sydney and leave from there.We won't have a car in Sydney because of the parking hassles,etc. My plan is to fly on Virgin Blue between cities and get a car in each city.

Should we go to Melbourne first after Sydney or Cairns? Or opposite direction? I am so confused as to how long in each city so I can book the airfare and hotels soon. Thanks so much!
dutyfree is offline  
Jul 1st, 2013, 11:53 AM
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I highly recommend taking the Ocean Safari from Cape Tribulation for the GBR. It only holds 20-25 people with no other boats in the sea. The reef is pristine in this location. We spent 3 nights in Cape Tribulation and 2 in Port Douglas.

Virgin Australia flights were much better than Jet Star which wouldn't even give us a cup of water.

Have a great trip.
Images2 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2013, 03:09 PM
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Dutyfree-You should be aware that there are armed bands of koalas carjacking tourists along the routes you mentioned, especially ones that have brought a lot of luggage.
openroads2 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2013, 03:34 PM
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You don't need (or want) a car in Melbourne, unless you're planning on heading out of town to the Great Ocean Road, Daylesford, the Yarra Valley etc. - and for those topics, see this thread, amongst others -

Public transport from Melbourne airport (Tullamarine) is not great - either a bus to Southern Cross station ($16/person, I think) or a cab. If there's two of you, a cab would be much better - maybe slightly more expensive ($40 in to town?) than the bus but a lot more convenient. If you do need a car while you're here, all the car rental companies have places in town. Once you're in town, just walk or catch a tram - a car in town would be a liability, particularly if you don't know how to do a hook turn.....

Unless you're wedded to Virgin, check out the Qantas fares as well. Depending on who you're flying to Sydney, you may be able to get an "Aussie Airpass" or something similar in conjunction with your international ticket - it may (or may not...) be better value than buying individual flights locally.

As to "how long in each place", the correct answer is "just come to Melbourne and forget the rest...." Sydney may have the glitz and the glamour (Opera House, the harbour, the Bridge etc.) but Melbourne has everything else - it's the cultural / shopping / sporting / dining / coffee capital of Australia. I would try to plot out what you intend to do in each place and let that drive the answer - inevitably you may well find you have more to do and not enough days to accommodate everything so have to make some cuts. Do you want to drive down the Great Ocean Road? Visit Ballarat and Daylesford? Visit the Yarra Valley? Go down the Mornington Peninsula? Do all those and that's at least 5 - 7 days in Melbourne before you even think about the city itself ... You can easily spend a few days wandering the lanes and alleyways of the city, visiting St. Kilda etc. etc. So many things to do, so little time.....

Cairns needs a couple of days - most people go out to the reef and to Kuranda, so that's two days -- with some beach/pool time added on. First and last day won't give you too much time to do anything - it'll be at least lunchtime by the time you get up to Cairns (so an afternoon at most to do something) and you'll probably have to leave no later than mid-morning to get to the airport for the flight to MEL or SYD. If you want a full beach/pool/do nothing day, then you're looking at 4 nights. As has already been suggested, stay in Port Douglas or Palm Cove and not in Cairns (which, in my view, has not much to recommend it).

As to the sequence, perhaps Cairns - Melbourne - Sydney? Depending on when your flight arrives into SYD, you should be able to make it up to Cairns by lunchtime/early afternoon, which gives you a do-nothing afternoon to get over your jet lag. If you come to Melbourne next and then Sydney, you'll already be in Sydney when it's time to go home, rather than having to get another domestic flight immediately before you leave.
tt7 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2013, 06:55 AM
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Hi Dutyfree, if you're coming in August (end of winter) maybe start in Sydney then go to Melbourne (which I personally think is the best city in Aus) maybe go to the Great Ocean Road which is really beautiful. Then go to Cairs/Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef last as it will be warmer up there in September. It's a shame you couldn't go back home from Brisbane as that would make it easier for you. Definitely don't miss North Queensland! It is spectacular
TravelBound96 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2013, 07:07 PM
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Do most people do a couple snorkeling trips when up in Port Douglas? Any place to stay that anyone would recommend staying in Port Douglas,Melbourne and Sydney?
dutyfree is offline  
Jul 29th, 2013, 12:15 AM
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No idea about snorkeling - I've only ever done one trip per visit. I guess it would depend on how "in" to snorkeling you are....

As for places to stay - what's the budget? Are you looking for 5 star luxury or a backpacker hostel? If you haven't looked at it already, wotif will give you a pretty good idea of what's available at what price point.

Perhaps come up with a few places in each location that look like they fit your style/budget etc. and then ask for input?

In Melbourne, try the Novotel on Collins. In an ideal location in the middle of town, we had friends who stayed there a while ago and had no complaints. The CBD in Melbourne (= Central Business District = middle of town) is built on a grid with Spencer Street in the west, Spring Street in the east, Flinders Street on the south and La Trobe in the north. I would try and stay in that quadrant and preferably towards the south-east part of the quadrant. The western part of the quadrant is the actual business part of town, the eastern/southern part is where most of the shopping/theatres etc. are. King Street in the western part of town is where a lot of the nightclubs are - better avoided late at night unless drunken yobs at 3 am are your style ...
tt7 is offline  

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