family travel tips

Old Sep 16th, 2006, 08:13 PM
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family travel tips

During a much too short tour of the East Coast of Australia ( 12 days ) and on a budget with two kids we visited some extraordinary places and experienced some unforgettable activities. We skimped on accommodation to spend more on experiences.
Our most memorable and enjoyable experiences are listed below.

Sydney. The bridge climb. www.bridgeclimb.com.au
$538.00 dollars for four. 4 hours.
Our opinion. Very expensive. Great views of Sydney and the opera house.

Sydney. Day tour to Blue Mountains. www.sydneywildernesstours.com.au
$293.00 full day.
Our Opinion Huge day. Great value for money. Drove through some beautiful country.

Sydney. Power house museum. www.powerhousemuseum.com.au
$25.00 Half day. Great information and fun for all the family.
Our Opinion. Wonderful morning of information and interactive experiences for all.

Sydney Observatory. www.sydneyobservatory.com.au
$45.00 Our Opinion. Excellent informative 2 hours before a fabulous dinner on the harbour.

Sydney. Afternoon, wandering Darling Harbour and dinner on the water.
Our opinion. A relaxing afternoon trying our different restaurants and coffee shops and the omnimax theatre.

Sydney Restaurant. Wild fire on Circular Quay.
Our Opinion. Great restaurant with amazing views.
We felt we could reach out and touch the Opera House.

Sydney accommodation. Hotel Ibis. www.ibishotel.com.au
$145.00 per night. Our Opinion. Best kept secret in Sydney.
Close to every thing clean, comfortable and well organized.

Gold Coast. Sea world theme park and accommodation www.seaworldnara.com.au
$720.00 for two night stay and park pass.
Our opinion. Memorable stay. Great family fun. Loads to see and do.
Different than any theme park we had ever visited excellent service.

Fraser Island. 3 day camping tour . www.fraserislandco.com.au
$1400.00 Wonderful relaxing adventure. B.B.Qs swimming, 4wds and bush picnics.

Cairns. Accommodation. Club Crocodile Budget.
Our opinion Close to town and restaurants.
Three night stay $250.00.
Lizard Island Day Tour. www.daintreeair.com.au
Our opinion. Expensive. Worth every cent and more. $1500.00 for 4 of us.
Flying low over the rainforest, outback and and the Great Barrier Reef was a high for all of us. The snorkeling on the Island was exceptional. You see and learn so much during this day it is difficult to take it all in. Ask for a family package.

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Old Sep 18th, 2006, 09:39 PM
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Hi
We were looking at spending a few days at OíReillys up in the hills behind the Gold Coast with our children. Would the sea world resort be better for us than OíReillyís.

Sea World resort looks great on the web site you posted here.

Has any one been to both resorts?

Thanks for your help.

Justin.
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Old Sep 19th, 2006, 12:43 PM
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Justin, We did not visit O'Reilly's so can not help you with that.

There were days tours advertised all over up to the hinterland and O'Reilly's where you get to be with all sorts of wild life. Seaworld was fantastic although if we had more time we would have done a day tour to the hinterland.

There must be a foderite who can help out with O'Reillys.
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Old Sep 19th, 2006, 05:27 PM
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Hi Golfdaddy,

I've been to O'Reilly's (I was checking it out for a group of clients - all advid "birders").

O'Reilly's has a unique position in that it was established before the surrounding area was named a national park.

It's very low-key, eco-type resort, with birder type people heading off on bush walks, some tourist groups coming in during the day, etc.

You don't say what the ages of your children are, but this is not the sort of place you can compare to a slick, commerical operation like Sea World.
Apples and oranges.

Hope this is helpful!

Melodie
Certified Aussie Specialist
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Old Sep 19th, 2006, 10:50 PM
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Which Ibis hotel did you stay at? Where was it located? Were the rooms as tiny as they look on the website? Good prices, though! Thanks for the link!
Sally in Seattle, raining finally after NO rain all summer
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Old Sep 19th, 2006, 11:28 PM
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I lived in the Gold Coast Hinterland for 12 years until a month or so ago so I think I am qualified to answer your query Golfdaddy.
O'Reilly's gets a lot of attention because there is more history there than just the natural one ( plane crash site for instance) however if you have children I feel they would be bored to death for three days there. SeaWorld is a fantastic place to stay and you will have no trouble filling in your time. Staying at the Nara Sea World resort gives you at least one day's free entrance to the park. There is no reason why you would not just do a day trip to O'Reilly's if that is what you want BUT there is Binna Burra which is equally beautiful, Springbrook which is equally beautiful and Tamborine Mountain which also has other attractions and its parks are just as lovely as walking in O'Reillys. All of those areas have the same birds and in that area which includes all of the above destinations there is something like 326 varieties of birds. My preference for a day's touring would be to drive to Mt Tamborine early, walk the Palm Grove National Park, call in at Doherty Park and get a fist full of information brochures, see those things you are interested in ( glowworm caves for instance ) before either driving on to say one of the other destinations like Natural Bridge National park for a swim in the waterfall there and a walk through yet another rain forest or perhaps visit one of the wineries, the distillery and then drive up to Springbrook where you can go to the " best of all lookout" and then the waterfalls. If you are still around at nightfall there are gloworms in the natural cave which the waterfall flows over and these can be seen for free as soon as it is dark. The walks at most of these National Parks are quite long ones but you can get the same result in doing shorter ones which may not bore the children that much. Another attraction at Mt Tamborine is Thunder Egg Park where you can either dig for thunder eggs or watch them being polished and cut for you or indeed the finished item. There are also horses to ride and some animals there too. I must admit that I havn't been there for a long time so there may be heaps of extra things there now of interest.
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Old Sep 21st, 2006, 04:09 AM
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Hello S&R, We stayed in the Ibis right by Darling Harbor.
The rooms were fine.

I mean we were there just to sleep any way.

We were more than happy with the size of rooms and facilities.

The hotel is just seconds from many restaurants and coffee shops.

Make sure you take your kids to the Omnimax theatre. That was fun.It's just a few minutes walk from the hotel.
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Old Sep 21st, 2006, 04:53 AM
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Just be aware that Darling Harbour is not Sydney Harbour, its not far but don't expect Opera House, bridge and true harbour views. However, it does house Sydney's Aquarium which is worth a visit. Darling Harbour is highly touristed and if that's what you like go for it, to me a far better bet is over the bridge to North Sydney with views back over harbour to city. Or check out Manly, just a ferry ride from Sydney's Circular Quay.
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Old Sep 21st, 2006, 05:05 AM
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Hi Pat, We visitied Manly and thought it was just great.

Although it is a long way from all the central area of sydney.

We also thought Manly to be very touristed as well.

We had to line up to get on a crowded ferry, then line up to get off again, then line up to buy some of your famous fish and chips, then line up again to come back over to Sydney, then line up again to get off the ferry. Wow !!! That's lots of lines.

I think Darling Harbor is a much better option for people with just a few days. And no lines.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2006, 01:28 PM
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Thanks Liz, Great info, Seems like your the gold coast expert here.

Which golf course would be the best for a round or two just in case I manage to to get a day to myself.

We will be at Nara Seaworld resort for four days by the way.

Thanks again.
Justin.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2006, 03:32 PM
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Golfdaddy, there are about 60 odd Golf cources around the Gold Coast so you are not too short of one to play on. If I were you I would make a time to go with the family to Sanctuary Cove where there are a couple of lovely cources and you can drop the family off in the village and suggest that they have lunch at George's Paragon Restaurant ( 1/2 price at lunch) but do try and book as its always pretty full. They can then walk around the complex for a couple of hours or even take a little boat trip. For more time for yourself and seeing it is in the same direction you could drop the family of at Wet and Wild ( water fun park and it is great fun) then go to Sanctuary Cove or Hope Island which is not too far. Alternatively in the same direction is Dreamworld which is an Australian style theme park with lots of really scary rides and also a swimming pool to relax in. You should be able to get a pass for other parks at SeaWorld as they are envolved with Wet and Wild and Movie World ( not recommended) but not Dreamworld though. I am not a golfer but a lot of the golf cources on the Gold Coast have been designed by some of the best named Golfers so I would do some homework if I were you into some of them as you may like one better than another. There is one up near Robina that is said to be one of the best but the name escapes me. However I am sure that any of the local Golf Buffs should be able to tell you the best and the worst. Enjoy!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2006, 12:46 PM
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Thanks again Liz, Sanctury Cove looks fantastic and I like your suggestion of dropping the family of in the village for a long lunch, maybe even an early dinner as well.

The three day Fraser Island adventure mentioned by crewprince,looks great on the net but as we plan 4 to 5 days relaxation on the Gold coast Im thinking maybe a day or so might be enough just to check the Island out.

What are your thoughts on that one.

Justin.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2006, 02:25 PM
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Hi Golfdaddy, I used to love to go to Fraser Island but it is mainly an island that you go to for R&R as there is nothing there in terms of shops, restaurants ( with the exception of Kingfisher Bay Resort) to speak of and is mainly somewhere you go to camp and fish. You cannot swim in the ocean as there is not shark netting nor are there any Surf Lifesavers around watching the sea for sharks. You can however swim in the fresh water lakes but you have to get there. There are no roads around the island and the motorvehicles are usually 4WDs which drive along the beach - which can get dangerous incidently with lots of hyped up 4WD ers who may have had too much to drink at their campsite. If you want nature then stick to the border ranges around the Gold Coast and northern NSW. One island off Brisbane has the resport of Tangalooma on it where you can swim/feed the dolphins and some of the diving off the island is really excellant and the sand dunes are the biggest anywhere and tobogganing down them is fun - if you are an energetic child that is. If you have time perhaps take a trip over to Stradbroke Island ( Couran Cove Resort) off the Gold Coast and see what a different lifestyle you can have in 10 minutes! If you like fishing there are charter boats out from the Gold Coast OR you may like to charter your own house boat from Sanctuary Cove and do the waterways yourself. The name of the Golf Course that I could not think of is Robina Woods. Another nice one is up on Mt Tamborine and has lovely views over the Gold Coast - its cheaper than a lot of courses as well.
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Old Sep 24th, 2006, 01:32 PM
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Thanks for taking the time with us here Liz.

We have done more research into some of the places you have mentioned above and am now more mixed up than ever.

It seems there is some thing for every one to do every day for a month in the Gold Coast.

We will stick to five days there for r&r and sight seeing before flying to Cairns.

We know itís a long way but from all reports this area seems very special as well.

We have been talking to the daintreeair people about a day tour to Lizard island for snorkelling on the great barrier reef. From our research it would seem this tour is the best for viewing the Great Barrier Reef. We have been told the flight to Cairns from Lizard is along the rainforest. Is the rainforest much different in that area to say the hills behind the Gold Coast.

We have been offered a drop off in the rainforest at Cape Tribulation after the Lizard Day.

We are a little concerned we might be rainforested out by then.

Justin.
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Old Sep 24th, 2006, 03:07 PM
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Not at all are the rain forests the same - the ones behind the Gold Coast are different in terms of flora and fauna and are semi-tropical with Antarctic Beech trees thousands of years old as well as the more scleriphil flora ( spelling????) , are nice but are not in the league of those tropical rain forests in say the Daintree where there are some animals that are only found there and nowhere else in the World ( except for perhaps New Guinea) and some exotic flora and particularly birds, one of my favourites is the Palm Cockatoo which can actually use a stick to beat a tree like a drum to make sure that everyone knows where his territory is.
Please, please before you do book anything do a Google search on Hinchinbrook Island - this place is magnificent even though it is a continental island and is so very diverse. There are dugong areas around the island and they take you to some wonderful reefs that are not frequented by thousands of tourists - I am not saying that Lizard is not a great place, it is but if you compare the cost difference I am sure that Hinchinbrook would probably give you much, much more for your money. As posted recently two American ladies spend a wonderful time on Hinchinbrook and had the experience of seeing quite a number of whales en route to the island and the boat captain spent an hour around the whales so everyone got a good look. They were particularly positive about the reef that they went to. Hinchinbrook is NOT owned by a big company and therefore does not get the mega advertising that others do. It won the Eco tourism awards recently and as I said before there is a lot of diversity on that island making it a much more interesting visit, in my eyes anyway.
The area around Cairns, the Daintree, Cape Tribulation and the Atherton Tablelands is a great place to visit with heaps and heaps of things to see and do and none of those things will be the same as what you will have experienced on the Gold Coast, so do not worry about that aspect of things.
I have a feeling that your holiday will be absolutely fantastic and your idea of going to Cairns is spot on. If you do rent a car on the Gold Coast and are driving yourself around the Border Ranges then take a look at spending the day driving around and getting to Nimbin which is in a lovely area in northern New South Wales. This town/village has been frozen in time from the Hippy days and it is kind of fun and a little strange to walk down the street and smell those "things"that went out in the 60s or so. It is on a circuit that is very pretty anyway and you could include little places like Dunoon, The Channon, Byron Bay etc. These areas are in the largest caldera in the Southern Hemisphere and the area is very pretty - more so or less so depending on the time of year that you are coming.
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Old Sep 24th, 2006, 03:12 PM
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Golfdaddy, here is the site for Hinchinbrook Island
http://www.hinchinbrookresort.com.au/

enjoy!
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Old Sep 24th, 2006, 04:03 PM
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Liz, thatís ironic you mentioned Hinchinbrook Island. We received an itinerary from Greg at daintreeair offering us a night in tree houses on the island. He said they land the airplane near a beach where you are then picked up by boat to go over to the tree houses. He says the hiking on the island is fantastic and the fishing is great.

He also offered us a night in an Aboriginal village at Look Out Point where you actually walk along the beach with the elders spearing fish, cooking in the open and generally learning about the Aboriginal way of life on Cape York in Queensland. This again sounds like an amazing experience. We were surprised to learn the locals in this area actually hunt and eat the dugons.

If we choose to accept this itinerary we spend a night on Hinchinbrook with a full day and a half, then a full day and a half day with the Aboriginals, then a day and a night in the rainforest, as well as a day at Lizard Island. What are your views on this keeping in mind we will fly back to Sydney after the Lizard Island Day.

We are looking at the first two weeks in December.

Some of these places mentioned sound very mysterious and remote.
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Old Sep 25th, 2006, 03:56 PM
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Golfdaddy, I have spend some time with the Aboriginies in North Queensland and if you could get the chance to spend time with them I think that would make for a most memorable time. I don't actually know where the "point" mentioned is though so I am not sure which area that is in. I mainly had dealings with the Aborigines around the Hopevale Mission Area and Yarrabah ( sp??) being a guest of one of the elders in the latter area. Fortunately I did not have to eat dugong!!!!!
As you have the website of Hinchinbrook just do your homework as to the various prices as I would not know what they are now.
I am not too sure if going to Lizard Island for a day would not just be doing much of the same as you could on Hinchinbrook though and hopefully others will make some suggestions on that point. I night in the rainforest is a nice idea but again, do your homework on costs as its very easy to get to places that are in the rainforest without paying someone else a lot of money to oversee you getting there.

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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 05:41 AM
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Golfdad, When we did the Lizard day with daintreeair we flew low over some very rugged country where the landscape was made up of trees, escarpments and small rivers.
Not rainforest, just bush with wet lands leading down to a beach we guessed was about 20 miles long with out any thing or any one on it.

We spotted smoke in a small gorge from the plane. The pilot told us the smoke was coming from an area frequented by the local aboriginal people. They own the land and take visitors to the beach at the bottom of the gorge to camp and over night to fish in the traditional manner.

The landscape was amazing. I have a feeling this is the same place you have been told about, go for it.
It would be amazing.

As for the snorkeling at Lizard Island it was the best we have ever seen.

We can not comment on Hinchinbrook as we did not go there.

Talk to Greg at
www.daintreeair.com.au.

Have a great time !!!!!

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Old Oct 1st, 2006, 05:04 PM
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Hi Golfdaddy I can definitely recommend the services of Daintree Air.

My family travelled across the top end of Australia with them in 2003.

The tour was one of the best things we ever experienced.
Jess.

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