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Family trip

Old Aug 11th, 2013, 06:44 AM
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Family trip

My family has about 14 days to enjoy a trip to Australia and NZ in December 2013. My wife is not well and this is her wish for a last trip together as a family. Our kids range between 20-23. Recognizing that we won't have a chance to see everything has to be balanced against her wish to see at least some of NZ as well as Sydney and the GBR. I'd genuinely appreciate suggestions from folks who have travelled this area before.
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Old Aug 11th, 2013, 02:20 PM
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For the Australian part you could fly into either Cairns or Sydney. It might be better to fly into Cairns, as there may be more direct flights to NZ from Sydney. If you are coming from North America, allow at least one day of rest in case you have bad jet lag. So, 1 day rest, 3 days GBR, 3 days Sydney, fly to NZ.

You will lose the best part of the day flying to NZ, they are two hours ahead and flight times is around 3-4 hours depending on your destination.
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Old Aug 11th, 2013, 04:40 PM
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I'd agree with Susan7. Try to open jaw into Sydney & out of Auckland/ Christchurch.

In Sydney, perhaps a self catering apartment would suit you - there is a good range with 2 & 3 bedrooms, larger living areas, kitchen & laundry facilities. Have a look at www.wotif.com.au.

I'd recommend Circular Quay, The Rocks, in the CBD (central business district ).

December is summer and holiday season in Australia. If you're planning to be in Sydney over NYE, you'll need to book accommodation "yesterday " and be aware that it will be extortionately expensive, in short supply & most likely have a 3 day minimum between 30 Dec & 2 Jan.

Planning a trip like this isn't easy, but if you have specific interests, questions, please met us know because there are lots of locals, and others who have visited our shores, who will be only too happy to help in any way we can.
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Old Aug 11th, 2013, 04:58 PM
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Travellingdad - sorry, I meant to say fly into Cairns if you can, then down to Sydney.

Have you decided what dates you're coming? Earlier in the month would be better from the weather & general availability of flights & accommodation in the prime areas.

Have you considered which NZ island you'd like to visit?
Melnq8 is an Australian based American who has probably been to NZ more than any of the rest of us non-Kiwis put together and has posted some really excellent trip reports.
She will be able to give you some great tips.
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Old Aug 11th, 2013, 10:02 PM
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I don’t think there are any nonstops from North America to Cairns any longer.

Be sure you know what you want to see and do before you make that long journey from Sydney. If it’s the Great Barrier Reef you’re after, there are islands from where those with sea legs can go out to the reef, while relaxation for those with frail health is more likely than in Cairns. See www.greatbarrierreef.org

If this is a splurge, see if you can get lodgings at the Park Hyatt at Dawes Point in Sydney, right underneath the Harbour Bridge looking out across the harbour and at the Opera House. Unforgettable.

For the NZ part, I suggest you decide on either the South Island or North Island. If you fly home from Auckland (highly recommended to avoid the expensive doubling back to Sydney just to go catch a plane!), then I suggest the North Island, as follows:

Fly from Sydney to Wellington, visit at least the Te Papa museum (a great introduction to N.Z.), get a car on a one-way drop-off rental, and drive to Auckland, via such icons as Napier, Taupo, Rotorua, and whatever else you can fit in.
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Old Aug 11th, 2013, 11:00 PM
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Port Douglas is a nice base for the GBR / beach / rainforest/ and a taste if the "outback" in the Arherton Tablelands too.
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Old Aug 16th, 2013, 04:10 AM
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This is fantastic and very helpful to us - thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas. Wonderful to have your input ! Cheers.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2013, 06:41 AM
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travelingdad, where are you flying from in the US? There are direct flights from Dallas to Brisbane now, and from there it is a very short flight to Cairns (it's a little tricky though, it only flys to Brisbane on certain days, so be sure to look on the different days). That is what we are doing, flying from DFW to Brisbane, then to Cairns, then back down to Sydney for the longer flight.

Best wishes as you plan your trip.
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