Family Trip to Australia

Oct 8th, 2001, 04:11 PM
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Family Trip to Australia

We're going to Australia for two weeks next summer. Since I'm browsing the site now, thought I'd ask for recommendations about what we should do in our two weeks there. Family of four: two adults, two teenagers.

Also, do folks recommend Qantas as the best airline to take?
Oct 8th, 2001, 04:21 PM
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Hi Ed,
There is lots to choose from here in Australia, from amazing deserts to beautiful beaches. I'd suggest some time in Sydney seeing the sights then fly to the Cairns/Port Douglas area.
For some ideas, check out these sites
As an alternative, you could visit Sydney and the Red Centre (Ayers Rock, the Olgas, Alice Springs etc, also maybe Kakadu up near Darwin).
At the moment, Qantas is definitely your best bet as Ansett has gone belly-up and the only other airline we have is Virgin Blue which flies to limited destinations. We are hoping Ansett will get back on its feet but who knows.
Hope this helps a bit with planning. Kay
Oct 8th, 2001, 06:05 PM
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Ed: Just got back from Sydney and Cairns where I spent 2 weeks. Had a wonderful time....e-mail me with questions if you wish. Go Qantas all the way, though I've heard Air New Zealand has the most leg room for that long flight.
Oct 9th, 2001, 03:38 PM
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I highly recommend David Armbrust's tour if you're going to be in the Port Douglas area. Do a search on this site or pull up his website at It is a wonderful, low-key, informative tour. We were there in July and fortunately had beautiful weather.
Oct 9th, 2001, 07:29 PM
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Hi Ed,

I am a travel agent who specializes in Australia and New Zealand. For starters, I definitely recommend Air New Zealand. I have travelled in coach class on all of the carriers and that is the roomiest (more leg room) and they provide foot rests. The service on all of the carriers is good.

As to what to see, you will not be able to do it all in 2 weeks. Can you possibly squeeze in a 3rd? You would probably do well to pick up a travel book and read up about the different areas to see what you want to include. I like the Insight Guide but brouse through them all to see what you like best.

I think the Tropical North with a trip to the Reef would be high on the list of things you and your wife and the teens would enjoy. And there is so much to see and do in Sydney, that you want to allow several days there. Uluru/Ayers Rock is expensive. Although it is fascinating, and worth the trip, you will not want to spend too long there.

You would probably do well to consider what your budget is. That may help you decide where you can spend more or less time.

If you have more time, you could consider Melbourne or Adelaide. A visit to Adelaide would also give you the opportunity to visit Kangaroo Island - a wonderful experience, but be sure to stay overnight. Most of lthe animals are nocturnal and only come out at night. Those who go just for the day miss out on a lot.

If you would me to help you with your trip, send me an email or call me at 703-264-0222. I am in the Washington, DC area so we are on the same time zone.

Oct 9th, 2001, 09:02 PM
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Hi Ed

We spent three weeks in Australia in August this year. It was the trip of a life time. We have two teenagers and they loved it. We spent 3 days in Sydney, flew to Brisbane and had a couple of days in Noosa (rode camels and went to Fraser Island - both wonderful experiences) and then flew to Townsville. From there we drove to Port Douglas. Port Douglas is beautiful. Highly recommend doing the reef with Wavelength (snorkelling) - they were very imformative and the reef was all the we expected. We did David Armbrust's tour and while it was good it was not what we were led to believe from the postings on the net. For a family it is very expensive. Dollar for dollar it was the one thing we did that, although we enjoyed it, was something we wouldn't do again. Maybe our expectations were too high from all the hype we read from postings on Fodors.
Whatever you choose to do you'll have a great time. The country is beautiful and the people are friendly.
P.S. Summer is a good time to go - little rain and no box jelly fish!!!!!!!!!
Oct 10th, 2001, 01:11 AM
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I would not recommend Air New Zealand as at the moment they are rather unsteady financially and the NZ government is having to bale them out. There is also still some ill feeling because it was Air NZ that let Ansett go to the wall and they are what you would call " on the nose" here. Thirdly Air NZ does not have the same connections in Australia for the better deals in accommodation etc and it does not fly internally in Australia. You would find Qantas would have a much better deal with add-on fares than air NZ
Oct 12th, 2001, 12:59 PM
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We spent 14 days in Australia last June with our two teenagers. Had a wonderful trip, and had plenty of time.
Flew Qantas into Sydney and straight to Cairns. Spent 5 dys in Palm Cove. Saw the Tjapukai Aboriginal center, took the Skyrail to Kuranda, shopped in Cairns, went to Port Douglas, the croc farm, the rainforest habitat, a rainfrest tour, and go-carting outside Cairns (we try to please everyone in the family!). We did not go to the reef (due to choppy ocean and two family members who get sea-sick, but had the time to do so if we'd wanted.
The next 4 days we spent in Surfer's Paradise to visit family. Drove up to O'Reilly's guest house, surfed with dolphins, and gnerally played tourist. Stayed at thh Diamond Sands motel- not fancy, but BIG with a nice pool, and well located. On the way back to Brisbane airport, we spent a half day at the lone pine sanctuary. Held a Koala, and saw all the other animals we'd missed in the wild.
Spent the remainder of time in Sydney. Stayed at the Sydney harbour B&B in the Rocks. We lovved the bridge climb (DO NOT MISS THIS!), trip to manly beach, harbour tour, visited the aquarium in the evening, and did lots of shopping. (with 2 teenage girls and cheap Aussie dollars, who could resist?) Caught a rugby game one night, ate at some great spots and went to the Sunday market in the Rocks.
One of our best family trips ever!
Oct 14th, 2001, 12:19 PM
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Just return from two weeks in Australia (Port Douglas/Newcastle/Sydney) and had a GREAT time. We flew United the the U.S. to Australia and had a wonderful flight both ways. We flew Qantas from Sydney to Cairns and had no problems at all. We stayed at Port Douglas and took the Barrier Reef and rainforest tours. Both -- a must! If you stay in Sydney -- make sure you stay for Fri-Sunday as the weekends have much activities, especially at Darling Harbour area. The bridge climb is a MUST! Zenbu Restaurant at Darling Harbour gives shoulder/back massages while you await your food. And, the food is wonderful! So much to see and do! E-mail me if you have questions. Don't forget -- the U.S. summer is Sydney's rainy season and a bit cool. If you can wait -- go to Australia Sept/October. These are the best months to see the Barrier Reef and Sydney.

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