Final Itinerary for Australia comments please

Old May 1st, 2008, 09:34 AM
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Final Itinerary for Australia comments please

I have spend over a year and a half working on our once in a life time trip to Australia/New Guinea/New Zealand. We are a mid 50's couple who have been doing catch up since we got our kids through University. I have been left with a disability following back surgery and now walk with a cane. Because of the back issue I have limited time left where I will be able to travel. The trip I have planned follows (as we are still in a position to make changes with the exceptions of air travel) any feed back would be appreciated and help with what we should do and see in specific area's
Oct 5 We fly business class from Toronto via Hong Kong ( 8 hour stop over need help - what to do) and then on to Cairns
Oct 7 Rental Car (Apex - Is Appolo the same as? sent email to Apex received information from Appolo)to Port Douglas - booked Port Douglas Cottage $340.p/n for 7 nights.
Not sure what to do with all the time we have. I've booked day trips with David Armbrust, Daintree to Lizard Island, and Pete Baxendell. We will need at least one day to come down from the long flight but still have 2 days to explore.
Oct 14 - 25 is covered as we do a expediton on the Orion to New Guinea and the Coral Sea. I know we will get our fill of the underwater on this trip.
Oct 25 we fly to Melbourne for 2 nights will be there for the Sunday Market but not sure what else to do. Again thinking of my walk issues. Accomodaton still up in the air here and still trying to pull together the car rental.
Oct 27 Head off down the Great Ocean Road.
Stay at Arabella House (Princetown) B&B $145.
Oct 28 Oscars Waterfront (Port Fairy)$275.
Oct 29 #13 on the Beach (Robe)$200.
Oct 30 - 31 Chapel Hill Winery (McLaren Vale) $260.
Nov 1 - 4 Kangaroo Island via Rex Air - The Lookout Cottage stay and tour $1140P/P
Nov 4 Quantas to Sydney
Booked into Sydney Harbour B&B $260.
Nov 6 Purchased a Luxury Link package (do this a lot) for the Observatory Hotel includes King Bed Water View, 7 course Dinner at Galileo one night and breakfasts $1264
We have 5 short nights in Sydney what to do. How do I make the most of the city?
Nov 9 Quantas to Christchurch I'll continue under new Message title.

Any thoughts, suggestions, changes I should consider would help. I do all the planning, my husband is the mule (this time thought I've arranged wheelchair assistance from the airlines)My budget, don't really have one (but price is always a consideration), we've worked long and hard and this is our time to reap some of the rewards.


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Old May 2nd, 2008, 03:39 AM
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In Hong Kong during a stop over we went on a tour from the airport. It was pretty basic but it finished in time to have lunch or to do a bit of independent touring before catching the train back to the airport for out flight home.

In Melbourne there is a free circle tram that stops at various sights around Melbourne. There is also a free shuttle bus that you can hop on and off.

Depending on what you like doing in a new city - I would visit the lanes of the CBD - you can stop in a cafe for great coffee, or shop in some of the clothing / jewellery shops. You can take your time.
The Botanic Gardens is always nice to visit if you enjoy that sort of thing - it may be too much for someone with a disability.
Melbourne has great restaurants so plan a good meal here.

It is easy to get a tram to St Kilda from the city. There is a craft market there on Sundays, but after the Victoria Market you may not feel like it.

Chinatown has wonderful yum cha every day of the week but particularly on Sundays.

Make sure to visit the Visitor Information Centre at Federation Square or the smaller one in Bourke St Mall.

It sounds as though you will have a wonderful trip
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 05:01 AM
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Sydney and Melbourne are both fairly flat so, even with a cane, you'll be able to do some walking if you fancy it.

Just a thought on the Observatory: I think you may want to check the pricing you've been quoted. I had a look at their website and although I couldn't find the "Luxury Link" you mention, there's a remarkably similar option to yours for about AUD650 per room. As the website mentions "breakfast for 2",and the 7 course dinner, I'm assuming the $650 covers 2 people. I've stayed at the Observatory, and had some excellent meals at Galilleo, but I think nearly $1300 pp is over the odds. I'd prefer to have a degustation at Tetsuyas (Australia's best restaurant and recently named in the World's top 10)at around $200 ph and just pay for the room at the Observatory.

If you're interested in the arts, you could certainly visit some galleries and see some theatre/opera/concerts in either/both Sydney & Melbourne.
Most of our theatres & the major galleries have elevators and/or escalators. In Sydney, there's an excellent tour of the Opera House - you will need to book, and ask about use of the elevator as it's not immediately apparent unless you know where to look. If you do want to see some shows, make sure you advise the booking agent that you have a disability as they are very good at finding appropriate seats for easy access & maximum space.

I'm a huge believer in not pre-booking every day to allow for flexibility/impulse/whim & "off days". As you're staying very near the Sydney Information Centre (in the Rocks), you might like to check out what's on offer when you arrive if you don't have specific interests.
They have an excellent selection of full & half day tours as well as plenty of information on just about everything to do with NSW.

One of the nicest things is simply to wander down to Circular Quay & hop on a ferry. Any ferry. Manly is the longest trip - about 30 minutes.

These links may be useful:
www.whats-on-in-sydney.com.au
www.onlymelbourne.com.au
www.thatsmelbourne.com.au
www.zoo.nsw.gov.au
www.sydneyoperahouse.com
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 07:21 AM
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Thanks all for the information. I have lots more research and decisions to make.
Just to clarify the Observatory Luxury Link Pkg is a 3 night stay with breakfast and dinner + a few more extra's (Luxury Link is a bidding website) I hoped that this was a good price for this pkg.
Can anyone clarify the car rental Apex Vs Appolo are they one of the same.
Again thanks to all, glad to receive any information that will help make this an easier trip. My husband has some concerns.










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Old May 2nd, 2008, 08:02 AM
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More clarification Observatory Hotel pricing - it is for 2 people not per person.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 11:52 AM
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Calex , have a look at www.thatsmelbourne.com.au and for car hire look on www.drivenow.com.au
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 12:22 PM
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Hi Calex,
Sorry - I misread your post, you said "dinner at Galileo one night & breakfasts" ... and I took that to mean one night's accommodation. $1264 for 3 + extras seems fine.

If you're interested in horse racing,there's a fascinating museum in Federation Square in Melbourne.

From Sydney & Melbourne you could do a 1 day tour of the Hunter/Yarra Valley wine areas. Usually small groups & reasonable cost. I saw one recently for $88 / $139 with gourmet lunch for the Hunter Valley.
www.boutiquewinetours.com.au
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 07:28 PM
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Hello Again Calex!

Wow, I'm impressed with your dedication and determination to work on your trip of a lifetime.
I would have loved to help you plan this trip!

1. Thankfully, with a back problem you're able to fly Biz Class..that will help tremendously!

2. I don't believe Apollo and Apex are the same company.

3. Time in Port Douglas -- I'm not exactly sure how much time you have there - but I get that you have 2 days to explore? Yes?

4. Orion cruise - I'm familiar with the company and am DYING to take their cruise to the Top End myself! Please let us hear all about it!

5. Melbourne, any place downtown to the CBD will be good

6. Nov. 1 - you've got accommodation, but I see no tour or no rental car??

7. Sydney - well, you probably couldn't stay at a more beautiful hotel! As far as what to do - oh, so many things!!!

I highly encourage you to go to the Rocks Museum when you first arrive. This is free, but please leave a donation. It's an excellent museum and you'll view Sydney in a whole different light after having gone there - it teaches you so much about the history.

Blue Mountains, the Zoo (another recommendaiton - get the VIP tour, where you get the "behind the scenes" tour with a docent, and with luck/availability you may get to go into private enclosures with some critters as well).

Well, I could go on and on, but I hope this is helpful!

Regards,

Melodie
Certified Aussie & Kiwi Specialist
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 10:09 PM
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We will be flying too Kangaroo Island on Nov 1 have a 3 night booking at the Lookout (where we will have a 2 day/night tour of the island)
We have 7 days in Port Douglas we have booked the 3 tours which will be full days. I don't want to be so organized that we don't have time to take in the sites and sounds. But..Don't want to also miss out on that one thing we should have taken time for.
I have put off booking the major cities on our tour as was hoping to use Priceline
Would like to get too the Aquarium and may sound weird but the fish market in Sydney. I worked for a few years at the Toronto Zoo and prefer seeing Animals in their natural habits if at all possible. One of the reasons we've been to Antarctica and heading in March 2009 too Africa for 35 days.
I'm going to start spending more time on the details of each location and all the information you have all given will give me a great start.
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