First Time to Australia-eyes bigger than stomach?

Feb 10th, 2009, 01:56 PM
Original Poster
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First Time to Australia-eyes bigger than stomach?

This will be our first trip to Oz and I need some advice. My husband and I will have 19 full days to spend and I have come up with this itinerary. I fear I am trying to do too much. Is this nuts?
Arrive Sydney Oct 29
3-4 nights in Sydney
Fly to Hamilton Island and then 3 nights at Paradise Bay Eco Resort.
Fly to Cairns from Hamilton Island.
3 nights Pt. Douglas area.
Fly Cairns to Adelaide.
2 nights Flinders Ranges (Rawnsley Park Station)
4 nights Adelaide Hills/Barossa Valley.
2 nights Kangaroo Island.
Fly to Sydney for final night.
Fly home Nov 17.
Are we spending too much time in the wine country (we are winos/oenophiles). Is Flinders worth the travel time? We would like to see wildlife, should we go to Tasmania instead of KI?
Please give me your opinions.
Thank you
oforparis is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 02:24 PM
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Ofor - looks fine to me if the connections are booked, but others with more recent experience getting around here in a decent time may have other thoughts. As much as I like Tas, would think you'd be complicating things and with only a couple of days at that stage and wildlife the main consideration would be inclined to stick with KI. What do others think? (and of spending almost half the time in South Australia on a first trip - Tourism SA and the Tour Down Under must be doing a great job.)
farrermog is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 02:30 PM
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I will let someone else advise you on the QLD section. I guess you are driving up to the Flinders Ranges. The drive will be about 5 hours. Rawnsley Park is in a great spot and well set up for tourists. The Eco villas are worth the extra money. You can do a flight over the gorge and surrounds for breathtaking views. The colours as the light changes are magnificent. There are also several walking trails near Rawnsley Park and you will see wildlife. On the way back drive through the Barossa for maybe 2 nights. Then you could have 2 in the Adelaide Hills. You should be able to visit several wineries in each area. Two nights in KI will give you the main sights especially if you fly over to save time and take a tour. I would leave Tasmania for another trip,as there are too many beautiful areas there to rush seeing.
huddoshols is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 02:53 PM
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I think your itinerary is fine. I'd leave Tasmania for another time.

As always when you're on a relatively tight schedule, weather may play a part in what you do/don't do at any given destination, but I think you have enough scope for some movement if you need to adjust some activities.

I'm not familiar with the distances Rawnsley Park Stn - Adelaide, but as you have 4 nights in the Barossa/Hills district, there's flexibility if you want to take an extra day here & there.

Only you can judge whether the pace will be too much for you, but I'd be very comfortable with it if it were me.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 04:16 PM
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My take on any itinerary is fewer places in depth is better than many places (This is from someone who recently spent 6 weeks in Australia and only did Fraser Island to Sydney). I would pick 3 places and confine myself to those places. Running to the airport to catch a flight gets old after awhile. Remember it is a vacation, not a forced march.
LaurenKahn1 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 04:29 PM
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Yes, concur with posters above that the itinerary looks good enough though as farrerbog says connections [and the transport] can chew up a bit of time.
A few finer points to consider:
. Eco resorts on Hamilton Island make something of an oxymoron of the island as a whole and the main development, the ammount of development in total is an abomination [in my eyes amyway]
Do make sure of getting cruises to other islands, Whitehaven Beach being a must for some soothing after the Hamilton eyesore.

It's going to already be warmish in early November and so do ve prepared with a good brimmed hat and suncream etc.

. If you wanted to load a bit more to take in Uluru seeing as you're coming so far and going so close,
timming a day of Hamilton, and doing what huddohols has suggested re taking in Barossa on way back from Flinders Ranges may give you sufficient time.
Visiting Uluru and the Flinders may give you sufficient opportunity to see some wildlife other than the watery ones on Kangaroo Is. and though I have not been, one of our reular posters here was less than impressed.

. Means going a bit further north into Flinders and a little unsealed road but is reputedly will have you learning something of indigenous Australians.

. Anyways, re the wineries and in coming back from the Flinders, Clare Valley ought to be first stop - , then Barossa and then then Hills further south making sure of the Birdwood National motor museum if hub has any auto interests and then Hahndorf is a lovely village with German ancestry influences.

. If you have time, you could head from Hahndorf towards Strathalbyn and Langhorne Creek way to do a loop back to Adelaide via Mc Claren Vale, there being a lot of vineyards country to be found and you would be heading back into Adelaide on same side of city as the airport if you wanted to finish there.

Using a site like will give you some assistance with planning the touring and you will find traffic reasonably light on most country roads, sometimes only seeing other traffic every few miles or even further apart - nice relaxed driving but watch for kangaroos in late afternoons/twilight and early morning if you're up.

There's plenty of B&Bs out amongst the vineyards and Adelaide Hills and if you awaken one morning to a lot of screeching it'll not be an Alfred Hitchcock movie you're night maring on or last nights wine but quite possibly huge flocks of cockatoos - especially in southern Flinders areas.
Bushranger is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 05:48 PM
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If you are driving to the Flinders (the best way) you will have seen plenty of wildlife without going to KI. It is an expensive place to visit and really there is more spectacular scenery and just as much wildlife on the Great Ocean Road. Certainly visit the Barossa ( I grew up in Tanunda), but a couple of nights in the BV are sufficient. Therefore I would suggest you skip KI and after the Barossa continue your drive to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road giving you the chance to visit the great wine areas of McLaren Vale and Coonawarra. Stop at Robe or Port Fairy and Lorne ( plenty of B & B's in all towns) and depart Australia ex. Melbourne.
DownUnder is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 07:01 PM
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Hi oforparis,

My understanding is that Paradise Bay Eco Resort is NOT on Hamilton Island but is located on Long Island. It sounds lovely. I think by and large your itinerary sounds great! I've not been to Kangaroo Island so can't comment on that part.

I understand what LaurenKahn is saying but sometimes I think you have to take the attitude that I may never get back here, so with that in mind I think the itinerary is very doable.

The wine areas in South Australia are among some of the best in the world and if you like wine well, then you'll have a blast. Flinders Ranges is definitely worth going to see.

I rather like downunder's suggestion of continuing onto Melbourne via the GOR and skipping KI. The GOR is very spectacular.

Whilst, I absolutely love Uluru and all of Central Australia I don't think you'd have a chance to do it any justice at all. Wouldn't contemplate it this trip but hopefully make it a priority for next time.

All in all I think you've got the makings of a great holiday here - mixing it up quite nicely with the City, Reef and country. Mmmm can I come along?
stormbird is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 08:07 PM
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As far as Uluru and the centre goes, trimming a day at Hamilton and giving yourself another day by adjusting the wineries travelling, ie. Flinders back to Clare, Barossa etc. you will in deed have barely sufficient time for Uluru.

If as some of us have suggested you drop off KI then adding that time to the other two days will give you sufficient tinme for Uluru/the centre without being too rushed.

Dropping the KI trip alone and doing the drive Adelaide to Melbourne via the GOR will be something of a squeeze, far better to have at minimum three days and four/five would be better to enjoy it.
Bushranger is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 01:07 PM
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Again, I would have to say I would not consider going to the Red Centre at this time. You will be here in November - the weather will be absolutely stinking out there and I could think of nothing worse than Uluru in November!
stormbird is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 02:22 PM
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Thank you for your kind replys!
I am now rethinking KI. I have been reading so many pros and cons.
I originally picked it because it seemed to be a wild habitat for the animals, but it is expensive. The Great Ocean Road is an option, however I am not sure we will be up to another long drive after going to Flinders. We are from San Francisco, does anyone know if the GOR is similar to the California coast? What types of animals would be seen?
Paradise Bay Eco Resort is on Long Island- they require a minimum 3 night stay and they pick you up from Hamilton Island. I hope our flights to and from HI will not be cancelled. Does anyone have experience with this? A few of the Quantas flights I am looking at are only once per day, should I be concerned about big delays/cancellations? (I am used to United so am always concerned).
I think Uluru will have to wait for our next visit to Australia!
oforparis is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 02:40 PM
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I fly in & out of Hamilton Island because they seem to have more flights than Jetstar (the Qantas subsidiary that flies to Hamilton.)

Jetstar is also notoriously inflexible - if you are one minute late checking in (irrespective of the lenght of THEIR queues, you forfeit the flight AND the fare.)
Bokhara2 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 02:43 PM
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I should add that a number of guests at a recent family wedding in the Whitsundays flew Jetstar and had 2 or 3 changes made to their flights. In the end the Bride & Groom had to get onto one of the senior people at Jetstar and threaten/cajole them into ensuring that they would actually get to their own wedding!
Bokhara2 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 03:23 PM
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By and large you shouldn't have any problems with internal flights around Australia. Like Bokhara I too, prefer Virginblue.

The GOR is, as I remember, a pretty easy drive to do. I also think your 4 days in wine country will be pretty cruisy as well. So by and large I don't think the driving will be too much of a biggy.
stormbird is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 04:08 PM
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Ofor - for what it's worth, not a great deal of difference between the GOR and the Cal coast from what I remember of both (have been considering walking part of the former, but a certain member of the party needs convincing of the ready availability of suitably stocked watering holes (pubs) en route). The London Bridge arch has fallen since I was there, but the Califorian/ Oregon coastline has probably crumbled a bit as well. If you'd had time, yes it would have been good to drive along the Coorong and then the GOR and perhaps on to Wilson's Promontory beyond Melbourne, but as others have said, keep it for next time.

This recently opened outfit may be worth investigating by those contemplating the Great Ocean Road (but probably too flash for some of us) -
farrermog is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 04:45 PM
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As Stormbird says, the drive itself (the GOR plus the drive before and after) should be no problem at all, but if you're wanting to poke around a bit, indulge in some leisurely dining and polish off your Barossa purchases along the way, obviously a couple of extra days would be handy.
farrermog is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 07:13 PM
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I've seen people also compare the GOR to the California coast drives but not having been on the Californian Coast I only have to rely on such comparative comments.
Just to give you some idea, in heading from Adelaide.
. first half will be a mixture of the Hills forested/farming country then down on to lower River Murray and what is known as the Coorong flat plains country, slightly undulating and nothing too awe inspiring.
There are a number of small/medium size towns along the way but you're not actually in sight of the coast until hitting it more or less where the western end of the GOR is at about Peterborough.

A few of the towns are right on the coast but you would need to stop at them and/or take a little drive off the highway to get to the sea.

After the Non Arch and apostles the road goes back inland a bit and then comes back to the coast again for a 100 km or so from west of Apoolo Bay through to about Anglesea - a google on earth and maps will give you a good idea.

As to Uluru being hot in early November, Stormer is storming again for whilst there are cooler times people are going there in droves right through November and December, and some slackening off January to March/April, but November temps will be about low to mid thirties degrees C and it's a very dry heat.

Just to give you an idea of how survivable it is, the International Solar Vehicle Competition which is run from Darwin to Adelaide starts from the Darwin in last week of October.

It is also hardly unnoticeable that Stormer has issues with me and does tend to see black whether it is white grey or black!
So do not let negative comments about something I say put you off.
Bushranger is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 08:16 PM
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A suggestion: After the Flinders drive to the Barossa and stay a couple of nights at Angaston, Nuriootpa or Tanunda. The towns are close together (4 miles apart) and that would give you plenty of time to visit the wineries and they all have tastings! Continue onto McLaren Vale for a night and more wineries and then onto Pt.Fairy. After a night there drive the GOR to Lorne. On the way you would have time for the 12 Apostles, the Otway Fly and stop at Kennett River, just after Apollo Bay,for Koalas in the wild. You have to look up into the treetops because that is where they live. After Lorne and more magnificent coastline stop at Anglesea and follow the signs to the Golf Course and heaps of Kangaroos in the wild. The GOR is well signposted with lots of reminders as to which side of the road to drive on. It is not tiring as the views are such a knockout. Continue on after Anglesea but take the road to Queenscliff. Catch the car ferry(it leaves every hour) to Sorrento and the Mornington Peninsular and all its wineries. Don't miss T'Gallant as they make some of the best Pinot Noir that you will ever drink. Then drive safely onto Melbourne.
Tourist flock to expensive KI because of the word Kangaroo, but there are millons of them in OZ and only a relative few on KI. Victoria is a great place for Koalas. Also there are many, many wineries in Australia but I would admit that the Barossa is one of the larger areas. It is not Tuscany, but it certainly is very appealing.
DownUnder is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 06:08 AM
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Hi oforparis,
Couple of ideas and suggestions:
Agree with huddoshols -Sunset on the Wilpena Pound escarpment from Rawnsley Park Station is spectacular - make sure you return from any day trip in the Flinders in time for it - best enjoyed with a glass of wine in hand. Both Clare Valley and the Barossa Valley are on the way back to Adelaide from the Flinders. Clare is closer to Flinders & will generally be cooler. It has a (15?) kilometre off road wine trail (used to be a railway line) where you can ride a bike or walk stopping at wineries/ cafes as you go.
KI is popular for the seal colony - you can do a day trip by plane from Adelaide if that appeals.
Adelaide has a Central Market - great fresh and gourmet food, most popular all day Thursday and Friday and Saturday morning - worth a trip in from Adelaide Hills for picnic supplies. Just wander around (or book a tour in advance).
Cleland Wildlife Park in Adelaide Hills is easily accessible from both Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills- kangaroos, koalas etc.
If you go to the Flinders Ranges for 2 nights, stop off in Clare Valley for 2 nights. Drive through BV (take in couple of wineries)and then base yourself in Adelaide Hills for 2 nights you will be able to do AH and McLaren Vale wineries as well- only about 40 mins to an hour's drive away. GOR might be just too much driving & Tasmania needs more time that you will be able to give it. You then have 2 more nights so jump on a plane to Uluru and fly back to Sydney from there.
Michele30 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 03:17 PM
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You know those " eyes bigger than your stomach "

Well in Australia being a tasty pie or a stack of them!

Whilst along the bottom downunder is an interesting area and I've given advice to many in the past on the drive of GOR including the Mornington Peninsula option, and yep our own diownunder has give some great links, there is no way that I would suggest to anyone wanting to enjoy the trip that they attempt it in two days, three a bare minimum and think four/five if you want to throw in MP.

So by all means do it if you want to trim a suitable ammount of time of the rest of the itinerary.

If you consider doing Uluru, rather than fly to Aelaide first and then back to Uluru before Sydney, do it on the way from Cairns to cut back on considerable backtracking.
Bushranger is offline  

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