first time to australia - questions

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Aug 23rd, 2005, 01:33 PM
  #1
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first time to australia - questions

hello,

planning a first trip to aussieland. frm what little i've read and understood this is what we're thinking of: 10 days trip total from CA, USA.

4 days in Sydney. explore harbour/sky tower/taronga zoo/blue mountains.

3 days in Cairns - go to Lizard island.

a lot of ppl are talking about daydream island - what's that? and what islands are recommended apart from lizard island - seems v. expensive although highly recommended.

am i missing anything else - probably lots - but in a 10 day trip what else would you suggest?

also what r the cheapest fares CA folks have seen to australia? Will probably be going march 2006 - any comments on that month of yr?

Thanks!
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Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:35 PM
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Aussie is a huge country and you wouldn't see all of it in 10 years, much less 10 days, so you will have to "pick the eyes" out of the best bits.
Sydney is a fabulous city, with lots to do. THe Bridge walk is really something else: Te Rocks, very old part of the town, little shops, cafes etc, good for half a day. Darling Harbour is an attractive place to spend an hour or two.
Take a city tour on the open top double decker bus, Good way to get an idea of where everything is. Capt Cook cruises on the harbour from Circular quay are good. There are also water taxis to the various suburbs around the harbour. Take a Ferry to Manly and/or North Shore.
Out of Sydney the Blue Mountains and the Jenolan Caves are worth a look. many boutique hotels , cottages etc in the Blue Mountains area, also wineries in the Hunter valley.
Places to stay, suggest Darling harbour area. Novotel, Mercure Grand Apartments, Park Royal (might be called Crown Plaza now, they change their name quite frequently). Power House Museum in Darling harbour is good.
Suggest you drive Sydney to Brisbane, then fly to Cairnes, or if you really want to get to the barrier Reef quickly, Fly Sydney / Proserpine, Stay at Ayrley beach, and drive to Cairnes (takes about 2 days alowing for stops) From Ayrley beach take a day trip round the Whitsundays, stopping at Hayman Island. My personal opinion is that the Islands are over priced. You will get better accommodation on the mainland at a fraction of the cost.
Stay in Cairnes or Port Douglas, Palm Cove is also nice. if you want a nice relaxing day on an island try Lowe Isles off Pt Douglas. Haven't been there, but we passed them on the way to a most dissapointing tour to the pontoon on the outer reef and they looked lovely. I've been recommending Green island off Cairnes, but another post said it's got too commercial. It's about 10 years since I was there, so quite possible.
Between Ayrley Beach & Cairnes is Paranella Park. This is off the highway, (actually on the old highway). Well worth the detour. A monument to one mans dream. Whether you are impressed or saddened depends on your outlook on life. He spent years building this park, but used sub standard materials, and poor building techniques, and the whole place, which used to be fabulous, is crumbling into the rain forest.
I'm starting to ramble. Australia has so many beautiful places it's hard to recommend one over the other. Unfortunately theres lots of nothing much in between, so you are better to pick a couple of good spots and really explore them, saving the rest for another visit. Believe me, you will be back. I have been to Aussie every year for the last 25 years, and I still haven't lost my love of the place.
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Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:36 PM
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Lizard Island is beautiful and a great place to go to. However, I would skip it on such a short stop in the Far North.
If you want to snorkel and see some beautiful islands, you can visit some of the smaller ones around Cairns, eg Low Isles, Green Island or Franklin Island.
All offer snorkelling off the beach.
If you only have 3 days in Cairns, I would rather do that and take in some of the other great sites up there like the Daintree & Cape Tribulation NP, Kuranda Train & Skyrail, Atherton Tablelands.....
There is so much to see, would be a shame to miss it just to go to one island. If you had more time I would say go ahead and go to LI, but with only 3 days, you would have no time for anything else.
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Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:52 PM
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hi, we're flying out of LAX to Sydney and staying in Australia 2 weeks (Sydney, Cairns, Melbourne) at the end of October 2005. We didn't want to do too much thinking, so we booked flights (to & from australia, internal flights, airport transfers) & hotels through Costco Travel. If you can, you should definitely check them out.
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Aug 23rd, 2005, 03:18 PM
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Daydream Island is one of the smaller islands in the Whitsunday Islands group. If you want a resort that caters to families, this would be a good choice. If you don't have little kids though, I think that you could do much better on various other Whitsunday Islands.

Given that you have a relatively short time for your trip, I'd skip the Whitsundays entirely and just go up to Cairns to experience tropical Queensland.

For the rest of your trip, you should decide if you want to visit cities or outback. If the former, consider Melbourne and/or Adelaide (or a trip between them). If the latter, consider flying to Uluru/Kata Tjuta.
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Aug 24th, 2005, 05:10 PM
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thank you everyone, this is great advice and thx for all the tips! will look into possibly extending trip. will try costco travels also. thx for that tip.

have a lot of reading up to do on uluru and other spots mentioned - may consider extending cairns at least a week so we can go to Lizard island also. i agree waste just to go there and not see the other sites, considering I dunno when we'll be back to australia. thanks again for all the tips!
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Aug 24th, 2005, 08:53 PM
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Daydream has recently had millions spent on a refurbishment .It is quite swish now but cheaper than Lizard and also draws / holds greater numbers of guests .Big game fishing is done from Lizard . As a Sthn.Aussie I think the advice to stay at Cairns or Palm Cove ( I prefer the latter ) and do day trips is good.A good day trip is to Port Douglas and then to Mossman Gorge .The latter is lovely rainforest with a easy walk around a track abutting pristine rive in which you can safelt paddle / swim .It is managed by local aboriginals and they can provide , at a fee , a guide .I like Palm Cove because of white sand and palm trees .It will still be the tail end of the wet season in March and so you cannot swim in the coastal ocean beaches in FNQ because of stingers ( jellyfish ) .Palm Cove has netted safe swimming areas .It will be very humid .Sydney and the Sthn States weather will be lovely and mild .Alternatively you can fly direct to Hamilton Island and then boat to Hayman Island if you just want to sit and relax a bit .You can get a seaplane tour to the reef that lands on it and saves you hours of sitting on a boat to get to the outer reef to snorkel .I did that and it was spectacular .I think you can do it from Cairns or from Hamilton Island /Airlie Beach .
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Aug 24th, 2005, 11:31 PM
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JohnFitz: is that a very recent refurbishment of Daydream or are you speaking of the one of about 2 years back. Hope its the former and they've got rid of the dreadful garden "art" which the staff refer to as Jurassic Park. A mouldering life size statue of a Gold Coast meter maid was one feature.

travel04: there's a world of difference between Daydream and Lizard Islands, they're in different climatic zones for starters and are some 1100km apart. Lizard Island Resort is a premier resort and is right on some of the best reef which is accessible to tourists, Daydream is still some distance from Great Barrier reef. But March on any Queensland island could be risky as there is still a chance of cyclone, last March Voyager transferred all their guests from Lizard to mainland when Cyclone Ingrid was threatening. So for March, I'd follow myaustralia's advice and stick to mainland, with day trip/s to reef or islands if weather conditions OK.
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