First Time traveller to Australia

Old Apr 7th, 2006, 10:18 AM
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First Time traveller to Australia

I am planning a trip to Australia in the October-November timeframe and would like any advice or guidance for a first timer to that destination.

Thanks
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 12:17 PM
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It is a rather large island, could you narrow it down a bit as to your interests, amount of time and money?
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 02:34 PM
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Goodness me, that is a broad question, ReeRee. Australian is the size of the 'lower 48' states, for a start, and companies publish entire large books to provide intending travellers with advice and guidance.

You'll need to get a bit more specific to get something useful, and you'll need to do some pre-reading before getting specific. So: I'd start by

* buying an up-to-date guide book (or you could start by reading the destinations info on popular guide book companies' websites - Fodors, Frommers, Lonely Planet for instance)

* visiting www.australia.com, the official Australian tourism site

* using the search facility on this forum as needed.

Once you have some more specific questions, ask away.

It always helps to supply some details as to what your interests are, how long you expect to be here, style of travel (e.g. 5* hotel, hostel) etc.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 02:34 PM
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I guess that's part of my problem. I love beaches, sightseeing, and relaxing. Not necessarily interested in mad touristy areas and would enjoy seeing the country, but am not a rustic traveler. I would say my travel budget would be mid-level luxury. Not interested in roughing it or paying extreme prices. And would probably stay for 2 weeks. Possibly in multiple locations.

thanks for the reply.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 08:16 PM
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I agree with Geckolips and Neil_Oz

Let me justadd this:

If you superimpose Australia over top of the USA ( not counting Alaska) then Australia is a bit bigger.

You will have to tell us just what you want to do and see and where you want to go.
Is it Sydney or Alice Springs and Ayers Rock ,or maybe the Great Barrier Reef or Melbourne,or Darwin.....see what I mean about asking for more information.

Do you want to shop or see a lot of places and animals.

Percy

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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 08:23 PM
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And if you have two weeks, think about maybe three distinct areas. Sydney and North Queensland are usually the popular picks for the top two - read up also on the Red Centre, Tasmania and others and see which most take your interest. The main point, though, is that as useful and helpful as it may be, it would be unwise to rely primarily on a travel forum like this to plan your trip.
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Old Apr 7th, 2006, 10:00 PM
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I agree with the others...2 weeks is not a long period of time, to see a lot of Australia, therefore, stick to the airlines to cover as much of this vast country of ours. With domestic airlines, such as Jetstar & Virgin Blue, discounting airline tickets, and you can book these over their websites, and receiving an immediate paper ticket through your email address, it would pay to stick to a couple of destinations, eg. Sydney & GBR. I see so many overseas visitors coming to Australia, with only a few weeks to spare, and they try to cover as much of Australia as possible. To get the most out of your holiday, spend a week in each destination, to really get the feel/beauty of the place. As they say, stop & smell the roses. Then your holiday will be relaxing, stress free, and you will discover a lot of things around you, that other people on the go, miss out on.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 04:08 PM
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Tropo - thank you for the pointed details in your advice. I am just starting to plan and need a starting point and any Lessons Learned. So thank you for being patient with my newbie postion in travel to Australia.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 04:09 PM
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I'll echo what the others have said. In comparison to the US, if you had never been here, what kind of a trip would you plan?

If your first thought when looking at a two week trip that included Boston, New York, Washington, Miami, Chicago, the Grand Canyon, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle is "whoa! No way, that's way too much!", then your Australian plans will have to be scaled similarly.

The thing I would recommend would be to make a list of everything you think would be interesting, and then pick three. So, the obvious start of a list would be (going roughly clockwise): Uluru, Darwin, Top End/Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Tasmania, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth. There are lots of peripheral things that would be well worth your while, of course, and might be slotted in later based on proximity -- for instance, the Blue Hills, if Sydney makes the final cut.

Each of these things has at least one major, major selling point, and some have five or six. Which ones you choose will depend on what your interests are. If shopping is your highest priority, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef can safely be left behind! If beach-lolling is #1, You can skip Uluru and Melbourne and Adelaide -- the latter two have lovely beaches, but even their partisans are unlikely to put them up as the best on the continent.

And so on down the line. The only real exception is Sydney, which I think has to be the centerpiece of every visit, because it does in fact have everything. There is city life, shopping, restaurants, clubs, etc.; outstanding beaches; parks and wildlife; mind-boggling scenery; and it's close to lots of other things, like the Blue Hills.

If I was to add a second thing, it would be Tasmania. Quite a contrast from Sydney. If you book a trip down the Tasman Peninsula, you'll be blown away by the wildlife and the coastline (blowholes and so on). If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, move along, move along.

We didn't make it to the Great Barrier Reef, but we assuredly will next time we go. It is a World Heritage site of the highest order. If I was making a list for someone I didn't know, who didn't have the very specific requirements that we did (which mandated a lot of time in Melbourne -- not a second of which I regret, Melbourne's a terrific city), I'd probably put Cairns and the reef on it. See? There's your three places.

For specifics, read up on them. Figuring out what to do in a place like Sydney isn't too hard, though; you'll never get near doing them all, but all of the very best ones are centrally located and easy walking from each other. In Tasmania, you'll need a vehicle, either a rental car or a hired driver or tour of some kind. On the Reef, you obviously need someone to take you there from wherever you're staying.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 05:11 PM
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fnarf, I know the Blue Mountains aren't very high as mountains go, but there's no need to rub it in!
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Old May 17th, 2006, 05:48 PM
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Hey, I'm not knockin' 'em! Just saying you wouldn't travel 13,000 km just to see them alone. Right? I'm pretty fond of Mt. Rainier, but if you were coming to the US, I wouldn't put it on top of your list of things to see. You wouldn't tell someone, "hey, you must see the Blue Mountains; oh, and by the way, there's a moderately interesting large city nearby that's an easy daytrip from there".

SYDNEY is a legitimate #1 -- and if you're going to be a week in Sydney, then a side trip to the Blue Mountains makes a bit of sense.

Now you've got me scurrying through my posts looking for other possible insults. Gosh, I know we had a terrible meal somewhere, now where was it?
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Old May 17th, 2006, 06:36 PM
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Neil's pulling your leg there fnarf, its the Blue Mountains, even they may not seem like mountains to you. Blue Hills was the name of an ancient radio programme here, which went on forever.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 07:09 PM
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It's OK, fnarf999, even as a former resident of the Blue Mountains I'm really, really not that sensitive. I'm just being pedantic. And for the record, I really enjoyed my drive through the Blue Ridge Hills of North Carolina, not to mention Vermont's Green Hills. OK, I'll stop.

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Old May 18th, 2006, 03:33 AM
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Hey Neil, I've been to the Green Hills of Tyrol, does that count? (these green hills are not Highland hills, they're not my land's hills). A bit of Scot ancestry here, sorry, I'll shut up too.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 10:32 AM
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Oh, I see -- I called them the Blue Hills. That was a brain fart -- there's Blue Hills south of Boston, where I used to live. My brain is full of uninsulated wires, and occasionally they cross.
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Old May 19th, 2006, 04:32 PM
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ReeRee,
Sydney is great and with so many wonderful beaches a ferry ride away (or 25 minute drive)- you can have a relaxing time if you want to. You mentioned that you like beaches and relaxing so why not combine a Sydney trip with the Great Barrier Reef?

We stayed in Sydney for a week and would have liked more time. We are now in the Blue Mountains.

In terms of the Great Barrier Reef, we stayed at Heron Island which is great if you like nature (although there were many young children there and meals were quite noisy). Lizard Island was more exclusive and more expensive but the reef was colorful and amazing. Voyages www.voyages.com.au has several reef/island resorts worth checking out.
Good luck and have fun.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 11:04 AM
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ReeRee, a good place to start (besides searching this forum for itineraries) is the AAA book on Australia (available from book stores as well as AAA) because it has all the major areas with the highlights (like if you have 3 days do this, add on this if more days) and you can get a feel for what you want to do.
SnRSeattle
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 10:06 PM
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Why is Australia always being compared to the US in terms of size for this question ? Why have we assumed ReeRee is from the US. Perhaps he/she is Canadian/ Chinese/ Brasilian or European and other size distance comparisons might be more germane

I thought the tallest mountain in Australia had gone missing and was currently located north of the continent on an island off Borneo

AndrewDavid
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 12:26 AM
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A/D, maybe it's because ReeRee used the American spelling "traveler", with one "r"? Admittedly that was after I typed my response, so I have no real excuse.

OK, Australia is a little smaller than Brazil, China and Canada and a lot smaller than Russia.
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