First Trip to Australia

Feb 10th, 2010, 02:48 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 11,759
I think your planning is spot on, StuQ. Nice mix of city & country, driving and walking/public transport.

Here's the link for the hop on/hop off Sydney Explorer: The round trip takes 2 hours. There's a good cafe (Ripples) at Milsons Point, near the swimming pool, with great views across the harbour to the city & Opera House. More formal dining upstairs at "Aqua Dining"

You'll be here during daylight saving(ends 4th April), with sunrise & sunset about 7 O'clock in Sydney and 30 mins later in Melbourne.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 10:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 128
Just a couple of places to eat,drink& shop,
the laneways in central Melbourne,with some amazing street art/grafitti.
All of these are quite close to the city,just about anyone can give directions...
Brunswick st. Fitzroy
Ackland st. St.Kilda
Lygon st.Carlton
Chapel st.Prahran
Bridge rd.Richmond
Susielou is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 04:09 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
The Manly Ferry is exactly what I've done on that first day of arrival.
The jetlag will start to hit you in the face on the second, or maybe third, day. I once did an opera house ticket on either my second on third night in SYD (I think it was 2nd) and was sooooo sleepy by the halftime break that I just had to leave. Snoring in the audience would NOT have been the best option! lol

Have a great time. I'll be already back home from SYD (my 7th time to OZ) by the time you head down under. It's a wonderful vacation spot. I'm sure you will find the people to be friendly and full of fun. And do go into the pubs and have some of the various beers and chat with the local folks.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 10:58 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 49
Time in Sydney sounds perfect & flying to Melbourne is a good idea. I would spend 1 week in each city though.
Learning to drive out of & into a major city is not easy for an Aussie. When driving on the opposite side of the road, & trying to find your way, could be a nightmare, exhausting & slow you down.
There is great public transport in each city & many day or overnight tours, which would be more relaxing. I live near Melbourne and tours from Melbourne could include Great Ocean Road including Ottway area, Phillip Island (connected to mainland by a bridge)has pengiuns & koala parks. Healsville area has a native wildlife park & lovely drives through the hills.
However if you are really really keen to experience aboriginal culture, you should go with your first idea of Sydney & Cairns. Lots of tours to do from Cairns area & aboriginal sites maybe what you are looking for the most.
The weather will be fine/warm here in March/April, early autumn, & so I know you will have an enjoyable time. And Aust is a safe place to visit, like most places in the world.
Magsbags is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 12:40 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 49
Also an train trip from Melbourne ( and staying overnight) to either Ballarat, displaying important Australian gold mining history or Echuca original early pioneer settlement & the beautiful Murray River are excellent tourist attrations.
Magsbags is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 02:17 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I will say that despite growing up in and around Sydney, all my recent efforts to get into the appropriate southbound lane on the Sydney Harbour Bridge have met with abject failure.

It hasn't mattered too much, because once in the CBD I can recover the situation, but I wouldnt want to be in the shoes of an unwary visitor with no local knowledge.

Of course, being the curmudgeonly Luddite I am, I've resisted buying a GPS. That might help.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 08:28 AM
Original Poster
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Posts: 82
Well, my primary use of a car is to drive from Melbourne back to Sydeny
StuQ is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 10:43 AM
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StuQ, unless things go badly amiss you won't have to deal with the Harbour Bridge. Once you're on the Hume Highway north you basically follow your nose all the way into Sydney's city centre. It's just a case of picking an exit (failing which you actually will cross the harbour...)
Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 11:35 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Stu's a 44yo New Yorker & says he enjoys driving. If he can drive in NYC, I don't imagine he'll have too much trouble following the traffic flow in Sydney or Melbourne. He will have had a few days here, got the feel of the place & traffic (without driving in it) before he picks up the car in Melbourne.

Stu - there are offices of the major car rental companies at the domestic & international airports, which are both on your way into Sydney from Melbourne; and in William Street, so you don't have to go into the CBD to drop off your car in Sydney.
I was going to suggest it might be easier to collect the car at the airport in Melbourne, but on reflection, I think you may be better collecting it from one of the city or suburban locations. The latter gives you the opportunity of getting into a quiet street driving around the block a few times, stopping to get acquainted with all the controls, parking etc., in a quiet location. Avis, for example, has an office at 630 Chapel Street, South Yarra. It's only about 10 mins from the CBD, has easy access to the roads to the Great Ocean Road,** but gives you a chance to practice without getting straight into the traffic on main roads. At the airport, you're exiting the carparks onto a freeway.

** A nice loop to the GOR is to go down the Mornington Peninsula to Sorrento and take the car ferry to Queenscliff.

Neil - I still get hooked up on London Circuit occasionally (LOL). Kept missing the turn off one day & envisaged spending my 80th birthday still going 'round & 'round like Mr(s) McGoo!
Bokhara2 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 10:47 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Bokhara2 - my first memory of Canberra was a typically dire family outing when I was 12 or so. My dad had an appalling sense of direction (which I inherited), and I remember beetling around State Circle at night in the old FX Holden, wondering why the city had so many churches. It didn't, of course - we were just seeing the same blue neon cross every 5 minutes or so. London Circuit is the least of your problems. If you miss a turn don't worry, you'll soon see it again.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 03:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 49
StuQ, you now have so many suggestions that you will have to come back a second time to visit all of the places.
Time is going to be your limitation. If you drive to Sydney via Hume Hwy, allow at least 12 hours because you will need a break. The suggestion of going from Melbourne to Sydney via Princes Hwy (basically around coast) is a good one as it is more scenic BUT it takes a lot longer. Allow an extra day because the road is not as good as the Hume; it is winding and has to be taken more slowly. Hume Hwy has 110 km speed limit for majority of Victorian part, and is a very easy drive, except it can make you drowsy due to a few very monotonous sections.
Melbourne is a great place and the National Galleries are great -- two excellent ones in centre of city -- NGV at Federation Square has Australian art and the St Kilda Rd section of NGV has the classical and ancient art. Melbourne Zoo, a short tram ride from city, has an Australian section where you can get up close to the animals, and the butterfly house is an exhibit worth seeing if you have time. Depends on your interests. Healesville Sanctuary (Zoo)has a wonderful collection of native plants and animals. It is 1 hour drive east of Melbourne through our wine-growing Yarra Valley.
Going to Sydney from Melbourne:
You could consider following the Hume Hwy from Melbourne to Wangaratta ( actually just south of Wang), then take the alpine roads and wind your way through to the Snowy Mountains. There are a few different routes, but most go through a pretty little town called Bright and then to Mt Beauty. You could go up through the mountains and across the New South Wales border to Jindabyne and on to Canberrra and Sydney. Near Bright, there is Mt Buffalo National Park - one of my favourites for walking. Lots of accommodation in Bright and the European trees planted there will be changing to autumn colours.
Be aware that Victorian school holidays start on 27th March (to 11th April) and that means accommodation is sometimes fully booked. Also Easter is the time when most families go on holiday.

The shortest route from Melb to Sydney is straight up the Hume.
Good luck with your decisions.
olivetta is offline  

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