GBR islands,mainland or both?

Jan 29th, 2004, 06:06 AM
  #1  
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GBR islands,mainland or both?

Going to Australia in July for 2 weeks. Just getting started, we will be in Sydney for 3/4 days then plan to go north. I would like to have opinions on where to stay. Dunk island, Lizard, seem nice on paper, 4/5 days on a island, then 3/4 days on mainland to explore Outback etc. We will be with 3 teens (16,16,19). Fishing is a must. I would appreciate all opinions. I am willing to spend the money if it the best place, as this might be last time we are just the 5 of us. Thanks in advance.
mmalone is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 06:36 AM
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Mmalone,

You say you're going for 2 weeks, but I don't know if that means your vacation (including travelling time) will be 2 weeks or if you'll have 2 full weeks in Australia. I'll assume, unless you let us know otherwise, that you'll really have 12 days in Australia.

My opinion is based on that tight time frame. If you had enough time, I would say spend a week in Sydney. However, you don't have enough time.

Sooooo......this is what I think. Spend 3 days in Sydney. This may or may not include a day's outing to the Blue Mountains. With such limited time, I personally don't think the Blue Mountains are a must. I went to the Blue Mountains for 7 weekend trips over 2.5 years, and I liked them. But again, we're talking about your tighter timeframe, and you have to weigh the Blue Mountains up against Australia's other offerings. I'm biased because I live nextdoor to the Rockies. I work very hard at accepting each landscape on its own merits and refraining from comparing it with others. That said, I don't regard the Blue Mountains as mountains; I think they're hills.

If I were you I would spend 3 days on an island, and then the balance of the time on the mainland in Far North Queensland. The thing is, magical as an island is, and some of them are indeed fantastic, you exhaust what an island has to give you relatively soon. The mainland has so much variety. From the mainland you can go out to sea, swim in the GBR, fish, whatever. You can explore the tropical rainforest. You can climb the Atherton Tableland and in no time at all find yourself in a different world. IMO the FNQ mainland deserves every moment you can spare for it.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 07:27 AM
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mmalone - I seem to remember that Lizard Island has age restrictions.
Louise is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 07:38 AM
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Hi Louise and Mmalone,

Here is a website about Lizard Island's restrictions:

http://www.lizardisland.com.au/dive_safety.htm

As far as I can see, the restrictions apply to people of 14 and under. Since I think you said your kids were 16 and up, Mmalone, I'm guessing you're home free.

But of course check out the medical qualifications for ANYONE in your group.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 10:19 AM
  #5  
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Judy and Louise,
You are right, I have twelve days. Do you have any recomendations for a place to stay in FNQ? Any ideas about Dunk Island or another island? Maybe further north? Thanks for your help. M.
mmalone is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 11:36 AM
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Hi M!

We are planning a very similar trip to yours in August. 3 Days in Sydney, 4 or 5 on an island and 6 in NQL. We have done a lot of research and concluded that while Lizard def seems to be the best island all around, it's way to far out of our budget. From what I understand, the ISlands farther South in the Whitsundays can have hit or miss weather in July-August. However, Dunk is supposed to have great weather and is easier to get to from Cairns. Alsop, much more reasonably priced. Only drawback is they don't have good snorkling. We have been looking into the Sheraton Mirage in Port Douglas and Radisson Treetop in NQL for resorts up North. LEt us know if you find out any good info!

Thanks everyone for your great posts! They have been very helpful.
Punkyl44 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 12:09 PM
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Mmalone - a truly beautiful island is Hinchinbrook - off Cardwell, which is a couple of hours drive south of Cairns. It's a large island with great diversity- sandy beaches, bushwalking, fishing, rainforest, snorkelling, diving, dugong - check out the resort - Hinchinbrook Wilderness Resort and Lodge.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 12:36 PM
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Mmalone, a few more notes on Far North Queensland. In addition to snorkelling or scuba diving in the GBR, fly over it in a small plane. It provides a whole different perspective -- amazing.

One of my husband's and my regrets is that when we were in FNQ we did not go to the Undara Lava Tubes. Next time!
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 12:54 PM
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We were there for 2 weeks in October 2001 and managed to cover a lot of area in that time. We spent 4 days in Sydney, including an unforgettable Blue Mountains Abseiling trip with Ropeworx (http://www.hermes.net.au/ropewerx/Abseils/Abseils1.htm). Then we went to see and hike around Uluru - we were only there about 24 hours before heading to Palm Cove, outside Cairns. We were there for 2 days, then went to Silky Oaks Lodge in the Daintree for 2 days. That was absolutely amazing! Then on to Lizard Island for 4 days. Finaly, we ended up in Sydney again - this time in the beach community of Coogee for the day before heading home. Obviously, we did a ton of traveling, but I think it was a great way for us to get an overview and see where we want to spend more time on our next trip! I would highly recommend Lizard Island. It was amazing. We don't fish, but I know it is big there. We are SCUBA divers and avid snorkelers, to we spent our time IN the water! I agree with Judy_in_Calgary that spending time on the mainland in FNQ would be great. We loved relaxing on Lizard, but also found so much to do outside Cairns and in the Daintree. Good luck!
JulieW is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 01:19 PM
  #10  
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Hi all! Thank you so much for your quick responses, I look forward to more. I have come across Silky Oaks in my reading, I will check out Hichinbrook also. That far south of Carins might be a little cooler in July?? I will also look into the Blue Mountains, I have booked the Marriott in Sydney, so I have not done much planning yet.
Julie, did you go with kids to Lizard, I'm not sure it's the right place for them. I am waiting to hear from an associate of my husbands that lives in Sydney, I'll post what info he gives me. Thanks everyone and keep it coming!!!
mmalone is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 01:35 PM
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Hi again - Hinchinbrook is not far enough away from Cairns for any appreciable difference in climate - but July/August are the "coolest" months of the year in FNQ anyway - maximum daytime temperature about 26C-27C - cooler at night, when you'll probably need a light sweater.
pat_woolford is offline  

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