Gold Coast To Cairns

Old Sep 24th, 2006, 06:54 PM
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Gold Coast To Cairns

We are an early 30s couple in Perth WA without endless monetary supplies or time but are planning on holidaying in this area for ~ 15 days in May 07 (it was going to be March but the weather appears to better in May and it's still pre peak season). Our at this stage rough itinerary follows and any comments/suggestions would be welcome particularly from Pat who seems to know much about this area.

Day 1;Fly Perth/Gold Coast stay Chateau Beachside $100/double, (walk to central surfers and esplanade without being right in it according to Lonely Planet)

Days 2&3; Theme parks ( Suggestions?)

Day 4; Train to Bris, pick up H/Car, skip Bris sights and dve to Hervey Bay, stay Fraser Roving $55/night ( Lonely Planet)

Day 5; Fraser Island tour (suggestions?)stay Eurong Beach Resort $100/double option.

Day 6; Dve to Rockhampton, quick look and stay maybe at the Criterion Hotel or Lee Kernagans' pub for the experience.

DAY 7; Dve to Airlie Beach, stay Airlie Beach Hotel $100/double, another Lonely Planet Rec, "close to the action but not right in the noise, pool and decent restaurants at street level."

Days 8&9; Here we had planned to cruise/stay Whitsundays for 2 Days but cost defeated us so instead we'll stay at Arlie, sample the night life and do 2 day trips. Ragamuffin has been suggested, any others?

Day 10; Dve to Townsville, trip to Magnetic Is, stay Townsville or Island, undecided, (suggestions?)

Day 11; Dve to Cairns. Here we had decided to stay at Amaroo Resort Trinity Beach for a few days as a relaxing finishing base to explore the surrounds ( Daintree/reef etc), but have now decided it may be a little too quiet and removed for us so instead we're planning on staying in town at Oasis Cairns Resort $155/double standby rate ( Again close to everything but not right in the hubbub). Any thoughts on that decision?

Day 12; Reef day tour. Compass Cruises out of Cairns has been suggested for it's smaller numbers(70 odd apparently) with the possibility of a short ( though expensive) Heli tour via the reef encounter rendevous if we're feeling financial enough.(Thoughts/Suggestions?)

Day 13; Daintree tour (Suggestions?)

Day 14; Kuranda skyrail & scenic railway, and a short look at Trinity Beach to see what we missed.

Day 15; Drop of H/Car and Fly Back to Perth

Now I know this is a bit rushed for some but we take what we can get and I'm trying not to spend any more then 4Hrs driving in any one day. We've allowed a few days back home before going back to work for a little wind down time so, finances allowing, we may spend another day or two in the Cairns area (Suggestions?)

Thanks very much and any thoughts/ advice would be much appreciated.

goosecat is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2006, 07:25 PM
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For theme parks GO TO DREAMWORLD! If you are roller coaster riders there is no better spot in Oz. Plus there is Sea World and Movie World near Gold Coast
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Old Sep 26th, 2006, 09:37 PM
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one suggestion - why don't you get your hire car at the Gold Coast rather than train to Bris and pick up there? it's an easy drive and very pleasant - you could also then check mt tamborine on the way.
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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 01:11 AM
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Thanks goosecat, LizF who posts here often knows lots more about SE Queensland than I do - I now live near Cairns but have been up and down the coast many times.

I think you'll find too, Siska IV, another Sydney-Hobart maxi racing yacht still goes out of Airlie Beach. But Ragamuffin sounds like a good choice, although have only been on Siska when it was in Cairns.

You must at least have a drink at the Criterion in Rocky, amazing old bar and of course a famous Rocky steak in its beer garden.

On Magnetic Island there's a very unassuming and economical B&B, Marshall's - Stella and Paul were both in tour business in area and can give you invaluable local advice that won't break the bank. If you stay at Magnetic, don't take your car over - its far cheaper to leave it at security parking at Townsville's Breakwater Casino and take passenger ferry, the vehicular ferry costs a bomb. There's public transport on the island and if you stay at Marshall's they'll pick you up at ferry.

Oasis in Cairns is in a good spot - easy walk to restaurants and nightlife but away a bit from the highly touristed Esplanade.

Compass is a bit of a worry though, its old and slow - I know its about the cheapest reef boat but if you go a little higher pricewise, eg, Ocean Spirit to Upolo Cay; Passions of Paradise; or Ecstasea (Max 20 passengers) I think you'll have a better day on reef.

For a day trip to Cape Tribulation and Daintree out of Cairns see Trek North, very knowledgeable guides.

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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 08:03 PM
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My husband who is a certified diver enjoyed the compass trip. Especially for the price. Depends on the individual but is was far far cheaper than the other trips we have made.

Also he has a mental age of about 17 so he enjoyed the boom netting experience on the way back and the younger crowd.

I snorkel and like a few more creature comforts so was happier on the more expensive trips with more options for non divers.
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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 08:57 PM
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Well, goosecat, even though you are trying to do this on a budget, if you are considering paying for a reef tour AND a helicopter, just take a peek at and see if a day trip to Lizard Island instead wouldn't just top off your trip. You get a beautiful flight over the reef in a 10 seater plane with Greg and then a wonderful day snorkeling off Lizard Island with the giant clams, etc. that is just fantastic (great coral, great fish, and Greg will take you on a tour and show you things you wouldn't ordinarily see.) Lunch included. Then you get to fly back over the rainforest with the sun setting. Everything we did that day is on the top of our highlights of Australia list. If you have a little wiggle room in the budget, please consider it. Do a search here and you'll read a lot of testimonials to a great trip.
Sally in Seattle
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Old Oct 9th, 2006, 02:08 AM
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Thanks all for your suggestions.The holiday is still a fair way away so i'll take all your ideas on board and do some further research.
Again, many thanks,
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Old Apr 29th, 2007, 11:11 PM
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Just a note to those who replied to my initial request many months ago as on Wednesday the 2nd of May we fly out from Perth to begin our trip. Thanks all, in particular poyopoyo91, lacefan and Pat Woolford whose suggestions we have decided to take up. We will hire the car at the Gold Coast, we'll visit Dreamword, Seaworld and Movieworld but give Wet n Wild a miss and we have decided to utilise Reef Magic for our reef experience.

A couple of questions though. Do I need to pre-book Reef Magic this time of year or can we simply turn up at a booking office a day prior and organise it. The same question for Hotel Oasis in Cairns ( standard room ). Do we need to pre-book now or can we show up at the Foyer and get a standby rate.

My reasons for the above is that we like to leave a day or two unaccounted for during our trip so we can change plans somewhat if we feel so desired. Pre - booking things usually entails the loss of some dollars should you change or cancel your booking.

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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 05:27 AM
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I must agree with SNR.
We went on the Lizard Day with Greg Letondeur last January.
This tour was with out doubt the highlight of our vacation.
The guide / pilot or pilot / guide is himself a day tour with out leaving the terminal.
As it all turned out we swam with just about every critter God ever made.
We watched an octopus covering himself with broken bits of coral only to uncover himself once he was done. He then marched away from his hole and begun the process all over again. Greg said he was marking his territory just like a dog does.
The clam garden and the nemo garden were like some thing you would see at the movies.
But it was all real. We lost count of the number of rays and turtles.
The coral was bright and colorful. On top of that the picnic lunch under the trees on the beach was fantastic. (except for the sand in the pickles ) Our family slept on the way back but by all reports the views of the rainforests were also well worth staying awake for.

There’s always a next time.

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Old Apr 30th, 2007, 05:50 PM
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goosecat - be aware that Skyrail is closed for maintenance from May 5-19 - Kuranda train resumed services today (was closed due to a landslide in Feb), but only one service each way a day instead of the usual two. Train leaves from Cairns station at 8.30am and leaves Kuranda at 3.30pm

Many are not aware of the rainforest and virtually untouristed areas close to Cairns city. - Margaret is a marvellous guide who knows all there is to know about local flora and fauna and takes very small groups, she'll go with a minimum of 2 people. In addition to the two trips mentioned on website, at the moment Margaret is also running a Kuranda tour which gives 90 minutes of cool rainforest walk, lunch at Heritage Hotel and time for Kuranda Markets.

Would imagine that it would be OK to leave booking for Reef Magic until day before, why not give them a ring a bit closer to the time and ask them? They have a 1300 number. Can't help with Oasis as have no idea of their occupation rate right now - have you looked at wotif?

Hope weather holds for you, its sunny and warm at the moment in FNQ - with only 10-15knot winds on reef.
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