Great Barrier Reef info please!

Old Jan 8th, 2003, 01:53 PM
  #1  
Kim
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Great Barrier Reef info please!

My mom and I are planning a trip to AU in April. We only have 7 days. We are flying in and out of Sydney and want to spend some time there and some time at the Great Barrier Reef. I've been to Sydney before and am pretty set on where to stay and what to do there, but need advice on the reef area. Any suggestions for where to stay and how to get there and back from Sydney? Thanks in advance!
 
Old Jan 8th, 2003, 05:15 PM
  #2  
abby
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Hi Kim-I went to Oz two years ago and I believe you can reach the reef via Cairns or..I have been researching options for a return trip and if you want a resort like Hayman you can fly into Hamilton Island from Sydney and then take a boat or something like that to Hayman. Hayman is supposedly a beautiful resort with a lot to do, including day trips to the reef. You can also base yourself in Cairns (which is not great) or in somewhere nicer like Pt.Douglas and take day trips through Fantasea or Quicksilver out to the reef. If you want to live it up check out Silky Oaks or Sebel House-high end resorts that friends of mine said were fantastic. Good luck and have fun!
 
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 01:59 PM
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Pete
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Kim , There are lots of flights Syd /Cairns Direct. Syd/ Bris / Cairns. etc. Search qantas. There are hundreds of boats departing from Cairns, Port Douglas on a daily basis to go to the reef which can be every thing from great to bad. If you pay $60.00 for a full day including lunch, permits, equipment, guide , dive lessons , afternoon tea, and some one playing the guitar on the way home obviously you will not be seeing the very best reef, however you will have a nice day. If you pay $500.00 and board a beautiful air craft which flys low level over 3 or 4 hundred kms of the great barrier reef to an Island which boasts the worlds best reef , well then ,, thats the reef. Then you have seen the best. But I don't think they have a guitar on board.
For that day search: DAINTREE AIR or LIZARD ISLAND DAY TOUR Cairns is full of accommodation , so is Port douglas.
Every thing from 5 star to back packers. Search Port Douglas and Cairns . I have noted many people have come here to Fodors and say they do not like Cairns. They do not say why. I would be interested to know why. As a departure point for the reef, it seems OK to me. Perhaps some one might tell me if they have had a bad experience there. You wll be bombarded with info on Cairns and Douglas when you do your search. Every one has their own story about accomm, I have put people into hotels whom hated them and the very next day some one else loved the same hotel. If you pay big money you get smiles,service,location,prestige and powdered eggs. If you do not pay very much money you get similar, except you have real eggs. That last little bit was tongue in cheek for the knockers of course. Pete
 
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 02:30 PM
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Debbie
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Hi Pete--
I'd like to respond to you about why I rate Pt. Douglas over Cairns. I've stayed in both places but Pt. D. won my heart. Why? It has that 'special something' feel...it's cuter, smaller, has a great 4 mile beach (Cairns doesn't really have a beach) PtD may be a small town but offers a good many yummy restaurants, nice variety of lodging and some decent shops too. IMHO, Pt. D is just has that perfect beachy/reef feel without the cheesynesss that I felt turns many of us tourists off. Pt. D. is more convenient to the Daintree and from what I've read the reef as well. For me, it was just a great place--one which I hope to revisit again (soon!!).

I was there in July and was advised that places south would be too cold...I've heard wonderful things about Hayman, Lizard Is. and the Whitsundays but will have to check those out another trip.

Debbie
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 09:43 AM
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Kim
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Thanks for the replies. Here's a few more questions: I'm leaning toward staying in Port Douglas - any thoughts on the Penninsula Hotel? Also, is it best to fly into Cairns from Sydney and then go to Port Douglas, or is there another way to fly?
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 01:42 PM
  #6  
Mina
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It's about an hour drive, and many of the hotels can arrange transportation for you.
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 01:45 PM
  #7  
Pete
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Hi Kim , Lots of the hotels in PD run their own little buses from Cairns to Port. Its about a 45 min run. I have used the Pen Hotel in Douglas. No complaints here. Douglas is full of hotels. You will not have problems obtaining accomm there. Even if you hire a car in Cairns and just drive strait to Port and into the hotel which looks best to you once you arrive. Pete
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 02:35 PM
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Kim
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Pete - Are you sure it won't be big risk to go to PD without a hotel reservation at the end of April? Isn't that Easter break time?
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 02:53 PM
  #9  
Pete
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Yes Kim, I am sure, Unless there is a huge boost to tourism in the next couple of weeks ,( very unlikely ) you will not have a problem. Last July I drove strait in and booked several hotels within 2 hours. July is the busy time. Im not suggesting people do not book hotels in Douglas in July, however I have not ever had problems obtaining good accomm on short notice.
Of course some hotels might be booked out,(perhaps). Easter Time in some parts of Australia means BOOKED OUT. Any where within a days drive of the major cities will be heavily booked.
Not up in the North. Not in April.
Pete
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 06:03 PM
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Kim
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Thanks Pete! I was concerned b/c when I looked at the Hilton Cairns website and the Sheraton they were both booked for the days I wanted.
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 10:05 PM
  #11  
Pete
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OK. Kim you are correct the Hilton Cairns is fully booked during the 4th 5th of April. Grab your pencil honey and write this down. Court Yard Marriott Palm Cove Ph 4055399 available.
Raddisson Tree Tops Port Douglas 40304333 available, Raddisson Plaza Cairns PH 40311411 Available Boathouse Port Douglas Ph 4040998800 Available.
Verandahs Port Douglas PH 40996894 Avaialable The New Port Boutique Hotel Port Douglas PH 40995700 Available.
Now all of the above are reasonably close to the heart of every thing and are all very nice. The tree Tops is the furtherest out of town in Port although is still just a 3 min cab drive to Town.
If you want to be out of town in a new very very nice resort search Thala Beach. WOW !!!An other very good one in a rainforest setting in Cairns is Kewarra Beach. Actually from memory their ph number is 40576666 and Thala Beach is 40985700 Thala may not be the place to go with your Mom, and then maybe it is. Its about 15 mins out of Douglas. Magnificent and belongs to an Australian family. All of those Ph numbers I have given you need to have 6107 placed in front of them and then you can dial strait through from the US.
The Tree Tops is a fully blown hotel, and a couple of the others I mentioned are serviced apartments, all have SPAS and their own restaurants or are next door to restaurants which service their clients. But all are located very well.
Now I know you are genuine, Ill be a little more speciffic about the best little farm stay in Victoria. Watch your email and Ill send you the details.
You should ring them before going there just in case as they take school groups at times. The farm stay I mean. Then at other times there is just you, the sheep, a couple of head of cattle, a great ping pong table, some wonderful 4th generation Aussies whom have been on the place since the 1880s and are as proud as hell. And of course the views are to die for. Im off to New Guinea tomorrow and will not be back till very late Sunday night and then off to the Solomons for a day on Tuesday morn. So I may not have the time to send the info on the farm stay untill I return from the Solomons late Tusday Night.
Take Care
Pete.


 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 11:28 PM
  #12  
Pete
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Just in case you are wondering about the info on the farm stay Kim , it was for Deb.
 
Old Jan 12th, 2003, 09:56 AM
  #13  
Rich
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3 suggestions for you
1. Don't stay in Cairns.
2. Go North Perhaps Palm Cove (Oasis @Palm Cove is fantastic)they have a website check it out.
3. Leave Green Island alone its far too tacky and commercialised and most of the close Coral is dead.
You need to travel further out to the outer reef (more cost) to enjoy.

Have fun

Rich
 
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