Half day tours from Melbourne and Cairns

Old Apr 10th, 2006, 05:48 PM
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Half day tours from Melbourne and Cairns

Hello. I will be heading to Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns with a friend (we're both 21 years old) next month as part of a guided student trip. We have never been to Australia and we both are, obviously, looking forward to our trip!

I have a problem though. Since our time in each city is limited, we wanted to make the most of it. I'm really interested in seeing the penguins in Phillip Island, which brings me to my first question: Is there an afternoon trip from Melbourne to Phillip Island to see the ONLY the little penguin parade in late May? If not, is there any other way of getting to Phillip Island in time to see the parade? I have done a lot of research but have found late afternoon trips only during spring and summer. I haven't found anything in May.

My other problem/frustration is that I'm going to this amazing country and I will not be able to see the Outback. This brings me to my other question: Is there an afternoon day trip from Cairns to a city or site of Outback Queensland? Or is it more convenient to rent a car and drive ourselves to a nearby Outback town?

I am really interested in seeing these places. My trip already features tours within these cities, and other sites such as the Great Barrier Reef, Kuranda Rain Forest and Barron Gorge.

Any help with these questions or other suggestions would be great. Thanks!
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 11:52 PM
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pinkfloyd, whilst Cairns is more accessible to outback (up here its called Gulf Savannah)than Melbourne, you won't make it back and fro in half a day by road. Between Cairns and savannah country there is a rather large area known Atherton Tablelands, a mixture of rich pasture lands, farms, waterfalls, crater lakes and tropical highland rainforest. Some of the towns such as Yungaburra and Atherton are only about an hour and a half from Cairns, White Car Coaches have daily services. But this area is rich and fertile, absolutely nothing like outback or savannah country. If you find yourself with a full day to spare Undara Lava Tubes would be about the closest for a taste of the outback, that's a 4 hour drive from Cairns. Or Chillagoe, which is about 3 hours. Remember too, night falls early in the tropics, right now sunset is at 6.15pm. Very strong chance of hitting kangaroos on outback and country roads from dusk on.
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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 02:23 PM
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Here is a company which does a Penguin only tour.

http://www.aatkings.com/au/index.php...n_tour_id=2414

AAKings have been around for a long so time so I assume they are fine.

As you are travelling next month, I don't see any need to book a tour ahead of time as it is not peak season. I would pop up into the Visitor Centre at Federation Square, Melbourne on your first day and the staff there will book you onto something. Besides by then, you will know what the weather will be like. It is a long way to go if it ends up rainin.

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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 03:49 PM
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The Phillips Island Penguin Tour is available when you get to Melbourne.

Or you can go to their website which has already been given.

You will sit in a limited area on concrete grandstands.

The penguins will come out of the ocean about 8:30 PM.

This is the reason for the later afternoon trips.

Get there early and sit in the very first row if you can.

There is no photo taking and no video cameras allowed.

I just got back from a month in Australia and New Zealand.

I was in Alice Springs and from there went to Ayers Rock (Uluru) which is the heart of the Outback Country.

When you do the Kuranda Train ride through the rain forest make sure that at Kuranda you pay the $ 15.00 Australian and have your picture taken holding a Koala Bear.....priceless!!

Percy


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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 09:08 PM
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You can see penguins in Port Phillip Bay. There is a evening boat trip leaving from Southbank in the CBD which I think also includes a BBQ dinner. Their website is www.penguinwaters.com.au.
Philip Island is about 90 minutes drive from Melbourne, so a return trip will take a big chunk of your time.
Be warned - wrap up warmly - it will be really cold on the beach waiting for the penguins to come in.
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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 11:05 AM
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Good advice marg

Dress warm...,you are sitting outsideand waiting and the cold ocean winds is at times bone chilling.

Percy
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Old Apr 13th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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The evening boat trip is just what I'm looking for. Thanks!

Do you guys also have any suggestions on what else would be worth seeing in the Cairns area? I'm already going to the Great Barrier Reef, Kuranda and to Tjapukai. How about driving to Daintree?

Please keep those suggestions coming! I can't wait to go!
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