Help! Disagreement on where to go in Queensland

Old Nov 21st, 2006, 07:18 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 128
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Help! Disagreement on where to go in Queensland

I am trying to plan a week in Queensland right after New Year's Eve (Jan. 2-8) and not only is everything booking up FAST, but my group can't agree on anything!

One friend wants to go to an island resort, so I booked a villa for four on Hamilton Island - the last one they had available!

(This was after we found out Fitzroy was closed for overnight guests and Green and Lizard are too expensive...)

Now our other two friends say they would rather go to Port Douglas so they can do a day-trip to the GBR and also see the Daintree rainforest.

I am partial to staying on an island resort because of the stingers... But could honestly go either way. My concern is just making sure we get a reservation somewhere!

Help! What should we do?
dcmalia is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2006, 09:16 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 596
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Have you done a "search this forum" on Hamilton Island? Personally, I would go to Port Douglas any day rather than have a "big resort" experience. There is so much more to do if you go to Port Douglas. I would be bored to death on Hamilton Island - one day was enough for me.
Louise is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2006, 11:07 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,276
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I loved Port Douglas. Just the ability to wander through the town and stop into the little shops and restaurants was nice. We were there in June so didn't have to worry about the stingers, but I would tend to agree that there are more day trips available from Port Douglas. Daintree was well worth a day. We stayed at the Garrick House. They have studios and apartments about a block from the beach. Don't know what their availability would be, but I recommend it. Nice pool, grill available, well appointed kitchens (even in the studio) and the best thing was a washer and dryer right in the room so we could do laundry and pack lighter! Check out their website:
http://www.garrickhouse.com.au/ They seem to still have the two bedroom apartments available for your dates.
For the Daintree trip, we went with Wilderness Challenge which was recommended on this forum. It was absolutely wonderful. Their website is:
http://www.wilderness-challenge.com.au/ All in all, we really enjoyed our time in Port Douglas and would go back again.
jcasale is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2006, 12:11 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
We stayed on Hamilton Island for a one night transition between Hayman and Noosa Heads. I would not recommend Hamilton. To us, it was like a city. And yes, it is extremely small. The beaches were not what we would call clean (bottles, cans etc seemed to have been everywhere). Have you checked out Noosa Heads? It is gorgeous. A 90 minute car ride north of Brisbane. We will definitely go back to Noosa Heads. The other beaches (Sunshine Beach for example) are simply stunning as well and Noosa heads dining is superb. We stayed at Tingirana - full service luxury apartments which were perhaps one of the best accomodations we have every encountered. There are more reasonable hotels and apartments in Noosa Heads as well.
maryfc is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2006, 12:46 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Noosa Heads is in SE Queensland and a long way from GBR. Its south enough not to have a stinger problem in summer.

I would prefer Port Douglas over Hamilton Island any day; but there seems to be a common misconception that its the only place to base yourself for a day reef trip. There's a far larger choice out of Cairns, most at better prices. Other mainland bases in Far North Qld with day reef trips are Palm Cove and Cape Tribulation.

In another post you said you were looking for a fun place to stay with nightlife, Cairns city would be the best choice, with easy access to the reef, and rainforests.
pat_woolford is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2006, 04:29 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 128
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hmmm. Not much love for Hamilton Island on this forum, I see!

We asked a friend of ours who lives in Sydney what he thinks of Hamilton Island vs. Dunk Island and this was his response (he and his wife have been to both):

"Very nice - much bigger - feels like a smaller Hawaii (Maui). More to do at night as far as drinking, eating, hanging at pubs, restaurants, etc...food is not included in the rate and is pretty expensive. Lots to do from this island as far as sailing trips, fishing trips, scuba, etc. that all leave from the Marina on Hamilton. There are lots of families here."

That pretty much convinced my girlfriend that Hamilton was the place we needed to go. She wants to be in a place where there are a lot of young, single folks having a good time.

The rest of our group consists of a husband/wife couple, so they obviously would probably like PD better.

Being the wonderfully accommodating friend that I am... I went back to the drawing board. I heard from another friend that PD was small and has no nightlife and that Cairns is pretty happening with the young crowd... So thanks, Pat, for seconding that!

How about this:

MON 1/1: Fly to Cairns on Jetstar at 3:05pm (arrive 5:10pm) or 7:45pm (arrive 9:50pm). Check into hotel. Rest.

TUES 1/2: Day-trip to the GBR!!!

WED 1/3: Day-trip to Daintree &/or Cape Trib. to see rainforest.

THURS 1/4: Take noon flight to Dunk Island, arrive 12:45 p.m., check in, promptly hit beach and relax.

FRI 1/5: Relax at Dunk Island all day.

SAT 1/6: Take 1 pm flight to Cairns, arrive 1:45 pm, then take 2:50 pm Jetstar flight to Brisbane, arriving at 4:50 pm. Check into hotel, grab dinner and see Brisbane nightlife.

SUN 1/7: Nice and easy day in Brisbane. My friend is set on visiting the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

MON 1/8: Depart Brisbane for Honolulu at 11:50 am (flight already booked)
dcmalia is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 02:46 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 25
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Brisbane is a rather average city compared to others in Oz - I personally would think about flying into Marochydore and going to Noosa as previously mentioned (only 1.5 hours drive from Brisbane). The NP here is lovely and your friend might actually get to see wild Koalas here. If you have a spare day around here you can do a daytrip to Fraser Island too or visit Australia Zoo and see the crocs, stroke a koala and sit with the kangaroos in the park. As for the GBR, I found the Whitsundays stunning, although we left from Airlie Beach which is very backpackerish, Whitehaven beach just stunning and some great diving / snorkelling.
Heidi_Mo is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 04:21 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
dcmalia, you're talking about the time of year most Australians are on holidays, its also in the middle of school holidays for every state in the country. Wherever you book, do so without delay.

I think I mentioned on your other post that Dunk Island is continental, its only a spit offshore from Mission Beach, it so close to mainland you can pop over on a water taxi, and in January stinger problems arise on coast. Also it was badly hit by Cyclone Larry ( a category 5 cyclone) earlier in year and certainly sustained some damage to its rainforest. There are many places in FNQ where you can get close and friendly with a koala if that appeals, and you don't need to go to Australia Zoo for a croc, we have them in the wild here.
pat_woolford is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 07:55 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 128
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks, Pat, for the warning about booking without delay. I had no idea when I agreed to go to Sydney with my friend for New Years that it'd be so nuts! I already have bookings on Hammo (1BR villa w/buggy for 4 nights) and Dunk (2 nights), so we just need to decide by the end of the month.

I gotta be honest, I know a lot of Fodorites are anti-Hamilton but we are both still leaning toward it. It sounds like there are a lot of things to do and a lot going on.

On a couple trip, I think I'd be more interested in charming Port Douglas, isolated Cape Trib. or a small, quiet island... So I think our two other friends will opt for that. But for us girls, we want fun and action!

The Frommers guide book on the GBR says the reef is just as far from Hamiliton as it is from Cairns, and just as good. We're not divers anyway, just snorklers. Well, I don't actually care much about snorkling, I just like the beach and sun: Whitehaven visit, kayaking trips, etc. (I'm from Hawaii...)

And thanks Heidi for the tips re Brisbane... Not my choice to fly home from there, but whatever, it's done. I am looking into a day-trip to Fraser Island! And I'll check out the Australian Zoo...

THANKS! Any more suggestions, thoughts, comments are very welcome. You guys rock!
dcmalia is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 10:43 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Being a Queenslander of long standing I would go for North Queensland anytime over those places further south. Brisbane is an OK city and you can have fun there IF YOU HAVE SOMEONE to take you to those hidden places that only Bris-Vegas types know. As for Noosa, well it has the most boring beach which loses its sand several times per year, is a haven for the "I want to be seen therefore I don't want to get wet" mob and is twice the price for food etc than anywhere else.
If you want a nice Island location then I would go to Hinchinbrook Island where you have such a lot of diversity - its just about a couple of hours south of Cairns OR go direct to Port Douglas or Cairns and make use of day trips and the like. Alternatively islands like Long Island which has Club Crocodile in the Whitsunday Group is good and reasonably cheap as is Daydream but Hamilton is as others say just a bit of a city and not that great either - it has an airport though!
lizF is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2006, 09:27 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 128
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I wanted to thank everyone (especially Pat) for their comments as I've planned our week in Queensland... Here is our sked, any last-minute comments are very welcome!

Day 1 - Afternoon flight from Sydeny to Cairns, transfer to Port Douglas to stay at Garrick House. (Thanks jcasale for the recommendation!)

Day 2 - Day-trip to the Great Barrier Reef. I was looking at Sonic, but the managers at Garrick House have recommended Calypso. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good day-trip boat? We are snorklers who are wanting to do an intro dive. Mostly just want to enjoy a day on the reef...
www.silverseries.com.au/sonic.htm
www.calypsocharters.com.au

Day 3 - Our 2 other traveling companions will join us for a tour to the rainforest on this day. Not sure which tour? Jcasale recommended Wilderness Challenge, which I think looks great, but the managers at Garrick House said we'd miss the first hour of the tour since it starts in Cairns. They recommended Deluxe Safaris or Gary's Safaris. Any opinions?
www.deluxesafaris.com.au
www.garyssafaris.com.au
www.wilderness-challenge.com.au

Day 4 - Early morning flight from Cairns to Hamilton Island, where we'll be met and taken to our apartment for three nights. We'll have all day to explore the island and hang out at the beach.

Day 5 - Day-trip to Whitehaven beach... I really wanted to visit this beach. Have heard so much about the Whitesunday islands.
www.cruiseindigo.com.au
www.fantasea.com.au/Whitehavenbeach.htm

Day 6 - We might do a kayak trip on this day? Or we could do another day-trip back out to the GBR. Fantasia is the company that operates out of Hamo and they have a floating reefworld, so it would be a different experience than in PD. Also, if the weather doesn't cooperate in PD, we'll have time in Hamo to see the reef.
www.fantasea.com.au/Reefworld.htm
www.kayakwhitsunday.com

Day 7 - Fly to Brisbane mid-day, take taxi to Lone Pine Koala park. My friend has her heart set on this, should be nice.

Day 8 - Depart for home!
dcmalia is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2006, 10:57 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Take the ferry to Lone Pine instead of taxi - much nicer not to mention cheaper!
lizF is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
bmcc
Australia & the Pacific
6
Feb 18th, 2010 02:58 AM
amsimon
Australia & the Pacific
5
Mar 25th, 2008 12:17 PM
prn1226
Australia & the Pacific
6
Aug 23rd, 2003 11:45 PM
RJames
Australia & the Pacific
4
Mar 25th, 2003 12:24 PM
Sophie
Australia & the Pacific
7
Nov 20th, 2002 02:36 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO