Help on Itinerary!

Dec 23rd, 2004, 11:13 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Help on Itinerary!

My husband and I will be travelling in Australia after I am finished a couple of week's work in Gladstone... he is meeting me there, we will be spending 8 days in and around that area, then flying out of Gladstone to Sydney to spend 4 days there. Any suggestions as to what to head for once we meet up in Gladstone? I have read that it is kind of in the middle of the "places to see", but this is what we have to work with. We'd rather stick to ground travel, but may fly if it is necessary to get to anything at all interesting! Any advice is appreciated!
Snooze is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2004, 11:40 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Hello Snooze,

You don't say when you'll be going, what kinds of things you're interested in, and what your budget is. All of that information would be very helpful to someone attempting to give advice.

About driving, sorry, forget about it. Australia is far too big a country for you to be able to drive from one destination to another in the time that you have available. If I was paid for the virtual ink that has been spent explaining this point to newbies, I'd be rich. Please let me save my breath and just believe what I'm saying. Australia has budget airlines, about which there are many threads here at Fodors. Do word searches for Virgin Blue and Jetstar. Qantas sometimes has seat sales too.

In terms of what you could do from Gladstone, you might consider Lady Elliot Island. I have never been there myself, but Tropo, a Fodorite who lives in Hervey Bay, is a great proponent of LEI. Other islands in that general region that receive a lot of praise, but that I also have not visited myself, are Heron Island and Fraser Island.

If you want to visit one of these more southerly islands, I would suggest you research which ones also would give you access to the Great Barrier Reef, as I would consider that to be a must see.

Going further north, there are many beautiful islands. I have sailed around the Whitsundays, and they are gorgeous.

Still further north than that, Hinchinbrook is another one that receives high praise (have not been there either).

But for a first timer it's really hard to beat the mainland of Far North Queensland, IMO. You can base yourself in Cairns, Palm Cove or Port Douglas. Then you can go out in a boat to the GBR, explore the Daintree wet tropical rainforest, and do an overnight trip to the Undara Lava Tubes.

Keep in mind that it will take you the better part of a day to fly from Queensland to Sydney (not the flight itself, but the time it takes to get from door to door).

So your 12 days might be spent something like this:

1 - Let hubby get his "sea legs" after arriving in Oz.

2 - Fly to FNQ, get an initial orientation of your destination.

3, 4, 5, 6 - GBR, Daintree, Undara

7 - Fly to Sydney

8, 9, 10 - Sydney

11, 12 - Blue Mountains

Here's a good website:

http://www.queenslandislands.com/

Here's a piece of information that will help you to leap frog over piles and piles of research. There is a Fodorite by the name of Pat Woolford. She and her husband, Mike, own a B&B called Lilybank, which is located in a leafy suburb of Cairns. I have never been there myself, but the Fodorites who have stayed there are unanimous in their opinion. They all report that Lilybank is a very comfortable and friendly place to stay.

Pat is a wealth of information on FNQ and, if her guests wish, she makes reservations for GBR and Daintree day trips for them. Researching the companies that offer GBR and Daintree trips is a task in its own right. Relying on Pat's excellent judgement would save you a whole bunch of time.

I might not get a car for my first couple of days in FNQ if I were you. The GBR and Daintree companies pick up from your lodgings. Yes, in theory you can drive yourself through the Daintree Forest, but it's such a complex ecosystem that a guide makes it much more fascinating.

You don't say what kind of work is taking you to Gladstone. Perhaps you're a scientist (marine biologist or whatever) who already would be equipped with a lot of knowledge about local ecosystems. In that case you might be able to get a lot out of the Daintree on a self-drive basis. But I still think a local guide would help you to use your time to better effect.

Hope all this helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2004, 11:59 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
Gladstone is not the end of the earth but you can see it not too far away from there. It is one of Australia's forgetable towns (cities) with absolutely nothing going for it. The only place close that is worth a visit is Heron Island but in my opinion if you are going to be there for a couple of weeks then you will want OUT as soon as the work is finished.
If it were me I would be taking off for the Whitsunday Islands as soon as I finished there - which are about 400 miles to the north and there is good access from them to Sydney.
lizF is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2004, 04:18 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 955
Heron Island! Take the helicopter out and/or back. Easy to get to from Gladstone. Do some research on Heron here, as it is not for everyone.
BillJ is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2004, 07:47 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Thanks for that Judy, but with Snooze's limited time and the fact that she'll be starting from the one of the most uninspiring areas in Queensland, I think I'd follow Liz's advice and head north for Whitsundays. If Heron is of interest, Snooze, and we don't know your interests or what time of year, you could spend some of your time there, or indeed all of it - the only thing going for Gladstone and area is its relative proximity to Heron Island. But if you get bad weather on Heron, that's it. Have been caught myself overnight a couple of times in Gladstone - the best motel has nice views of the railway terminal, coal and bauxite trucks and train carriages - with the highly industrial shipyards in the distance. Have to admit they serve the most enormous steaks I've ever seen - served with salad peculiar to many Queensland country towns -limp iceberg lettuce, tinned beetroot, pale tomato, festively decorated with twisted slice of orange.
pat_woolford is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2004, 07:52 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
Oh, yum...
Neil_Oz is offline  

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