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Help!! We are leaving in two weeks but still don't know where to go!!

Help!! We are leaving in two weeks but still don't know where to go!!

Old Jul 16th, 2009, 08:54 PM
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Help!! We are leaving in two weeks but still don't know where to go!!

Because of the low airfare, my two sistersand I are taking our three young teens (12-15) to Australia for 2 weeks. This will be the first visit for all six of us . Even as a seasoned traveler, I am a bit nervous because my husband is not coming along, (we just took a trip to Bali; he has no more vacation left.) and we are leaving in two weeks, but I still have no clue where to go. The more I research, the more indecisive I become. So I appreciate all the advices you can offer me.

1. We will be staying in Sydney for one week. From the guide gook, I think I know where to visit. My concerns are : Do we need a rental car in Sydney? Can we take the metro? Are there any unsafe areas (Like LA) we should stay away from? Should we join a tour for Blue Mountain or can we go on our own? (None of us is good with driving on curving roads.)

2. For the other week, this is where I really need help with. We have timeshare resorts at Coff Harbour and Port Macquirie. So I planned to split the week there. Are there anything to do/see there? Are those things "Australian" enogh for us to experience? I sure don't want to fly 15 hours across the Pacific Ocean just to see another beach. (We live in Southern California. Got all kinds of beaches here. Or should we fly to Cairn for the week? If we do, do we need a rental car in Cairns? (Or maybe I can wait to go to Cairns with my husband on the next visit?) What would be good for three middle age ladies and three young teens? Help!! :0)
JJH2009 is offline  
Old Jul 16th, 2009, 09:44 PM
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Hi JJH, in my opinion you don't need a car in Sydney and yes you can take the metro,the buses or the ferries depending on where you choose to go. Generally things are safe. Don't know about LA but I would be careful in Oxford Street or Kings Cross later at night. If you go to the Mountains you can do it without driving (by train). I don't think there is sufficient to do in Coffs or Port Macquarie which will be new to you. I would definitely look at Cairns/Port Douglas/Palm Cove area for your second week, especially the Great Barrier Reef. Good time of the year to be there too! The locals will fill you in on different things to do there. Hope you get some accommodation organised soon though!
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 10:24 PM
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Definitely, no car in Sydney. You can get a Green pass which works for the buses and the non-high speed ferries. Go to the aquarium at dinnertime to avoid the crowds. Be sure to go there! Also Taronga Zoo and the natural history museum.

RE Cairns--yes you need a car for all those people IMHO. Things to go include go the Great Barrier Reef (highly recommended by Pat W.--Reef Magic--we were booked but it was too windy. Definitely recommend going to the Daintree NP with a guide. The kids may like the Rainforest Habitat, we didn't go but I have read good reviews of it. We did go on the evening boat tour of the Daintree with Dan Irby (you can google him) twice and it was great both times. Also contact Allan Gillanders at www.alanswildlifetours.com.au He will go in your car and tell you all about the Atherton Tableland and show you birds etc. He also has a wonderful animal spotlight tour at night just outside the town of Yungaburra. Get a guidebook ASAP (I would recommend getting a Sydney one and a Queensland one instead one of the whole country of Australia.) They will have too much information, but good if you can zoom in on what you need, esp. the acommodations. By the way, have you heard of www.wotif.com? It is a last minute booking site with specials. What some people do is find a place that has a special and then call up the hotel (wotif has pretty strict cancellation policies.) We stayed at The Lord Nelson Brewery which is in the old part of town (called The Rocks) and walking distance to alot of the sights. $180AUD double with breakfast. In Cairns we stayed at Lilybank B&B (www.lilybank.com.au) which is fabulous, don't know about how they would accommodate your party, but the owners, Pat and Mike, are so very helpful about where to go and booking things for you. Happy planning!
Sally in Seattle
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 10:35 PM
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I'd take Peteralan's suggestion & head north to Cairns/Palm Cove/ Port Douglas for your second week, too.

Lots to do for you and the teenagers - much more interesting and certainly uniquely Australian experiences. As well as snorkelling/diving etc., there's wonderful hinterland to explore. The weather will be much warmer than the southern areas. I think the two areas would be a great combination for your relatively limited time frame, and give you a good contrast for your (hopefully) first glimpse of Australia.

Do a search here for "Cairns" and you'll find lots of suggestions.
This is just one site I googled http://www.cairnsinfo.com/cairns-tours.php
Might give you a few pointers.

Don't hire a car in Sydney. It will only be an expensive nuisance. Public transport within the city is very good, and you can take a train to the Blue Mountains. Once there, there are lots of short tours you can take.

In Cairns, a car will be a distinct advantage & allow you to pack a lot more into your time.

Have fun & congratulations on seizing the moment! I think you'll have some wonderful experiences with your teens for your 'memory banks'.
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 11:15 PM
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I have stayed in many places near Cairns on timeshare exchange. Or on bonus weeks, should look into doing an exchange. The best all round was the Novotel in Palm Cove. The nicest apartment was south of Cairns called Trinity Links but need to drive in and out, nowhere to walk to. In Port Douglas was reasonable location but nowhere near as nice as Novotel. We are with Wyndham vacations and exchanged through interval for Novotel but with RCI for Port Douglas. South of Cairns was Wydham property.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 06:38 AM
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Definately don't need car in Sydney (and can take a train easily to the Blue Mountains).
If you aren't particularly interested in beaches - have you considered going to Ayers Rock? It's spectacular and a very Australian experience.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 09:53 AM
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www.131500.com.au is the Sydney public transport web site and as SnR says, a weeks green pass would be good value and you'd still need to pay for a train ticket to Katoomba for the Blue Mountains, there being two main bus systems up there, another poster finding the Trolley Bus Co. being a little cheaper than the more frequently used Explorer Bus.

There's an area just to SW of the Sydney CBD called Redfern which you'll hardly wander off to and better not to.

It'll be cooler in Sydney [height of winter here] and possibly quite chilly up in BM, maybe even foggy days or possibly snow so bring some winter woolies.

Coffs Harbour and Port MacQuarie are essentially just ocean side cities and if you want to leave the GBR for doing with your husband, zeddies suggestion of Ayers Rock or Uluru as it is now called could be considered a possibility, return flight from Sydney on short booking and accommodation etc. will cost a bit, possibly well over a $1000 ea. depending on level of accommodation and tours selected but you can do some great camping out style tours between Alice Springs and Uluru, www.waywardbus.com.au and www.aptouring.com.au as examples.

Another option you could look at is perhaps flying as far as the Gold Coast or Brisbane as quite a few things in that area which could be of interest.
. theme parks at the Gold Coast, and even Polar Bears.
. there's an Aussie farm experience up there too and an Outback Spectacular evening show.
. dolphin feeding at Tangalooma on Moreton Island.
. Whale watching cruises from a few different locations though Hervey Bay, a couple of hundred kilometres north of Brisbane is Whale watch capital.
. Also up north of Brisbane you have the Irwin family Australian Zoo and then there's Fraser Island, largest Sand Island on planet, well worth a day or preferably couple of days tour.
. You could also do a trip to the southern section of the GBR, to either Lady Elliot Island by flying in by light aircraft or travelling up to Bundaberg and then a connecting coach onto 1770 to travel out to Lady Musgrave Island or Fitzroy Reef
. Flying Brisbane to Gladstone you could do a trip to Heron Island, another island atoll within a lagoon on the reef.

www.webjet.com.au will show you airfares.
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