Help with a January Trip to Oz

Old Sep 13th, 2003, 02:32 PM
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Help with a January Trip to Oz

Hi all,
My girlfriend and I have booked a 14 day trip to Australia in mid-January (we love hot weather!). We were thinking 4 days in Sydney, 4 days in Cairns, 4 days in Melbourne. We have 2 days to work with and need some suggestions. Should we add a day or two to one of the other 3 destinations? Or should we take a little side trip to Hobart in Tasmania? Or Adelaide? Or Ayer's Rock? We are flying between all destinations. We don't want to spend our entire vacation packing and re-packing; but on the other hand, we don't want to travel all that way and not see it all! We really think we should get to the outback. Any thoughts???
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Old Sep 13th, 2003, 05:00 PM
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Well you are not going to see it all in 14 days in any case...you are going to have to make choices..

Personally i would leave melbourne out..unless you are going to the tennis

and do
sydney
brisbane/sunshine coast/fraser/etc
cairns
cairns-rock ( as quick as possible)
rock-sydney.

You will have seen the top three destinations (sydney/reef/rock)
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Old Sep 13th, 2003, 07:41 PM
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Hi
I agree with the John (previous), I'd also leave Melbourne out. There is more to Australia than cities and if you have to go to one, Sydney is a lot nicer, situated with lots of water around it and close to beaches. (This of course said by someone who lives here, so I'm not biased at all....).

Fraser Island off the Sunshine coast north of Brisbane is fantastic. It's one of the largest sand islands in the world and well worth a few days.

Cairns is not much to see in itself but a great steppingstone to get to the Barrier Reef and the Tablelands. Port Douglas, about 45 min drive north of Cairns, is fantastic and would be a great place to spend 4 days. Great beach and also a good place from which to see the Barrier Reef. Be aware of the dangerous jelly fish that exists during the summer periods though and only swim in safe areas.
Forget Adelaide unless you're into churches. Ayers Rock? Although I've heard it's worth seeing, with limited time it's very far to go for what is in the end of the day, a rock.

Don't try and fit in too much. You'd only come home more tired than when you left and it would feel as if you spent two weeks seeing the country from the window of plane, train or car. Better to see fewer places and take them in more.
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Old Sep 13th, 2003, 08:45 PM
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Adelaide is not all about churches!! I live in the Barossa & it is a great place if you love wineries.

I agree about Melbourne. Ayres Rock would be better to go to along with Sydney & up the coast to Queensland. Have fun!!
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Old Sep 13th, 2003, 09:51 PM
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Hi, mjjane!
I think the advice from everyone above to leave out Melbourne makes a lot of sense -- not that there's anything particularly wrong with Melbourne, but it just doesn't add anything of significance to your holiday, and you have such a limited time!
Sydney and the north (Barrier Reef) sounds a much better itinerary, but be warned! Everyone in Sydney and Melbourne also heads north in mid-January, so accommodation might be an issue... book ahead.
I don't really agree with the above advice to substitute Uluru (Ayer's Rock); when you have a limited time, this is a LONG way to go to see a rock, iconic though it may be. Plus, although you say you love hot weather, I doubt if you'd be prepared for the weather you'll get out there in January -- it's the middle of the desert, remember, and the insects will get you even if the heat doesn't.
Certainly you have enough time for three destinations, as Sydney doesn't warrant more than 5 days, and the Reef can probably be experienced in three or four. Where to go for that third destination? I am tempted to say Tasmania, as the contrast between it and the other two will make you feel like you have really seen Australia. But mitigating against that is my next advice: do Sydney at the end, so that you are here for the weekend of January 26. This is "Australia Day" (a misnomer, as it should really be called "NSW Day"... Australia began on January 1)and it's a great time to take in the carnival atmosphere. Problem is, with Sydney squarely in the middle of Tasmania and the Reef, this means covering a lot of extra air miles. Can you fly into Cairns (or Hobart) and out of Sydney, to reduce this just a bit? Honestly, I don't think you'd be sorry!
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Old Sep 13th, 2003, 10:01 PM
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I agree with everyone else...skip Melbourne...

Although Alan would know better than me, I think Sydney is such a great place that I could easily spend a week there no troubles. (I reckon he likes it too which is why he lives there!)

From Cairns, go stay up in Port Douglas...it's a lot nicer in my opinion, so I second the suggestion.

Have fun...Oz is great. I love it so much that I think I will be returning at the end of the year.....
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Old Sep 14th, 2003, 03:38 AM
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Hi mjjane, Fly into Adelaide direct. Stay at the Hyatt over night, day 2 take a hire car to the barossa valley and don't drive past the whispering wall while there. It's a two min drive away fromm the main road. If you depart Adelaide at 8 am you will have plenty of time to do the Adelaide hills as well. day 3 fly to Kangaroo island from adelaide. The return fare is around 240 per person. Arrange a private tour of KI with one of the many private guides who tour there. You will have a fabulous day on ki seeing every thing there is and you will be back in your hotel that night.
Day 4 , Drive a hire car to warrnambool. Eat sleep and be merry there. Day 5 drive along the great ocean road to Melb. You will have plenty of time to see the sights on the road. Take a chopper ride near the 12 apostles.
$120.00 per person and worth every cent. Arrive in Melb and stay in one of the many five stars along the river. Day 6
Wake up in time to spend a day wandering arond Melb, great little cafes and some good shopping. Day 7 drive a hire car up to the Yarra Valley. Some great wine to be purchased and put with your collection fron the Barossa. Lots of nice little cafes on route, cheese factories etc.Sleep back in Melb, try a good restaurant.Day 8 fly early to Syd. Arrive around 9, take your hire car to the blue mountains for lunch. Then drive to the Jenolan Caves where you can see some great caves. And the drive from the blue mountains is just breathtaking. Wake up early to drive the hire car through Oberon to Bathirst and on to Sofala. From sofala take the back road to the Hunter Valley. Great drive and beautiful country. Over night in the hunter. Great wineries. Day 9 visit some wineries on your way back to Syd. Arrive Syd late when the traffic has died down. Sydney has shocking traffic problems. Get rid of your hire car at your hotel in the rocks. Dont drive around Sydney,, most of em are mad honestly . I do it often and im one of them. I know. Whare are we let me thinh ummmmmm Day 10. If you really must walk on a bridge walk on the harbour bridge. Do it early so you have enough time to have lunch at the top of the centerpoint tower. Visit the opera house that night for a little culture. It wont be N/Y but its OK. Day 11. Visit the Syd Museum to see PHAR LAP. Or whats left of him. Walk around town, see the rocks and Darling Harbour. That night take a harbour cruise on the Bounty, great fun, great food, and cold beer.
Day 12. Take the early flight to Cairns. Arrive around nine. Have your charter plane waiting for you at the air port, Make sure you have your swimmers on, you will be on the reef by 10.15. Spend the day swimming on the worlds best reef and relaxing in the beautiful sunshine of North Queensland.
Depart the island at Dark to fly direct Cairns. Day 13. Take a tour to the rainforests of the Daintree.
Return to Cairns that afternoon.
Day 14 Fly to the states via New Zealand.
When you arrive home take a break for a few days. And plan your next trip to Australia. Next time try to spend a couple of days more to see the top end of Australia. I had to type this up really quick,, sorry if the spelling is not the best.
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Old Sep 14th, 2003, 03:41 AM
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Sorry mjjane , i did not tell you the name of the Island. Lizard of course. A 45 min flight North West of Cairns.
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Old Sep 14th, 2003, 08:09 AM
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If I had 14 days in OZ, I'd return to Cairns to see the reef and the Daintree and rainforest. I'd take a day trip to one of the barrier islands nearby, and perhaps spend a night or two there. I've never taken one of the reef cruises that last 3 or 4 days or more, but I am looking into that idea for my next visit(which will be my 6th).

Then I'd go back to Adelaide and visit the wine country. I've been to the McLaren Vale and would now take a look at the Barossa. I'd take the Glenelg tram to the beach again, as I found it to be a very relaxing and quaint ride. I know they offer side trips to Kangaroo Island. I've not been, but a friend has and loved it!

My last stop would be Sydney!!! What a wonderful place to end a trip down under. I always visit Sydney for at least 5 days on every trip. (I agree with everyone else... forget Melbourne)

Australia is a wonderful travel destination. I'm sure you'll love it. Be ready for hot weather in January! I've been to Ayres Rock in July and it was hot then (winter in OZ). I can't even imagine a January visit! Tasmania was quite cool in June, but might be very pleasant in January if you wanted a 3-4 day side trip, but that isn't enough time to do it justice. Darwin was quite hot in July so I probably would not recommend that stop, although I loved Kakadu area! Perth is positively lovely, but too remote for a 14-day trip.

You will get a good taste of Australia with the reef, Adelaide and surrounding area, and then Sydney. Be sure to go out to the Blue Mountains one day on a tour while in Sydney!

Have a great trip!

Carol

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Old Sep 14th, 2003, 12:00 PM
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Thank you all so much for your suggestions. I am a little troubled by everyone's opinion to skip Melbourne. I guess I should have stated that we are definitely going there because we are going to the tennis matches at the Australia Open. Also, we have already booked our flight and we fly into Sydney and are spending the beginning part of our trip there, and flying out of Melbourne and spending the end of the trip there. So those are the parameters we are working within. So, should we go to Hobart in Tasmania or Adelaide or maybe stay longer in Sydney or Cairns? It seems like everyone thinks Ayer's Rock is not worth the long travel for only 2 days....
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Old Sep 14th, 2003, 09:20 PM
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I'd definitely have another day at Cairns and Sydney rather than catching another flight - by the time you fly into Hobart or Adelaide, you won't have much time. Definitely don't go to Ayers Rock - much too hot and too many flies at that time of the year, plus when you do visit that area, you will want to see Kings Canyon, the Olgas and all the beautiful gorges around Alice Springs. dne8989's itinerary sounds great if a little rushed.
In Melbourne, try to get accommodation at Southbank - there's a good range of hotels and restaurants there. I think they usually run boats down the river to the tennis centre during the Australian Open. If you have time, take the ferry to Williamstown for lunch, visit Queen Victoria market for great bargains, great food and lots of atmosphere. Our art gallery is excellent and there are lots of parks and gardens around the city. The craft market on the St Kilda esplanade on Sundays is good and great people watching - take a tram from the CBD.
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Old Sep 14th, 2003, 10:53 PM
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Mijane,

Have a great time in Melbourne, there's certainly nothing wrong with it -- I'm sure people are suggesting the best use of time considering your short stay.

I have never been to Adelaide but I can confidently say to wipe Hobart from your mind and concentrate time in the places you are already planning to go.

Tasmania is a beautiful place -- but 2 days cannot possibly do it justice. Save it for the next time you visit. And believe me, you'll want to!
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Old Sep 15th, 2003, 12:59 AM
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Since you're going to the tennis and hence need to spend time in Melbourne, why don't you hire a car and drive the Great Ocean Road. Haven't been myself but everyone I know who has says it's fantastic.
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Old Sep 15th, 2003, 11:03 AM
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The Great Ocean Road is a great suggestion. It is the scenic coastal route between Melbourne and Adelaide, sort of like highway 1 between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

If you don't want to drive the whole way you can do a 2 or 3-day loop out of Melbourne.

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Old Sep 15th, 2003, 12:52 PM
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I say got to TASSIE even if for only 2-3 days!

WE loved every minute of it...plus you may get to cool off a bit!

The scenery is totally different from Sydney or the Reef. Plus the wildlife is GREAT!

The flight to and from Sydney and/or Melbourne for that matter is a nice short trip. We flew between all of our stops...

Sydney, Hobart, Cairns (stayed Palm Cove) then back to Sydney. We had to change planes in Sydney to get from Hobart to Cairns but we just accounted for the travel day. We left from Hobart around 6 am but we arrived early evening into Cairns. We still had a handful of good hours to settle in and eat dinner and have a swim at the pool.

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Old Sep 15th, 2003, 06:57 PM
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Well, we are very appreciative for all of the great advice you have given us. How about the hotels we have tentatively booked so far: Old Sydney Holiday Inn in the Rocks region, Tradewinds Esplanade in Cairns; Novotel Melbourne on Collins. Does anyone know anything (good or bad!) about these hotels and/or the locations? Do any of them have swimming pools??
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