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sockboy Jul 13th, 2004 09:44 AM

Help with Australia / NZ itinerary

I have got some of my details figured out and would love some feedback on my preliminary itinerary!

I will be travelling on a circle pacific fare so have some limitations on where I fly into and out of.

Day 1-3 Melbourne
Overnight train to Sydney
Day 4-7 Sydney
Day 8 Fly to Cairns
Day 9-11 Cairns/GBR and environs
Day 12 Fly to Christchurch
Day 12-14 Christchurch and environs
Day 15 Fly to Auckland
Day 16 Auckland

I'm thinking the most obvious thing to do is eliminate Melbourne to relax the schedule a bit. Thoughts and comments are very welcome!
We are interested in seeing a bit of everything, especially the scenery and cities/ architecture. We also enjoy train rides. Night life is not an issue. We will be travelling during the latter part of March or early April.

AndrewDavid Jul 13th, 2004 09:57 AM


You might consider basing yourself at Pat Woolford"s Lilybank B&B in Startford, Cairns when you are up that way. Pat is a frequent apropos N. Queensland contributor to this site and she and her husband Mike run a great operation.

We enjoyed the time we spent in and around Mossman and up on the Atherton Tableland. You'll probably get rained on at that time of year but we loved that part coming from the drought stricken Southwest and spent most of our time in bathing suit and thongs.

If you stay at Lilybank you are conveniently placed for dinners at the fabulous Garden Room.


tropo Jul 13th, 2004 02:43 PM

Sockboy, you could cut your Sydney stay down to 3 days and not 4. Also you could cut Melbourne down to 2 days, instead of 3 days. However, if you do stay 3 days in Melbourne, try to make one of those days, a day trip to the Great Ocean Road.
Then try to add that extra day to your Sth Island stay in New Zealand. The reason I say this, is that, I feel the SI of NZ, will be your holiday "Scenic" highlight. Try not to spend too much time in Auckland or Christchurch, make sure you break away from these cities, and get down to see Mt.Cook, Queenstown, Milford Sound, the central lakes, Te Anau, etc,

tropo Jul 13th, 2004 02:46 PM

I also forgot to mention, the train trip from Melbourne to Sydney, is not that scenic. If you opted to fly between both capital cities, this will definitely give you extra time in either one. It may pay you to compare the rail fare to the airfare, sometimes, the airfare (if discounted) can be cheaper than the rail fare.

sockboy Jul 13th, 2004 03:21 PM

Thanks so much for the suggestions, I will definitely look into the B&B in Cairns, I have read that recommendation in several other threads as well.

I too was feeling that I just wasn't going to have enough time on the south Island of NZ. I am hoping to tweak things to give a full 5 days there.

I haven't read much on the board about Canberra. I enjoy capitals and tours of government and learning about different systems of government. Would a day trip from Sydney be practical? How many hours is it? Or if I did want to stop in would I be best to spend a night?

Thanks again.

Neil_Oz Jul 13th, 2004 06:55 PM

sockboy, it sounds like you'd enjoy Canberra. You could start by looking at, but for a potted intro to Australian history, culture and government visit Parliament House, the National Museum and the Australian War Memorial (a must). Depending on your tastes and available time you might also enjoy the National Gallery and the adjoining High Court building, and maybe the National Portrait Gallery in Old Parliament House.

Although a day trip is possible, Canberra is 290 km (3+ hours) from Sydney, so a day trip would be rushed -overnight if you can. There are good restaurant districts at the Manuka and Dickson centres, each a short cab ride from the city centre ("Civic"). The quickest way to get here is by car, second quickest bus.

Inclined to agree with tropo about the Sydney-Melbourne train. I haven't done the rail trip, but by car it's none too exciting. And the Sydney-Canberra train I think takes 4.5 hours or so, not a fast trip.

sockboy Jul 14th, 2004 09:06 AM

I am getting my head around the seasons "downunder" and am beginning to wonder about visiting Cairns in February-March (we've moved things ahead a month). I am definitely going to weight the trip to be more NZ and Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne intensive, but wonder about Cairns. I can use my FF points for a flight to Cairns, and I would like to see the GBR. What can I expect Feb-March weather wise? Is the time and hassle worth the trip at that time of year?

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