hotel suggestions or input

Old Mar 11th, 2004, 07:59 PM
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hotel suggestions or input

so i am finally getting down to booking my trip to australia for two weeks. 4 days in sydney, 4 in cairns and 4 in melbourne. any input on the Mecure Ultimo in sydney? Mecure Harbourside in Cairns? or the Travelodge Southbank in melbourne? it's part of a package deal. just needs to be safe and clean. any suggestions as to day trips from these places.
highness67 is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2004, 08:30 PM
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I think they should be clean and Cairns will be safe also. (never a gaurantee of course) Both a little away from the main centres but not too far. Ultimo I quite like but some don't. I probably would stick to main roads around there at night or get a cab to the door. It is am emerging area. Very close to Chinatown and the southern end of Darling Harbour. Convenient to the main train terminus where also a lot of bus tours leave.

Melbourne I am not very familiar with. Usually I have only been for a horse race or for work.
DropBear is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2004, 11:41 PM
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I can only speak for Sydney.

Mercure Ultimo is in a not so pleasant area, and a long way from most things you would want to do as a tourist. Public transport is not so good, either. You may be near the light rail, but that doesn't go anywhere you'd want, either.

I'd consider staying there only if it was a significantly better deal than somewhere more central.

Look at some of Alan's posts for suggestions.
margo_oz is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2004, 09:57 AM
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This addresses only the Melbourne portion of your trip.

I'm not familiar with that Travelodge, but Southbank is a nice area with waterfront restaurants on the south bank of the Yarra River, adjacent to the city.

NOTE: In Melbourne the city means downtown, what many other Australians call the CBD (short for central business district).

Ideally one would take two days to drive the Great Ocean Road, staying somewhere en route. However, it sounds as if your package deal ties you to sleeping in Melbourne. Given that that is the case, this is what I recommend.

* 1 day (at least!) in the city / CBD / downtown. Ride the FREE City Circle Tram, and visit the Queen Victoria Market (which, however, is closed Mondays and Wednesdays). No car necessary.

* 1 day in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne. My favourite place there is the William Ricketts Sanctuary (mystical sculptures set amongst ferns and trees, with brilliantly coloured parrots flying around) .

The nearby National Rhododendron Gardens, just outside of Olinda, are delightful too. They're in their full glory in October when the rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias bloom, but already are pleasant in September when the cherry blossoms are out. (If memory serves me correctly, you'll be visiting in September, if your plans are still the same as they were before.)

You could do William Ricketts and Rhododendron Gardens in a day. You would need a car for this outing.

Another pleasant way of spending this day in the Dandenongs would be to ride the Puffing Billy steam train from Belgrave to Gembrook and back. (You could reach Puffing Billy's starting point, Belgrave, by taking a train from the CBD, and wouldn't need a car at all if you chose this option.)

* 1 day..... This depends on the weather. If it's sunny, you might consider driving along the Great Ocean Road as far as Lorne, lunching there, and then entering the temperate rainforest behind the town and seeing Erskine Falls. If your mobility level permits, be sure to walk down the steps to the bottom of the falls, and walk along the river bank for a bit. This is about as much as you'll be able to do in a day. You'll then need to turn around and drive back to Melbourne.

If it's cloudy and drizzly, which it easily can be in September, forget the GOR (you in any case will see fabulous beaches in Sydney and in Far North Queensland). Spend another day in the central part of Melbourne. I highly recommend the National Art Gallery of Victoria that's located on St. Kilda Road, probably within walking distance of your Southbank accommodation and, at most, a short tram ride away. Although you can peruse the paintings on your own, the 1-1/2 hour guided tour is well worth it.

The entire park area across St. Kilda Road from you (Kings Domain and Royal Botanic Gardens) is absolutely delightful, and I found the Shrine of Remembrance (war memorial) interesting and moving. (In my opinion, knowing something about the losses at Gallipoli in WW I, which had a profound effect on Australian society, is essential to understanding the Australian ethos of mateship. I've never been to New Zealand but, staggering as Australia's losses were, New Zealand's were even more so, on a proportional basis. So I would guess that, if it's possible, my comment about Australia is all the more applicable to NZ.)

The art gallery, the extensive parks nearby and the Shrine of Remembrance could occupy a day. No car required.

* 1 day...... Depending on whether or not you're planning to go to other Australian places in which you can see native animals, you might consider a visit to the Healesville Nature Sanctuary and a visit to a Yarra Valley wintery. Car required.

RESTAURANTS: Dining in one of the ethnic restaurants on Lygon Street (in Carlton, immediately north of the CBD) is a treat. No need to make reservations. Just walk up Lygon Street till you see a restaurant that takes your fancy. You could use a tram to get from Southbank to Carlton.

Having dinner in the tram restaurant, which travels the streets while you dine, is a lovely way of seeing some of Melbourne. Reservations are essential. You can (and should) book well in advance from the U.S. If memory serves me correctly, the tram restaurant's departure point should be within walking distance of your Southbank accommodation.

Chinatown, towards the eastern end of the CBD, has good and very reasonably priced restaurants. By my standards, Southbank and Chinatown are within walking distance of each other but, if you like, a tram could cut down on the walk.

Southbank itself has restaurants too, as I mentioned before.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2004, 02:46 PM
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The Travelodge Southbank is def. in a safe area. The hotel is fairly new, and the competition is always present - so I would assume clean as well. Location is also central. As for daytrips... Since you have 4 days in Melb, I would spend at least 2 on the city itself, and then maybe 1 day tour of Great Ocean Road & poss. next day a trip to Healesville Sanctuary? Not sure what your interestes are or what time of year you will be here. There are several tourist kiosks scattered aroudn the city, and I would imagine there will be information at your hotel. One I know of is in the Bourke St. Mall. Enjoy your trip.
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