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How's My Itinerary? 1st Pass at 2-Week Honeymoon in OZ!

How's My Itinerary? 1st Pass at 2-Week Honeymoon in OZ!

Oct 6th, 2003, 03:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 17
How's My Itinerary? 1st Pass at 2-Week Honeymoon in OZ!

Hello Again Everyone!
Thanks to all of the fantastic advice on this great board, I have been able to coble together my first pass at the Australian leg of our Honeymoon: October 21st to November 4th (I'll be posting a similar thread on our 12 day NZ leg, as soon as I get more of the OZ stuff nailed down). So, we have 14 days in Australia, the one place on earth that we both want to visit the most (we were made for each other, eh?), and I only have about 12 more days to nail down the ol' itinerary.

Here is where you kind, knowledgeable, beautiful people come in: If you can take a look at my itinerary, give me tips, suggestions, ideas and brutal criticism for any boneheaded mistakes I'm making, I'll be forever in your debt (how is THAT for a run-on sentence?

Here is the basic plot: We are a Honeymooning couple in late twenties. We know that 2 weeks is no where near the time you need to experience the Greatest Hits of Australia, but that is all we have and we probably won't be able to afford a return to OZ for a long, LOOOOOONG time (heck, we can?t afford it now)! Trying to avoid renting a car for the duration of the trip. We are both newly certified divers anxious to flex our flippers in the Great Barrier Reef. We also want to concentrate on OZ's great wildlife, rainforests and hiking and adventures unique to this great country.
(For more information of the types of things we want to do/see, please search for my previous thread entitled: Help! 4 Weeks in OZ / NZ in Oct/Nov. Need Itineraries, Advice, Support and a CLUE!)

Anywhoo, let me know what you think. Any and all advice/ abuse welcome!

Day 1-3: Sydney
Lodging: Sydney Harbor Bed and Breakfast
Activities to include: Botanical Gardens, Harbor Bridge Walk, Taronga Zoo, Ferry to Manly, Manly to Split Bridge hike, aquarium, opera house tour, etc.

Day 4: Sydney during day, Sydney to Brisbane in evening
Lodging: ? in Brisbane (suggestions?)
Activities: Most of the day continuing Sydney activities, Fly Sydney to Brisbane in the evening.

Day 5: Brisbane during day, Brisbane to Noosa in evening
Lodging: ? in Noosa (suggestions?)
Activities: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, (?), Brisbane to Noosa by bus in evening

Day 6: Noosa
Lodging: ? in Noosa (suggestions?)
Activities: Surfing!

Day 7: Fraser Island by day Noosa to Carins in evening
Lodging: ? in Carins
Activities: Day trip to Fraser out of Noosa

Day 8-9: Overnight Live aboard Scuba Dive trip (out of Cairns)
Lodging: Either Reef Encounter or Down Under Dive's Atlantic clipper (which would you choose?)
Activities: Dive, Dive, Dive

Day: 10-14 Port Douglas
Lodging: either PortSea or Hibiscus Gardens (which would you choose?)
Activities: Snorkeling (Wavelength), Daintree, Cape Trib, Kuranda, David Armbrust's tour, rafting the Tully, Lizard Island day trip, etc. Leave on day 14 to fly back to Sydney.

Day 15: Fly Sydney to Christchurch, NZ South Island
Activities: Reminiscing about Australia!

Well, there it is! So what am I missing? What did I do wrong? I know it is packed pretty tight. I feel like I'm shorting my self a day or two in Sydney and well as the Port Douglas area. I almost wish I could talk my self in to only doing Sydney and the PD area (skipping the sunshine coast stuff) so I can do those two locations right... But we're dying to surf Australia (and I think Sydney beaches will still be to cold) and are told we HAVE to see Frasier Island (and it does sound right up my alley). Plus cuddling Koalas at Lone Pine sounds pretty cool too!

Other Regrets: It seems like sacrilege to travel all the way to Oz and not see Ayers Rock/Red Centre. It's just so time consuming and expensive to get out there, I'm not sure how I can fit it in. Also, it seems like a shame to miss the Blue Mountains, and the Great Ocean Road.

But hey, enough of my blathering, what do YOU think?

Thanks in advance for all of your sage advice.

fripp is offline  
Oct 6th, 2003, 09:32 PM
Posts: n/a
You will have to allow yourself time to get back from Noosa to Brisbane ( 3 hours by bus ) to fly to Cairns ( 2 Hours flight) so I guess you would have to leave at about lunch time as I think the last flight for Cairns leaves fairly early in the evening.
Oct 7th, 2003, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 6

Looks like a vacation packed with activities. The only thing I would add is that you might consider that the transportation days get eaten up more than you plan. Remember that you've got to pack up and leave the hotel, get transportation to the airport, be there at least an hour early (for domestic flights)pass through security, get transportation to your new destination, check into the hotel, get settled...that sort of thing. Kind of eats up the day pretty quickly - keep that in mind.

Also, you mentioned taking an opera house tour. While that's a good idea you might take it a step furher and see if there is a performance available. Keep in mind that the opera house is not a single venue but rather several rooms so they have drama, music, and other types of performances. They also have some afternoon performances. I recommend you look into this as a surprise to your better half.

Also, try and allocate at least a little time for just hanging out. If you program too many things into a trip you end up in constant motion. Sometimes the best part of a trip can be taking time to have a little cup of coffee at the quay, talking to a native Aussie. In other words, I think you'll find that the beauty and allure of Oz lies in the people just as much as it does thier landscape.

OK, back to transportation. On your trip up to Cairns, I recommend renting a car as the trip to Port Douglas will otherwise be in a bus and so will every side trip you make from Port. Plus you have to make it back to Cairns to fly out. The car gives you a little more flexibility. Some hotels provide transportation to and from the airport at thier cost, some don't so check. It's amazing how all these little costs add up. Keep in ind that the Lizard Island day trip (if you're going with Daintree Air) leaves out of Cairns...again you're going to need transportation so keep this in mind.

And by the way, mention to Greg that Sandra Bullock might be coming along for the ride and see what he says. That guy's a hoot. And his crew is first rate also.

Finally, with all your activities I highly recommend you get a hat and use sunscreen. Nothing ruins a trip more than a bad sunburn on the first day. Sounds like you'll be outside most of the time so prepare. Keep in mind that the sun is intense and will take a little out of you if you don't respect it.

Good Luck.
Uncle_Mickey is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 01:13 PM
Posts: n/a
As you will note I have answered - well partly - you on another post but I thought I would suggest to you that perhaps you rethink why you want to go to Noosa when you will hardly be there long enough to do anything.
If its just for surfing - then its easier and closer to go either to Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast ( transport is not a problem) or Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast where transport there is better than to Noosa.
Your time is short and you should look at using it to your best advantage.
Oct 7th, 2003, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 151

I'd say stop agonising and relax...If the honeymoon is the 21st, then the wedding's in two weeks!

Quick thoughts:
Sydney - fine

Brisbane - given you're only there one night, I'd just pick lodging in a convenient place. There are Marriotts and the like around, so if you want guaranteed decent accommodation without thinking, that's the way to go.

Noosa- how are you getting there? Lodging: The Sheraton is beautiful, the French Quarter is also quite nice. There are heaps of places around, but I'd check out wotif.com.au to see what's coming up. You'll be there just after school holidays, so there should be good deals.

Cairns - Again, only there for a night. Stay down by the wharf...the Sofitel is nice. As for liveaboard, I did Down Under Dive, and I'd suggest you DON'T do it as a honeymoon couple. The boat looks nothing like the picture, and it is VERY BASIC. Don't know Reef Encounter, but there's heaps of liveaboards, so I would choose a smaller, higher-end boat (fewer people). Splurge...as you said, you won't be back for a while and it is your honeymoon. You'll be happier to retire to a nice cabin after a day of diving and not an ice-box, bare-bones tiny cabin.

Port Douglas - sounds good. I'd go Hibiscus, but also check out the Outrigger in Palm Cove. New property, and all the trips should also go from there.

Given you're a bit budget conscious, do check out wotif.com.au and if that sways you, go for it.
PixieChick is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 08:53 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 17
Wow! Ask and ye shall receive!

Well, thanks to the tons of good advice, I have made a few changes to my Itinerary. I realized that there was no way I could do the day trip to Fraser from Noosa, then the bus trip from Noosa to Brisbane, then the flight from Brisbane to Cairns. Whew! What was I thinking? So, I have axed the last half day in Sydney (now a mere 3 full days), and dropped the overnight stays in Brisbane and Cairns. Now I have the Fraser Day trip and travel to Cairns/Port Douglas on 2 separate days.

So OZ Itinerary 2.0 looks like this (same activities):

Day 1-3: Sydney
Day 4: Brisbane to Noosa
Day 5: Noosa
Day 6: Day Trip to Fraser Island (from Noosa)
Day 7: Noosa/Brisbane to Cairns/Port Douglas
Day 8-13: Port Douglas and area (Including the overnight dive trip)
Day 14: Lizard Island Day trip then Flight back to Sydney

I don't know if the new Itinerary is any more realistic or not. I would've liked to flown from Sydney to Maroochydore, instead of Sydney to Brisbane. Then spend my few days in Noosa/Fraser Island and make my way down to Brisbane for a half day then Fly out to Cairns/Port Douglas. I would save myself a 3 hour bus trip to Noosa (since I won't be going round trip) and some rushing around, BUT the flight to Maroochydore will cost about $100 (x2) bucks more than flying into Brisbane and on the Greyhound.com.au site it has bus fare from Brissy to Noosa at only $12 (!) each way. Can that be right?

I wish I could just cut out the Sunshine Coast portion of the trip and just do Sydney and Port Douglas. But I surfing the sunshine coast, seeing Fraser Island, and the lonely Pine Koala Sanctuary are 3 of the things we want to do the most. Is there any better way to do it?

Thanks for the insight. Many places I read online says it's only 90 minutes from Brisbane to Noosa. But the people here and the bus travel times say otherwise! Where are they getting 90 minutes?!? I guess I was basing my travel time on that. I picked the 3 days in Noosa for the surfing, yes, and because of the launching point for the Fraser Island trip and because I've heard such nice things about the area from this board (plus the proximity to Brisbane, as I have to fly out of there). If you think Surfer's Paradise would be better suited for all of those things, I'll have to look into it.

Uncle Mickey:
You're right about not allowing for travel time. The changes I made will help that somewhat, But I don't know where else I can trim and still get in everything. Any suggestions? I'll try to take in a performance at the Opera House. Great advice on relaxing/enjoying the people of OZ instead of just the sights/activities? you are so right of course. I'll ask Greg for the Sandra Bullock Discount

Pixie Chick:
You come to my rescue again! So nice to hear from you! Yes, of course you are right, I need to relax. As long as you keep the great tips coming, I can breathe easier For the trip from Brisbane to Noosa I was planning on taking the Greyhound bus from Brisbane. 3 hours and according to their website $12 (!) each way. Does that sound right? A big NO on the Down Under Dive, eh? That's a bummer. Sounded perfect. Can you suggest any worthwhile live-aboard dive boats that leave out of PD that would fit the bill?

Thanks again, everyone. Keep it comin??

fripp is offline  
Oct 8th, 2003, 12:52 AM
Posts: n/a
Noosa would not be my pick for surfing as its not that good of a beach for that - Surfer's Paradise ( voted the world's best beach ) followed by any of the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast surfing beaches i.e. Caloundra, Kings Beach, Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headlands, Coolum etc etc.
Lone Pine is nice but there are many other places that are as good if not better.
My main concern is that you have only left 3 days after a long flight to see Sydney - a city that needs much more than that when you are not jetlagged.
The 90 minutes to Noosa from Brisbane is a figment of someone's imagination. I used to drive to University in Brisbane from Buderim which is about 25minutes south of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast and the Uni campus was on the northern side of the city and that took 90 minutes of heavy footed driving - 90 minutes out of peak hour times to Caloundra turn off I think would be more like it.
$12Au would be about right, train/bus travel in Oz is not expensive.
Australia Zoo at Beerwah is a great attraction ( Steve Irwin's place) and on the Gold Coast the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary also have everything that Lone Pine has.
Fraser Island is lovely but you could substitute that for Morton Island or North Stradbroke Island - both are nice and off Brisbane, there are some lovely lakes on Morton and the highest sand dunes in the world and on N. Straddie if you stay at Tangalooma resort you can play with the wild dolphins.
Oct 8th, 2003, 03:31 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 17
Sounds like some good recommendations, Janese. I have to go to Brisbane anyway in order to fly out to Cairns/Port Douglas (there are no flights from Maroochydore to Cairns), so I may as well stop by Lone Pine!
fripp is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 03:59 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 151

Checked out Reef Encounter's site. If their photos are even half accurate, it's significantly more luxurious than Down Under Dive! I'd go Reef in a heartbeat.
PixieChick is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 04:01 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 151
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