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Is this an acceptable schedule for a first trip to Australia, and maybe only trip?

Is this an acceptable schedule for a first trip to Australia, and maybe only trip?

Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:00 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Is this an acceptable schedule for a first trip to Australia, and maybe only trip?

We considering our first trip to Australia and would be booking a Quantas airpass. This is what I have in mind. If it's crazy, please let me know! Thanks.

Saturday Nov 18 11:55p.m. departure Fly LAX to Brisbane

Tuesday November 21 9:30A-11:45A Brisbane to Cairns (we'll just see Brisbane for one day, our goal is to get to the Port Douglas area.

Saturday November 25 6:40A - 9:05A Cairns to Ayers Rock

Monday November 27 12:20P - 4:50P Ayers Rock to Sydney

Saturday December 2 8:30A - 10:20A Sydney to Hobart

Wednesday December 6 10:30A - 12:20P Hobart to Sydney I'd like to do this one day later if flights to LAX were available on Friday instead, but they're not at this time. That's ok, since we're going in 2007, but I have no idea what flight availability would be then! Is 3 1/2 days or 4 1/2 days in Tasmania worth the effort?

Thursday December 7 11:35A - 6:00A Sydney to LAX

Thanks for your input!
Images2 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:55 PM
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I do not know Tasmania but I think it would deserve more than 4 days so I would probably skip it to the next trip and spending 3 more days on the reef and one more day in Ayers Rock/Mt. Olgas/Alice Springs area.

Cairns: I would suggest you to check the two wonderful quicksilver cruises from Port Douglas to the outer reef and to Low Isles (www.quicksilvercruises.com). You could then still overnight in Cairns and they will pick you up at your hotel in Cairns and take you to Port Douglas and back, but if you do both cruises it is better to overnight in Port Douglas inbetween with a later wake up. With 3 more days I would then explore some other islands south of Cairns, like Fraser Island or Lizard Island or the Whitsunday Islands.
Fabio is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:57 PM
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I really think you are trying to do too much in the short amount of time you have. Given that you have 16 days of actual time in Australia, I would not try to do more than 3 cities. (Of course, you can take day trips from your destination cities.) If you try to do as much as you currently have planned, you'll just find yourself spending too much time in airports and on airplanes.
I would definitely add on more time in both Port Douglas and Sydney. This would allow a variety of day trips from both places. Also, it would be a shame to miss the Sunday market in PD--a lot of fun. Then you need to decide on your third destination--Uluru or Tasmania. If you confine yourself to Uluru, you can easily do it in one or two nights. If you want to spend more time in the area, plan to go to Kings Canyon too. If you decide on Tasmania, you could get a good taste of the Hobart area in 4 nights, but you could easily spend more time in Tasmania by driving to other areas.
longhorn55 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 03:27 PM
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I would skip Uluru for a November trip as I think the weather would be too hot by then. If you want to see some outback areas on your Airpass then going to Darwin and seeing Kakadu and Kathrine gorge would be preferable to Ayers Rock ( Uluru). You need more time in and around Port Douglas and Cairns so you can add a trip to the Atherton Tablelands and also more time in Sydney and surrounds. November will be lovely in Sydney at that time and then you will have time for side trips as well from there. It is a lot of money to spend to go to the Centre and see a rock in the middle of the heat with flies around at that time and I personally do not think its worth it.
lizF is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 03:55 PM
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Just reading your itinerary makes me tired - you'll be spending a lot of your time in airplanes and airports. While I completely understand the temptation to cram in as much as possible, I think you'll have a better trip if you spend more time in fewer places.

Regarding your question about Tasmania - we've visited twice now, spending 12-16 days each time and we still want to go back. Yes, you can see Hobart in 3-4 days, but you'll be missing the best of what Tas has to offer.
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 03:59 PM
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> If it's crazy, please let me know!

Its agressive, but certainly not crazy!

It really depends on what you want to see in each area, but if it's your only chance to come here, then it will certainly give a number of quite distinct experiences of Australia.

If if you want to cut anything, then I'd suggest missing Brisbane and going directly from Sydney to Cairns.


Bill (in Sydney)
Bill_Bolton is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 05:16 PM
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Thank you all! This is the time for us to decide what to include and what not to, before it's time to book. Airfare is so expensive, we have to add a Cincinnati to LAX flight onto it also, so we want to see as much as reasonably possible.

Is the Quantas Airpass, usually the best way to go?

Thanks again.
Images2 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2006, 07:29 PM
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When you are travelling so far Ayres Rock is a must see. Nothing like it in the world also it gives you the Outback experience. Tasmania I am not so sure. It is a lovely island and if buswalking and wilderness areas are your interests definitely include it, but I would have thought that mainland Australia has so much to offer that a long flight to Tassie is a luxury. Consider Kakadu National Park for instance or what about Melbourne, the Penguins at Phillip Island and the Great Ocean Road.
DownUnder is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 04:29 AM
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Yes - I think it's mad. But then depends (a) whether money is no object and (b) whether you really want to see what is on offer rather than what the travel brochures say.

I can't see the point of going to Uluru (mega bucks) for a day and a half. It is a wonderful part of Australia - but to get there takes time. And there is so much more to see there than the Rock.

And I can't see the point of going to Tassie for 3 days. What are you planning to see there - why is it included in your itinerary?

fuzzylogic is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 03:10 PM
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also my first 4 weeks trip to Australia was in November.
Sydney is my preferred town in the world and I could even live there (we are from Europe).
We did Melbourne/ocean road, Sydney, Ayers Rock Alice Springs, Cairns, Brisbane/surfers paradise and back to Sydney.
If I went back I would skip Brisbane and, as said in my previus post here, would stay longer on the reef and Ayers Rock area. As regards Kakadu we had he same idea but then we came to the conclusion that november might be the starting of the wet, until april/may and I would prefer to do it in June-september latest, after the wet with even more vegetation !

Yes it was very hot in the red center but the major concern was not the heat but the number of flies....
anyway it was wonderful !
Fabio is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 03:46 PM
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Check with Qantas ( note the spelling) in the US or look on the Qantas site there to see just what you could do without getting an airpass. A lot of the time Qantas allows some domestic fares and if that could include Cairns and surrounds and then to Sydney then you will save a lot of money. Also have a look on the Australia websites of www.jetstar.com and www.virginblue.com.au for airfare specials as well as qantas.com.au that way you alone can work out whether the cost of an airpass is worth it or not. I still personally believe that you could well and truely fill in your time in both the Cairns area/ Port Douglas and perhaps Hinchinbrook Island and the Sydney areas and even then to Canberra. Don't get caught up sitting at airports and in planes the whole of your trip.
By the way some US tourists staying on Hinchinbrook a couple of weeks ago were absolutely delighted to see 10 humpback whales ( I think they were humpback) around the island en route from the mainland whereupon the boat stopped to watch the performance close up. They also commented on the excellance of the trip to the coral reefs from there seeing that the reef they go to is not overpopulated with thousands of tourists every day.
lizF is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 05:12 AM
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Thanks so much for your valuable replies. I'm listening! Sorry about the Qantas misspelling, it's just a natural thing for Americans to put that U in without thinking! Their airpass includes the trip to Ayers Rock, if we decide to go there, so the airfare isn't a great add on. I thought November would be the wrong month for a trip to Kakadu so I haven't even considered it.

Your suggestions to add time to Port Douglas have me looking into the Undara Lava Tubes. The trip there looks interesting. I'll also look into the quicksilver cruises and hinchinbrook. Thanks so much.

I've been reading this forum for hours and hours and it's so valuable, but also confusing since some people suggest one place is wonderful, as in the Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island, then many others say it's a big waste of time, unless you have days to commit to the area.

I'll drop Tasmania I suppose, and was only going to Brisbane as it was a gateway into Australia. We can fly into Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne, so I was choosing the closest city to Cairns to begin our trip. My reasoning was to begin in the north and work our way to the south since the weather would be getting warmer and warmer....

I was so sad and shocked to hear of Steve Irwin's death. He brought his love of Australia to us in the US. We are very sad for his family and will miss him.

Thanks so much again for your help.
Images2 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 01:26 PM
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Australia is a wonderful country, my favourite and I know how it is hard to select and skip places. We also did not want to cut anything and see as much as we could, but then we were happy with our decision to save more trips for Australia and see each area much more in details rather than jumping from one place to another like kangaroos !

You will love it !
Fabio is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 04:33 PM
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Undara tubes are great. As it is a 'bit of a drive' from Port Douglas can I suggest that you stay one night out there and at least one on the Atherton Tablelands. Yungaburra would be my pick of the places to stay but then I'm biased. Great restaurants in a lovely village and nature all around you. Take a night tour to see the really special animals and a morning walk along the creek for the birds and platypus. Have a look at www.yungaburra.com for more info.
TreeRoo is offline  
Oct 25th, 2006, 09:10 PM
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At the risk of adding even more to your confusion, I will add my 2c. Look at the Qantas site and the flight times and hours spent, add on the time at the airport, getting your car, etc. and you won't want to go to all those places! Would you plan a trip in the US that included NY, Key West, the Arizona National Parks, and Niagra Falls? All of those places are great, but you'd die of airport madness before you were done! Also, more flights go from US to Sydney than anywhere else, so you have more choices. More flights go via Sydney, also, so you have again more choices. Analyze what exactly you want to get out of your trip and then see what geographic areas will fulfill your goals. We love wildlife and snorkeling, so have confined our trip plans to Queensland and Sydney (we also LOVE Sydney and the great museums and activities there--don't shortchange this great city!!) We also planned at first to go hither and yon--everything you read about Australia is so exciting and sounds so wonderful, you just HAVE to go there! Our first trip was 23 days and we went to Sydney, Uluru, Kakadu and Cairns/PD. It's a big country! Plan to enjoy your trip this time and I guarantee that you will be planning your second trip as soon as you land at home. BTW, look into the Qantas offers, sometimes they have specials that include 3 in-country flights (not the airpass which limits you on the zones you can go to and I have heard on this board that changing flights is just not possible (this info may be outdated, so check.)) Have fun planning and hang out here with the rest of us Oz-wannabes (plus the genuine articles, too, of course.)
Sally in Seattle
SnRSeattle is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 12:11 AM
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I second Yungaburra. Platypus spotting, a great time at Nicks restuarant, a stay in the old pub full of character in a shambolic room upstairs with a hairless cat. A huge curtain fig, some really quaint old buildings. Ah such great memories.

Very Queenslandy.
Tassietwister is offline  
Oct 26th, 2006, 12:27 PM
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Images2, others may think that we are crazy too but we spent 2 weeks in Australia and we also traveled around quite a bit. We had the same idea as you, if this is possibly our only trip to Australia, we wanted to see as much as possible.

We spent 6 night in the area around Brisbane (we never actually went to Brisbane itself). We went to surfers paradise, tangalooma dolphin island, and Binna Bura Mountain lodge. We also went to the Australian Zoo.
Then we flew to Cairns and spent 3 nights at Silky Oaks Lodge.
From there we flew to Hayman Island for 3 nights and then on the Sydney for 3 nights.

It seems like a lot of traveling around but we honestly never felt rushed or that we were spending too much time on the airplane--hey, we got to rest on the plane

We did have to decide between Ayres Rock or the stay on Hayman Island and we chose the Great Barrier Reef (we are definately prefer water activities and we wanted to dive)

We did really enjoy Sydney, but it rained the entire time we were there. We went in January.

Just wanted to show you that it can be done if your okay not spending much time just relaxing. No matter what you do you will have a great time. Australia is wonderful and we probably will go back someday--there are just too may other places we want to see before going back.

Have a great time and good luck planning.
24Lisa is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2006, 03:50 PM
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Thanks so much everyone for alot of great replys. You give me lots to think about. I've been off this site for awhile. We have a new grandaughter, who was born several weeks early, but is doing so wonderful. We've had a few trips off to Florida to spend time with her.

Back to planning now, we're even thinking about picking a new month, so all is being redecided.

I can't thank you all enough for all the help you give us!
Images2 is offline  
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