Itinerary Check

Old Jun 5th, 2004, 07:58 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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Itinerary Check

Hi all
I have been a snooper on this website for a good bit and have come up with a few questions of my own.
I am planning a three week trip to Australia in April 2005. This is what I have come up with so far:
Arrive Sydney 14-16
North Coast 17-19
North Coast (?)-Cairns 20
Cairns and area- 20-24
Cairns to Sydney 24
Sydney 24-26
South Coast 26-29
Blue Mountains (?) 29-30
Sydney 1-3
Depart 3rd

Please let me know if you think this is looking feasible.
My questions:
1. We are planning on meandering a lot. I have seen a lot of recommendations for south of Sydney, but I was wondering what the must see's are heading up the North Coast. Does anyone have any recommendation for sites and places to stay? Is three days enough to get the best of it?
2. Where would be the best spot to end up on the North Coast and depart to Cairns?
3. Is it feasible to travel from the Bateman's Bay area directly to the Blue Mountains? I was thinking we could take the train back to Sydney from there. Would it be better to just head back to Sydney for a day or so and then take the train up there?
I look forward to hearing all of your advice.
Thank you,
Abbax is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2004, 09:28 AM
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Hi Abbax,

The conventional wisdom when one is travelling in the southern hemisphere autumn is that it's better to travel from south to north. I don't know that it makes a huge difference over a 3 week period in April, a time of year when the weather usually is pretty decent over much of Australia.

Another reason to go from south to north, in my opinion, is that you may find other coastal areas a let down after the Great Barrier Reef. I love the area around Bermagui and Merimbula and down the coast to Eden. The beaches are gorgeous, and little towns like Tilba Tilba are quaint.

But then there's the GBR, and that's in a whole different class. Let's just say I think it's a good idea to visit other coastal areas BEFORE the GBR.

Here's a website called Travelmate Map Maker that's helpful in getting driving directions, maps, distances and driving times for Australia.

I'll have to defer your other questions to posters who know the answers better than I do.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2004, 10:48 AM
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I would suggest flipping the north and south aspects. You will be heading up north just at the tail end of the Wet.

We just got back from our honeymoon and we were in the Cairns and Port Douglas area the first week of May and it still rained everyday.

While it is only a week difference, it could make all the difference between raining alot and only a light shower in the afternoon(which is what we had in Port Douglass) Though alot of locals said the Wet this year was longer than the last couple of years.

cguest88 is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2004, 04:32 PM
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Abbax - the closest departure point for regular air services to Cairns from the north coast of NSW is Brisbane in southern Qld. A couple of lovely spots on the north coast which immediately come to mind are Nambucca Heads, Byron Bay and their hinterlands.

April can still be tricky weather-wise in North Queensland. In fact it rained every day this past April although it wasn't the heavy tropical downpours (in Cairns at least) associated with the wet season proper. But how do you know - particularly when there was barely any rain for the past 2 Aprils, when we had 2 consecutive failed wet seasons. At least the weather will be warm and the rainforest does look at its best in the rain.
pat_woolford is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2004, 04:52 PM
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We were in N Queensland April 27- May 4. It rained everyday. While it was rough out at the reef, we were able to do introductory dives so stayed underwater. The only thing we missed was our day w/ Greg from Daintree Air who cancelled us due to bad weather.

But that part of the world is the rainforest and it rains. Since it was so hot and muggy, walking in the rain was great., especially since we come from the drought stricken southwest. I spent the whole week in flip flops, a tank top and my bathng suit. Greg did say he felt that in a "normal" season the rain might hand about until June.

We drove from Airlie Beach to Cairns and were held up for 20 hours at the Tully River crossing, due to flooding, but that's a whole other story.

Pat Woolford runs a lovely B&B in Cairns called Lilybank. We loved staying there.

AndrewDavid is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2004, 08:47 AM
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Thank you all for your input! This will help me tremendously over the next few months in planning. I appreciate the south-north idea and am going to take that advice.
Also, I am looking forward to a stay at Lilybank and taking advantage of Pat's advice on day tours. From a previous post, I checked out the accomodations and its a definite providing room is available.
I have been reading The Sunburned Country and have been getting a good laugh. If anyone knows of any other good Australian reads or references, please pass them along.
Remaining question:
1. Is it feasible to travel from the Bateman's Bay area to the Blue Mountains or is the best route to head up from Sydney?
Abbax is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2004, 09:01 AM
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>>>>>>Is it feasible to travel from the Bateman's Bay area to the Blue Mountains or is the best route to head up from Sydney?<<<<<<

I've been to the Bateman's Bay area twice and the Blue Mountains several times. However, I've always accessed the Blue Mountains from Sydney. I've never attempted to reach them from Bateman's Bay. I did a map search, using Bateman's Bay as the departure point and Katoomba as the destination point, at the Travelmate Map Maker website:

The website's suggested route went through Sydney.

I "forced" the website to give me an alternative route by asking it for maps from Bateman's Bay to Goulburn, Goulburn to Oberon, and Oberon to Katoomba.

This alternative route seems possible. It does not save time, however. Still, it might enable you to see more of Australia's scenery.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2004, 09:23 AM
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Well good. Thank you for looking that up for me and for the reference. Sounds like I should adjust things so that we do the Blue Mountains in between Sydney days.
Although we aren't going to ever set this itinerary in stone, I am trying to plan it so we can meander well and get in a lot of good sites and hikes.
My boyfriend has been there three times. All three times he was on a set itinerary that kept him running from one place to the next without much time to really get a look at each place. He has already been to all the big cities. This will be my first trip over and I am having a hard time not trying to bounce all over after reading all that I have about it. So we agreed to stick mostly to NSW for this trip. However, every post I read, I feel like the trip wouldn't be a trip if we didn't go there, or there, or there....
Thanks again,
Abbax is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2004, 11:27 AM
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We found Rolf Smith's "Cold Beer and Crocodiles" an acccount of his bicycle excursion around Australia, entertaining and informative.

I also read a collection of Frank Moorhouse short stories,while we were down under ( unfortunately the name escapes me, help aussies)

AndrewDavid is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2004, 07:22 PM
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Frank Moorhouse short stories could be "loose living"
Rolf Smith has also written a national geographic travel guide to oz

try "the australia stories.a novel" by tj pierce.

In terms of the blue mountains and south coast you might be best served by a southern loop ex sydney.
sydney-blue mountains-cowra-canberra-bateman bay-coast back to sydney.Unfortunately the excellent coast road north of wollongong is closed.

then you could do a sydney-brissy meander and fly brissy-cairns.
johhj_au is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2004, 04:49 PM
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There is no train from Batemans Bay to, well, anywhere (I believe). The nearest train line is at Nowra (Bomaderry) (you can go Syd-Nowra), which is still 90min away driving to BB. And getting around the South Coast really needs a car anyway. You can get a bus to BB but there isnt much public transport once you get there.

BB is roughly 3-4hrs drive from Sydney, depending on how long it takes you to get out of Sydney. You can look at stopping along the way - maybe Jervis Bay or Kiama.

From BB to the Blue Mountains you can either go via Goulbourn (as Judy suggested) or go up the coast, through Wollongong, then skirt around the west of Sydney and then to the Blue Mountains. Either way its at least 4hrs drive, probably a little more.

A possible suggestion is catch train to Nowra and then hire a car. Suggested places to stay are Jervis Bay, Mollymook, Pebbly Beach (highly rec.) or Bawley Point. These are all within 45 min drive of each other and 1hr drive from Nowra.

BB itself is a nice town but not spectacular. The beaches near the town arent very good, they are much better a few kms out of town. There is a river at BB (Clyde) and you could hire a houseboat for a night (lots of fun)

If you wanted to go direct to the Blue Mtns, you might want to drive north after a few days and spend a night somewhere like Kiama or Berry or even Wollongong (much nicer than you think, try Nth Wollongong beach area). Then you can drive to Blue Mtns or train to Syd and train to the Mtns (you might, although I suspect not, be able to catch a bus from Wollongong to the Mtns)

The alternative would be to drive from BB to Goulbourn and stay at somewhere like Moss Vale or Bowral. You can then, assuming the train hasnt been cancelled, catch a train to Parramatta and change for the Blue Mountains.

Probably, in the end, you are better off spending at least a night in Sydney in between the South Coast and the Blue Mtns
ctd02 is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2004, 02:51 PM
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Thank you all so much for your recommendations! Once I have our plans more together I will post them for a seal of approval. Your comments have definitely helped guide me in the right direction (literally).
And I am looking forward to reading the books mentioned as well. I am quickly approaching the end of Bill Bryson's!!
Abbax is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2004, 03:46 PM
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Dear Abby (sorry, I guess I'm not the first to recycle the title of that old Kinky Friedman song...): if you decide to drive BB-Blue Mts via Canberra, the trick is, as you head towards Sydney on the Hume Highway, turn left near Campbelltown onto the Northern Road (follow the signs to Penrith). A little before Penrith, turn left (west) onto the M4.

If you want bypass Canberra, head west from BB and you'll find a turnoff in the town of Braidwood that will take you to Goulburn. (I'm assuming you have, or will have, a map, otherwise none of this will make any sense at all.)

I enjoyed Bill Bryson's book overall, but he was disappointingly sloppy on Canberra. I found it hard to believe that a writer known for his research would simply meander into town, book into a motel, wander into the city ("Civic") for a meal, rely on a passing gourmet in the form of a teenage skateboarder for restaurant advice, then complain that the place was dead. Any Canberran (other than a passing skateboarder, perhaps) could have told him that the cafe and restaurant action happens in several nearby shopping centres, led by lively Manuka. All in all it was a bit like a relative of mine who complained bitterly about getting lost in Canberra (pop. 310,000) because she'd been too cheap to buy a road map.

Neil_Oz is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2004, 08:53 PM
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Abby, The Frank Moorhouse stories, we enjoyed : "The Americans, Baby".
AndrewDavid is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2004, 09:24 PM
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And I should have said that near Campbelltown you turn left onto the Narellan Road, not the Northern Road. When you get to Narellan you turn left, then right, and then you're on the Northern Road. It's only a 2-laner with few overtaking prospects, but if you're not in a mad rush it's OK.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2004, 11:43 AM
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In my previous post I gave Bateman's Bay as a reference point as I could not remember the hotel where we wanted to stay, but knew BB was close. I now found it again- Has anyone heard of Bannister's Point Lodge in Mollymook?
We are looking at heading there from Sydney directly and then taking day trips out to the nearby sites. On the map it seems pretty close to a lot of the spots mentioned. We are planning on hiring a car for the duration of our south coast venture. And I have rearranged our days so that we will head to the Blue Mountains from Sydney. It seems more efficient with respect to time and energy.
Thanks again for the book references and route suggestions, they look great!
Abbax is offline  
Old Jun 18th, 2004, 12:57 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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I haven't stayed at Bannisters Point Lodge itself, but I have spent many many holiday weeks at Mollymook/Narawallee - that is, the area where the lodge is. I understand the Lodge is recently renovated and has a good (albeit fairly expensive) restaurant. I dont think you will be disappointed.

The Lodge is on a headland, pretty good views (except for the trees!). Mollymook beach is within walking distance (about 15min walk/3 min drive) and Narawallee about 5 min drive. Both are fantastic beaches, Narawallee is a bit calmer/less waves.

From where you are Pebbly Beach is about 30min drive south, Jervis Bay about 30 min north. Also have a look around for Pigeon House moutain - the turn off is about 15 min south and there is a 15 min dirt road drive. It leads to a a 2.5hr return hike which gives you fantastic views. Durras lake (just past Pebbly Beach) is also fun, as are Burrill Lake and Lake Conjola.

On the way from Sydney, Berry makes a nice lunch/morning tea stop over.

For me, I wouldnt bother going down to BB itself, unless you wanted to stay on a houseboat. Between Jervis Bay and Pebbly Beach/Depot Beach is the best part of the South Coast, until you are down south of BB.

Admittedly the area has a scarcity of great restaurants, although there are a few. Ulladulla, the nearest town, is pretty hopeless food wise (but has some good fish and chip shops and a large supermarket). Have a look at Milton, about 10min drive inland, which has a couple of better places to eat.

Let me know if you have any specific queries and I will do my best (given my periodic visits to the board)
ctd02 is offline  
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