Itinerary for December 2007 - Comments please!

Old Dec 10th, 2006, 08:15 AM
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Itinerary for December 2007 - Comments please!

If all goes well we should be booking our flights next month - we need to book early as we are not very flexible with dates. Here's the itinerary we have so far, what do you think? There will be 3 of us (my husband and I, and our 12 year old son).
Day 1 - Arrive Cairns, pick up campervan and drive to Port Douglas
Day 2 - Breakfast with birds in Port Douglas
Day 3 - GBR snorkelling trip from Port Douglas
Day 4 - Port Douglas to Daintree. Mossman gorge on the way.
Day 5 - Rainforest walk with Pete Baxendell
Day 6 - River trip in Daintree
Day 7 - Daintree to Atherton. Granite gorge and rock wallabies.
Day 8 - Atherton to Undara lava tubes. Tour at the lava tubes.
Day 9 - Walk at Undara lava tubes, then drive to Atherton via Innot Hot Springs.
Day 10 - Atherton to Cairns, stopping at the curtain fig tree.
Day 11 - Kuranda.
Day 12 - ??? + Tjapukai evening show.
Day 13 - Fly to Ayres Rock and pick up car.
Afternoon + evening tour + nightsky tour.
Day 14 - Morning tour at Uluru, then drive to King's canyon.
Day 15 - Rim walk, then drive to Alice Springs.
Day 16 - Hot air balloon trip (if we can afford it!, then Standley chasm.
Day 17 - Desert park and Flying doctors tour. Fly to Melbourne late afternoon.
Day 18 - Pick up campervan and drive to Phillip Island. Koalas and penguins.
Day 19 - Christmas day in Phillip Island!
Day 20 - Phillip Island to Lake Entrance.
Day 21 - Eden whale museum.
Day 22 - Pebbly Beach.
Day 23 - Blue Mountains.
Day 24 - Sydney opera house + harbour cruise.
Day 25 - New Year's Eve, will try to get to a good vantage point for the fireworks.
Day 26 - Manly beach.
Day 27 - Exploring Lane Cove National Park (near our holiday park) before our flight to Singapore.
Day 28 - Singapore - Sentosa Island.
Day 29 - Singapore, then flight to London in the evening.
MietteMeg is offline  
Old Dec 11th, 2006, 01:58 AM
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Looks like a pretty comprehensive trip. I don't know what it will be like in 12 months, but be prepared for a very hot journey. We have already had one 42C day in Melbourne for this summer and the Alice is regularly in the high 30's to low 40's degrees Celsius at this time of the year.
I can think of better places to spend Christmas day, but then a good Aussie BBQ and a swim with the hordes of holidaymakers at Phillip Island should be a bit different!
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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A swim for us on Christmas day will certainly be different!
Could you suggest a quieter place to spend Christmas, in the same area? We found that many places in Victoria have a minimum stay around Christmas, which is a problem for us.
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 11:19 AM
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If you are going in December, I would not spend so much time in the Alice Springs/Ayers Rock area. It will be hot and accomodations are not cheap there. Why not do the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to Adelaide and then Kangaroo Island? I've heard you English people don't do the heat well and the flies are terrible.

Your tour would be better for May-August.

BTW, I am flying this Friday, December 15 to Australia. I paid $2,100 round trip in economy. (First class was $25,000 fully refundable) Miami to London to Singapore to Sydney. Going through Los Angeles was $2,500.

I'm working my way from Sydney to Melbourne, flying to Tasmania and back to Sydney.

Last year I started in Perth and worked my way up the West Coast and got to Sydney for the fireworks. Wonderful, but lots of people. Book early for your accomodations.

Several years ago, I took the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and back to Sydney.

And back in 1992, I flew to Sydney, visited Ayers Rock, Cairns and Brisbane.
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 11:33 AM
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Thanks wally34949, unfortunately Christmas is the only time we can get 4 weeks of work so May - August is not an option. As for the heat, I am actually French, we tend to go on holiday in hot countries and know that it will be very hot if we go to Australia in December!
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 12:40 PM
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With the exception of North Queensland and the centre I think you will be pleasantly surprised at our weather in Australia in summer. Sure we can get hot days and heat waves but in the main we have summer days that most of the Med. countries would love to have.
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 01:52 PM
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Thanks lizF, just what we want, a break from the cold winter. We know that it is not the ideal time of the year for Uluru (flies) and North Queensland (stingers) but we had to choose between 4 weeks in December or 2 weeks in August!
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 02:10 PM
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Looking at your Itinerary, Phillip Island is probably as good a place as any to spend Christmas Day. Most of those coastal towns are fairly crowded over the holiday period, but nothing like the crowds in Europe during August, so you should have a good time. The caravan or camper parks may be busy so I would do a bit of research on that. On that route Wilsons Promontory is a great area of Victoria for natural beauty and Metung is a delightful very small town and a nicer place to stay than Lakes Entrance.
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 03:20 PM
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Miette Meg - I've lived around Cairns for 15 years and can assure you that December is generally a far better month for reef than August when winter SE winds can ruin a reef trip. Who knows what 2007 will bring, this December we're having maximum temps of 30C, sometimes less - many other Australian cities have been experiencing higher temperatures. When much of the country is in severe drought, Far North Qld is almost embarrassingly green and verdant. Tropical evenings now are balmy, ideal for outside dining, our winter isn't the time for this.

For your Tableland stop-over I'd make it at Yungaburra rather than Atherton, its a lovely little town and you could take a nocturnal wildlife spotting tour with Alan's Wildlife Tours to see some of our unique native animals, such as Lumholtz's tree kangaroo. Also don't forget boat trip on Lake Barrine - a crater lake not far from Yungaburra. That part of the Tablelands is usually far cooler than the coast or the savannah country of Undara.


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Old Dec 12th, 2006, 02:27 AM
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Days 21,22 and 23 will be mostly spent in the car as you are talking long distances. All of the places you mention on these days deserve at least a full day spent there not a short time after driving all day. Perhaps you could spend some time around Jervis Bay which isn't all that far from Pebbly Beach.
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Old Dec 12th, 2006, 05:00 AM
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wallos, the part we are the most unsure about is actually Melbourne to Sydney. We don't really know where we will stay (most places seem to have minimum stay periods over Christmas) or where we should go, so any advice will be welcome. We know we want to see the koalas and penguins on Phillip Island, the whale museum in Eden, we'd love to stay in a campsite where there are kangaroos running around (we've never seen any in the wild!), and we wantto see the New Year's Eve fireworks in Sydney.
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Old Dec 12th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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Pat, for Atherton we were looking at the Big4 holiday park (http://www.woodlandscp.com.au/) which looked quite nice. We'll have a look at Yungaburra and lake Barrine too now. Thanks for the info.
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Old Dec 12th, 2006, 03:45 PM
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For kangaroos around your campsite, pebbly beach is a good choice (not my favourite spot - always been a lot of people when I've been there. merry beach/pretty beach also would do the trick (they're basically over the durras mountain from pebbly beach), as would the eco resort at murramarang.

merry beach cp - http://www.merrybeachcaravanpark.com.au

pretty beach
(this is probably my fave spot, so pretty, camp by the beach (can be a bit windy) or back amongst the trees, http://www.traveldownunder.com.au/Ne...ravan_Park.asp

murramarang http://murramarangresort.com.au/

there's a place i camped at called coolendel www.coolendel.com.au which is a little off the beaten track near Nowra, but was a great spot - you'd probably want longer than overnight though, it's a bit of an effort to get there, but worth it - great swimming in the shoalhaven river, also canoes for hire. there were some kangaroos, but there were a lot of very large wombats which are very cool.
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Old Dec 13th, 2006, 10:42 PM
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The time of year you are planning is perhaps the busiest with most places having minimum stays. Pebbly Beach even has a ballot for camping spots so I am unsure about you being able to have one night here and there. Coolendel is a wonderful place on the Shoalhaven River with kangaroos, wombats ( my mother thought they were bears), goannas. Not much water up there at the moment because of the drought but still can canoe, jump off the "rock" float down the rapids on airbeds and generally enjoy the peaceful surrounds. The road in is an adventure and wouldn't recommend that you take it after dark. Turn off is from Nowra which is north of Jervis Bay turnoff - Greenpatch , Huskisson, Sussex Inlet : all within easy reach of Sydney for the New Years Eve celebrations. Also be aware of Sunday afternoon traffic jams during this peak holiday period.
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Old Dec 14th, 2006, 02:23 PM
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Not sure what happened to my previous post, it seems to have disappeared... Coolendel looks really good (especially after seeing the wombat photo on the website!) but we will be in a small campervan (not 4WD) so I don't think we would be able to get there? Am I right?
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Old Dec 14th, 2006, 04:31 PM
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I'd ask the coolendel people what they think. the road is dirt, but you don't need a 4wd, but I suppose it depends on how comforable you are dirt roads. I have a little honda civic and it was fine but then my car does think it's a rally car when you give it some space. I actually drove in in the dark - I agree, it was much easier in the daylight!
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Old Dec 15th, 2006, 03:24 PM
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We frequent Coolendel regularly and do not own a 4 wheel drive. The local schools take buses in there for camps so provided you take your time and travel in daylight it is well worth the drive. There is a sign along the way which reads " don't despair you're almost there " That should tell you a bit about the road ! My American friends always take her o/s visitors to Coolendel and all love it.You will be amazed at the amount of stars you can see at night out there so here's hoping for some good weather for you.
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