itinerary for one month in Australia with a kid

Old May 8th, 2017, 07:37 AM
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itinerary for one month in Australia with a kid

Hi there,

We are a family with one 5 years old kid and we will be travelling for a month from July to August to Australia, after much research on this forum and the internet I've come up with the below itinerary and would like to take your opinion of it, your input is much appreciated.

We arrive in Sydney.

- Sydney (5 nights)
- Brisbane (5 nights)
- Gold Cost ( 7 Nights)
- Port Douglas (3 Nights)
- Cairns (3 nights)
- Sydney (1 night)

Then return home from Sydney

We like theme parks, wildlife, zoo, visiting farms and parks, watching feeding animals and penguins, basically everything that will make our kid and us enjoy our time as a family.

We wanted to do some skiing but I noticed that all the skiing areas are in South West of Australia, so you do you recommend spending a night or two there? and from which of the nights above do you recommend that we deduct?

Thank you so much in advance for taking time to answer my questions
Tariqalsada is offline  
Old May 8th, 2017, 05:19 PM
Join Date: May 2015
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You have an enviable amount of time for your holiday but I think there is too much time in places that are pretty similar.
This is winter Down Under so the weather may not be great everywhere and bring a light jacket for rain.
Cairns and Port Douglas are pretty close together so you could stay in one or the other and do much the same activities - GBR trip, rainforest, crocodile farm etc.
Likewise 12 whole days for Brisbane and the Gold Coast is far too long. I'd drop Brisbane altogether I think as you can fly into the Gold Coast airport direct. We took our kids (we live in NZ)to the Gold Coast for several holidays when they were young and enjoyed the theme parks but a week is more than enough. Sea World is great, and also Movie World. Wet n Wild they got bored at (mainly rides and swimming pools) and Dream World had a tragic fatal accident late last year (kind of puts me off the place). Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary would be a better choice for seeing Australian birds and animals.
Australia is so big and the skifields are not close to the cities. Only my opinion but skiing in New Zealand is better and more skifields closer together and higher mountains!
This suggestion will disturb your itinerary but what about a few days in Queenstown, New Zealand for skiing? There are direct flights from Melbourne and Sydney and it's about a 3 hour flight. Perisher (largest Southern Hemisphere skifield)is 6 hours drive from Sydney and 7 from Melbourne so flying to Queenstown does not seem that bad!
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Old May 8th, 2017, 08:58 PM
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Going to NZ sounds like a great idea and thank you for your suggestions, I will cut down days from Brisbane and remove Port Douglas and stay in Cairns for 3 days (are 3 days enough?)

Where do you suggest we put the NZ part in our Itinerary? As Cairns is a bit far from Gold Coast and I'm not sure if we can go from Cairns to Queenstown as gooogle maps is not showing any travel options.

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Old May 9th, 2017, 01:00 AM
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Where are you coming from? I'm guessing the USA so it will be a long flight and you will probably come into Sydney.
As Australia is so big there's not really a logical/linear way to fly. Therefore I suggest:
Sydney 4 to 5 nights - arrive here and get over jet lag etc. I love Sydney as it's a great city with plenty to do like the Aquarium and Taronga Zoo which are great for animal lovers.
Fly to Queenstown 4 nights there giving 2 days skiing and 1 day to explore the town. Have a lake trip on the Earnslaw which is the oldest and only steamship in the Southern Hemisphere. It makes a trip to Walter Peak sheep station where the little one can see lots of sheep.
After Queenstown consider a flight to Auckland (only 1 hour) and then straight over to the Gold Coast airport. Otherwise you have to fly back to Sydney and then up to the GC.
Gold Coast for 6 or 7 days - again lots to do here. My son loves animals and when he was little he really loved the pelicans that are just on the beach. We don't have pelicans here in NZ so it's funny what they like that doesn't have to cost money! We did see a koala in a tree in Brisbane once so that was exciting for us.
From the GC fly up to Cairns. We did an Outer Reef tour on a catamaran when we were there in 2014 - I was not disappointed in visiting the reef but there were not a huge amount of fish. There are trips closer in where you see giant turtles so that may appeal more.
I put the skiing up front of the holiday as that's a high energy activity when you are still feeling the holiday buzz and by the time you get to Cairns you can relax. You'll probably have to fly back to Sydney to leave Australia but that can't be helped.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 11:40 AM
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Thanks so much for your reply, I will alter the itinerary

We try to avoid flying as much as possible because it means that we need to pack, go to airports, wait to fly.. etc, how easy it is to move between cities by car or train? or flying is actually always the best option for a family?

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Old May 9th, 2017, 03:41 PM
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I would add a couple more days and I think with a 5 year old, Cairns is probably a good option. I would recommend a couple of things: Firstly renting a car it allows you the flexibility to get to Port Douglas, Daintree, Mossman Gorge, Skyrail

Secondly I would recommend the Entertainment book, its a charity fund raiser book which offers great savings at attractions and restaurants.

I would get the Sydney & surrounds book as it gives you significant discounts not just for Sydney but also for other places you are visiting such as:
25% off the Barrier Reef tours in Cairns
Unlimited entry to Sea World, Movie World and Wet'n Wild for $89
25% off entry to Taronga Zoo
Geordie is offline  
Old May 9th, 2017, 05:10 PM
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Flying is the best option in Australia because the country is so big.
You could hire a car and drive but it's a lot of time spent driving. There are not many trains in Australia (in comparison with Amtrak) but for east coast travel it could be an option. Most will be very long trips however.
My suggestions maybe hectic for a 5 year old so it depends how they travel and how adaptable they are! Decide your family priorities and work it out from there.
Sydney 6 nights (hire a car)
Thredbo 3 nights (skiing closest to Sydney)
Road trip up the NSW/QLD coast 4 nights
Gold Coast 6 nights (leave car in GC and fly to Cairns)
Cairns or Port Douglas 4 nights (fly back to Sydney)
Sydney 1 night
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Old May 9th, 2017, 06:12 PM
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If you decide to travel from Australia to New Zealand to ski for a couple of days, you'll have to pass through customs. Don't bring items such as fresh fruits, veg, cheese, seeds, wood carvings from Australia to NZ. Make a customs declaration for anything you're in doubt about. Biosecurity fines are steep. A forgotten apple in your bag could cost you NZ$400.

Keep in mind, you'll require more time to check-in for international flights.

Will you be packing special, warmer ski clothes for your trip? Because, remember, you'll have to carry them around for the rest of your trip.

The flight from Queenstown to Auckland actually takes 1 hour 50 minutes.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 07:17 PM
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Oops yes the flight is that long not one hour! I like going to Queenstown so perhaps it feels shorter. Lol.
Most ski places you can hire all the gear you need. But it will definitely be colder in New Zealand than in Australia.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 10:49 PM
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Over all you made a good itinerary but you missed some great places in your list. Some of them are,

1. Explore the Great Barrier Reef
2. A road trip from Brisbane to Cairns
3. Watching a Cricket match in Adelaide Cricket Ground
4. Visit Broken Hill
5. Visit Whitsunday Islands
6. Spend a weekend In Byron Bay
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Old May 10th, 2017, 01:36 PM
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Hello all,

Thank you so much for all the recommendation and information, this is really helpful, i really appreciate it and can't thank you enough for your help.

Here is what I have in mind after reading your replies, it will be the first time that we try skiing this is why we are looking forward to it.

- Arrive in Sydney and stay for 5 nights
- Go to either Threbdo or fly to Queenstown NZ for 4 nights (I am thinking that 4 nights might be a bit long just for the skii experience unless there is something else we can do)
- Fly to Gold Coast and stay for 7 nights
- Fly to Cairns and stay for 4 nights to explore the area, Port Douglas and explore the Great Barrier Reef

We still have plenty of days as you can see, I checked Whitsunday Islandsand it looks like a great place to visit, in which island do you recommend me to stay? And for how long? And where do you recommend me putting it in my itinerary?

Also I've done a quick research on Whitsunday Islands and noticed that water sports are widely available and a lot of resorts but I am not sure if water sports is a good option while the weather is cold, so it the place best used for relaxation? I noticed that there is a whale watching tour there which is a great experience for my kid.

I hope I didn't miss anything in the my itinerary from the great things Australia has and also the Queenstown Skii experience.

Thanks once again and I'm looking forward to hearing your advice on the above questions and itinerary.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 03:53 PM
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Great you are getting there!
Queenstown would offer lots of other things to do and is a fun place in the winter. I have not been to Thredbo however.
Cyclone Debbie rushed through the Whitsunday area in April and caused terrible damage so I'd be skeptical about what I saw online. Contacting a tourist centre would be good to get the true story. Here in NZ we have the 'I-site' offices everywhere so they will have something for Queensland.
Hamilton Island was pretty damaged as well.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 06:15 PM
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While in Cairns, you might want to take the Skyrail and Kuranda Scenic Railway:
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Old May 10th, 2017, 08:59 PM
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Great! I've just checked Skyrail and it looks like a great experience, we will definitely go, we will also contact local tourism offices in Queenstown and do more research.

I need your advice for the car rental, as I mentioned before, we and also as per your recommendation we would like to go on road trips as long as it's not a very long drive (4 hours max) I am a bit worried about traffic and parking spaces, I see many recommendations about renting a car in Gold Coast and Sydney, so it seems that there is no issue at all with parking and traffic right?

We will be staying in hotels so I'm not sure how easy to have a car while staying in a hotel, in terms of parking space.

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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:49 PM
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Also where do you suggest that we stay in GC? a lot of people are talking about Surfers Paradise as a good location, is it the place place to stay in GC? And what about Cairns? What is the best spot for families?

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Old May 11th, 2017, 12:08 AM
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Do not rent a car in Sydney unless you want one for a day trip, parking is around $70 for 3-4 hours

Public transport is very good for buses, trains and ferries which are a great way to travel

In Gold Coast,if you are only going to parks then you don't need a car there are buses that will take you. Surfers is a bit tacky in places but there are some new places eg Q1 and Soul ??? that look great. I like Broadbeach but somewhere like Southport or Main beach would be good and close to Sea world and a very large public park for the child to play

For Cairns I would rent a car to get the most out of the area
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Old May 11th, 2017, 11:02 PM
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Thanks so much

What do you think of the updated itinerary that I posted?
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Old May 12th, 2017, 03:59 AM
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Watching a cricket match in Adelaide in July - I don't think so!!!!
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