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Itinerary Help for Brisbane & Surrounding Areas

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Mar 7th, 2013, 06:58 PM
  #1
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Itinerary Help for Brisbane & Surrounding Areas

In early May I’ll be working a couple of days in Brisbane. Would love some suggestions for an itinerary in the surrounding area. I can spend 3 - 4 days before—and also 3 – 4 days after—my work. Interests are nature walks (not super-strenuous hikes) and photographing natural beauty. Beaches are not a priority because I’ll be coming from Hawaii.

Haven’t been in this part of the country before. Loved the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians. Also loved being based in Pt. Douglas and driving north. Not sure if there places we should base to see the highlights—or if, like the GOR—we should drive and stay someplace different each night.

I’ve just begun researching and am not clear about the differences between the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast—and if one would be better suited to my interests. Would appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks!
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Mar 7th, 2013, 09:09 PM
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tt7
 
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The Gold Coast is (an hour) south - centered on Surfers Paradise, which to me is an overbuilt concrete jungle. The Sunshine Coast is (two hours) north, the primary place being Noosa, which is much nicer.

That said, given your interests, look at staying at Binna Burra or O'Reilly's in the Gold Coast hinterland (i.e. up in the hills, back from the coast).

http://www.binnaburralodge.com.au

http://www.oreillys.com.au
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Mar 7th, 2013, 10:29 PM
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Meant to add that with the time you have you could do a loop up to the Granite Belt.
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Mar 8th, 2013, 05:43 AM
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SE Queensland and NE NSW is one of my favorite regions in Australia. Lamington National Park has an extensive trail system, mostly easy walking to viewpoints, gorges and waterfalls. As already mentioned, Binna Burra or O'Reillys would be the obvious places to stay. Notable hikes for me were the Coomera Circuit and the Daves Creek Loop.

Other great places in the Gold Coast Hinterland include Springbrook (more good walks), the Natural Arch, the Border Ranges Nat'l Park and Mt Warning (mostly an easy climb except for a steep section at the very end).

Further afield, maybe 2-3 hours drive is the Granite Belt that Alan mentioned. This is a wonderful area, off the beaten track with some really good walks - Bald Rock, The Pyrimid and Castle Rock. Moderate climbs on open granite, lots of wildlife about. Suggest getting there via the scenic Mt Lindsay Hwy to Stanthorpe, some unsealed road for 30 kms or so. Detour off after Rathdowny for a look at Mt Barney, the highest mountain that part of Australia - very pretty.

On the coast, I like Noosa to the north and Cape Byron to the south...less developed than the Gold Coast, and some good coastal walking. Byron is a good whale watching spot in season. A scenic drive to Byron, bypassing most of the GC, would be via the Natural Arch, Numinbah Valley and Murwillumbah.
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Mar 9th, 2013, 01:14 AM
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Don't you ever stay home songdoc? She asks with envy...
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Mar 9th, 2013, 08:11 AM
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Melnq: HAHA! The world is my home ;-). I’m just back from Hawaii-Ireland-Paris.

The suggestions re: O’Reilly’s or Binna Burra look like EXACTLY what I’m looking for. The website at Binna Burra has been down so I can’t find any rates. O’Reilly’s is a little more expensive than I’d like to spend … but I might splurge since it looks so nice.

I’ll arrive Sunday evening May 5th (from Hawaii). DP will arrive early morning Monday, May 6th, hideously jet-lagged from the more-than 23 hours of travel. Our tentative plan is to stay Sunday night (for me), and Monday night (for both of us) in Brisbane. We had thought we’d stay at a hotel near the airport.

We could rent a car at the airport and leave early Tuesday to spend 2 or 3 nights at O’Reilly’s or Binna Burra. Would two nights be enough? We need to be back in Brisbane Friday evening.

We’ll work long hours all weekend. Not sure if we should spend a day (Friday, if we spend two nights away before the weekend; or Monday) exploring Brisbane itself. We’ll have 3 nights before we leave for Sydney on Thursday. (Or we could arrive early in Sydney, but we’ve already spent quite a bit of time there.)

Is the consensus to spend that time (M - Th) in the Granite Belt? (FYI, we don’t drink wine—so winery tours are of no interest.) Or spend a night in Noosa? Or something else???

Thanks so much for your help!
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Mar 9th, 2013, 03:14 PM
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If you leave early on Tuesday, you'll get to Lamington by lunchtime. Then if you stay two nights, you'll have at least a day and a half in the park. That should be fine.

Are you driving to Sydney? If so the Granite Belt would be on the way, taking the inland route via the New England Highway. Two nights, a full day would be plenty of time to do a couple of the main walks like the Pyramid and Bald Rock. A good friend's sister is an owner of a B&B in the Granite Belt, near Stanthorpe. We've stayed there several times - very nice:

http://www.whiskeygullywines.com.au/Beverley/index.html

(Besides being a B&B, it's a vineyard as well.)

Ralph
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Mar 9th, 2013, 05:48 PM
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Hi Ralph --

No. Not planning on driving to Sydney. Flights are as low as $47 -- and it would cost much more in rental car drop-off fees. Besides, I don't love driving--unless it's the kind of trip like the Great Ocean Road where I spent more time stopping and taking photos than driving!

Since I'm not driving to Sydney, do you still recommend to Granite Belt from Brisbane?

Thanks!
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Mar 10th, 2013, 04:51 AM
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tt7
 
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When I posted about Binna Burra and O'Reilly's, I quickly realized I had forgotten to add (and therefore did an immediate follow-up post) to point out that it's possible to walk from one to the other (given the terrain, probably a lot easier than driving from one to the other) - though I guess I forgot to hit the 'submit' button because the post apparently disappeared into the ether! That said, they are not cheap places to stay but I thought they would be of interest to you, given your apparent interests. We stayed at Binna Burra years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.

As for "We had thought we’d stay at a hotel near the airport." - don't. We lived in Brisbane for several years and, though now in Melbourne, go back several times a year to visit family or friends. We rarely stay "near" the airport because it usually doesn't suit our plans. However, on the few occasions we have (either arriving late and heading direct to Noosa the next morning) or being parsimonious and wanting somewhere cheap to stay, I think we've always regretted it. I'd go stay in town.

As for car rental, it's usually cheaper to pick it up in the city and avoid the airport surcharge - (though you obviously have to get to the city to do that!]. I'm not sure when you're arriving and your OH is arriving but maybe picking up a car in the city (having got, for example, the train in to town) and then picking them up at the airport, would work?

As for "we don’t drink wine—so winery tours are of no interest." - complete heresy! You're confusing two things. There is nothing to see on a winery tour -- so it's just an excuse for a nice day out in the countryside! As for "we don't drink wine" (why on earth not?), I guess you don't subscribe to the Len Evans Theory of Capacity?
http://outstandingwines.blogspot.com...-capacity.html

Seriously, wine tours aren't so much about the wine as about a nice day out - nice countryside, a great lunch, ok a few tastings along the way if you're so inclined .... Come to Melbourne (which of course you should do anyway... ) and visit the Yarra Valley - start the day with a coffee and a cheese tasting plate at the Yarra Valley Dairy Company, move on to Domaine Chandon and do the self-guided tour, then on to to the Art Museum at TarraWarra, have lunch there or at De Bortoli or Yering Station or Tokar Estate - all in all, a great day out.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 07:07 AM
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Songdoc: the Granite Belt would be a nice trip from Brisbane for two nights. Suggest doing a loop e.g. taking the Mt Lindsay Hwy on the way out and returning via Casino, Kyogle, Nimbin (famous hippy town) and Murwillumbah. Of course you can take the main road (the Cunningham Hwy), but it's not as interesting or scenic in my book.

Yes, you can walk from O'Reilly's to Binna Burra. It's a well-known walk, the 21 km Border Track. I've always wanted to do it, but the logistics are tough, needing to get back to the start at the end of the day to pick up the car. The two places would be at least an hour apart by car.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 09:38 AM
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"...the logistics are tough, needing to get back to the start at the end of the day to pick up the car"

O'Reilly's website indicates they organize (for a price) transport to Binna Burra so you can walk back - see this page -
http://www.oreillys.com.au/lamington...full-day-walks

I suspect Binna Burra does something similar.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 11:24 AM
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From the website above:

"Self-guided walks depart from O'Reilly's every Saturday at 8:00am with the transfer to Binna Burra for the start of the walk (leading from Binna Burra back to O'Reilly's)."

Saturday won't work. We'll be open M - Th. Saturday I'll be working in Sydney. But it looks like there will be countless options for beautiful walks.

The booking/rate info at Binna Burra's website is still not working. I sent an email asking them to send me the info--and got a response saying that I should call for rates.



That sounds good. Would you suggest a different accommodation each night? Or one place as a base?

Thanks so much!
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Mar 10th, 2013, 09:17 PM
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Hi Songdoc...I would pick one place in the Granite Belt to use as a base for two nights. It's a relatively small area.

I wouldnt fret about not doing the Border Track - there are a number of nice loop options such as the ones I mentioned above.
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Mar 11th, 2013, 04:54 AM
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Thanks, Ralph. One more question ... Binna Burra is really expensive!!! $1,110 for three nights (including breakfast & dinner). O'Reilly's is only slightly less expensive. I don't care much about the dinners, but I'm concerned there wouldn't be other places to eat in such a remote area.

Are there nearby areas where we could stay at a less expensive motel, and drive a short distance to the pretty areas?

If not, we might be looking at just two nights ...

Thanks.
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Mar 11th, 2013, 08:01 PM
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Wow, that is expensive, songdoc. You're right, you'll find both lodges to be very isolated with few or no alternatives.

O'Reilly's is part of the settlement known as Green Mountains - from my memory, there were a few other properties fairly close by, maybe even a B&B. You would need to do more searching on the internet. The closest real town to OReilly's is Canungra, maybe 50 minutes away down a very windy mountain road. Not sure, but I would imagine there would be cheaper accommodation/food there.

Closest town to Binna Burra is Beechmont...not a big as Canungra, maybe 30 minutes away. Could be B&B options there, but not sure about food.

Of course you could just stay on the Gold Coast somewhere and simply do day trips from there. Since that's my in-laws live, that's what we always do.

Another alternative might be Springbrook, which has some nice walks and sights of its own. Maybe stay there 3 nights, use one day to explore the local area, including the walks, waterfalls and Natural Arch. Then uses the next day for a trip up to Lamington (Binna Burra would be the closest). Not sure what accommodation options you would have in Springbrook.

Or...just stay a Binna Burra for 2 nights. One full day would probably do you fine.

Ralph
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Mar 12th, 2013, 05:48 AM
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Thanks so much. I've got some research to do!
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