itinerary review please - July 04

Old Jun 14th, 2004, 12:10 AM
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itinerary review please - July 04

I'm overwhelmed by the depth of knowledge of this board, and hope you'll be willing to offer opinions on the plans we've made so far.

We'll be in Australia most of July, starting in Sydney (I'll be with husband and 7 yr old son). We're thinking of staying at the Sydney Marriot (the one by Hyde Park, not the Harbor), since it seemed near to public transportation, and my husband will need to be going near the university each day. Is it a nice facility? Are we correct that it wd be easy to get around from here?

Then on to Canberra, but we have a few days before we need to be there. Someone had recommended a 2 night stay at Avalanche Homestead. Opinions? Is 2 nights too much? We'll have a car between Syd and Canberra, and have flexibility, but don't know what's realistic in terms of distances. The sheepfarm idea sounds intriguing, but wd there be something "better?"
In Canberra, I was thinking our son might enjoy the Questacon and the Sports (?Hall, Museum - I don't have my list in front of me!) - are they worthwhile?
Then Ayers Rock (Desert Gardens Hotel) and Alice Springs (Alice Springs Resort). I think I've read enough on this forum to see what we'll want to do in these areas (e.g., Ayer's Rock, Olgas, Kings Canyon).
Then we'll fly to Cairns (stay at Coral Sands in Trinity Beach - opinions?) - GBR and rainforest and a free day in Cairns. Then back to Sydney.
So, what do you think?! Thanks in advance for any and all opinions.
GBinMD is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2004, 02:16 AM
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Stayed at the Marriott 2 years ago and found the location to be great, away from the crowds but within quite easy walking distance of most things.
The park is a great outlook and the rooms are fine, try for a high room the views across to the AMP tower are great. Pool is pretty good up on the roof but not sure if its warm enough in July to use it. Our sydney friends will know.
There may be of course some even better and more suitable hotels and I am sure Alan or Margo will be along soon but the place you have chosen seems fine.
Hard Rock Cafe is not far away behind the Marriott.There is a museum almost next door I think its the Australian Museum ?.

Good luck

Mucky is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2004, 04:17 AM
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G'day GBinMD
(Is that your real name or did your parents make it up? It's a bit hard ot pronounce. - If you've been to Australia before you'll understand that no-one's immune to a little gentle ribbing- if not, prepare yourself.)There are a lot of well qualfied respondents who will no doubt deal with the detail of your queries but in respect of your Canberra stopover, I recall as a child (some considerable time ago) being enthralled by the War Museum, now called the Australian War Memorial. I suspect your 7 y.o. will connnect with that as with Questacon, which both of my children have enjoyed on school holiday trips to the nation's capital, but subject to an aversion to anything war-related I think half a day there is worthy of your consideration. However, I know there are Canberra experts who will be able to set us both straight and I look forward to their input.
dougw is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2004, 05:46 AM
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Doug is quite right; I think that, irrespective of your thoughts on war, both yourselves and your son would enjoy a couple of hours in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The tanks, planes, and pieces of midget submarine always held me enthralled when I was a kid -- and I still never pass up a chance to check it out when I'm down that way, although it's getting harder to get there now because my kids cannot be prised out of Questacon, which they love. I think you'll have a great time in Canberra, and things are looking good for the Sydney portion of your trip, too, as the Marriott is, indeed, only a few metres from the bus stop from which you can catch a bus to Bondi and other beaches (and also a bus which goes right past the University of NSW, which, I presume is the University you are referring to), and only a block from a subway from where you can get to the harbourfront in five minutes. Maybe that Marriott pool is heated and sealed off from the world, but normally no one swims much in Sydney in July.

You will drive from Sydney to Canberra in just under three-and-a-half hours. The worst part (of course) will be the first dozen kilometers, when you have to suffer the city tangle of roads and impossible-to-decipher signs (don't worry... the routes change so often that even native-born Sydneysiers like myself are forever finding ourselves diverted away from routes we've been usng for thirty years). It might pay you to pick up your car from one of the outer suburbs on the way to Canberra.... maybe even Campbelltown, which is easily reached by train, and from where you have a super-duper highway all the way to the War Memorial!

Alan is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2004, 03:40 PM
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Just a couple of points in addition what Alan has told you.
If your husband is heading for Sydney University rather than NSW then it is still a simple matter of walking across the Park to the bus stop in Elizabeth Street.
Also in Canberra it is possible to tour the Institute of Sport - which may be what you were thinking of.
prue is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2004, 04:58 PM
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Hi, GBinMD. Despite (or perhaps because of) being a Canberran I had to look up Avalanche Homestead on the Web. I see that it's 45 km SE of Canberra - nice country, and if a comfortable farm stay appeals it looks fine to me. The website doesn't say anything about activities - I imagine you'd want something to absorb your son's excess energy. The answer to that might determine whether you opt of one or two nights.

The weather will be brisk in July, though - if there's a cold snap there could even be some light snow, so pack your winter woollies. Driving into Canberra during the day would take 30-40 minutes, which is no great imposition but would tend to defeat the purpose of a farm stay. Are you also planning to stay in Canberra itself for at least one night?

I second Alan's recommendation of the Australian War Memorial, which has now been extended to accommodate a bevy of aircraft, including a WW2 Lancaster bomber, and is always worth a visit. And Questacon, of course. Depending on your interests (and your son's patience) the Australian National Gallery is excellent, and the National Museum has an interesting take on human settlement in Australia (no dinosaur bones, it's not that sort of place). South of Canberra (30 minutes, say) the NASA space tracking facility at Tidbinbilla also might interest a 7-year-old. will give you the full story, more or less.

If you're looking to eat out in Canberra, there are many good options in the city centre ("Civic"), the more lively Manuka shopping centre, nearby Kingston and Dickson, all the latter only a few minutes from Civic. If you have any preferred cuisine let me know and I'll make some suggestions.

If you decide against the farm stay, you could consider spending a day or two somewhere on the New South Wales south coast and then cutting across to Canberra - about 2 hours from the closest point on the coast, Bateman's Bay. It won't be swimming weather, of course, but it's a very nice part of the world.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2004, 06:01 PM
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Thanks, all!
Alan - especially for your suggestion to NOT hire a car until we're out of Sydney - that may save a marriage
Prue and Muck - thanks for the reassurance about hotel and location - I'm not sure which univ. it is, but will make sure at least one of us knows....
DougW - yes, my parents labored long and hard to come up with THAT name! We'll try the War Memorial, though it's more my husband's cuppa than mine!
Neil: food preferences - really just about anything but sushi. Maybe Indian or Italian? and also child-friendly (he's well-behaved, but I'm not looking for white tablecloths, you know!). Thanks, too, for your eval of Avalanche - they do seem to have several activities, so that might work out all right. I will suss out the coast, too, though. We will be in Canberra for about 3 nights, I believe.

Thanks again!
GBinMD is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2004, 10:07 PM
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Dear GBinMD
You do not say how long you are going to be in Sydney, but if it it is more than a few days, I would suggest that you consider an apartment rather than an hotel room.
I have stayed in hotel rooms with my two children and after two/three nights in a confined space the level of tension was very high.
An apartment would give you some privacy as well as space for your seven year old. On the opposite side of Hyde Park on Elizabeth st you will find the Somerset Hyde Park Hotel which is an all apartment property (1 and 2 bedrooms). The Somerset has indoor pool, spa sauna etc with a full kitchen. It is a block or so from the city Woolworths where you can buy any food stuff you might need. Cooking in the apartment would be a great saving and having food snacks and drinks on hand is invaluable when you are travelling with children. There is a bus stop outside the Somerset and it is opposite Musuem Station. The price is similar to the Marriot
MissB99 is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2004, 10:19 PM
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Forgot to add that having a washing machine and dryer in an apartment is an absolute god send when travelling with kids and also allows you to cut down on your luggage. It will be winter when you are in OZ and leaving Sydney with clean clothes for the rest of your trip would be extremely helpful
MissB99 is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2004, 05:38 PM
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GBinMD, I just remembered that I'd meant to mention a few restaurants in Canberra. Here goes:

* Italian: Santa Lucia (Kingston), La Rustica (Kingston), Bellucci's (Manuka and Dickson), Bella Vista (Civic & Belconnen), La Scala (Civic), La Porchetta (Woden - cheap & cheerful pizza/pasta place, a bit hard to find if you're driving, best take a cab)
* Indian: Bollywood Masala (Dickson), Ruchi (Manuka) Jewel of India (Manuka)
* Chinese: Ruby (Dickson)
* Vietnamese: Pho Phu Quoc (Dickson)
* Malay-Chinese: Rasa Sayang, Dickson
* Thai: Sukothai (Yarralumla), Lemon Grass (Civic)
* American: Hog's Breath, Civic
* Mod-Oz: any number of cafe-style eateries - Antigo (Petrie Plaza, Civic) or check the cafe strip in Manuka, or Green Square, Kingston, or the O'Connor shops.

There are also cafes within many of the major tourist destinations such as the National Gallery, National Library, National Museum and National Portait Gallery (Old Parliament House).

Some of the above do sport tablecloths but they're all pretty informal, not too expensive and you can bring your own wine. I haven't eaten at the Indian places but they seem like reasonable choices. Happy munching!

Neil_Oz is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 09:49 PM
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All those restaurants and you only invited us for a beer!

AndrewDavid is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 12:08 AM
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Did I forget to mention the Big Mac?
Neil_Oz is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 04:55 PM
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Neil, When next you arrive on our distant shore, we'll make you sing for your supper.
AndrewDavid is offline  
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