Itinerary Suggestions

Old Nov 13th, 2004, 04:04 PM
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Itinerary Suggestions

My husband,our 2 sons (age 11 & 8) and I will be spending 3 weeks (19 days actually since we are losing taking 2 days in travel time) in Australia in April. We fly into Sydney and out of Brisbane. How many days should we spend in Sydney and in Brisbane? We were thinking about 4 in Sydney not including the day we arrive. Is that enough? We hear the zoo is really great? How about the aquarium? What about the Olympic stadium and other buildings from the Olympics? We are then thinking of renting a car and driving up to Brisbane and doing a farm stay for several days somewhere between the 2 cities. Is that drive worth it and what other beach areas would be worth visiting. We also plan to go out to a resort on one of the Whitsunday Islands for 4 or 5 days. We have heard Daydream Island is good for families. I imagine we will need to fly to there or should we drive up and then take a boat out to the island. Should we go up to Cairns or any other areas. Any suggestions on our existing plans and for the rest of the trip would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Nov 13th, 2004, 04:56 PM
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3 nights sydney
6 nights sydney-brissy
1 night brissy
3 nights whitsundays
4 nights cairns

might be a fair mix.

try
http://www.byron-bay.com/farmstay/index.html

for a farmstay a hop and a jump from australia's most easterly point and some of the planet's best beaches.

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Old Nov 13th, 2004, 08:26 PM
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Hello Akclub1,

This is just my very personal opinion. I saw the Olympic Stadium after several visits to Sydeny , and I found it mildly interesting. I guess different things interest different people. But there is no way that I would recommend you take time out from as short a visit as you're going to have in Sydney to see the Olympic Stadium.

I suggest you stay in a central location. Catch a ferry across the harbour, maybe climb the Harbour Bridge, by all means visit the zoo (the animals have the best view of Sydney). I don't know about the aquarium. I remember someone asking about it before. If you do a word search, you're bound to find previous posts on that.

Traffic is very busy in downtown Sydney, and public transporation is good, so it makes all kinds of sense, in my opinion, to rely on public transportation as long as you're in Sydney.

Driving outside of the city, e.g., when you're on your way to Brisbane, is another matter. I believe you'll find that drive easy.

Here's a website on which you can look up driving distances and times and get route maps and driving directions.

http://www.travelmate.com.au/MapMaker/MapMaker.asp

You'll notice that the distance from Brisbane to Shute Harbour, the departure point for the ferry to Daydream Island, is 1,130 km (700 miles). I definitely recommend flying from Brisbane to the Whitsunday Islands. Either you can fly to Hamilton Island and take a 35 minute boat ride from there to Daydream Island, or you can fly to Proserpine, which is a little distance inland, take a 30 minute coach ride to Shute Harbour, and from there take a 10 minute boat ride to Daydream Island. You also can arrange to transfer to Daydream Island from one of the local airports in a sea plane or helicopter, but I would imagine that would be more expensive and I also imagine you would be restricted in the weight of the luggage you could take on the small plane. (That's only a guess on my part, because I haven't transferred to an island in a small plane myself.)

With your time frame, you'll also need to fly from the Whitsundays to Cairns.

Here is a previous thread in which another poster received advice on what to see between Brisbane and Sydney (reverse the order of the suggestions for your drive):

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...3&tid=34523896

And here's another previous thread with suggestions for a Sydney to Brisbane drive:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...3&tid=34438650

I don't know if Daydream is the right island for your family, though. My sister-in-law and brother spent a week there when their son was 18 months old. They loved it because they were able to put their son in some sort of kiddies' club where he received good care while they went snorkeling and did other things.

But Daydream Island is only one kilometre long and half a kilometre wide. If you are the sort of family that wants to do a farm stay, that conjures up a certain picture in my mind. Perhaps it's unfair to make assumptions and stereotype people, but somehow that doesn't fit my picture of Daydream Island, which I visualize as a resort where the entertainment might be more "canned." I just don't know how to say what I want to say without getting into hotter and hotter water.

Let me just put it this way. Before you settle on Daydream Island, perhaps you should ask some more questions about Queensland's islands, of which there are many. It may warrant a separate discussion thread of its own. If you want to consider other islands, here's a website on Queensland's islands that could get you started:

http://www.queenslandislands.com/

An Aussie Fodorite -- I think it may have been LizF -- recently recommended Hinchinbrook Island. If I understood her correctly, Hinchinbrook is close enough to Cairns that one could get there without a flight to a separate airport. Something to think about anyway.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 05:58 AM
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akclub: I think you'd be pushing it to drive all the way to Cairns from Sydney on your holiday. I wouldn't consider it for a second if you then have to drive all the way back to Brisbane for your flight home. That being said, even driving Sydney to the Whitsundays and back to Brisbane is starting to get crazy in your time frame and considering you want to spend 4-5 days on an island and a couple of days on a farm stay. It's not that it can't be done, it's just that you'll miss so much rushing from A to B. Flying Brisbane-Cairns or Brisbane-Procerpine (near the Whitsundays) is one way around the problem, I suppose.

Personally I wouldn't spend much time in Brisbane but, as you'll see from other posts of mine and others on this board, the greater Brisbane region (SE Queensland and northern NSW) is a spectacular area definitely worth exploring for a few days. There is so much to see and do. Why rush through?

My suggestion for islands would still be Heron Island. It's 5-6 hrs drive north of Brisbane. My kids loved it and I presume yours would too.

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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 10:12 AM
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akclub1 - the advice given so far is excellent. Personally I would only allow 3 nights for Sydney, and forget the Olympic Village & Stadium, concentrate more on the Harbour & city attractions. April (autumn) is a lovely time of the year in Australia, swimming season still.
Allow 5-6 nights driving to Brisbane, stopping at places like: South West Rocks, Nambucca Heads, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, then allow 2 nights stay on the Gold Coast to allow your children to enjoy one of the Theme Parks, eg. Seaworld, Water World, or Movie World, then push on past Brisbane (allow for 1 night stay in Brisbane at the end of your driving holiday), then continue on with your rental car to the Sunshine Coast & stay at Noosa Heads. (safe beach for children normally)and some good walks out to Noosa National Park and its beaches (be warned-some nude beaches at the far end of the National PArk). Enroute to Noosa Heads, there is Steve Irwins Wildlife Park. Also at both Gold Coast & Sunshine Coast there are lovely drives up into the hinterlands.
Now from Noosa Heads, its only a 2.5 hr drive to Hervey Bay (possible side trip to Fraser Island), then from H/Bay to Gladstone (its a 3.5 hr drive). Gladstone is where you depart either by boat or helicopter for Heron Island, a "true barrier reef" island experience.
If you want to know more about Gladstone, car storage, Heron Island etc, sing out & will find out more for you.
From Gladstone its only a 6-7 hr drive back to Brisbane.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 11:07 AM
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We visited Australia 3 years ago with our two boys who were 8 and 11 at the time. (Isn't that funny). We spent 7 days in Sydney, 5 in Cairns, and 3 on Green Island off of Cairns. We did not visit Brisbane, so I cannot comment. I think 7 days is little long for Sydney, but we had Marriott points, so we had a free week. We went to the Olympic stadium, the aquarium, and the Zoo. I would take a pass on the Olympic stadium. We took a water taxi there, and I remember it took a really long time, and it wasn't that interesting. The Zoo was awesome, and easy to reach by water taxi. The famous beach is Bondi Beach, although it is a young hip 20's type of crowd. Take the water taxi to Manly beach. It is a great family beach. My husband and I found the opera house tour interesting,( but our kids did not.) We flew to Carns, which was about a 3 and half hour flight. I have to say that Carnes was really the highlight of our trip. We went on snorkeling cruise to the Great Barrier Reef. We chose Ocean Spirit cruises because they had a trip to an island that you just walk right in the water to snorkel(I can't remember the name of the island, but it had a bird sanctuary if that help.) I cannot put into words how spectacular it was. We swam with giant turtles, saw stingrays, giant clams, and so much more. We also visited Kuranda and the rain forest. However, the snorkeling trip was our favorite. When you return home, make sure you give your kids at least 2 days to recover from the jet lag. Our oldes t son could not fall asleep until 2 am for a week! If you have any more questions, I would be happy to help.
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Old Nov 16th, 2004, 07:22 PM
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Thanks for all the great advice. This helps a great deal. Based on several of your comments we are crossing the Olympic stadium off our list for Sydney and now looking at Heron Island for our Great Barrier Reef experince. My 11 year old son was very excited from the pictures and info we found on the internet about it. I am still undecided about driving from Brisbane to Gladstone. My husband wants to spend the money and take a helicopter out to Heron Island. Has anyone done that? Any more info on Heron Island and also if we should drive up to Gladstone would be great. Thanks!
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