Jan-06 Oz Honeymoon trip advice sought

Dec 1st, 2005, 12:34 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 26
Jan-06 Oz Honeymoon trip advice sought

Dear Forum Members,

We are planning a short (7-9 day) last minute honeymoon trip to Australia from Jan 5th 2006 onwards. We would greatly appreciate suggestions to make it a cherishable trip. Thank you in advance!

Questions are below, and our details + proposed itinerary after them. Apologies for the longish post, but thought it best to give most relevant info, so others can give feedback more easily.

#Some questions where input would extremely valuable are:

a> Should we change (add/remove) the # of days spent in any of the places?
b> Are we realistic about the budget? overall plan?
c> Are there places/things to do that we should definitely add/remove?
d> What island should we choose to maximize relaxation in GBR area? (Lizard, Hamilton, Hayman, other)
f> Jan seems to be 'off season' for Cairns due to hot+wet weather but looks like it hasn't been like that last year. Is Jan 06 expected to be like 05? If not, is it still worth goint to that area? We dont mind ~28 Celcius temp + humidity (like Mumbai), as long is it isnt too bad/unenjoyable.
e> Any other suggestions based on below details?

While we realize 7-9 days is not sufficient, unfortunately that is all we get, and Oz is where we always wanted to go for honeymoon. We reviewed lots of past threads on the forums on places to go, things to do, weather conditions, travel times, time to spend etc. and decided on below.

We narrowed on 2 places Sydney & Cairns. We always wanted to see Sydney. We also love the scenic outdoors, lovely beaches and lots of relaxing - and GBR seems to be a must. We haven't really done much water activity in past, definitely not diving, snorkeling etc.- but would look forward to a first time.

Regarding the budget, at the high end we would prefer to spend not more than US$5000 total combined for both. This is including all travel (train, cruise, air etc)., lodging, boarding, food, sighseeing, car rental, etc. It is NOT to include ticket from Mumbai to Oz and back. We also realize we are going in peak season (atleast of Sydney) so would be lucky if we get any decent accomodation (around 4 star places) given it is just barely a month away.

#Itinerary Being Considered

Day 1
Arrive in Sydney - 12pm
Check in Hotel & Relax

Day 2
Sydney (Quay, Rocks, Bridge, Harbour + Opera)

Day 3
Sydney (some of above + Bondi Beach)

Day 4
Sydney (Blue Mountains + Hunter Valley)

Day 5
Depart from Sydney for Cairns
Arrive Cairns by 2pm
Stay in Port Douglas
Check out PD vicinity

Day 6
Depart from PD for a GBR Island (Hamilton, Hayman, Lizard - still undecided - open to recommendation)
spend time in GBR (cruise, snorkel, relax)

Day 7
Spend time in GBR (cruise, snorkel, relax)

Day 8
Head back from island to Cairns to Sydney and take flight back to Mumbai

buddy123 is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 05:46 PM
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buddy - avg daily temperatures in Port Douglas/Cairns in January are 24min-32Cmax - water temperature is 28C.

You are right in saying that January, 2005 wasn't wet, it barely rained at all. However, that's not typical, nor is it desirable - rainforests of course need rain. Don't know what the forecast is for Jan. 06, predictions are for an "average" wet season, and if that's correct expect some rain at least. Rain usually falls in short heavy bursts, often in late afternoon or at night. Excluding the slight possibility of cyclone, January is a great month for snorkelling reef.

The three islands you mentioned am afraid are nowhere near Port Douglas. Lizard is the closest, but an expensive flight on small aircraft; the other two are in Whitsundays, some 750kms south. A day trip with flight and snorkelling to Lizard costs about AU$550 per person.

But you don't need an island to visit reef, many day trips out of Port Douglas or Cairns will take you snorkelling. There's a couple which cater to snorkellers only (no diving) - Wavelength out of Port Douglas @ AU$160pp and Ocean Spirit out of Cairns city or Palm Cove to Upolo Cay and Oyster Reef at AU$136pp. Introductory dives at extra cost are available on other boats.
pat_woolford is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 10:06 PM
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buddy123, in Sydney I'd be inclined to forego Bondi Beach in favour of a ferry trip to Manly, unless you enjoy tripping over hungover British backpackers (some risk of that in Manly, admittedly, but not nearly as much, Manly has a nicer ambience and the ferry trip is a delight).

Secondly: you really can't see the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley in one day. Pick one or the other.

Being mostly a bottle-shop impulse buyer I'm pretty much over wineries, which is all the Hunter Valley has to offer for the purposes of a day trip. And the HV scenery is pleasant enough, but not in itself sufficient to warrant a long day in a bus. However, if you're genuinely interested, take a 1-day tour by all means, but it's not a whole lot different from Napa/Sonoma.

The Blue Mountains I think would make a more relaxing, "DIY" day out - it's only 2 hours from Sydney by interurban commuter train. Suggest check previous threads via the Search box above.

Also - I guess you'll be looking for a few nice dining experiences? Do some homework there, to avoid ending up in overpriced tourist traps around the Rocks/Darling Harbour areas. Again, no shortage of previous threads.

Can I suggest also that if you're laying out $5000, a good guide book would be a sensible investment to help you make the most of your time. Enjoy.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 11:51 PM
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I suggest you restrict your time to Sydney and Port Douglas at the most. You can do a day trip to the Blue Mountains or Hunter Valley out of Sydney but definitely not on the same day. As Pat says you can have a great experience on the GBR out of Port Douglas. I think you may not be aware of the vast distances between places in Australia. Also January is peak time when schools are on holidays and you may need to move quickly to get accommodation.
Peteralan is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2005, 12:31 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Agree with everything the others have said, you won't be able to do Blue Mountains and HV on the same day, I'd also choose BM over HV and if you get a chance, try to see Jenolan Caves. Though to be honest, you will have enough to keep you busy in Sydney for that many days that I would skip the BM altogether.

Also be careful that you do your research regarding accommodation as many places advertise as Sydney but they are in one of the suburbs and the suburbs can mean an hour on the train to the city. Ask here first if you like.

With regards to Cairns,etc. I personally find Cairns to be over-rated but if you like to be surrounded by drunk English backpackers(not that theirs anything wrong with that just not my thing). Personally I prefer to stay on the islands themselves. Hayman if you have lots of money-that's where the celebs go. Hamilton is great for the rest of us. From there you can do day trips to the reef as well as to Whitehaven Beach (highly recommended).
Port Douglas is beautiful but rather than spending the short time you have travelling, why not stay on one of the islands and enjoy it as much as possible?

Good luck and your enjoy your stay.
Angelblue71 is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2005, 04:21 AM
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"Cairns is full of drunk English backpackers", - a very limited knowledge of Cairns. You're talking about a couple of small blocks in Cairns city, easily avoidable if you wish. Cairns is a small regional Queensland city whose LGA extends some 50 kms from Gordonvale in the south to Palm Cove(fast overtaking Port Douglas in the artificiality stakes, more's the pity) in the north, a permanent population of 125,000 and contains or is jumping off point to some of the best scenery in the country.

Buddy has already explained that his budget is $5,000 for his whole trip, that will not get him very far on Hayman Island with your celebs. Nor Lizard Island, as mentioned above just a day trip there will cost him a fifth of his whole budget.
pat_woolford is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2005, 06:26 PM
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Dear Forum Members -

Thanks all who replied! Your advice is helping a great deal to shape the trip. I am a little unsure of which GBR Island to pick. Any suggestions are very welcome. Thank you in advance once again!

From researching on forums there seem to be many good islands, each having their own pros/cons. We look forward to spend some quality time relaxing. What we have in mind is a resort with great views, excellent white beaches/clear blue waters and privacy (not very crowded/noisy), and a day trip to GBR snorkeling. Given it is our first honeymoon we are willing to increase budget by around US$ 2000 to include the islands (dont know if that would be enough though).

Based on initial research here are islands being considered

Hamilton (very crowded?)
Hayman (very expensive?)
Brampton (romantic - but not good for snorkeling?)
Heron (?)
Long Island (?)
Lizard (very expensive?)

Given the short time not sure if we can still make Port Douglas but it sounds like really gorgeous place to go. Also based on suggestion earlier I started referring to Fodors for Australia as a guide book - it is turning out to be a good read.

Based on your suggestions and researching more on the forums here is new itinerary being considered:

Day 1 - Arrive in Sydney (afternoon) & relax + Darling Harbor & downtown
Day 2 - Check out Rocks, Circular Quay, Bridge & Opera House
Day 3 - Check out some more of Sydney + Trip to Manly & back
Day 4 - Trip to Blue Mountain (Katoomba- 3 sisters) and back
Day 5 - Fly to an Island (TBD) &
Day 6 - Trip to GBR
Day 7 - Relax on island
Day 8 - Relax on island
Day 9 - Return to Sydney and headback to Mumbai

buddy123 is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2005, 06:41 PM
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Posts: 38

As I said in my post "I personally" which in English infers that this is in my opinion, and this is my opinion based on the fact that I spend a lot of time in Cairns due to my work. This may be over a few small blocks which just so happen to make up the middle of the city where they would be most likely to go, would they not?

In regards to the comment about Haymen, I suggest you read it properly.

It's also helpful to note that when quoting others, at least ensure that you are quoting them correctly.

Maybe instead of just bagging the suggestions of others, you could actually make some of your own which I'm sure would be helpful to buddy123 which is what we were trying to do.
Angelblue71 is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2005, 08:36 PM
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The fringing reef of Brampton is quite a good spot to snorkle, the channel there is an easy snorkle and the turtles use it as a thoroughfare !!! You can get a light aircraft transfer from mackay airport which is quick, I think you can also get a direct flight from sydney to Mackay (I think). Or you can look at Dunk Island, fly direct to Townsville and a flight to Dunk, local snorkling not as good but the reef is close and the day trips are well organised. If you go to Dunk hire one of the dinghys and get a picnic basket and find a private beach for some romance !
Marko is offline  
Dec 4th, 2005, 01:26 AM
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Angleblue: You are obviously very new to this forum otherwise you would not have made the stupid comment suggesting that Pat give some suggestions to Buddy123. Pat has been helping people tirelessly for years now if you would like to click on her name you will see just how much.
Personally, I agree with Pat about Cairns. I was there just a few months ago and sadly did not encounter any drunken English Backpackers. Not only did I stay right in town but I also stayed out of town near a Pub.
Buddy, I don't think that you will need to increase your budget to get a great holiday. As you are going to be there in the off-season you should be able to get some great bargains at that time.
I am not all that sure that at that time of year I would stay on an island because if there is bad weather there is no where else to go! Have a look on www.qantas.com.au holiday specials and see what you perhaps can get in terms of a good island and/or a stay at some other great destination. If you go to the Whitsunday Group of islands where Hayman and Hamilton is you could perhaps think of renting a catamaran and going around the islands yourselves. Or stay at Long Island which is a reasonably priced island and then visit the others. Ditto for Daydream Island. Of course Lizard is the ultimate but so is the price. You can have a wonderful time staying in Cairns or Port Douglas and doing some of the lovely trips out to the reef and also the beautiful countryside up past Port Douglas into the Daintree etc.
lizF is offline  
Dec 4th, 2005, 02:30 AM
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Thanks Liz, all your advice is spot on.

Angelblue, I do have a reasonable command of the English language and understand perfectly your comments. If you'd looked at my first post here you may have noticed that I did give buddy some clues as to the weather and suggested a couple of snorkelling trips; both of which I've experienced and can recommend.

Of course there are backpackers in Cairns, mostly they're in that small area of nightclubs and bars in Spence St. Local kids go there too. Backpackers represent a huge slice of tourism dollars in this country and elsewhere, tomorrow they'll be the ones who can afford such elite resorts as Lizard and Hayman Islands, if they have an incentive to return.
pat_woolford is offline  
Dec 4th, 2005, 01:53 PM
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Buddy123: For your Sydney accommodation, try www.wotif.com.au. You might also like to look at an apartment or apartment type facilities within a hotel (all of which are listed on wotif). Good advice from others re location, too. Suggest you download a Sydney map, or look in the CBD section of the Wotif site so that you're not inadvertantly booked 50 miles out (LOL).

Re FNQ (Far North Queensland - a term you'll hear & see a lot). I'd agree with Pat - in January it can be wet and if you've only a few days, there are more alternative options on shore. Anywhere Cairns-Port Douglas is lovely and in fact it's only a shortish drive between them, and a pretty one, too. There's a lot to recommend the area; you can do day trips out to the reef, either snorkelling or diving, and lots to see & do on shore too. I'm pretty sure you could do a "resort course" (1/2 day) scuba course if you wanted to try that, too. The waters on and around the reefs are so clear that you can see lots just snorkelling. It's an ideal place to start

In 7 - 9 days, I'd be inclined to skip the Blue Mountains unless you were particularly keen to see them. Having said that, there are some pretty villages up there and it could be a very nice day trip. Lots of nice eating places, too.

Rather than Bondi, I'd take a ferry to Manly (1/2 hour) and have lunch & a wander around. Alternatively, do a ferry trip into Middle Harbour, or up to Watsons Bay. You don't need to pre-book, just wander down to Circular Quay & have a look at the routes on the wharves.

If you're interested in art, I can recommend the Art Gallery of NSW, which is located just off the Royal Botanic Gardens. It's a beautiful walk through there and the Gallery also has a very good bistro with knock-out views of the harbour. (I think it's one of our best kept secrets !)

Festival of Sydney: http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/ You'll be here during our annual summer festival. There's lots of free activities and concerts (opera, symphony, jazz) on in the Domain (opposite the Art Gallery) on various weekends. Also great is the Moonlight Cinema near Mrs. Macquarie's Chair (Botanic Gardens).
You'll need to book early for any of the theatre/dance events but it could be a wonderful memory of your visit.

Thanks for choosing Australia for your honeymoon! I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time. Just ask anything specific you need and you'll find some very helpful people here. Pat's a wonderful source of info on that area of Qld and has lived there long enough to know what's what.

Bokhara is offline  
Dec 4th, 2005, 08:52 PM
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Heron Island is lovely but does not work for your schedule - it will take you a day each to get out there as it is 2+ hours from Gladstone by launch (unless you pay US400 for the helicopter - EACH!) We loved it there, but I aim for Hamilton next time, or Long Island as Liz suggests. Let us know what you choose!
oliverandharry is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 06:54 PM
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Thanks all once again!

I am still trying to figure the non-Sydney portion of the trip. Here are are my options. Any suggestions are highly appreciated .

We were leaning strongly for Option A>. We really wanted to stay on an island for honeymoon and Lizard seems one the best + plus it seems to be on the Reef (?). However from feedback on this thread it seems Option B> would make more sense, given the weather.

3 options

Option A> PD (1 day + 1 night) + Lizard (3 days)
Pro - Get to see PD a lil, and spend time on Lizard; no need for a GBR trip?
Cons -if weather is bad we are stuck on Island (which might ok given its a honeymoon); also very expensive

Option B> PD (3 days) + Lizard Daintree Air trip + Wavelength trip
Pros - many things to do from shore, less expensive
Cons - miss out on staying on island,

option C> Hamilton Island (3 days)
Pros - get to stay on an island, not too expensive, minimal travel time.
Cons - miss out on entire PD, Cairns Lizard area; very busy island?

Other islands which we found interesting were Hayman and Dunk.

buddy123 is offline  
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