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sabre Nov 15th, 2004 03:37 AM

Jan. 17-Feb. 28 Sydney+Diving
I would like to spend 6 weeks hanging out in Sydney with diving visits to the GBR (and elsewhere?). Does this sound like a good idea in terms of weather,etc.?

margo_oz Nov 15th, 2004 05:40 PM


sabre Nov 16th, 2004 01:25 AM

I'm planning to arrive Jan.17 and depart Feb. 28.One of my concerns is the weather.
I thought I might do a 13-day dive boat cruise to Cod Hole, the Coral Sea,GBR and Youngala from Feb. 3 to 16. This would leave me with about a month in Sydney (too much?)

Judy_in_Calgary Nov 16th, 2004 05:34 AM

Hello Sabre,

I can't speak for you, and I love Sydney, but I think a month in Sydney is too much.

Consider spending 10 days in Tasmania. I've never been there, but it's a place that I've learned a lot about since I've come to Fodors. It is said to have a wonderful combination of scenery, wildlife and history.

If you want to experience a second Australian city, I recommend hanging out in Melbourne for a while. It's a rather different city from Sydney. Each has its own charm.

From the point of view of scenery, Sydney's harbour really is incredible, and Sydney has great beaches.

Melbourne does not have a scenic harbour, and its beaches are rather ordinary (it's located in Port Phillip Bay, which keeps the sea calm and kind of boring).

But, as far as the city itself is concerned, I actually think Melbourne is an even nicer place to hang out than Sydney is.

If a person has time to visit only one Australian city, I think they should visit Sydney. However, you are not exactly constrained by time.

I've experienced the tropical north of Australia only in the southern hemisphere winter and spring, so have not been there during The Wet. Fodorites who live in Queensland say that the rain falls in the form of short showers in the afternoon or evening. They say it feels very humid right after the rain. I don't know how it would feel out at sea compared with the way it feels on land.

The Wet is also tropical Australia's cyclone (hurricane) season. Cyclones don't happen every other day, of course, but as is the case with Florida and the U.S. Gulf Coast, you are taking a bit of a chance planning a vacation in the area during the cyclone season.

The GBR is wonderful, though, so I don't know what to tell you in terms of weighing the risks.

sabre Nov 17th, 2004 02:16 PM


Thanks a lot for the ideas.I'm going to research Tasmania which I know nothing about.

I visited Melbourne many years ago and I found it resembled Halfax,N.S. where I was born.(I've spent most of my life in France.)

Based on rainfall stastistics I've been looking at I may delay my trip ti order to visit the GBR in April or May.

lizF Nov 18th, 2004 12:25 PM

Depending on your age would depend on whether you could spend 1 month in Sydney and surrounds. There is lots to do in Sydney and from Sydney. Putting off your trip until March would be a good idea as it is much better in climate then than in February - less hot and humid, especially for the Great barrier Reef area.
I am going to stick my neck out here and suggest that for someone who has lived in France most of their life Brisbane would be a better city than Melbourne. Melbourne resembles a "run of the mill European city" nothing particular special about it. I most certainly agree about going to Tasmania ( Australia's greatest kept secret) but Brisbane would show you the difference between European and semi-tropical cities. There is so much to do and see within a 200 Klm radius of Brisbane that you could pack in a month just doing that and it is a very easy place to get around and get from in that the trains and buses are regular and cheap to other destinations of interest.

sabre Nov 19th, 2004 08:14 AM

Hi LizF,

Thanks for your input.

I'm 60 and, aside from a passion for diving the world's best sites, I primarily enjoy having a drink and eating in agreeable surroundings with good ambiance.I no longer have the same interst in trekking through jungles and deserts.

My approach is that if a tourist site has easy access and won't interfere with the happy hour or dining arrangements I'm happy to look at it.

Which of April, May and June would be the best times in your view to visit Sydney,Brisbane/GBR...?

lizF Nov 19th, 2004 01:00 PM

G'day again Sabre
Now that is better - knowing your age group that is because then I would have to say that Sydney would not be a destination for you for 1 month as you won't want to be into the young party scene I think and besides there are not that many dive sites around there.
April would be my pick time for Sydney and for Queensland ( Brisbane and surrounds etc) because that is a nice time of year and the water won't be too cold for diving if you are in the southern parts of Queensland i.e. around Brisbane and Morton Island for instance. Wonderful for the Great Barrier Reef though.
Nothing on this earth would interfer with "happy hour" for Australians so wherever you are and wherever you go there will be someone and somewhere to have a tipple.
For diving areas then Brisbane/Morton Island/ Stradbroke/ Gold Coast/ Byron Bay/ then head up to the Sunshine Coast for a "look see" and then upwards to Troppo's area of Lady Musgrave and Lady Elliot Islands. You have a lot of time so you could dive -hop your way to the Barrier Reef proper from there - The Whitsundays Island group, then on to Far North Queensland around Cairns.
With your 6 weeks then you could start in say March or April in Sydney and wend you way north as it gets cooler and into the tropics where it will be delightful by the time you get there.
"Do" Sydney as there is much to see and enjoy - food and drink too. Then head north and "do" the area around Brisbane etc. Up to the Sunshine coast and the Bundaberg /Heron Island area - then onto the Whitsundays and finally Cairns and surrounds.
In terms of time then - lets say 1 week Sydney - Brisbane and areas around 10 days - Fraser/Bundaberg/Heron 1 week - Whitsundays - 1 week and the remainder in the far north around Cairns. If you like B&B's the Pat ( who write on this site) has a lovely one in Cairns and would be able to put you in touch with just about everything that you would want in that area.
Hope this helps.
I have just come back from France after my 5th pilgrimage to the Perigord region which still is and will always remain ( I think) my number one area of the world, well at least in the autumn that is, hense my comments about Melbourne being of little interest.

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