July itinerary, please comment

May 22nd, 2004, 10:30 AM
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 576
July itinerary, please comment

Hello, everyone, I have noticed that people have received excellent comments on improving their itinerary from you all and so thought we'd send ours along for comments. I think ours shows how much we have benefitted from your remarks! BTW, we are 56 and have travelled a fair amount and like to learn about new places. We have had the most fun researching our trip! We like creature comforts like en suite bathrooms, but don't need (yet do enjoy) luxury. We also like to get into the outdoors, although I have some health issues that prevent long hiking.

29 June we leave Seattle on Alaska Airlines where we had ff miles accumulating for years, so we get to do these flights first class. Yea!
After dinner with our daughter in LA, board Qantas flight at 2345 for Sydney arriving 0725 on 1 July. Aside--using FF milesto get to Australia also let us have three flights in Australia for only 20,000 miles, instead of 10K each flight if you pay for your inbound ticket. We only had to pay for the Darwin-Cairns flight because the FF seats were taken (this was last fall that we tried to book it!)

Rent car and drive to Jenolan Caves Lodge, stopping at Blue Mountain sights along the way. Next day, view caves and half-day trip to Kanangra Walls. Drive back to Sydney the next day checking out sights we missed the first day.

3 July, to 5 July--Sydney at Four Points Sheraton Darling Harbor. Our daughter reccommended this hotel and we felt we had to stay here. We have yet to set our itinerary IN Sydney because there is so much to sift through here on the forum!

5 July-8 July--staying at Outback pioneer Lodge in Yalara, renting a car and seeing sunsets, sunrises, etc. at both Uluru and Kata Tjuta. We have reservations for the Anangu tour from the Cultural Centre.

8 Jul-10 July--in Kakadu Lodge in Jabiru. Renting a car in Darwin, going to Ubirr, Nurlangy, have a dawn reservation on the Yellow Water cruise, areturning to Darwin to stay overnight the 10th at Quality Hotel Frontier to catch the 0550 flight to Cairns.

11 July to 16 July staying at the Beaches at Holloways B&B outside of Cairns. Flying Daintree Air (Thanks to this forum!!) to Lizard Island, snorkel trip to Frankland Islands (Thanks Pat!), visiting Kuranda, and other stuff in and outside of Cairns.

16 July-drive to Port Douglas and do Dan Irby's night tour, staying at the Le Cher Du Monde in PD. Doing two outer reef tours from there--Wavelength and Poseidon.

20 July fly back to Sydney and stay until our flight back to LA on the 23rd, staying the weekend with our daughter (Frequent flyer miles let you have a layover) and flying home on the 25th.

Please comment on hotels, things you think we MUST do at any place,(especially Sydney) driving precautions, etc. Thanks so much to the wonderful people here!
SnRSeattle is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 10:39 AM
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P.S. we used an Australia internet travel [email protected] who has been very helpful.
SnRSeattle is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 02:06 PM
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Most important message: DON'T DRIVE IN SYDNEY!
Traffic is hideous, parking is almost non-existant, and expensive, and there is a pretty good public transport system.
margo_oz is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 04:04 PM
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Thank you, Margo. We won't! We're dropping the car the day we arrive.
SnRSeattle is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 05:26 PM
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Hi Sally - you'll love Jo at Beaches at Holloways - she's lived in Cairns for ages and knows everything backwards! Might even get to meet you as we're often over there.
pat_woolford is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 09:35 PM
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SnRSettle, If you relly want to thank Pat you might consider staying at her lovely Lilybank B&B in Cairns. She and Mike due a wonderful breakfast, they have 4 poodles and a swimmimng pool in a beautiful old Queenslander. An added benefit is the nearby Garden Room Restaurant w/ some of the best food on our recent 4.5 week trip.


If you have time you might consider Animal Tracks tour from Cooinda Lodge.
AndrewDavid is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 10:43 PM
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Oh Andrew - thank you! Jo does a pretty good breakfast too. Loved the book "Professor and the Madman" but when are we getting Part 2 of your trip? Move over, Bill Bryson!
pat_woolford is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 11:29 PM
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G'day! Your itinerary sounds good - but one suggestion.... when you are at Yulara you really must do the camel safari at dawn. It is absolutely wonderful and worth the 4am call! You trek through the desert and watch the dawn and can see the Olgas and The Rock and all the changing colours. The silence is beautiful. You end up with a billy tea and damper breakfast, hot and dripping with home made jam and you are back at the hotel at around 8.30am to start the day! Try and do the "Sounds of Silence" dinner too which is very special.

You will love the drive to Port Douglas - take it easy and dont worry about driving in North Queensland. Hardly any traffic to worry about compared with Sydney. Have a great trip - and remember it will be winter in Sydney and very mild in Cairns and hot in Darwin! Cheers
Kanga is offline  
May 23rd, 2004, 07:41 PM
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Sounds to me like you are going to fly in and pick up a car at the airport and head for the blue mountains...

if so getting from the airport to the western freeway is not that straightforward.If you do this make sure you have a clear idea on where you are heading ex the airport.

Sydney is a difficult place to navigate at the best of times.
johhj_au is offline  
May 23rd, 2004, 08:42 PM
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Sally, that's sound advice from johhj_au. There's no really intuitive way from the airport to the beginning of the M4 that takes you to the Blue Mountains. However, there's no cause for actual alarm.

For my money the most straightforward (if not shortest) route would be to get onto the Princes Highway (Highway 1), a stone's throw to the west of the International Terminal, turn right and follow the signs to Sydney City. (The rent-a-car people will be happy to give you any directions you need.)

Eventually, soon after after travelling down a section of the "highway" (a word used loosely in this case) called King Street, Newtown, you'll strike a biggish intersection with the Great Western Highway, aka Parramatta Road. Sydney University's campus is on your left. Turn left at this intersection. A few miles further on, at Concord, you turn right onto the M3/M4 - hard to miss this one, just don't be in the far left lane. Soon after you turn onto the M4/M4 there's an exit left to take you due west on the M4 (the M3 continues north at this point).

Until that point it won't be exactly rapid progress, but it's not all that bad, and it's better than trying to navigate a shorter route. Once on the motorway it's a breeze - just follow your nose. If you look at the map shown at
www.wilmap.com.au/nswmaps/sydney.html you'll see what I mean. The airport is map ref. L5, the Princes Hwy is the thick black line labelled "1", the M4 turnoff is at J4 and the M4 itself is a thick green line. If I've misled you I'm sure johhj_au will straighten us out (I'm a hick from the sticks these days).

A comment on driving in Sydney - yes, it can be a bugger, but so can many big cities. In my experience Sydney drivers are better than those of most Australian cities - maybe they have to be. In particular, if you find yourself in the wrong lane, as long as you signal your intentions clearly you'll find that most drivers will give you room. Perhaps sticking a US flag in the rear window and waving your arms frantically will scare the rest.

On second thoughts, ignore the last recommendation. One difference between Australians and Americans is that while Australians are generally fond enough of their flag, those who hang it outside their house are likely to be viewed as eccentric and quite possibly actively dangerous.
Neil_Oz is offline  
May 24th, 2004, 08:04 PM
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Thank you so much for taking the trouble to give us directions! I will print them out and check out a map. Thank you especially for calming words! While we are thinking of Sydney, then, would it be better to return the car to the airport or to the downtown location of Hertz near the hotel as we have booked right now? Doesn't sound like either is an easy alternative.
Sally and Randy
SnRSeattle is offline  
May 30th, 2004, 05:19 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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The easiest way to get from Sydney to the Blue mountains is to ensure that your hire car has a GPS included. It is well worth the extra money. My sisters and I recently had a trip to the Blue Mountains and beyond. With the GPS we didn't have to think about anything. It told us exactly when and where to turn, exit etc. Too Too easy!!
I'm glad you've included Outback Australia in your tour. I loved climbing Ubirr rock - the view of Arnham Land Escarpment from the top is breathtaking. Nourlangie is also very rewarding. Uluru is one of the most special places on earth - I'm sure you will love it. But wait there's more - we've also got the rainforests and the reef - oh you're gonna have a ball!
claret is offline  

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