Just a week or so---Melbourne or Sydney??

Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 03:49 PM
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Just a week or so---Melbourne or Sydney??

My husband and I are flying to Australia in January. We will vacation and do touristy fun things for a week to 10 days, then he will fly back to the US and I will spend the month of February in Tasmania doing volunteer work. I am agonizing over how to spend the small bit of time we will have together Down Under! He hasn't given it much thought, but sort of assumed we would go to Sydney, (since the only thing he knows about Australia is what the Opera House looks like!), and wander around and see stuff. I, on the other hand, am excited about the wildlife, birdwatching, and amazing scenery. I feel like we should decide between spending our time in Sydney, doing classic touristy things, or fly into Melbourne, take the Ocean Drive and then go to Kangaroo Island. Neither of us are terribly interested in art, history, etc., although a lot of the prison history is intriguing. We would like to enjoy what nature has to offer but do not plan on backpacking, doing any serious hiking, etc. Basically, our ideal vacation would be leisurely, relaxing, fun, surrounded by beautiful things and seeing Australian wildlife.

I guess my question is, if this is the only time we ever get to see Australia, are we really missing out by not going to see Australian "Icons" like the Opera House and Harbor in Sydney? Will we be just as satisfied with our Oz experience if we do the alternative trip?

Another option would be for me to go to Kangaroo Island by myself after he has left and before I go to Tasmania....

Sorry for being so long-winded,
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 04:33 PM
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I am only a "little" biased but Sydney is the most beautiful,larger,new world city on this earth.You can have your san diego,SF,capetown and rio...sydney is special. You HAVE to visit.

Get yourself a B&B on the fringe where the wallabies come into the backyard and the cockatoos,kookabuurras and lorikeets eat out of your hand on the front deck as you look out over the water.

Are you from louisiana? what about dem saints!
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 04:51 PM
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Hi, Carrie!
Like John, I am also biassed towards Sydney, though I can certainly see your point of view about the "nature" part of Australia. My main concern is that, in January, when the heat and the bush insects are at their height, you may have cause to regret spending your entire ten days in the bush. Could you not do a bit of both? Come into Sydney, spend two or three days here doing the "classic" touristy things (there are a couple of great wildlife parks near Sydney, including one -- Euroka Clearing -- that not too many people know about), and then hire a car to drive along the coast (the NSW south coast beaches are lovely, and there are several national park areas within easy driving distance) until you get to Melbourne. Then by all means do your Great Ocean Road plan to Kangaroo Island, which might make a nice finish. Or, if your itinerary allows it, do this whole trip in reverse, and finish up in Sydney on January 26, which is the great Public Holiday of the year for Sydneysiders, and your husband will not only see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, but he will see them lit up with thousands of fireworks.
Whatever you decide, have a great trip... and don't forget the insect repellant!
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 05:55 PM
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In terms of 'prison history' make sure you get to Port Arthur while you're in Tassie.
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 08:20 PM
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I would love to do what you suggested, Alan, (2-3 days in Sydney, drive to Melbourne, Ocean Road, Kangaroo Island or the other way around) but I am curious as to how many days you think we would need to do a trip like that?

John: are quaint B&Bs like that affordable and/or easy to come by? BTW I'm not a native Loozianian, but I've been in Baton Rouge for 4 years now. Saints fever is high! Especially now, when they're doing well....wish we could say the same about the LSU Tigers...

I'd also love to get some more ideas for "can't miss" day trips I can do in Tassie, but I'll save that for another thread

Thanks for the input so far,
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 03:00 AM
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I have no idea of the type and class of accomodation you are interested in but if you go to the Pittwater YHA for a night you have a fair chance of seeing some of the stuff i talked about.

You could do sydney,ocean road,KI in 10 days.
day 1 sydney
day 2 sydney
day 3 sydney
day 4 fly syd-mel, hire car, crash into tram
day 5 great ocean road
day 6 great ocean road
day 7 south australia to KI
day 8 day 9 KI
day 10 KI adelaide.
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 12:08 PM
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Sydney 1/ Sydney 2/ Sydney3/ Sydney 4/
I agree with Alan, in part, but I would not book anything in advance as Victoria can look like the centre of Australia in Summer ( all dry, dusty and nasty and very, very HOT) and it can be ultra unpleasant. I had the misfortune to be there for an entire aweful summer once and I was either dying of heat exhaustion or freezing to death. Victoria and South Australia can have very high temps. What I am saying then is that if you leave it you can determine if the weather is nice before you leave on a trip.
By no means does Melbourne or Victoria have any more animals than anywhere else in Australia, probably fewer actually. I live in Queensland, in the hinterland behind the Gold Coast, and there are probably more animals here ( around the NSW and Queensland border) that are accessible to tourists than most anywhere else in Australia. In this small area of S.E. Queensland alone there are 367 species of birds for instance, and we have a very wide variety of nocturnal animals in the many National Parks around. Do a little more research and see what can be available to you because the flights around Australia are not expensive and perhaps you can see more than you expected if you broaden your horizons.
Tassie is full of convict history so you will get your fill there of that.
Anyway my advise is stay flexible until you get to Australia and then perhaps after spending time in Sydney and perhaps the Blue Mountains you may be more sure of what you would like to see and do.

Old Dec 4th, 2002, 03:30 PM
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If you only have 10 days, can I suggest a few days in Sydney, then fly to Melbourne and pick up a car. You can then drive along the Great Ocean Road, perhaps also visiting Tower Hill at Warrnambool. I'd suggest staying overnight at Anglesea and Port Fairy (an old and pretty port town). You could divert inland to the Grampians for the wildlife, birds and scenery, then take the inland road to Adelaide. (If you are a real bird lover, go back to the coast and drive along the Coorong, which will take considerably longer, but the road follows a large lagoon with lots of birds.) From Adelaide, you can do your trip to Kangeroo Island, then back to Sydney.
Re the weather and country conditions, NSW and Queensland have been experiencing the worst drought in many years. Today Sydney is ringed with massive bushfires, and NSW has been having bushfire problems for some weeks now. Victoria is quite dry but we have had good rain in some areas so the countryside looks reasonably good, particularly along the coast.
Re B&Bs, there are lots around but you will pay considerably more than you would for a motel. Prices seem to be around $150 Aust per night, motels are from about $70 per night. Because you will be travelling during the peak summer/school holiday period, you will need to book ahead - the motel chains can do this for you, whereas B&Bs probably cannot offer this service.
Hope you have a wonderful time in Australia.
PS - In Tasmania, try to see Woolmers, an old homestead near Launceston - very interesting place. A must-do is to walk around Battery Point in Hobart.
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 08:35 PM
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Just thought some of you may like to know...... that the hinterland here behind the Gold Coast is lush and green and lovely. Sure we have a shortage of water but we are still lovely and green and the sea is warm and the birds are singing.
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 08:39 PM
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I for one have never found the Great Ocean Road to be a World Class drive and am always staggered when people suggest it as a "must see". During the summer the heat along that drive is oppressive, the sand at the beaches is too hot to walk on and the countryside is of limited interest. I would think that the New South Wales coastal drive is far and away better than the Great Ocean Road.
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 10:12 AM
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I lived for 2-3 months in both Melbourne and Sydney (originally from Perth) and without doubt I would put Sydney ahead of Melbourne any day of the week (except around the Spring Carnival for the horse racing). If you have the money (superior room this Nov in Sydney for A$295), stay at The Westin Hotel - great hotel.Better rooms than the more expensive Hyatt and Quay Grand, albeit less views.
Blue Mts are just as nice scenically as Ocean Rd if not more so. Tasmania countryside is great and towns are like going back in time although if 2 things are the minimum for Oz I always say Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef (remember I am West Australian, so not biased New South Welshman or Queenslander).
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 10:48 AM
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C'mon Nick, since when was a sand-groper not biased Which brings me to ask if its grouper or groper?
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 06:04 PM
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C'mon Liz ...you banana benders would have to be the most parochial lot...

You will talk Carrie into flying into Brisbane and having a week at Mt Tambourine.

BTW Mt Tambourine got an excellent write up in the SMH about 6 weeks ago.
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 09:05 PM
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One more vote for...

Old Dec 5th, 2002, 09:06 PM
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whoops, my geeky code didn't work. All that gibberish would equate to:

Old Dec 6th, 2002, 06:16 AM
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Thanks for all the input so far...I think for now we will plan on flying into Sydney and doing Sydney-type stuff, and just play the rest by ear.

What/where is the New South Wales coastal drive someone mentioned?
Old Dec 6th, 2002, 08:31 PM
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This Banana Bender actually comes from Sydney originally John, spent 7 years in Perth, 1 in Darwin, several years in various other parts of NSW and 1 in Victoria. If it wasn't for the weather and the fact that its an island I would like to live in Tassie but I do get there every so often.
To answer the question about what coastal drives in NSW Carrie, I don't know anything about south of Sydney so others will have to help out there. To the north of Sydney around the Hawkesbury River is lovely and particularly if you are lucky in getting a houseboat there and spending some time. Further north and starting at Newcastle the beaches are lovely and then you get into the Myall Lakes district which again is a lovely network of lakes which are worth exploring. The very northern part of NSW bordering on Queensland is my country and I harp on this so much because it really is some of the most beautiful country Australia has got. Very diverse and interesting and worthy of a week or two exploring. Just ask us for specifics. I think that the Poster John lives in this area too al beit in NSW and will tell you of his area. The countryside around the Northern Rivers is pretty good stuff as well so just let us know what you would like Carrie and we can perhaps suggest some really nice stuff for you.
Old Dec 8th, 2002, 10:04 AM
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To the south of Sydney there is a magnificent area that I always recommend to tourists, although very few get there.

The area around Jervis Bay, about 5 hours drive south is just magnificent. There is a place called Greenpatch where the birds are just amazing, so colourful, and will come to you. There are kangaroos here too, and they are all around you.

There's a place called Pebbly Beach, in this area, off the highway, and a 10 mile dirt road, where the kangaroos are just everywhere. On my last trip there, I was carrying a chocolate caramel slice, and had to fight them off - and some were taller than I am. This is a nice beach, and there's a small kiosk.

For tourists who want to see animals in the wild (or not in animal parks, anyway), this is just the most amazing place. Best accommodation is probably around Huskisson / Batemans Bay, as these spots are in a national park. There are some cabins at Pebbly Beach, but these will probably be booked out in peak holiday season.
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