Last Minute Travel - GOR or GBR?

Old Dec 5th, 2004, 09:10 PM
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Last Minute Travel - GOR or GBR?

Hi Aussie specialists - have been reading all your great thoughts over the past year, but still want to get feedback just for ME!

I live in San Francisco and am planning my first ever trip to Oz Dec 20-Jan 1. To me, with two weeks to go, this doesn't feel last minute, but i have learned some hard lessons about going to Oz in their summertime in the past few days!

Here is the itinerary - CAPS is for things that are actually confirmed, lowercase for tentative (and god only knows if i can book something at this point).

ARRIVE SYDNEY DEC 20, STAY WITH FRIENDS IN NORTH BALGOWLAH TWO NIGHTS

SYDNEY PARK HYATT DEC 22-26 (shopping, beaches, restaurants, galleries)

i had planned to then go to lord howe island for 4 days but everything is booked solid. so i tried to continue my stay at the park hyatt dec 26-jan 1, but it's sold out. so is the four seasons, observatory, shangri-la - yikes! (yes, i'm trying to spoil myself a bit on this trip, never have done a luxury vacation before...)

having grown up in hawaii and the caribbean, i'm not crazy about the tropics and am afraid that the great barrier reef area will be too hot and too tacky-touristy for my taste at this time of year. (although i am happy to be convinced to check it out if i can find a nice place to stay that isn't booked!) so i was thinking i would:

dec 26: fly to Melbourne, spend one night at grand hyatt
dec 27: rent a car, drive great ocean road toward adelaide, spending this night perhaps in lorne
dec 28: arrive adelaide, stay where?,
dec 29: arrange a two day one night tour of kangaroo island with adventure charters
dec 30 and 31: adelaide, barossa
jan 1: fly back to sydney in morning to catch my 3.20PM FLT FROM SYDNEY TO SAN FRAN

questions: is KI/adelaide worth it? seems like i would love the GOR drive, but then i might get bored (single professional woman late-30's, looking for similar people to hang with) with the rest.

i would love to just stay in sydney area or go back to sydney for dec 30-31 but everything nice is booked!!! any tips on how to break the logjam? my air ticket is actually fully refundable, so i guess i could go another time, but this is one of the few times i can take two weeks off work...

i think i would like ayers rock, but am concerned with the heat that time of year... ditto camel rides... would love to swim with the whale sharks in exmouth? but that seems pretty far out of the way... i do love animals, wildlife, the arts, beautiful rugged coastlines and scenic drives, great food and restaurants, hot baths, massages, upscale hotels...

any suggestions? thank you for all the great info in your postings so far!

(for you travel agents out there, is there any way you can help me find something fun and luxurious and uniquely australian that isn't completely booked? you can email me at [email protected].)
SunshineSF is offline  
Old Dec 6th, 2004, 09:34 AM
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Just arrived back last week after a 3 week trip. While the GOR was beautiful it is a l--o--n--g trip if you drive all the way to Adelaide (which is what we did, but in reverse ADL to MEL) or the same long trip if you drive to Port Campbell and turn around and drive back to Melbourne. By the time I was finished with the two day trip, I was exhausted from driving two 8 hour days. I would save the GOR for another time and instead just hang around MEL and drive up to Yarra or hang around ADL and stay either in McLaren Vale or the Barossa. Lots of neat shops and of course great wineries. Try BNB bookings.
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Old Dec 6th, 2004, 09:41 PM
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I would certainly agree with you that Ayer's Rock is a definite "no" in late January -- apart from the heat, the flies would drive you crazy. I think the Barrier Reef will be in the middle of its rainy season then, so the heat may not bother you as much as the frequent showers.

Your proposed itinerary to Adelaide and the Barossa Valley takes in some very interesting places, but, notwithstanding its location near the southern tip of Australia, this are can also be blisteringly HOT in January. If you do go ahead with this plan, be prepared for that.... sticking to the coast is really the only way, in the Australian summer, to guarantee that the temperatures won''t get too extreme.

Have you thought about Tasmania? You can actually sail there from Sydney on an overnight ferry, and when you're there you could hire a car and just drive. It's a quiet, sparsely-populated state which never suffers from the extremes of heat on the mainland, and at that time of the year you would probably find it a delightful contrast to your week in Sydney.

Finally, re extending your stay in Sydney: there are many other nice hotels that don't have the names of the major US chains tacked onto their titles, and these may still have rooms available. Try some of the following: the Russell, the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, the Harbour Rocks Hotel, the Cremorne Point Manor. All of these will have websites which a google search will turn up. Otherwise, you could try the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, where there are any number of guest houses to choose from (mostly centred around Katoomba or Leura... once again, a google search on those words should turn them up).
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Old Dec 8th, 2004, 10:45 AM
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There is NO contest between the GBR and the GOR because the GBR would win all the time. You say you have been to the Caribbean and grew up in Hawaii so you are not that keen on the tropics - however neither of those places bear any resemblance to our GBR as I have never thought of the GBR as tacky ( with the exception of a couple of tourist shopping places) The Whitsundays are just beautiful and Hayman Island, Brampton, Linderman are lovely. Of course Lizard Island and my favourite, Hinchinbrook Island further north are divine and there is no " crap" in those places like in the Caribbean and no multitudes of people wall to wall like in Hawaii, which incidently I dislike very much.
I too would be looking at Tasmania for that time of year though and for something different - perhaps you may like Cradle Mountain for a few days and then take in Hobart, which is a delight? However South Australia and the GOR "could" be dreadfully HOT at that time of year.
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Old Dec 8th, 2004, 04:33 PM
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In regard to the GOR trip Lorne may be booked out then l would go on to Warrnambool accommodation will hard to get any where then so book now l will give you 2 web sites l use
www.quickbeds.com
www.needitnow.com.au
they might help you
chubby is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2004, 06:55 AM
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thank you four so much for your responses. the ferry to tasmania sounds awesome!

with the help of a wonderful agent Christine in Sydney, i did find hotels for the whole journey (park hyatt dec 20-28, then four seasons dec 29-31, although i lose the view at the 4S and i had to stay 3 nights, still think i was lucky to find something for NYE).

So now with your suggestions, I think I will save GOR and GBR for other trips, spend the first week Dec 20-26 in Sydney, take the sail to Tasmania or just do day trips to the Blue Mountains, etc until Dec 29, then back to Sydney for New Year's Eve.

This is my first time using this postings and it is fabulous.

Thanks much,
Tyler
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Old Dec 10th, 2004, 09:34 AM
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When in Sydney you should go to the Sydney skytower restaurt for good views of Sydney on the corner of Pitt and Market street
http://www.sydney-tower-restaunt.com
the blue mountains aatkings do trips around Sydney there trips and prices are on there web site
http://www aatkings.com
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Old Dec 10th, 2004, 10:51 AM
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N.Y. eve in Sydney is a MUST DO!
However, although the ferry to Tasmania is nice it usually goes during the night from Melbourne and you won't see much -flying is the better option and gives you time to see things in Tassie.
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Old Dec 10th, 2004, 11:05 PM
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Tyler, I hope I didn't mislead you with my use of the word "sail" when referring to the Sydney-Tasmania ferry.... you said, in rely, that you might "take the sail", so maybe I gave the impression that this was a sailing vessel; in fact, it's a great big ferry like the ones that cross the English channel. You can follow it up on http://goaustralia.about.com/cs/crui...maniaferry.htm.

As LizF points out, there is also a ferry that croosses from Melbourne -- but they're two different routes. The one from Sydney takes around 20 hours.
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