My Australia Itinerary December 2013

Jul 7th, 2013, 06:04 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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My Australia Itinerary December 2013

We have finalized our itinerary (for the most part) for Australia in December so i thought I would share with you. We have a great deal planned, but always happy to hear of little side tips people like to give. There might be a great bakery that must not be missed, or a fabulous walk from a turnoff somewhere.

My husband is an avid bird watcher, so much of the trip is dictated by that. We are primarily interested in outdoor activities, but a great bookstore, art museum, historical landmark, or quilting (hey, it's one of my hobbies) store might catch our interest as well.

December 8, Sunday - Arrive Brisbane. Drive to Aaronlee Retreet in Mt Tamborine where we will base ourselves for four nights.

December 9-10-11 Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday - Trips to Binna Burra and O'Reilly's and whatever else catches our fancy

December 12-13 - Thursday/Friday - Base in Warwick Comfort Inn, primarily birdwatching from there

December 14 - Overnight Toowomba, Park Motor Inn

December 15 - Overnight Quality Hotel Airport Brisbane for early morning departure for Cairns

December 16, Arrive Cairns, transfer to Chillagoe in the company of Alan Gillanders, overnight Chillagoe

December 17, Visit Chillagoe Caves, transfer to Undara, Sunset tour

December 18, Undara Lava Tubes tour, transfer Yungaburra, overnight Kookaburra Lodge, Yungaburra

December 19, birding with Alan, Nocturnal tour with Alan, overnight Kookaburra Lodge

December 20, visit waterfalls in area, go to Julatten via Mareeba, visit Mareeba wetlands, overnight Kingfisher Park Lodge (for the nights of 20th, 21st, and 22nd)

December 21-22-23 - Kingfisher park, Mt. Lewis, look for Bustards

December 23 - Transfer to Red Mill House, Daintree Village, overnight the nights of 23-24-25. River cruises etc.

December 26 - transfer to Cairns. Overnight (DH wants to bird in some of the areas there. I had thought to stay at Lilybank but can't find it, so still looking for place)

Somewhere in the above time span I will do a GBR snorkeling trip but I am going to wait to see what the weather is like.

December 27th - fly to Sydney. Pick up car, drive to Nabiac (north of Newcastle) Stay three nights, drop off car in Newcastle Monday December 30th on way back to Sydney with friends.

December 31 - New Year's Eve in Sydney! No lodging necessary, staying with friends.

May try to visit Royal National Park again from Sydney. We have been in Sydney a couple of times before and really enjoy the city.

Depart Sydney Saturday January 4
Toucan2 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2013, 06:39 PM
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Great plan! You seem to totally have it under control!
Just two things:

Don’t ignore North Stradbroke Island, it’s good for birding, read up on it and you’ll see. Maybe trade it for Toowoomba?

Lilybank Bed & Breakfast,75 Kamerunga Rd, Stratford QLD 4870, Australia ‎
+61 7 4055 1123‬,
michelhuebeli is offline  
Jul 7th, 2013, 06:55 PM
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Agree with Michel about North Stradbroke Island.
So i will wait your review. Hope you have a best trip
DannyDelnison is offline  
Jul 7th, 2013, 06:59 PM
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Thanks michelhuebeli. That was the same info I found for Lilybank. It may be gone.

Will look up Stradbroke Island, Thanks!
Toucan2 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2013, 09:16 PM
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Have you been to Kuring-gai National Park north of Sydney? That's one of my favourite ones in the Sydney area. You often see goannas, wallabies and black cockatoos as well as a range of honey eaters. The Basin Walk is particularly good for wallabies and on the way, there are Aboriginal rock carving that are well worth a visit.

Bookshops in Sydney: my top two would be Gleebooks in Glebe, and Kinokunyia in TGV building cnr George st and Park st.

Museums in Sydney: Museum of Sydney is very beautifully designed, a number of artists collaborated on the displays. Art Gallery of NSW is always worth a visit (particularly the indigenous art section). The cafe and restaurant have fabulous views of the harbour. Museum of Contemporary Art has a great cafe on the top floor with amazing views, usually round Christmas they have underwhelming shows however.

Historical landmarks (still in Sydney), if you haven't ever been to Cockatoo Island, there are great tours of the convict precinct and the industrial area. There's also the Island Bar during summer with very good pizza and astonishing views.
Susan7 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2013, 10:14 PM
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I'm a friend of the Lilybank original owners & have just been speaking with their daughter.

The business has recently changed hands & the new owners will be operating as a B & B again in a couple of months.

I'm very sorry to advise those who knew them & enjoyed their hospitality, that Mike passed away last year, and Pat is unwell.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2013, 11:32 PM
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I'm sad to read the news about Pat and Mike. Although I never met them I found Pat's contributions, in particular about Cairns and environs, invaluable when we planned our trips to Cairns. I wish Pat all the best for a steady recovery.
dottyp is offline  
Jul 7th, 2013, 11:37 PM
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I'm also very sad to hear that, Pat was a terrific contributor. Thanks for letting us know Bokhara.
Susan7 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2013, 02:15 AM
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I am very sorry to hear this news Bokhara, thank you for sharing. As I started to look for Lilybank I realized I had not seen Pat post for awhlle, but I hadn't been here much myself so thought perhaps I just had missed them. Please pass along my condolences on Mike's passing, and to Pat that she is being thought of here should you speak to her daughter again.

Susan, I have been to all three museums and particularly enjoy the Art Gallery of NSW. I have not been Kuring-gai, but have read about it, I will give it another look. Cockatoo Island is new to me, I will look it up. Thank you!

Thank you for the bookshop tips as well. All is going into the "Australia" folder (which is becoming quite thick!)
Toucan2 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2013, 03:21 AM
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Thanks all, I'll pass on your best wishes. Pat will be touched, I know.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2013, 07:14 PM
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I read off the list of birds from Stradbroke Island to DH last night. It's something to consider. Toowoomba is something that could be canceled if we like. We are, however, hoping to have dinner with a friend there and there is something DH is chasing in the area, so I don't know that we will. It's good to have options though.

Possibly stopping on the way up to Aaronlee from Brisbane is an idea, but I don't know how tired I will be from the flight in. In the past I did really well that first day. I have also discovered there are showers in the International Arrivals Hall at Brisbane airport so if I get a shower before taking off I might be very perky indeed.

Took a look at Cockatoo Island Susan. Did it open to the public in the past several years? I don't remember anything about it and it seems like the sort of thing I would have noticed.
Toucan2 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2013, 05:28 AM
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Seems great plan. Good luck for your trip. Hope you will share your holiday experience once you arrives from holiday.
victorbritts is offline  
Jul 9th, 2013, 02:39 PM
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I'm not sure when Cockatoo Island opened up for the public, I went there for the first time on a tour of the historical sites in 2006. I think it was organised by the Sydney Harbour Trust, looking at their websites they don't seem to be doing the guided tours anymore.

I think the big change has been that the Biennale of Sydney started using the island as a venue from 2008, during Biennale season there are lots of pop-up cafes and bars and the opening party is held out there (next one is March 2014). You can also camp out there now, the facilities look great.

It's now a stop on two ferry routes (Parramatta and Woolwich)so it's much easier to get there.
Susan7 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2013, 03:01 PM
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Bokhara...please pass on our condolences to Pat as well. My daughter and I stayed at Lilybank (from San Jose, CA)in December 2011. This was our first night in your beautiful country. I can't even express how wonderful it was to be there with Pat and Mike to "get our feet wet" before our three week road trip. They were gracious and kind hosts. We wish her well.

Patti and Stephanie
Trav is online now  
Jul 9th, 2013, 07:46 PM
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Thanks Pattie & Stephanie
I just spoke with Pat & passed on everyone's kind messages. She may be able to check in herself in a few days.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2013, 07:23 AM
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Just adding here, I live in Toowoomba and to be honest you aren't missing much if you skip it. It is right between Warwick and Brisbane though so it makes sense. Although, you can take a back road skipping Toowoomba and it only takes about 2.5 hours to Brisbane. If you need to come here, then I'm sure you will find something to do
TravelBound96 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2013, 05:01 PM
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TravelBound96, we have been to Toowoomba a number of times. It's not Toowoomba itself that is the attraction. There are some birds DH will be chasing. And, if the Jolly's are available, we'd like to take them to dinner. We birded with him both of our previous trips to the area.

But, I think that maybe be a flexible night, and the hotel is easy enough to cancel if we change our mind and he has perhaps already seen whatever birds he is after. So, we can definitely keep some options in mind.
Toucan2 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2013, 09:05 PM
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OMG, I take a peek at the Australia forum for the first time in years and see this wonderful itinerary by Toucan2 who was planning a trip to Cairns and environs for birds at the time I was in 2006-2007. Then along comes Bokhara2 whom we met in Sydney, and then the sad news about Mike and Pat whom we met and stayed with at Lilybank in 2007. Hi, everyone! We are planning to come back to OZ in 2015 and since we do long hauls with FF miles, we need to plan ahead. What a wonderful place Fodor's is, with loads of helpful people. And Toucan2--a quilter! Me, too!!! I don't get to go to quilt shops when touring much because DH doesn't like to wait around, plus the fabric is so expensive compared to the US plus I don't need any more fabric! Toucan, your itinerary sounds dreamy. We went to Chillagoe and had a great tour with Gary of Chillagoe Cabins. Didn't make it to Undara. We did go to Laura, though, which was wonderful, with a tour from the tourist center to rock art sites. Too bad there aren't any rare birds in Carnarvon Gorge--or are there??? That is a dream of mine to go there, but it is difficult logistically for tourists. Well, just wanted to stop in and say "hi" and make connections with my Aussie travelling friends again. Toucan, please say "hi" to Alan for us--we had a great trip with him day and night in Yungaburra area. But no cassowaries, unfortunately. Not anywhere there, apparently, at least the places and times we went. As a bird watcher, I am sure you have seen them in previous trips. You have just whet my appetite for our trip!
Sally in Seattle
SnR is offline  
Jul 12th, 2013, 11:24 PM
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I'm sorry to hear of Mike's passing and Pat's illness.

I've stayed with them a couple of times and always enjoyed their company.

I had noticed that Pat wasn't around lately. She had mentioned that Mike was unwell.
margo_oz is offline  
Jul 13th, 2013, 08:09 AM
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Go on-line and check out performances at the Sydney Opera House. There are three facilities; the Opera Hall, the Concert Hall, and a smaller theatre. If there is something you might like, you can buy the tickets on-line and pick up at the box office. Much more rewarding to actually see a performance than to take a tour. We had a fabulous evening at a packed house in the concert hall watching a salute to Louis Armstrong.

irwin_taranto is offline  

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