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MW123 Feb 2nd, 2006 03:27 PM

My Australian Itinerary ?
1. Sydney-Melbourne drive via Canberra
2. Melbourne
3. GOR
4. Adelaide
5. FR NP
6. FR NP
7. FR NP
[8.flying from Adelaide-9:30 to Alice Springs-11:35 or to Ayers Rock-13:15]
[10.flying from Alice Springs-17:10 to Darwin-19:05]
[13.flying from Darwin-6:00 to Cairns-8:50]
13. 45 min ferry (Marlin Marina in Cairns-10:30) to Fitzroy Island for snorkling
14. 45 min return (Fitzroy Island Ferry-9:30) to Cairns and tour to Cape Tribulation National Park with [ ]or[ ]
15.Kuranda and return to Cairns via the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway [ ]
[16.flying from Cairns-6:00 to Brisbane-8:05]
16. Brisbane+Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, then heading north towards Noosa Heads for sunset views from the Laguna Lookout (on the Sunshine Coast)
17. Coomera’s Dreamworld
18. Surfers Paradise (on the Gold Coast) and drive to Sydney
19. Blue Mountains
20. Panorama from the Sydney Tower, Taronga Zoo, Olympic Park + maybe Bondi Beach
21. Walk: Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens (9:45 PM departure for the US)

ADVICE WELCOME (ESP. ON FR NP, ULURU NP, KAKADU NP - DoItYourself or tours ?)/Maria

MW123 Feb 2nd, 2006 03:30 PM

Forgot to add that I'm going in April !

dave_261 Feb 2nd, 2006 04:55 PM

We just returned from 2 weeks in Australia (1st trip Down Under), and if this is your first trip, I think your 1st 4 days are VERY rushed, and probably not practical.
If day #1 is a drive from Sydney-Melbourne (a drive of over 1,000km), and includes a stop in Canberra, I would suspect this is almost impossible.
For day #2, it looks like you're planning on spending the day in Melbourne. We only had 1 1/2 days in Melbourne for our trip, and it was rushed, but I suppose you could see the highlights of the city center.
Day #3 is the Great Ocean Road, and day 4 Adelaide. The GOR drive from Melbourne to Adelaide is 2 day/1 night at absolute minimum, and that is really pushing it, and certainly wouldn't allow any time for exploring Adelaide.
I can't comment on days #5-18.
On our trip, we had 3 days based in Sydney. We took 2 days to explore the city center (which certainly left some areas unexplored) and rented a car for a day to drive to the Blue Mountains.
FWIW, day #20 seems very packed, as getting to both Olympic Park (west of the city) and Bondi (west of the city) might make things very rushed, especially if you want to have more than 5 minutes at the zoo.

MW123 Feb 2nd, 2006 05:09 PM

Thx Dave,
I thought Bond Beach is east to the city??? Guess I will skip it anyway. As for the rest of the cities. I'm absolutely not keen on exploring them and I just want to see the highlights of MEL and ADL, even that is not really a necessity. I should clarify day 4 ( Adelaide) in my expanded notes it's driving from Mt. Gambier so day 3 will be entirely for GOR (starting at Geelong) Torquay-Lorne-ApolloBay-Port Campbell NP-Warrnambool (overnight in Mt.Gambier).

dave_261 Feb 2nd, 2006 06:53 PM

Yes, typo... Bondi is east of the city, the Olympic park is west.
We did the GOR from Melbourne to Port Fairy in one day, albeit a long day (left around 8:30am, arrived 6:30pm), with stops along the way to see the towns and the sights.
As I mentioned earlier, I think you can see the highlights of Melbourne in 1 packed day, but of course you're just scratching the surface.

Bokhara Feb 2nd, 2006 10:17 PM

You may like to check some of the distances & driving times on this site.

If it were me, I'd fly Surfers - Sydney. It's too far to drive in a day and then go to the Blue Mountains next day, IMO.

DasFX Feb 3rd, 2006 05:47 AM

Well, you have progressed from your original itinerary.

Quite honestly, you first day sounds like hell. Canberra is very much a detour of the main Hume highway between Syd and Mel. You can certainly drive from Sydney to Melbourne in a day, but it will be strictly a travel day and I wouldn't add sightseeing in Canberra.

I think the GOR starting from Geelong and onto Mt. Gambier is good, mostly because I'm doing the same thing. Mt. Gambier to Adelaide will be at least 4 hours so you won't have much time to see Adelaide.

I know nothing about FR NP. If you want to do Uluru NP then just fly there directly. There is no sense in going to Alice Springs if you don't want to do anything there. After fly Uluru to Darwin. Both these flights would most likely connect in Alice anyhow though. 3 Days in Uluru may be a bit much (from what I've heard).

Everything else looks good, but I would skip the drive from Brisbane to Sydney. It would be a waste of time. You can fly one-way from BNE or or Gold Coast to Sydney for 89A$ one way per person on Virgin Blue.

MW123 Feb 3rd, 2006 11:32 AM

Thx guys for all your advice !
I think I won't change the beginning of the trip :
- the drive for us is really not a problem, sometimes it's even relaxing (one of us drives the other rests - my husband sometimes even snores a bit when I'm driving ;-)) or good time to talk
- OK, we can skip Canberra, we might be visiting Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne for a few days next year, so no problemo
- as DasFX noticed before we are not at all urban travelers, so more than a half of a day in ADL might be suffocating anyway...

What I'm seriously considering is the part Alice Springs and Uluru - what exactly would you do there for 3 days (without the first morning and last evening)?
And any advice on Darwin and Kakadu (2 full days)?

pat_woolford Feb 3rd, 2006 10:52 PM

MW - day 13 is really cutting it fine, hope your flight from Darwin isn't late or you'll never make the 10.30am ferry to Fitzroy. You do realise that Fitzroy is a continental island, still some way from GBR? - it does have some fringing coral but nothing like the marine life and coral much further out on reef proper.

Day 14 - am wondering how you'll meet up with Hazel of Native Guide Safaris if you don't leave Fitzroy until 9.30am. She usually meets her people coming from Cairns at 9.30am at Port Douglas wharf - 7.00 for 7.30 am departure from Cairns for trip to Port Douglas on Quicksilver's large catamaran.

MW123 Feb 5th, 2006 11:46 AM

Thx for noticing Pat, we can do it in a different order then :
14.Cape Tribulation
15.Fitzroy or a different island - ANY SUGGESTIONS ?

WallyKringen Feb 5th, 2006 12:31 PM

Day 1 - if you get into Sydney that morning from the US - is a hazard - driving that distance after the transoceanic flight on that highway is irresponsible. It's not like driving from LA to Vegas... Just don't kill anyone, won't you!

You say you don't care about cities like Melbourne, then why not fly cheaply into Avalon airport, it's near Geelong, on the "right" side outside of Melbourne to be the departure point for the GOR.

Gives you a head start, because Geelong to Mt. Gambier in one day is silly if you want to see something - sure, you can just keep driving (max. speed is 100 km/h and there are lots of slow stretches with construction etc) and get there after dark, but that's hardly the point, is it? We had to rush, too, to do it in one day, stopped in a minimum of places, got to Warrnambool by 6PM, and felt like we'd not done the trip justice.

Three days for Uluru??? Unless you're a photographer who has to wait for the light and things to be just right, you'd be twiddling your thumbs for that long time.

Go slower on the GOR, and give Uluru one day only, then add a day or two to Surfers' Paradise (not much there, but Mt. Tamborine and Northern NSW are fine) - you can't drive from Surfers to Sydney in one day and call that a vacation - you'd have to go inland on the New England Highway because the coast road Hwy 1 is slow, and that's a monotonous run through hills and pastures.

Ditch the car in Colangatta airport and fly to Sydney, it's cheap.


pat_woolford Feb 5th, 2006 06:19 PM

MW - yes, swap tours on those days. You'll have time for Skyrail/Kuranda on arrival day in Cairns. You'll have to take Skyrail up to Kuranda and train back as you'll have missed the two morning trains. You won't need a car for short time in area; to save a bit of time on arrival day see www.internationalcoachesand - they'll pick you and your luggage up from Cairns airport, keep your luggage whilst on trip, pick you up at end of day from train and take you and your luggage to accommodation in either Cairns city or its northern beaches.

You don't need an island to visit reef but if you like the idea of snorkelling from sand cay, Ocean Spirit to Michaelmas Cay does a lovely trip. For a pontoon moored on a terrific piece of reef see Reef Magic. Tusa has dive boats which also cater to snorkellers and visit many reef sites (skipper picks best 2 or 3 of day according to weather and tides)the new Silverswift is worth looking at. All have introductory diving options - these are by no means all reef trips out of Cairns but are some of the best.

MW123 Feb 6th, 2006 11:41 AM

Pat - thank you very much for the tips on the GBR !
Don't worry Wally:
- I'm going to have a good night sleep before the first day, as I'm arriving a day before my husband does.
- I have to stop for 15 min near MEL to deliver sth to my Mom's friends there.
- Yes I do plan to photograph Ayers Rock in different light, I'm even taking a tripod for that.
I really appreciate your advice, but what I need is information on how to spend my days in FR NP and KAKADU NP rather than how and when to commute between places. Thank you anyway.

MW123 Aug 3rd, 2006 02:07 PM

(...) better late than never ;-)
Here is a short report about our 3 week holiday in Australia in April 2006 :

1. Arrival in Sydney, then domestic flight from Sydney to Melbourne, sightseeing.
2. Melbourne-Geelong + Great Ocean Road: Torquay-Lorne-ApolloBay-Port Campbell NP*-Warrnambool-Mt.Gambier.
*The Twelve Apostles & Loch Ard Gorge
3. Driving towards Adelaide, sightseeing.
4. Flinders Ranges NP - Wangarra Lookout.
5. FR NP - Self Guided Drive.
6. FR NP - Arkaroo Rock Cultural Heritage Site.
7.[flight from ADL-9:30 to ASP-11:35]
Alice Springs – Yulara (Resort),
view of Mt. Conner on the way,
Sunset View of Uluru.
8. Uluru & Kata Tjuta NP - Sunrise View of Uluru, Cultural Centre, Base Walk (Uluru); Walpa Gorge Walk and Valley of the Winds Walk (Kata Tjuta).
9. Kings Canyon - walk trough the Lost City to the Garden of Eden + N & S Walls, back to Alice Springs.
[flight from ASP-17:10 to DRW-19:05]
10. Kakadu NP was flooded (=closed), so we went to Litchfield NP - Magnetic Termite Mounds, Tolmer Falls, Wangi Falls and Creeks, Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole. It's an excellent park, we had a lot of fun !!!
11.[flight from DRW-6:05 to CRS-8:55]
From Cairns to Kuranda via the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and return via Scenic Railway. In the evening souvenir shopping in Cairns.
12. Tour of Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park + sightseeing Cairns, evening dining at Dundee’s.
13. Townsville near Magnetic Island, then driving trough Bowen to Arlie Beach.
14. Flight to Hayman Island and over the Whitsundays (2h stop at Whiteheaven Beach) to the Great Barrier Reef (3h stop for snorkeling) with Air Whitsunday ("Panorama Tour").
15. Ferry from Hervey Bay to Fraser Island on an Explorer Tour - Lake Birrabeen, Wanggoolba Creek Rainforest and Central Station, Eurong Beach Resort, 75 Mile Beach, Coloured Sands, Maheno Shipwreck, Eli Creek.
16. Sunrise: Noosa Heads (views from the Laguna Lookout) on the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Beach, Y... Beach, Kings Beach; Sunset: Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.
17. Sightseeing Brisbane and visiting Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. [flight from Brisbane-19:00 to Sydney-20:30]
18. Blue Mountains: Blackheath, Govett’s Leap Lookout, Anvil Rock, Perrys Lookdown, Katoomba (we used the boardwalk with stairs - no point standing in long lines), Katoomba Falls, Echo Point, Three Sisters.
19. Hyde Park, Domain S & N, Royal Botanic Gardens, Farm Cove, Opera House, Harbour Bridge and after dark visiting Sydney Aquarium and walking along Darling Harbour and The Rocks.
20. Bondi Beach.
21. Sydney Tower Panorama and departure to the US (my husband).
I went through Singapore to Europe.

During those 3 weeks in April the weather was great, except for the short showers in the afternoon and evening around Cairns, that's why we dropped the idea of going further north and instead left earlier south.

You can also see some pictures from our trip on

All the best in planing your own trips !

fuzzylogic Aug 4th, 2006 04:14 AM

That is the most manic itinerary I have ever come across but obviously you had a great time. And you have now "seen" Australia - oh, and have all the photos too. No need to return, then?

wallos Aug 4th, 2006 09:20 PM

Kakadu - suggest Yellow water sunrise cruise which leaves from Cooinda. Climb Ubirr rock (as in Crocodile Dundee movie).Adelaide River jumping crocs are fun.
Darwin- fish feeding , Mindl Beach markets, war tunnels, museum, day trip to Berry springs.
If you have time Katherine is well worth a visit - boat trip up the gorge, thermal springs. Visit Edith falls on the way back to Darwin. Also agree with Litchfield - great place.

LynAK Aug 25th, 2006 01:03 AM

You are arriving in Darwin on Day 10 at 19:05 (or around 7 pm) and then will spend the night in Darwin, I presume.

On Day 11 you will self-drive to Kakadu? This takes several hours and the stop at Fogg Dam was definitely worth it for us. Lots of bird life, though not as much as Yellow Waters so if you are pressed for time and do Yellow Waters you could skip Fogg Dam, but we liked it and there was hardly anyone there. It is about 10 km off the main road so count on a 15-20 min drive there and about a half hour at the dam. Take binoculars. I could have skipped Windows on the Wetlands, though my 10 yr. old daughter did like the exhibits there.

It will realistically take about half a day to get to Jabiru from Darwin. So on the afternoon of Day 11 you could go to Ubirr, possibly take the East Alligator boat trip (1 hr. 45 min.) and climb Nadab rock to watch the sunset (this last was a highlight of our whole trip).

On Day 12 you could go to Nourlangie or on the Yellow Waters Cruise from Cooinda, I guess, but if you have to be at the Darwin airport at 6 am on Day 13 for a flight to Cairns you will have to get back to Darwin on the afternoon/night of Day 12 so you could really only do something in the morning.

You could also do the Nourlangie and/or Yellow Waters sunset trip on the afternoon of the day you get there and then the Ubirr in the morning of the second day but you'd miss the sunset on Nadab. If you were at Ubirr in the morning that you had to drive back to Darwin you'd be closer than from Cooinda.

This would all make me crazy. I don't think it is enough time at Kakadu to make it worth the trip. There is a lot to see and do there, hikes to take, rock paintings to see, cruises on the rivers, falls to see if you arrange it right, etc.

If I don't understand the flight times right, let me know and I can give you a few more details about what might be possible with more time.

prue Aug 25th, 2006 06:14 PM

I think you will find that the OP has already finished the trip!

LynAK Aug 26th, 2006 03:11 AM

Oops..I guess you are right! but maybe someone else can benefit from all of this. I'd love to know how it went and if they pulled off that itinerary!

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