Need advice!!

Old Feb 7th, 2007, 07:37 PM
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Need advice!!

HI!

Couple friends and I are all graduating from grad school in May and want to take a trip right after! We are thinking Australia or New Zealand.....which would be better to go to at the end of May, beginning of June? We are thinking about going on an organized trip through Contiki....does anyone have any suggestions for another company to go through or if doing an organized group trip is a good or bad idea? We are just graduating and want todo this as inexpensive as possible.....any suggestions on who has the best flight fares?
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Old Feb 8th, 2007, 01:12 AM
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As I understand it people graduating from grad school have two degrees. So I am surprised that you haven't worked out that there are search engines out there you can use to find the best flights. That's what us oldies do.
Just hunt around. I assume you know the names of cities to type in for "destination". Or is that an assumption too far?

Best of luck with that.

As for whether Australia or NZ is better in May/June - depends on what you want to do, and which region has caught your attention. Assume you have some idea of what the options are. Yes? No?

As for organised trips - they are good value - especially if you are short on time.

But it is not hard to travel around Australia and NZ independently. Thousands do it all the time - there is a well worn track, and more companies than you could poke a stick at wanting to sell you inclusive packages, day trips, etc, etc. And an excellent hostel network.

Maybe you should do a google for Australia budget travel. Keep mixing the search arguments till you get something useful.

As an alternative to Contiki, for instance, there is Ozexperience.

When you've done a little research, come back.



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Old Feb 8th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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Thank you! Yes I have been looking and looking on many search engines for the best fares.....the best I am getting is around $1200...Thanks again!
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Old Feb 8th, 2007, 08:49 AM
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Ajechort,
In general, tour groups allow you to cover a large geographical area for a reasonable price. You don't have to worry about arranging transportation, making connections etc. Also tour groups tend to get better deals on airfare.
Traveling on your own (independently) allows you much more control over where you go, what you see, the company you keep, how long you stay etc.

If you have no travel experience I would suggest going with a group your first time.

You could take a look at the website affordabletours.com for a comparison of what different companies offer.

While you will probably get better prices travelling down-under in May/June, remember it will be winter, the seasons in the southern hemisphere are opposite those in the north.

Good luck with your plans!

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Old Feb 8th, 2007, 09:37 AM
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Hi ajechort! Let's see if we can get you some help here without the attitude. Having been a grad student myself, I know that you are probably busy with your master's thesis or the equivalent and would appreciate some help pointing you in the right direction so you don't waste a lot of time planning this trip.
Anyway, you realize that May/June is the end of autumn and the beginning of winter for Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand, generally being farther south of Australia, is colder overall than Australia. So, that would limit a lot of outdoor activites (except skiing) if you go to New Zealand. On the other hand, while the southern parts of Australia can get chilly during those months, the northern half is quite pleasant. So, if you want some warm weather, look to Queensland, particularly Far North Queensland (Great Barrier Reef) or to the Top End of the Northern Territory (e.g. Darwin). While Sydney and points south will be cooler, you can have some glorious days there in May and June. I have been in Sydney several times in autumn and winter and have had beautiful, spring-like weather.
Now, as for air fares--have you checked out the Qantas Airpass? In May, you can fly from LA to either Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane AND get up to three internal flights for as little as $1099.00. I took advantage of the Airpass on my last trip to Australia and it was well worth the money.
There are definite advantages (and disadvantages) to going with a tour group. However, if you decide to travel independently, it is very easy to do so in Australia. Australia is very student traveler-friendly and you can find nice, well-run hostels for sleeping and they can often hook you up with some good travel/sightseeing bargains.
Congratulations on your graduation and have fun in Australia.
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Old Feb 8th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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Thanks so much!! That is exactly the advice I was looking for!! Just a little insight on the weather and the differences between the two destinations! I live in San Diego so getting a ride up to LA and flying out from there sounds like what we would do! thanks again!
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Old Feb 9th, 2007, 08:31 PM
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longhorn55 offers good advice. My wife and I travelled to Australia last July for 3 weeks, and we used the Aussie Air Pass (which in 2006 went on a short term sale in late March, eliminating the extra zone fees for travel in Zone 2 from Zone 1). We were seeking the warmer parts of Australia in their winter months, and chose Cairns/Port Douglas, Darwin, and Red Centre as our three destinations allowed on the pass (in addition to Sydney, our entry and exit point to Australia). June would be a fine time particularly to travel to Uluru -- no bugs and bearable temperatures. We booked a three night camping package from Alice Springs to Uluru, Kata Tjuta, and Kings Canyon, including many current and graduating students in a van of 16 people. This package (with a firm called Sahara Adventures) was the highlight of our trip, and was reasonably priced. Most accommodation in Red Center is pricy, not what you need with student debts to consider.
We booked a package from our Darwin Hotel to Kakadu National Park -- you will find many good packages available, and may want to consider Litchfield National Park and Kimberley Gorge also in that area. We recommend the Mirambeena Resort in Darwin as a good place to stay that will not break the bank. Book ahead, since June-August is the busiest time of the year in Darwin.
In Port Douglas you will again find many available excursions bookable from your hotel. There is no need to book these excursions from your home, but you need to book accommodation well ahead. We were very pleased with the Port Douglas Retreat, with fine rooms, a nice tropical pool and kitchenette, in a central location near shopping and the beach at a good price.
You might want to consider Brisbane / Gold or Sunshine Coasts at that time of year also.
Hope this helps your travel planning.
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 12:39 AM
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I checked out the Ozexperience website - it looks quite good actually but I was going through the names of their tours and started to cringe a bit.

Names such as 'Shazza'(Aussie for Sharon) 'Dazza' (Aussie for Darren) 'The Croc' 'The Rock' and then I came upon 'The Matey'. That is what my mother always used to call me when I was growing up. Every morning she would always greet me with a 'Good morning, Matey'. It just brought back a huge flood of happy memories.

So fuzzy, whilst I thought you were a bit tough on ajechort, that little line about ozexperience just led me to an experience that has made my night. Many, many thanks.
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