Need Advice - June / July in Australia and Trains?

Old Feb 17th, 2004, 08:48 AM
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Need Advice - June / July in Australia and Trains?

Need advice on following points (we are planning a visit to Australia for 2 or 2-1/2 weeks - we plan on Sydney for several days then maybe train from Sydney to Adelaide, layover a day or two, then train to Alice Springs for an Ayers Rock / Kings Canyon tour with Alice Springs Holidays):
1. To go soon, we must go in June or July. How will the weather be? Need to wear jackets? Just sweaters? Wet? Will a harbour bridge climb be too cold / wet?
2. How about the trains - Indian Pacific / Ghan - we will go first class for the sleeping accomodations - I've heard very mixed reviews of Oz by rail?

Sydney-Adelaide-Interior in June or July by train??? Any comments / suggestions greatly appreciated.

And - rent a car?? I'm from the US and concerned I will not adjust to driving on the correct side of the road? Can one do well without transportation?

Alot to ask - please address any question.
104 is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2004, 10:42 AM
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Forget the car as you won't need one in Sydney anyway.
I personally think that your train ideas is really dreadful. I am a train buff but the scenery Syd - Adelaide - Alice is about as interesting as watching grass grow. If you want to do a nice trip in the train then take it up north from Sydney to Brisbane and then to Cairns - even then there will be boring areas.
The southern areas will be cold, you would eed jackets and also could be wet. The outback will be freezing at night but Sydney by day should be fine though.
I think that you have to get first class to get the sleepers anyway but I have not been in an Australian train needing a sleeper for about 10 years so could be out of date.
As I am off in about half an hour to drive to Sydney myself this is short - its about 800 miles. Others will fill in the other parts. However I would say "fly" and see other more warmer parts of Australia as well.
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 10:56 AM
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Hello 104,

I believe you would do well to fly amongst your desired destinations. Australia is about the size of the Lower 48 American states. In my opinion land travel from Sydney to Adelaide to Alice Springs would erode too much of your 2 or 2-1/2 weeks in Australia. (If, as LizF says, the scenery would be boring, well that only chalks up another point against the Sydney-Adelaide-Alice Springs train idea. I myself don't know the routes in question, and will defer to LizF's opinion.)

I've never been on an overnight train in Australia. If you really want to experience a train for its own sake, then I would suggest doing no more than one leg of your journey by train (because of the time factor).

The second point on which I'll challenge you is the notion of going as far south as Adelaide during the southern hemisphere winter. LizF has mentioned the possibility of cold, wet weather in the south, but let me elaborate on that. If you were to transplant Adelaide into the northern hemisphere, its latitude would fit somewhere between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It does get a winter, not Calgary's winter, but a winter nonetheless. Yes, it does get patches of quite pleasant winter weather too, but you can't rely on the weather being nice in June-July. You have to be prepared for the fact that it may be rather cool, wet and windy.

People jump on me for warning visitors off Australia's southern latitudes during that country's winters. They ask me why I'm such a weather wussy, and point out that Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth (and even Hobart) are not nearly as cold as Calgary is in winter, so why should I complain? Well perhaps it's just BECAUSE of Calgary's long, cold winters that I try so hard to look for good weather when I go on vacation. I get more than enough winter in any give year, thank you very much.

LizF suggested you head north. Again, let me supply a little more detail. I believe you would enjoy Far North Queensland (in the vicinity of Cairns). The latitude is the equivalent of Belize and the very southern reaches of Mexico. The weather there is most pleasant during Australia's winter. If you went there, you would enjoy a variety of scenery and activities, the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest for starters. Then you could drive up onto the Atherton Tableland and into the Outback for a little way.

If you do insist on going to Adelaide, then pack a sweater and what North Americans would think of as a 3 season parka. The kind of jacket I'm thinking of is sold by Lands' End, LL Bean and Eddie Bauer. It has a waterproof shell and a synthetic fleece lining. I would recommend the mid-thigh length version of the jacket rather than the waist-length bomber jacket. Ideally your jacket will have a hood but, if not, take an umbrella.

I find it difficult to adapt to unfamiliar driving conditions, but even *I* find it easy to switch back and forth between left hand driving and right hand driving on open roads through the countryside. If a less than confident driver like me can do it comfortably, I'd be very surprised if you couldn't do it. There might be parts of your sight seeing that you want to do by car.

Driving in strange cities is another matter. I hate having to do that. Australian cities have good public transportation and, as long as you're in the city centre, you're way better off availing yourself of that public transportation, in my opinion.

Hope this helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2004, 02:36 PM
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>>>>>>The weather there is most pleasant during Australia's winter.<<<<<<

I re-read my post, and realised this might have come out sounding different from what I intended to say.

I intended to say that Far North Queensland had very pleasant weather during the southern hemisphere winter.

I did not intend to say that winter was the best time of year, from a weather point of view, in FNQ.

My husband and I visited FNQ in July, and enjoyed delightful weather. However, July is the only time I have experienced FNQ, so I do not have a personal basis for comparing different times of the year.

Anyway, 104, you're going in June-July, so that's all that counts for you, isn't it?
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2004, 05:44 PM
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This is for LizF or anyone else who has the information for me. I'm requesting information from LizF's response about taking a train from Sydney to Brisbane to Cairns. I'm only looking at one of those train routes, but I don't know which trains would run that route. Please let me know the trains you would suggest. Don't really want to have to do a sleeper train, I just mainly want the experience of training riding and to see some country as I do it. Thanks for any suggestions.
travelertobe is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2004, 06:59 PM
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104 - in Queensland there are 3 trains which cover Brisbane-Cairns route. The Queenslander, the Sunlander and the new Tilt Train which takes about 7 hours off the usual 32 or so hours trip. Either way, you'd need a sleeper, and as mentioned by others a lot of the scenery is monotonous, really until you reach the wet tropics,an hour or so south of Cairns. Have a look at http:/ Queensland Rail also has shorter route trains to inland and outback areas, as well of course, the Kuranda Scenic Train from Cairns (1 hour and half hours)
pat_woolford is offline  
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