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need help planning 3 week family trip that includes 18 & 20 yr. olds

need help planning 3 week family trip that includes 18 & 20 yr. olds

Dec 28th, 2010, 08:32 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 12
need help planning 3 week family trip that includes 18 & 20 yr. olds

We will be meeting my daughter in Townsville mid-June and will have 3 weeks to explore.She will have just spent a semester at James Cook University. I have started working with a travel agent but after reading various posts I may try to do it on my own. I have a pretty good handle on Sydney(or so I think), which will be the last leg of our trip. 4-5 days, staying near the Rocks area, with a day trip out to the Blue Mountain region. Short of that I am a bit overwhelmed trying to decide where to go/stay. We want at least a day or 3 of snorkeling around the Great Barrier Reef. Daintree Rainforest. Kuranda. A trip out to Ayers Rock and Alice Springs. We are all fairly fit and enjoy adventure. Not big on large tour groups. Enjoy the outdoors but also looking forward to the Sydney Opera House and a few museums. I realize that it is a large area to cover and will be looking into the Qantas airpass mentioned in a previous post.
BeanQueen is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 04:22 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 12
After looking at a large number of hotel websites I came across STAYZ. Hundreds of owner rentals, lots of space, reasonably priced. Has anyone gone this route?
BeanQueen is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 02:28 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 26
The Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree are beautiful and worth spending a week exploring. It can be quite expensive though - the trips out on the reef are costly. Look for a trip out to the reef with one of the smaller companies - they tend to go to areas that are not as populated with snorkellers and you will get to see more. There are some beautiful cabins to stay in while you're in the Daintree. I enjoyed being there more than Port Douglas, which to me is only worth visiting for the snorkelling. But other people love the place. It can be very crowded there, particularly if it's school holiday time.

While you are in Townsville consider a trip to Magnetic Island - it is peaceful and lovely and very green and lush. There are nice walks and beaches.

Alice Springs and the Rock are also fantastic to see and worth a few days visit but it's a long time since I've been there so I can't really suggest much there.

Sydney is my favourite city in Australia - if you stay near the harbour there is just so much to see. If you like art the galleries in that area are great - the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Modern Art (free entry) are definitely worth visiting. The Brett Whitely Gallery and the Powerhouse Museum are worth a visit too, depending on your interests.

A trip to Bondi Beach is great - catch a bus from Circular Quay - however that will depend on the weather. There is a lovely hill-top walk there along the beach.

Paddi's market is worth going to for some shopping and there are some good Chinese restaurants in Chinatown which is near the market.

For great seafood take a ferry ride from Circular Quay to Doyles on the beach for a wonderful lunch.

There is good public transport available in Sydney so don't bother hiring a car - it is an easy city to negotiate on public transport.

I wouldn't try and do much more than you have already planned. A week in each of the places you plan to visit will allow you time to really explore them. You will definitely need to fly to each of these places though or too much time will be wasted travelling. Check the Webjet website for the cheapest flights - although once you've identified which is the cheapest airline to go with book in the airline website - not Webjet as they charge extra fees.

I have used Stayz for holiday accommodation in Victoria and found them reliable but can't comment on their accommodation in Sydney. If you are still interested in hotels check the Wotif website for cheaper deals closer to the time of your departure.

Hope that helps.
Tamika is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 02:45 AM
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Very helpful, thanks for taking the time to respond
BeanQueen is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 02:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,039
I think you should be able to arrange a trip for you and your family without having to use a travel agent. It sounds like you have a good idea of what you want to see and do and how to get there. We lived in Australia for a few years and have returned a couple times since then with out kids, who on our last trip were older teens.
Based on your stated interests and time frame, I would recommend the following:

Great Barrier Reef (5 - 7 days): We like staying in Port Douglas because it's got a great beach (Four Mile Beach) and a lot of choices for restaurants, accommodations and reef trips. We've taken day trips from there to Daintree and Kuranda.

Uluru and Alice Springs (6-7 days): I would fly into Alice and depart from Uluru or vice versa, getting a rental car for the drive between the two. I'd allow 2-2.5 days each for Uluru and Alice Springs, 1 day for Kings Canyon and 1 day (actually two half days) for the drive between Alice and Uluru. The roads are all paved and in good condition between Alice Springs and Uluru, so you don't need to rent a 4WD. (Some friends of ours were told by their travel agent that they needed a 4WD and it ended up costing them a lot of money for something they didn't need.)

Sydney (4-5 days)

This leaves you with at least 2-3 days. I'd recommend a trip down to Canberra from Sydney. It's an easy drive of only 3 hours and there's lots to see and do there, most of it being free. (We lived there for 3 years.) I love all the museums and Parliament House and Old Parliament House are interesting too. If you have an interest in outer space, go to Tidbinbilla Tracking Station. If you want to see animals in the wild, go to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve or Namadgi National Park. They have good hiking in both of those places too. If you do the Yankee Hat Hike in Namadgi, I can guarantee that you will see hundreds of kangaroos in the wild along the trail (an easy 6km RT). Also, at the turnaround point on the trail is a large rock with Aboriginal rock drawings--something you may not see in the other places you visit.
longhorn55 is offline  

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