Need suggestions for Australia in March/April

Old Oct 22nd, 2009, 12:31 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 40
Need suggestions for Australia in March/April

I am just getting around to planning a 3 week (or so) trip to Australia in March/April, and would appreciate some suggestions, help, etc! We are a 45+ couple, no kids...

My spouse only has 2 weeks but I have more time and was thinking this rough plan, going south to north. Starting from San Fran or LA:
- fly into Sydney, spend ~4 days or so, touring, getting acclimated, Maybe blue mountains if time. Definitely some beach time
- fly (assuming?) to Melbourne. another 3-4 days, checking it out, maybe some wine tasting
-possibly Adeliade, but seems like too much, because we really want to go to GBR....
- fly to GBR, spend another week or so there. I need help with this part . There are so many choices! We like to do the beach thing, snorkeling, maybe some adventure, but also want to relax.
- spouse flies home from there, I stay on for another week or so. As a result, want to "end up' somewhere I can feel safe alone, have place to see, restaurants, etc

I've been reading up and have some ideas but could use some help in focusing!
thanks!!
-C
dandc is online now  
Old Oct 22nd, 2009, 07:38 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 22
Hello,

Great trip you are planning and I know that you will love Australia. It sounds like you are a little flexible so hopefully I can frame your ideas a little and perhaps give you the answer to that solo week you will have at the end without your partner!

I am concious of including the musts for you both but also giving you some of the fexibility to travel solo and be comfortable, and entertained, where you are.

Flying from the west coast take a non stop flight into Brisbane and then connect immediately up to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef area. This is the ideal place for you both to get acclimated and have one of the longest sectors of your flights over with! You have several options as to where you can stay; Cairns is the southernmost and where the airport is closest to, then slightly north of Cairns is Palm Cove, then further north again is Port Douglas. To truly feel immersed in the tropical north I would suggest either Palm Cove or Port Douglas, as both offer ready access to the beaches that this part of the world is known for. Transfers are also either included with your accomodation, or readily available to be added on with your accomodation plans. Cairns is bustling and vibrant but it is missing one of the key attributes you are seeking - beach. There is only a man made esplanade so not as appealing as the beautiful beaches further north.

In terms of making sure you manage to accomplish what you want - spend each alternate day or so relaxing and doing your own thing, and the other days with something planned, like touring. Some must sees that will give you a nice alance; a trip to the Outer Great Barrier Reef - lots of choices for tour operators here and you will be able to snorkel and spend the day on the Reef. I would also suggest that you take a small 4WD tour to the Daintree Rainforest/Cape Tribulation, which will give you superb access to the region and a knowledgeable guide that will be able to point out vast array of flora and fauna in the region. Another touring option is the Kuranda Scenic Rail; experience the majesty of the steam train, the township of Kuranda with its art/craft market and local galleries/artisans, the skyway which returns you back down the side of the mountain with viewing platforms enroute, before concluding with the Tjapukai Aboriginal Dance Theatre at the end.

You could also consider splitting your time with say 4 days in palm Cove/Port Douglas then another 2-3 days staying at one of the several world renowned rainforest lodges. These lodges tend to be in the heart of the Daintree, provide unsurpassed conections with nature, superb epicurean experiences and a wide choice of spa ammenities. Some lodges also work in partnership with local aboriginal communites, which can truly add another dimension to your journey and experience.

Upon departure from Cairns I would recommend a flight to Adelaide, so that you can both enjoy something a little different, that Australia offers, together. Known for it's compact and readily accessible city, wonderful architecture and great culinary experiences, there are many choices for you both. Be sure to visit Tandanya - the national aboriginal cultural museum, which has a beautiful permanent exhibition in addition to changing temporary galleries. Admission is free and you will need to allow a half day. Adelaide is also a great base for experiencing one of the 3 major surrounding winery areas; the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley or Eden Valley, and additionally wineries can also be found in the Adelaide Hills (if you go here be sure to visit the German settlement of Hahndorf). Adelaide also plays host to the National Wine Center of Australia - worth a stop. Depending on how much time you want to devote to this area, also consider a trip to Kangaroo Island, known as the zoo without fences. You cna do this in a day tour (flying each way is best to maximize time on the island), or you can do a combo flight, coach/ferry tour which will also allow you experience the Island in a day. Ideally 2 days 1 night makes for a really memorable experience.

Leaving Adelaide I would then fly to Sydney, as I understand this is important to you both! Again, ample options that will not disappoint. The icons are considered the Sydney Harbor, Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge, and in combination you could spend the entire day touring them. Consider climbing the bridge (range of different times available from sunset to night climbs), also you can do anything from a highlights cruise through to a fully fledged dinner cruise of the Harbor. Performances can be enjoyed at a range of different venues within the opera house, or you can simply opt for one of the many tours - backstage/behind the scenes is always popular. Some self guided options in Sydney; take a walk of the historic Rocks area, enjoy the clifftop/seaside walk from Bondi to Coogee Beach (enjoyed by locals and visitors alike and a chance to get some beach time) or simply stroll the Royal Botanic Gardens. You also mention the Blue Mountains, and like the Daintree Rainforest I would highly recommend a smaller 4WD touring option for the great access and also local knowledge that you will get with a guide in a small group. You will see the famed Katoomba, Three Sisters, wildlife in it's natural habitat, aboriginal art sites and also the chance to explore and perhaps take an easy self guided hike.

I suspect at this time your partner will be at the point of bidding you farewell, which means that they will have ready access to non stop flight options back to the US west coast. From here you will travel south, via flight, to Melbourne. I suggest this is there is ample for you to do in Melbourne and Victoria, it is accessible, safe and will also place you in a position to also take a non stop flight back to the US west coast when you leave. You can also travel to the aiport together in Sydney, as the flights to Melbourne are frequent so it will be possible to match up your respective departures.

In Melbourne, I would recommend the SouthBank precinct for you; in the heart of the City and with ready access to all the great retail, restaurants, wine bars and galleries that Melbourne offers. Stroll the Queen Victoria Markets, visit the Royal Botanic Gardens and be sure to dine on Lygon Street. If you love coffee,I promise that Mebourne has the best espresso in the world; pick a local cafe and enjoy a seat outside for some great people watching. Melbourne is also a wonderful base to explore such areas as Philip Island (penguins), the Yarra Valley for wineries, the Mornington Peninsula for an epicurean day out or the Dandenong Ranges to experience the Australian Bush. I would again recommend a small tour operator for these, as per reasons mentioned previously. Also consider a sunrise balloon flight over the city, or the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant as it rundles it's way through the streets - try the lunch or dinner option.

I know that it may seem like information overload at the moment, but I can assure you that planning is half of the fun. The key is to make sure you include what you both feel is imortant, and where possible keep your itinerary moving in the same direction, which helps keep it both time efficient and cost efficient.

You will love Australia, I am sure. Safe travels! [email protected]
Lisa_SeeANZ is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2009, 09:32 PM
  #3  
cwn
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 878
I second the idea of the Cairns, Adelaide and then Sydney. Adelaide area has some wonderful B&B cottages in the wine areas, plus there are some great beaches, if you want that too.

Too many people miss some of the best of Australia when they only visit on the east coast.

See the month of Feb in our blog of our trip to Australia... go to the days for Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills, both very close to Adelaide. You will find details and pictures of where we stayed and what we did.

www.aroundtheworldin132days.blogspot.com
cwn is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2009, 09:59 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 462
I am giddy just thinking about the 2 weeks that you have with your spouse. Leave your beach time for the GBR as it will still be nice and warm up there however the rest of the country can be a bit "iffy" as to water temps and beach weather at that time of year.
I would restrict yourselves to 2 areas when there are the 2 of you because you don't want to spend a lot of time flying here and there because its not the time in the air that takes the days from you its the waiting to get on the flight and getting off and settled at the end of it.
You will need a day or so to get over jetlag when you arrive and there is plenty in and around the Sydney area, perhaps consider taking the postal boat that plies up the Hawkesbury River which is to the north of Sydney. That can be a lovely day out and very relaxing . After Sydney I would fly to the GBR which will take out a day by the time you factor getting to the airport, waiting, flying and getting yourself sorted at the other end. There is enough to do in that area to take your whole 2 weeks up if you really wanted so I would spend at least 1 week in that area and see the Atherton Tablelands, perhaps the Undarra Lava Tubes, a trip of the Savannaland train or just swimming in the volcanic lakes up there. If you still have time then I would suggest stopping off in Brisbane and going to either the Sunshine Coast to the North where you could go to the Australia Zoo if that is of interest to you or to the South and go to the Gold Coast with some fantastic beaches there or on the northern part of new South Wales. You could then catch a flight back to Sydney from either Brisbane of the Gold Coast. Finally if you are on your own then I would suggest a nice little trip to Tasmania where you not only will be safe but will see a lot of very different things from the mainland i.e. convict villages, great wineries, a safe environment, pretty countryside and great food.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2009, 10:44 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 911
Go with the good advice offered above, two places together and one more by yourself, but do remember that it is the wet season in north Queensland. Not that it pours all day, every day, but it can feel that way if it is your first experience. Suggest you do not book your activities but play it by ear according to the weather.

It is a great time to see the reef and the rainforest. I would second i.n.b.e.'s advice about going further afield when in the Cairns area.
Saltuarius is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2009, 03:08 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 40
Ok! Lots to think about and lots of great ideas. We are quite flexible but want to get the major rocks figured out (like which direction to travel!) I'm sure I'll have more questions.... thank you!
dandc is online now  
Old Oct 23rd, 2009, 03:25 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 40
Now that I just posted my earlier reply (!), I have some questions re: the direction to travel.

If we leave mid-March, can you advise on the weather if we travel from GBR -> Adelaide-> Sydney? I dont mind rain at GBR esp if it's warm and we can swim. I like the idea of starting with the GBR and beach (since our regular life is hectic), but wondering if Sydney will be too cool by the time we make our way down. Is it warm/sunny enough for the beach in Sydney in early April? Not so worried about weather if wine-tasting or touring but I'd like to enjoy the beaches (never enough of that for me!)

And the converse question if we travel Sydney -> xxx -> GBR. That seemed logical to go north as it gets later but does that make sense in reality?
thanks!
dandc is online now  
Old Oct 23rd, 2009, 06:47 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 462
Is there any good reason you want to go to Adelaide? Hardly an International destination. On a par with say Spokane, Washington - nice enough place but really not of much interest to anyone who does not live there
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2009, 06:49 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 462
I'd go South first then North. There are many wonderful areas in Australia where there is wine tasting.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Old Oct 24th, 2009, 10:44 AM
  #10  
cwn
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 878
I have to disagree with "Is there any good reason you want to go to Adelaide? Hardly an International destination. On a par with say Spokane, Washington - nice enough place but really not of much interest to anyone who does not live there"

We spent seven days in Clare Valley and Adelaise Hills in Feb. It and the Ablany/Margerat River/Perth area of Western Australia where we spent another week were our favorite places in Australia. We also went to Darwin, Sydney and Cairns which were interesting.

Adelaide is a clean well laid out city and the wine areas surrounding it are a wonderful place to spend time and relax. The food and wine are great and the accommodations in the wine areas are wonderful. The beaches are pristine though it might be a bit airish in March and April.

My favorite beaches were in Western Australia, but that might be a real stretch for just three weeks.

Sydney is a pretty city, but I found the beaches very crowded in late Feb. Sydney is not that much different than say San Francisco or any other big tourist city. It is worth some time, but there are other parts of Australia that are really special.
cwn is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2009, 11:32 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 462
Where did you go in Australia CWN. I am interested to know what other areas you saw, particularly beaches because I spent many years in Western Australia and in fact lived one street from Scarborough Beach in Perth for 4 years.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Old Oct 26th, 2009, 02:05 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,851
I too loved South Australia, not the city of Adelaide so much as the surrounding areas. Absolutely loads to see and do, although I'd probably not go there in March/April due to the heat. Funny cwn, I didn't see any nice beaches in SA but perhaps we just missed them - they all seemed a bit dirty and seaweed strewn to me, but we only saw a couple of them. WA has fantastic beaches, especially down near Esperance, but that's adding an entirely different dimension to an already very busy trip!

Good luck with your planning dandc.
Melnq8 is offline  
Old Oct 26th, 2009, 12:50 PM
  #13  
cwn
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 878
ivenotbeeneverywhere,

We flew to Sydney, spent two days and took the Indian Pacific to Perth, doing the trains mini tours of Broken Arrow, Adelaide, Cook and Kalgoorlie...very interesting. In Perth, we rented a car and drove to Albany. We stayed 4 days at a Cape Howe cottage. Loved the beach and the whole area. We had the beach to ourselves most days. We took some side trips to other beach areas that were pristine also. This was probably our favorite section of Australia.

From there we drove to Yallingup. We had a cottage there for two days. There was a nice beach two minutes from the cottage, but the one we loved most was in the Bunker Beach area. We then drove to Fremantle for three days and stayed in a condo and enjoyed the beach there, though there were more people. Would have loved to have gone to the northern WA beaches, but we just didn't have time on this trip...next time.

We drove back to Perth and flew to Darwin. We rented another car and explored Darwin and drove down to Litchfield for the day. From Darwin, we took the Ghan to Adelaide with stops in Katherine and Alice Springs.

In Adelaide, we rented another car. We drove to Clare Valley where we rented a cottage for two days and explored the wineries and rode the Riesling Bike trail. We then drove over to Adelaide Hills and stayed in a small house for four days. We explored that area and the coast from there. We liked Sellicks Beach...again had it to ourselves and also the Encounter Bay area. Didn't find the areas dirty at all, though there might have been some sea weed on the beach over in the Victor Harbor area, but that is a comon accurance were we live so it doesn't really borther us unless it is smelly.

We then drove to Cape Jervis and left to car in the ferry parking lot, took the ferry to Kangaroo Island for a fabulous two days with a wonderful guide we found here on Fofors. It was probably the best experience we had while in Australia though I know many Australians don't think much of KI.

We drove back to Adelaide and flew back to Sydney for another two days. There we boarded the Tahitian Princess, a 600 passenger ship and sailed to both Brisbane and Cairns for a day each. We used the cruise as very comfortable transportation to get us to South East Asia. All total we were in Australia from Jan 19 to Feb 23.

If you are interested in the details of the varios things we saw and did, We did a daily blog for this trip with pictures for each day including the beaches at:

www.aroundtheworldin132days.blogspot.com

You will need to go to the Jan and Feb posts for the Australia part. This time in Australia was part of a 75,000 mile, 5 month trip around the world. We started on Jan 9 flying to Wellington NZ and flew home from Frankfurt, Germany on June 2.

We did love Australia especially WA and SA. Too bad it is such a loooong flight from the States.
cwn is offline  
Old Oct 26th, 2009, 01:03 PM
  #14  
cwn
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 878
Melnq8,

I agree that the real jewel of SA are the wine districts. Adelaide is just a city like many others though we enjoyed walking around it the afternoon we spent there while we were on the Indian Pacific.

We didn't go down to the beach area that is right there in Adelaide, almost, so I can't comment on it. But we liked Sellicks Beach...again had it to ourselves. There were also some neat looking places to eat and, of course, some wineries in the area.

The Encounter Bay area looked like a nice place to spend time also. Didn't find these areas dirty at all, though there might have been some sea weed on the beach over in the Victor Harbor area, but that is a comon accurance were we live so it doesn't really borther us unless it is smelly. And Australia has such beautiful clear water!

I totally agree with you about the WA beaches and you are right, they are probably out of reach given what DANDC has planned.
cwn is offline  
Old Oct 28th, 2009, 03:22 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,851
cwn -

My SA beach experience was limited to Maslin, Yankalilla Bay, Bashams and Glenelg, so take my beach comment with a grain of salt.
Melnq8 is offline  
Old Oct 28th, 2009, 07:13 PM
  #16  
cwn
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 878
Melnq8,

No Problem, we sampled a small number of the beaches in SA, you have more experience in Australia than I do, for sure. Glenelg was the beach I was thinking of near Adelaide. I understand that it is much busier than where we were. Sometimes more people means a less than perfect beach.
cwn is offline  
Old Nov 1st, 2009, 01:43 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 23
I live only a few kilometers from the SA beaches mentioned above, all are fantastic, although if you are hiring a vehicle then there are a few very secluded beaches on the Flurieu Peninsula that are accessable through the Deep Creek Conservation park and is very rare to find people on them. These are not far from the drive from Adelaide to the KI ferry at Cape Jervis
firemansam is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
paulg
Australia & the Pacific
4
Feb 19th, 2019 06:28 PM
asimm
Australia & the Pacific
5
Feb 5th, 2017 01:38 PM
victoria_reynolds
Australia & the Pacific
10
Apr 28th, 2011 08:14 PM
ReddTyde
Australia & the Pacific
14
Jan 3rd, 2011 10:11 PM
newesttraveler
Australia & the Pacific
10
May 13th, 2008 10:41 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO