Nov Dec 2007 Trip Itinerary - any suggestions?

Feb 16th, 2007, 04:07 PM
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Nov Dec 2007 Trip Itinerary - any suggestions?

We've finally figured out the date of our travels and have much decided upon, but it's always nice to have other ideas.

About us: We traveled to Australia for 3 weeks in 2003 and fell in love with the country. This is a return trip, which we hope is only one of many. So, we don't feel obligated to see everything on a single trip. Part of the time we are visiting friends.

My husband is an avid birdwatcher so much of our trip is dictaed by that. I love being outdoors and tag along with him most of the time, but am happy to wander off on walks of my own, looking at critters, flowers, waterfalls and the like. Usually I'm wandering with camera in hand. I'm hoping to golf at least a couple of times.

Here it is:

November 23 - Arrive Sydney. Leave with our friends to their farm mid-coast. They have plans! I hope they include golf.

November 25 - Take late train overnight from Taree to Brisbane

November 26 - Bus or Car Service up to O'Reilly's in Lamington National Park (we love O'Reilly's...does anyone have any favorites of the activities up there?)

November 30 - transfer to our bird guide, Bill Jolly. He really plans out most of the rest of the itinerary while we are with him, so don't know that we need much input. Likely stay at Helidon Springs near Toowomba (did I just misspell that?)

December 4 - fly to Cairns
Here's where we are still working things out. We'd like to stay at Red Mill House in Daintree a few nights, Kingfisher Lodge a few nights, and possibly Chambers Lodge at Lake Eacham. Still working it out.

Birdwatching will reign supreme up here. We know we want to visit Mareeba Wetlands, and I'd like to see if I can golf at Mossman. My husband will visit I think it is Mt Molloy (maybe thomas? I can't remember but it is a good birdwatching place) a few times and so on. Too many other thoughts to probably list here as this is going on rather long, and if you are even still reading perhaps you are bored by now.

I'm checking out walks and tours in the areas around these places as some of the times he will be out with a bird guide and i might want to go out on my own.

December 12 fly back to Sydney. More time with our friends, including walking the coastal trail at Royal National Park. We are considering doing an overnight on that but haven't worked it all out yet.

Fly home December 16.

Any thoughts? I've picked up a lot of great tips on this board, and always appreciate it.
Toucan2 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 04:48 PM
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Chris Dahlburg gives a great birdwatching boat trip out of Daintree Village.
judilie is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 04:57 PM
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Yes, we took his trip last time as well. I'm planning on another one this year. He's a really nice guy and the tour was one of my favorite things we did. Thanks!
Toucan2 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 01:39 AM
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Oh what an amazing trip. My only contribution may be re your plan to do the Royal NP Coastal Trail with an overnight. I can't imagine your friends wouldn't know this already - they live here after all - but you can overnight at Garie Beach at the YHA there. Absolutely no frills - but it woule be worth it, don't youn think.

Have the most amazing time.
fuzzylogic is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 04:01 AM
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Toucan, Red Mill House at Daintree Village is a superb choice, especially as birdwatching is on your agenda.

For Daintree and outback savannah (includes Mt Molloy) regions in FNQ, can I recommend Del Richards (another lovely guy) from Fine Feather Tours - www.finefeathertours.com.au Every couple of years I host members of the Audobon Society of Portland, Oregon and whilst it has its own incredibly knowledgeable guide, Steve Robertson, Steve always uses Del for this section of birdwatching trip to Australia.
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Feb 17th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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Thank you very much for the information about the overnight. Fiona mentioned checking into doing an overnight but I don't know how far she got so I will share this with her.

Pat thanks very much for the recommendation on Del Richards. We will check with him about his services. It's always so nice to have a recommendation.

While we have visited Kingfisher Lodge (not stayed there) and stayed a few nights at Red Mill House before, we are basically found the Chambers lodge online. has anyone stayed or visited there? The grounds look very nice for our type of visit on the web site, but it is nice to hear others' experiences. It sounds like we might be able to see a platypus there! I'd like to see a platypus
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Feb 17th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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Okay, it was Mt. Lewis I was thinking of, not Mt. Molloy (although we will probably stop there again as well. There is some kind of hard to find bird in the area. And not far from there was a rest stop where we got in an amazing amount of birding!

Anyway, that brings up another question which I will research but ask here as well. Is it possible to rent a car that they will let off pavement? Mt. Lewis is definitely not a place we should drive a rental car, but we want to go up there.
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Feb 17th, 2007, 01:28 PM
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Don't take th overnight train taree-brisbane.

Do the stinson crash walk up christmas creek at O'reillys.
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Feb 17th, 2007, 01:50 PM
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Thanks John, I'll check out the walk.

Why do you suggest not to take the train from Taree to Brisbane? What would you suggest alternatively? We will be very close to Taree, so don't want to drive back to Sydney.
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Feb 18th, 2007, 02:29 AM
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The story of Bernard O'Reilly and the stinson crash is one of the icons of the aussie bush.Westray's grave by christmas creek is a beautiful spot in the rainforest.

NSW countrylink overnight train services are one of the slowest forms of torture known to man. Think amtrak minus 20 years.

I think both jetstar and virgin blue have flights from newcastle to the gold coast..get your friends to drive you down to newcastle and pick up a flight.
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Feb 18th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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Wow, I had not heard that about the trains. Thank you for the tip. yes, we flew from Newcastle last time to Brisbane, but had thought the train would be a good alternative since it is closer to the farm they have now. Will have to reconsider.

(of course, comparing it to Amtrak 20 years ago would mean it would be much better than Amtrak now! 20 years ago it was actually worthwhile to sometimes take Amtrack!)
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Feb 18th, 2007, 10:14 PM
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OK Toucan....Amtrak plus 10 years.

You could try taking the day train from Wingham norh..go to Casino and take the associated bus to the gold coast.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 07:05 AM
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Thanks John.

I have also discovered online The Big Oyster at Taree. I immediately had to call Fiona and ask about this. We will be making a side trip just out of pure silliness.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 10:34 AM
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Toucan2, since you have been to Cairns before, maybe you already know this, but if not--Mareeba Wetlands has a stay-over option where you can get a room in the park and do several tours as well as wake up with the birds all around. We are not really birders, but are considering doing this for the wow factor. If you have done it, what did you think?
Sally in Seattle
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Feb 19th, 2007, 02:01 PM
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Hi Sally in Seattle,

Staying at Mareeba does look like a wonderful opportunity, but we won't be able to do that this time around.

We considered it, but I don't really like staying at a place just one night (I get tired of packing/unpacking - just a personal preference)and we already wanted to stay at the three places we settled on.

I must say the web site re: overnight does make it look appealing!
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Feb 19th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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Not that this is crucial, but we have decided on the lodging up north. Dec 4/5 Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodge: http://rainforest-australia.com/Accommodation.htm (their web site really has a lot of great information about walks and sites and other activities in the area. I know we are going to want to have more time!

December 6, 7, 8 Kingfisher Birdwatchers Lodge in Julatten (new owners will have new web site up soon)

December 9, 10 11 Red Mill House, Daintree: http://www.redmillhouse.com.au/

We don't really stay in town very often, but if we were we would be tempted by Pat Woolford's. Pat always has great input here and someone mentioned her place, lilybank, so naturally I had to look it up! It looks lovely.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 06:53 PM
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I would suggest that you contact Jonathan Munro, a guide in the Atherton Tablelands area. We were in Queensland in September 2006 and had a private tour with Mr. Munro that lasted from 2:00 to after 10:00 in the evening. He offers a wide variety of wildlife tours and will customize a tour to your interests. I highly recommend him. Do a search for him in this forum and you will find several trip reports that will give you an idea of what you can expect on one of his tours. His website is http://www.wildwatch.com.au/

Sara
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Feb 20th, 2007, 07:00 PM
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Thank you for the suggestion Sara.
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Apr 7th, 2007, 04:16 AM
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John J, again wanted to say thanks for the input on the train. We have changed our mind and will go back to Newcastle and fly to Brisbane. The flight is only an hour, and we won't need to deal with the train.

Will need to find transfer service from airport up to OReilly's/Lamington, bu should think that would be too difficult!
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Apr 7th, 2007, 05:16 AM
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Yikes, should edit before posting. "Shouldn't" think it would be too difficult to find transportation to Lamington is what I meant!
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