November itinerary ideas

Old Feb 22nd, 2022, 04:36 PM
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November itinerary ideas

Just got a great awards redemption for round-trip in November, round-trip from SFO to Brisbane.

First time for me in QLD, will have 17 days in the ground.

I drew up a rough itinerary, about 8 nights between the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast (thinking mostly Noosa).

Then maybe 5 nights in Victoria, mostly on the GOR and then 3 nights in Sydney, then back to Brisbane for 1 more night before flying back.

Kind of a busy schedule and I've been to Melbourne and Sydney a couple of times each. So maybe reduce time there or possibly eliminate it.

But my understanding is that QLD will be very hot and NSW and Victoria will be warming up through November.

Not really the type to lounge around on the beach or else I'd be thinking about spending more time in QLD. But I figure, if I spend a few nights in Noosa/Sunshine Coast), is going up to Whitsundays going to offer something I wouldn't get in the Sunshine Coast?

Thought about Cairns but I don't scuba and my main goal in going to these far-flung places is scenery, taking pictures of it. They have glass-bottomed boats so guess I could look at some of the Great Barrier Reef while it's still around but it is a long ways to go from Brisbane.

But I'll read up some more and would appreciate any ideas.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2022, 02:22 AM
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Hi there, you might like to think about Port Douglas and the Daintree Rain Forest rather than Cairns.

Re Noosa - itís pretty posh- all the beautiful people go there and splash the cash in expensive restaurants and shops. If thatís your thing then youíll love it. We went there a few times but decided we prefer Mooloolaba which is about 30 minutes south and has a great beach and a really good surf club where we usually have a few meals. I am a bit biased though as we have been going to Mooloolaba annually for about twenty years. You can hire a car and take a day trip to the Sunshine Coast hinterland from there.

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Old Feb 23rd, 2022, 08:22 AM
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Hinterlands as in the forest or push away from the coast?

Are there mountains?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2022, 02:54 PM
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visitsunshinecoasthinterland.com.au hopefully that link works. The hinterland is about a 30 minute drive from the coast and yes ‘mountains’ in a very loose use of the word. Gorgeous views back to the coast and nice little towns to explore.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2022, 05:47 PM
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I don’t think the link will work. If you search for Sunshine Coast hinterland you will get lots of info.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2022, 06:04 PM
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https://visitsunshinecoasthinterland.com.au

That worked for me.

I'll study it more.

But I generally preferred the high lookouts at Katoomba as opposed to going down into the bush below. Also liked the lookouts I've seen in The Grampians years ago.

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Old Feb 25th, 2022, 06:03 PM
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I think that 3 states and 3 domestic flights in 17 days is not a great plan.

Do you plan to drive? I once drove with a friend from the Gold Coast to Sydney over about 10 days and really enjoyed it. I'm not really a fan of the Gold Coast and prefer the Sunshine Coast (although it's been 7 years since I last visited). Maybe something like Sunshine Coast town (there are buses from the airport) - road trip to Sydney - Sydney - fly to Brisbane - Brisbane - home. More than enough for 17 days but not dashing around quite so much.

If you like views, head for the Maleny to Montville area.
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Old Feb 25th, 2022, 07:28 PM
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It would definitely be trying to cram a lot into a little over 2 full weeks. One of the reasons I was entertaining this is that QLD is suppose to be much hotter in October than NSW or Victoria.

The parts of Victoria and Sydney would be those I've seen before. Yes if I did things as originally conceived, I'd be driving in the Sunshine Coast and then out of MEL towards the GOR. Just based on quick Google Maps checks, the most I'd drive in a single stretch would be 3-4 hours and that would be once or twice.

Another reason I'd entertained going elsewhere is that it seems the furthest north I'd go is around Noosa, which is about 2 hours drive north of Brisbane. Any further north and it would probably make sense to fly up there and probably make most or all of the trip in QLD.

I'll research more but how much different would the coast look up around Proserpine or Cairns as oppose to the Sunshine Coast? To make it worthwhile to travel 1000 to 1600 kilometers further north?
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Old Feb 25th, 2022, 08:40 PM
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Well I don't go to Queensland that often (and yet to visit Airlie Beach) but Sunshine Coast and northern Queensland both have great beaches, lush interiors (landscapes not houses!), hiking, good food, shopping. North of Cairns obviously more tropical and more humid. Southern Queensland doesn't have crocodiles (which I loathe) and jellyfish (stingers) but it also doesn't have the reef. Sunshine Coast is more built up too but that may not be a big issue for you.
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Old Feb 26th, 2022, 12:19 AM
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Cairns is a big city, no beaches. It has mudflats and a big purpose built lagoon area for swimming. Port Douglas is much smaller, more touristy and has a beautiful beach. If you stayed right in the centre at PD, most things are walkable. Palm Cove is in the middle and tiny but popular.

The only reason you'd probably fly to Proserpine is to then go to Airlie Beach, about an hour away by road. Airlie is lovely, very touristy, again no beaches but a lovely lagoon built for swimming. From Airlie you can visit the islands of the Whitsundays. Day trips by ferries available as well as staying on the islands with resorts, Hamilton Island is the big one with an airport.

Sunshine Coast has magnificent beaches. We don't like Noosa, it feels pretentious and too upmarket for us. I'd suggest looking at Coolum (small) or Mooloolaba (more places to eat and shop) but beaches and small towns all along the coast from Caloundra to Noosa. If you mixed up the beach area with some time in the green hinterland, that seems a good mix for great scenery and views.

The Gold Coast is popular but I think generally too much concrete and highrise. Loads of accommodation. If you were to visit, Burleigh Heads is still nice, though getting more upmarket unfortunately.
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Old Mar 24th, 2022, 04:14 PM
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Fraser Island would seem to be a good spot for you to check out. You can get there from the sunshine Coast, but may be better to fly from Brisbane to Hervey Bay.
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Old Mar 24th, 2022, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by margo_oz
Fraser Island would seem to be a good spot for you to check out. You can get there from the sunshine Coast, but may be better to fly from Brisbane to Hervey Bay.
Interesting suggestion.

I tried a Google Maps directions search from Noosa to Fraser Island and it plotted a course which included a car ferry to the island. That car ferry trip is almost an hour.

But when I look at pictures of the island, very minimal development, see couple of lodgings.

Apparently no paved roads, so you better have a 4x4 or rent one on the island? Looks like people are driving on the sand along the coast but no pathways through the interior of the island?

https://www.queensland.com/us/en/pla...s/fraser-coast

Would certainly be a unique experience or unlike any that I've had.

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Old Mar 25th, 2022, 02:37 AM
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Fraser Island is lovely but you are right - no paved roads. It is a sand island. You can do day trips by barge/ferry from Hervey Bay. We've done a day trip a couple of times and really enjoyed them. The bus will pick you up at your accommodation. There are loads of places to stay at Hervey Bay. It's a famous spot for whale watching boat tours, at certain times of the year.

If you go over by yourself, you need a 4WD and to know how to drive it properly. There have been major accidents on the beach by people in hired 4WDs without enough knowledge to keep themselves safe from incoming tides etc. There is also a car ferry/barge from Inskip Point, near Rainbow Beach, you need a 4WD again.

There are a couple of resorts, Kingfisher Bay and Eurong Beach Resort are well known. There are other places too. The island has wild dingoes, wild horses and crystal clear lakes. Definitely worth a visit, if only for the day.

If you want to do something else different, you could visit the Bundaberg Rum Distillery in Bundaberg (north of Hervey Bay). They do tours and tastings. You'd need a car though I think. Bargara has beachside accommodation, lots of motels in Bundaberg and nearby Mon Repos has a turtle education centre.
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Old Jun 28th, 2022, 05:17 PM
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Been doing some more research.

I will have 16-17 full days so I'm leaning towards spending 4 days in Melbourne, 4 in Sydney, 4 in Noosa and 4-5 in Brisbane.

The idea would be to stay in bigger cities and towns and then take one or two day trips to more smaller towns or natural areas.

I've been watching the Below Deck Down Under show, which was filmed near Airlie or that's where the yacht docked and they went around the Whitsunday islands but mostly took guests diving in the reefs to see the underwater wildlife.

I'm not terribly interested in scuba diving or seeking out wild life. Been to Australia a few times, never went to see kangaroos, koalas, penguins, etc.

The furthest north I am thinking about is visiting Rainbow Beach and Double Island Point but I wouldn't rent a 4 x 4 and try to drive across the beach and back at low tide. Instead, there are guided tours which will take you from Noosa to these places.

There are also a number of hinterlands tours but from the pictures, I'm not sure they're of interest to me. Looks like some nice villages and destinations in the bush but I'd rather seek out coastal destinations.

I see winery and chocolate tours, similar to the Mornington Peninsula tours out of Melbourne. But those also seem to be in the hinterlands, so places with a lot of tree cover, though there must be some lookouts where you can see above the tree line?

From Brisbane I will probably do a day trip to Gold Coast, otherwise, doesn't seem to be much different than staying in Brisbane, though obviously close to the coast and a big draw for surfing.

I'm looking to see if there are some nice coastal walks near Brisbane. Found some maps for river walks near the Brisbane CBD, where you get views of the skyline. But nothing like Bondi to Coogee walk that I once did. Instead some of these lists of coastal walks direct you to go to North Stradbroke Island, which is a long slog from Brisbane even with a car, then a ferry and then buses on the island. Or one list even had Byron Bay, which is like 2 hours south of Brisbane, or some places like 90 minutes north of Brisbane.

Probably coastal headlands are further away from Brisbane?
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Old Jun 29th, 2022, 02:53 AM
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There are great walks in Brisbane but not coastal walks like the Sydney one you mention. Brisbane is pretty flat, particularly near the coast. There are also no beaches unless you head an hour at least north or south.

For walks close to the city, check Southbank and the river path. River walk all the way from Goodwill Bridge (pedestrian) to the city botanic gardens, past Eagle St Pier and Howard Smith Wharves, along towards New Farm. From New Farm to Teneriffe, also new river walk from Hamilton to Newstead or Teneriffe. Normally you could walk one way and get the ferry back but since the February floods the ferries have not been operating as normal. They are slowly coming back as ferry terminals are fixed. You can also walk over the Story Bridge or pay to do the climb.

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Old Nov 30th, 2022, 03:38 PM
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I completed this trip, had some problems getting to and returning from Australia but it was a great time, especially with the exchange rate.

Weather was mostly good but Melbourne was kind of a lost cause, threatening to rain most of the time, did rain some. I shelved plans to rent a car and drive out to Mornington and possibly Lorne or further west..

Enjoyed Noosa and Gold Coast, especially the area around Burleigh Head ,nice coastal walk there as well as the walk up to the lookouts.

Brisbane was good as well, liked the riverfront, especially walking to the area around Story Bridge, Howard Smith Wharves. They had a lot of construction though, especially in front of South Bank and other parts. They were building two bridges one near South Bank and another by the Kangaroo Cliffs, I believe. So a lot of construction apparatus in the river, kind of marring the views. Also noisy too.


One thing I really enjoyed, because I was still avoiding indoor dining, was all the takeout places in the CBDs. These mostly were for office workers, so the were often in the ground floor level of these tall office buildings or near them and usually just offered breakfast and lunch, usually closed by 2 off 3 PM.

The value and the quality of the foods you could take away was very good, great value. Good variety as well. One place in Brisbane had these Korean rice bowls, with Waygu beef for just under 18 AUD, which is like $11-12 USD. Well I just went to a Korean place in the US and they had Bibimbap with Waygu beef and it cost me over $30 after taxes and tip. Honestly the Waygu at the place in Brisbane tasted much better. However, bigger portions in the US and they gave you a bunch of side dishes.

But for quick, takeaway meals, the value was unbeatable. Nobody is masking over there so I definitely wasn't going to sit inside. Many places had outdoor tables and the weather was great for it. In the GC and Brisbane, there are these birds with long black thin beaks everywhere, searching for food on the ground. Some of them would occasionally jump into outdoor spaces for some restaurants.

I don't know if they were homeless but in Brisbane, you saw some people holding up signs asking for help outside supermarkets and restaurants. I don't ever recall seeing that in Australia and didn't see it in the Sydney or Melbourne areas during this trip.



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Old Nov 30th, 2022, 09:16 PM
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Thanks for reporting back, it's always interesting to hear about Australia from the perspective of an overseas visitor. What sort of problems did you have getting here? Just flight delays? They seem to be normal these days which is annoying.

Interesting that you found the food here good value. We used to visit the US a lot and generally found everything pretty cheap. Food, clothes, motels, petrol (gas?) etc. A big difference is the price on the menu here is what you pay. In America there are always add ons - tax, tips etc. It takes a bit of getting used to when visiting America. The bigger portions in the US are a bad idea, people just don't need that much food, it's unhealthy. Plus surely a lot of people don't want the sides? I can remember telling a waiter in America that I didn't want the soup or salad and he kept saying, but it comes with the meal. I still didn't want it but in the end, I said OK bring it, and had one mouthful.

The birds you describe are Ibis. They are very meanly called Bin Chickens because they scavenge. They are big but I've never seen them being the slightest bit aggressive. Also the homeless, they are all over Australia. Very sad to see. Public housing is very difficult to get.

Glad you had a good time. You can start planning your next trip here now
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Old Dec 2nd, 2022, 03:34 PM
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Yes flight delays, which affected the long flights across ocean.

Well most of the places were serving takeaway only or had just a couple of tables.

So those food containers were small. I agree about portion sizes but restaurants will offer lunch specials which are smaller portions of what they serve at dinner time, at least in the US.

For side dishes, they're kind of essential part of Korean cuisine. These are mostly vegetables, pickled or prepped like little appetizers but they rarely feature meat or fish, just vegetables. More comparable to contorni in Italian meals.


When I booked the flight and some of the first hotels back in February and around the summer, I believe 1 AUD was like .70-74 USD. By the time I arrived in Australia, it was around .USD and then by the end, around .67 USD. That's why it was a good deal.

That and the food prices include GST and service. There are some people on the TA forums for Australia admonishing Americans not to tip in Australia, because they don't want the hospitality industry there to adopt this practice. But saw few places with tip bowls at the counter. I never withdrew any local currency. As long as they let me pay by credit card, I did.





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Old Dec 2nd, 2022, 11:09 PM
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Thanks for your Trip Report and I'm glad you seem to have had a good time. I'd be interested to see where you went, what you did.

Food comparisons & prices are interesting. Personally, I would prefer to have a moderate amount of good quality food, with the option to have, order and pay for any extras I wanted, than to have a huge serving and numerous sides I don't want, can't eat.

And yes, you're right, we really do not want to see the US custom of employers stiffing their staff, expecting patrons to make up the difference with tips and advertising at factually false prices which omit the obligatory tip*.
And yes - I do know tipping is not compulsory - but when you know what the workers are facing without it (including being deemed to have received a certain % in tips for their tax) - I really could not walk out without tipping them.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2022, 09:16 AM
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Mostly looked for picture taking opportunities. Also enjoyed coastal walks. I'd been to Sydney and Melbourne before.

In Sydney, ventured up to the parks around the observatory, walked across the Harbour bridge (train line was closed on my first day, a Sunday). Did the walk again from Bondi to Bronte, didn't go pas the cemetery. Then ventured north of Manly for the first time, up to Curl Beach.

Melbourne, the weather wasn't great so I didn't do much. I had planned to hire a car and get out to Mornington but I didn't want to drive out there in the rain. Didn't rain that much as it turned out but it threatened to.

In Noosa I did the coastal walk in the headlands, tried to walk up to a look out and then found there was parking up there so drove up instead. I also was interested in visiting Double Island Point and Rainbow Beach. There is a tour operator who will take you from Noosa to DIP but they couldn't guarantee that I'd be able to get to the Lighthouse there. Tour was mostly geared towards people who wanted to be at DIP beach, kayak there. I was interested in photography, so I didn't go.

GC was nice, I really liked the views from Burleigh Head National Park.

Loved the Brisbane riverfront, especially up towards Howard Smith Wharves with views of the bridge there and the skyline.
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