Our Australia Vacation Itinerary

Jan 25th, 2006, 05:51 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Our Australia Vacation Itinerary

Any feedback on this itinerary would be greatly appreciated (length of stays, tours,recommendations,..). We'll be traveling in mid-June as follows:

Arrive Sydney, Sunday evening:
Days 1 & 2: Sydney: Bridge Climb, Harbour cruise, Featherdale, Blue Mountain hike
Day 3: Fly to Ayers Rock, arrive midday
Day 4: Uluru, Olgas: sightseeing, hiking
Day 5: Drive to Kings Canyon, hike, overnight at resort
Day 6: drive back to Ayers Rock early for midday flight Cairns, arrive late afternoon. (staying one night in Cairns, then on to Port Douglas)
Day 7: Skytrain, Kuranda
Day 8: Lizard Island (with Daintree Air tours)
Day 9: Daintree Rainforest, hiking (guided tour?)
Day 10: GBR snorkeling with Wavelength (how rough is the trip on the small boat?)
Day 11: Early flight to Sydney, relax.
Day 12: Early flight home (Sydney-Brisbane-Los Angeles!)

Thnaks in advance!
TimJ is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 06:43 AM
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My 2-cents worth--

1. Unless there is a compelling reason to drive out to Kings Canyon, I think I'd skip it. Yes, the hike around Kings Canyon is nice, but it's a LONG drive. I would suggest staying an extra day in Sydney and flying to Ayers Rock on Day 4. (There's really so much more to Sydney that what you have listed doing. I think you may regret not spending more time there.)

2. The boat ride on Wavelength is generally a bit rough (and I've done it 5 times). They offer seasickness pills on board (no charge) and if you think there's any chance you could get seasick, I recommend you take something (either their pills or something of your own choosing.) I personally like ginger tablets as they quell any symptoms of seasickness and don't make me drowsy. In any event, there's no reason to chance ruining your once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Reef by being seasick.
longhorn55 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 11:54 AM
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Now I haven't been to Oz yet, but am in the process of planning my own trip in August, but I've found out a lot from this board and other places. Can I assume you are doing the Aussie Air pass?

From your itinerary, you seem to have only 1 day in Sydney, with another in the Blue Mountains. I'm planning on staying 3 and am constantly told that it isn't enough.

I too would head the previous advice and skip Kings Canyon. 600 km roundtrip and spending another two extra days in the NT out of 12 days total is a waste. Friends have mine who have gone there have said "If you've been to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, then don't bother".

Also, I too was going to stay in Cairns first before heading out to PD, but apparently there is nothing in Cairns and as such we will be getting off the plane in Cairns and heading straight to PD.

Of course if you've already booked your tickets than you current itinerary should still be fine, just not optimal.
DasFX is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 01:33 PM
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Interesting note on the ginger pills mentioned for seasickness:
The show "Mythbusters" did an episode on nondrug seasick remedies and the only one that worked for both of the test subjects was the ginger pills. I have used the pressure point wristbands before and thought they worked (and Consumer Reports says they do), but maybe I'll have to also try the ginger pills.
jcasale is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 06:43 PM
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Thanks to longhorn55 and DasFX for the advice. I think we will try to send a little more time in Sydney and and skip Kings Canyon. We haven't booked our domestic flights yet so we still have some flexibility.

Another Red Centre question -- is it worth spending a day in Alice Springs and then flying to Ayers Rock? Is 3 days at Ayers Rock too much?
TimJ is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 12:54 PM
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TimJ - assume you're doing Skyrail/Kuranda Train on the way to Port Douglas, not from it. Otherwise you'll have a lot of to and froing from Port Douglas to Cairns or nearby. The Skyrail terminal is about 10 minutes north of Cairns airport, as is Freshwater Connection for Kuranda train, its nearly another hour to Port Douglas. Then you'll be back at Cairns general aviation airport the next morning for flight to Lizard so that's another round trip to Port Douglas. Cairns-Port Douglas is a scenic drive for sure, but how many times do you want to do it in a few days.

For just a one day Daintree trip would recommend a guide, Pete Baxendell, mentioned here frequently will pick you up at PD accommodation.

Roughness of sea for Wavelength will depend on weather conditions at the time, 3 day out forecasts here are pretty reliable and any decent reef operator will let you know what to expect. Quicksilver's new Silversonic may be a good alternative if sea is rough and Poseidon is always reliable.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 12:54 AM
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Whew! You are trying to cover the highlights of Australia in only 12 days. When are you going to have time to relax and enjoy yourself?

Think about fewer destinations and more time at each. I agree with longhorn55 that you should axe the drive to Kings Canyon.

On the other hand, Lizard Island is a dream destination, and deserves more than one day. Since it is one of the best diving/snorkling locations on the GBR, recommend you spend an extra day there in lieu of the day on Wavelength. I did the Quicksilver trip, and it was wonderful, but much of the time was spent getting from PD to the reef and back. I would have liked more time actually snorkling.

Most of all, save something for your next trip to Australia. Give yourself a reason to return, for each trip to Aus is just as enjoyable as the last.
Heimdall is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 02:36 AM
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Heindall - huge price difference between one or two days at Lizard, just a one day trip out of Cairns is about $500 and much more if you stay at resort. Wavelength is $160pp. Did you take Quicksilver's Wavepiercer to Reef or the new Silversonic which I referred to above? 32 knots on Silversonic does get to outer reef pretty quickly.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 03:26 AM
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Pat, that was in 2003, so it was the old cat. Even though the new one may be quicker, there is still a lot of time taken up with boarding, roll call before the return trip, etc.

I agree that Lizard Island is very expensive (indeed my budget didn't allow it), but if TimJ is already going there for a day, then two days may be within reason.

My biggest regret from the 2003 trip is that I was too concerned about budget, and didn't splash out for a special treat like Lizard Is, or one of the better resorts in the Whitsundays.

Overall, though, I personally wouldn't choose a whirlwind itinerary such as this. There will be a lot of time expended checking in and out of hotels, transfers to airports, waiting in departure lounges, etc. It's TimJ's trip though, so if that is what he wants, no worries.
Heimdall is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 03:55 AM
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Oh, and if they don't stay the night at Lizard, they will still need a room somewhere else, and pay the $160 for Wavelength as well. It would work out cheaper, I agree, but the savings will get a short stay on the Quicksilver pontoon, shared with two or three hundred other trippers.
Heimdall is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 06:30 AM
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Me again. Did a Google and now see that Wavelength is a different operation, specializing in small groups of 30 or less. That sounds a lot like what I did from Airlie Beach, and it was great fun. Wavelength will be even better, though, because the outer reef has much better snorkling than the fringe reefs in the Whitsundays.

Still, if budget allows, a longer stay on Lizard Island would quite possibly be the most memorable part of the trip to Australia.
Heimdall is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 01:37 PM
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TimJ ,Tim we had many wonderful experiences in Australia including the whitsunday Islands. The Lizard Island day tour was by far the best experience. The GBR must be seen form the air to appreciate the size of it.
The reef was the best we had ever seen and we were able to snorkel on it for a full day.
We were unable to justify spending $1300 a night to stay at the resort and once finished the day tour were satisfied we had seen the very best of it an way. Apart from the views of the reef and the excellent snorkeling we got to see a couple of hundred miles of rainforests and rivers and things from the plane as well which also was very rewarding.
When you consider what you actually do and what you experience during the day it really is not expensive.

Enjoy !!!!
blakes444 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 11:57 PM
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Blakes444, was that $1300 over and above the $500 for the day trip? Right now the Lizard Island website is showing twin-share rooms starting at $765 pp, including all meals and use of island facilities. Still a lot of money, I agree, but my point was that after $160 for Wavelength, and the bill for room & meals in Port Douglas, the price difference isn't as great as it first seems.
Heimdall is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 12:28 AM
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Heimdall - that's low season (wet season) price and won't hold until June when TimJ will be here. There's low season rates in Port Douglas too, at the moment. What are they quoting for airfare to Lizard from Cairns?

Daytrip with Daintree Air is now AU$590 but I believe there is a 10% reduction if booking from outside Australia when GST isn't applicable on flight component.

BTW, Quicksilver's Silversonic (AU$142pp) does not go to Quicksilver's pontoon - it takes divers and snorkellers to 3 separate reef sites on Agincourt (outer reef) Ribbon Reefs and gives far more time on reef than their enormous catamaran which takes hundreds. Only mentioned it as an alternative to Wavelength if seas are rough, as they could well be in June. Quicksilver is maintaining this new vessel's ride control system will give the smoothest reef trip. I haven't tested it as don't go to reef at all in windy weather, but have heard good reports.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 10:47 AM
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Pat, thanks for those clarifications. I've probably hogged this thread too much already, so won't say anymore, except that I am now longing to get back to Far North Queensland. What a wonderful place!
Heimdall is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 11:22 AM
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About spending a day in Alice. We will have about half a day there and from what I've found out and from what I've heard, it is more than enough. Alice Springs is more of a communications and transportation hub rather than a tourist destination. Again, this is not from first hand knowledge. If you do find some great gems in Alice, please let me know.
DasFX is offline  
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