Oz experts, I need your help! 10 questions...

Old Aug 13th, 2002, 07:02 AM
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Oz experts, I need your help! 10 questions...

Hi all

I'm srry for the length of this one, I do usually keep them short!

Am trying to work out how many days I need for each 'port of call' and could do with some more of your help on some day trip questions!

1. Can I combine a visit to the Healesville Sanctuary with a trip to the vineyards or will I need a full day?

2. How long will I need at Phillip Island? Am I correct in thinking the penguins don't come up the beach until late?

3. Should I do 2 days and 1 night on Great Ocean Road so I get to see everything, rather than 1 long rushed day?

4. Is the Wine Train a whole day trip?

5. Will a trip to Kangaroo Island last a whole day?

6. If I'm spending 5 days in Port Douglas, how long should I spend in the Whitsundays? I'm not a diver but do enjoy snorkelling.

7. If I go on an early morning Hot Air balloon trip that ends by 10.30am, how can I spend the rest of the day?

8. How long does the bridge climb take?

9. Can I easily do Hunter Valley vineyards in a day?


Do I sacrifice driving between Sydney and Brisbane and seeing Coffs and Byron Bay for 2 nights at Kakadu on the way home?

Thanks in advance, you never let me down!

Sonia :0)
Old Aug 13th, 2002, 07:54 AM
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Here goes, Sonia...Remember, Oz is a huge place and few things are close by.

--My wine tour of Barossa took a full day--I did not take the train, but would expect you too would spend a day there. We went to 4 wineries that afternoon.

--I did 2 days/1 nt tour of Kangaroo Is. I think I saw pretty much everything in that time. I know there are single full day trips and you would get to see some of what I did, certainly not all. KI was a favorite part of my Australia trip--enjoy. BTW, if you stay overnight on KI, you can see penguins there instead of on Phillip Is.

--Bridge climb takes 3 hrs. You're not climbing that whole time. That includes the safety talk, getting fitted for your 'stylish' bridgeclimb suit, stopping and admiring the view, etc...

--Why do wine tours in both Sydney and Adelaide? A day or overnight to the Blue Mtns might be another idea for you to consider while in Sydney.

--To get to Darwin would require a flight of at least a couple of hours depending on where you're coming from...If you do go to Kakadu, I suggest you spend at least 2 days there. It's a couple hour drive from Darwin and is a massive place...

The trip I did in July is similiar to what you're considering. I posted a thread called, "D's Trip Report" I hope it helps!

Old Aug 13th, 2002, 02:31 PM
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Yes! sacrifice the driving to Sydney to go to Kakadu - there is absolutely nothing else like that place and spend as much time there as possible i.e. not just a day trip because its too big and too far from Darwin. Its a World Heritage area and some of the oldest country in the world.
If you have been to Cairns and the Whitsundays then Coffs and Byron will be Ho Hum!!
I would even go as far as to say - forget the Hunter Valley vineyards. The wine at the outlets in the Valley is priced at more than you can get it at hotels etc and in the middle of summer the valley will not be that nice either. If you are going to the Barossa then stick with that one.
You don't say where you will be when you do a balloon flight but either way if its near Cairns or in the Whitsundays there is so much to see and do that you won't have the time anyway. Do your snorkling in the Cairns region as the reef is closer but do your sailing / diving / island hopping / and whatever around the Whitsundays.
Old Aug 13th, 2002, 04:53 PM
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Answers on your Victorian questions - Healsville Sanctuary & Vineyards - well you could visit both in a day - but it depends how many vineyards you want to visit. I'd allow around 3 hours for the sanctuary. Phillip Island - the penguins arrive at dusk/early night. So I'd aim to arrive latish afternoon (depending on what time of year you're coming) to perhaps visit Seal Rocks and then the penguin information centre.
Great Ocean Rd - allow 2 days. You will not see the best parts if you try and do it in one - particuarly if you are starting from melbourne.
Old Aug 13th, 2002, 08:22 PM
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Hi, Sonia!
I think you have been given good advice to skip the Hunter Valley altogether.... it's a large area, not very interesting, really, and an unlikely tourist favourite (to turn it into a tourist destination, someone did some smart marketing!) The Barossa area has the better vineyards.
I also think Coffs and Byron Bay are no more than average coastal towns (from what I have heard, Byron is actually best avoided nowadays), and I would follow Liz's advice here exactly... do Kakadu, if you are able to without using up too much of your holiday.
Have a great time!
Old Aug 13th, 2002, 11:48 PM
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Gees Allan...
You are unfailingly polite and patient with your replies. I would like a US$ for every "where do i stay in sydney?" reply you have answered.No wonder you are king of the heap on this board.

But where oh where did your sense of dilomacy go (or judgement) go when you call Byron an average coastal town and best to be avoided)

Byron and surrounds has some of the best beaches on this planet let alone the east coast of australia.Whats more they have not been corrupted by the high rise crass commercialism of the gold coast,miami,waikiki ,copacabana or blackpool.

Throw in a sub tropical climate,a rolling green hinterland with charming villages,some great rainforests,and a bit of big sur vibe and you have got a world class place to visit and/or live.

It may not be to the liking to all the middle class yanks who visit this board but it is certainly not average.
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 12:53 AM
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One more vote for Byron for all the same points that John has raised.

A lot of what appeals to you and what doesn't depends on your age group, interests etc.

I don't think Byron would appeal to my folks (obviously a little past their surfing prime) but at 37 I enjoy the beaches and relaxed atmosphere, great vegetarian food and a kind of slightly alternate sort of feel to the place (referred to one expert on this board as "ferral").

Sonia it all depends on what you're looking for. If you're hip and happening then I think you'll have fun in Byron. I've enjoyed a great meal and some nice music at The Railway Hotel and suggest that might be a pleasant evening out if you should make it to Byron.
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 08:49 AM
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Did you do an organised tour on Barossa? If so, which did you choose? Did you get to go the the Wolf Blass winery, it's the particular one I'm interested in.

If I have to fly to Kangaroo Island, will it be very expensive? I can only fit in one day.

I read all about your trip, it looks very similar to mine. All in all it sounds like a wonderful trip, hope mine is as good!


The balloon flight is early in the morning in Cairns, I believe it finishes about 10am, so plenty of time for everything else!

Any views on a good island to stay at on the Whitsundays. I'm looking for somewhere beautiful, as quiet as possible, moderately price where I can relax, take a boat trip and snorkel?


Is there anywhere to visit on the way to Phillip Island, so we can make more of a day of it?


I think I will just do Barossa, everyone seems to be agreed that it is far superior to the rest.


I'm still tied as which to chose, but due to time restrictions, the drive up to Brisbane may win (I might try and combine Kakadu with a trip to New Zeland). I've heard many good and bad reports about both, but figure if I have an exra day or so I'd like to check out some of the best bits for myself.

Everyone, your help is very much appreciated, and does cheer a tired girl up at the end of a hard day of work! I'm even having dreams about my trip at the moment, I must be crazy!

Sonia :0)
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 11:37 AM
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Hi Sonia--
Yes, I did an organized tour of Barossa which was arranged by the concierge (sp?) of my hotel. This particular tour did go to Wolf Blass--and I bought several bottles of wine from them ;-)
I can't remember the name of the tour company we used but will check later and see if I have it written down...

As for the KI question, I don't know the cost of that particular segment of my trip. It was part of the package I bought from Newman's, and unfortunately they don't itemize. I do know that flying is more costly than the ferry but much quicker.

Have a wonderful time!
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 04:09 PM
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Take a trip up to the Atherton Tablelands from Cairns after the Balloon flight and swim in the fresh water lakes up there and possible take a trip around on on the boat and see the rainforest from that perspective. Go to Milla Milla Falls and swim under the waterfall there and just laze about. Take a quick trip over to Green Island and spend the day walking on the coral and seeing the marine life at low tide. Do the semi-submersible trip and see the coral at its best.
Take a trip around to Mission Beach. See if you can get to Yarrabah Mission ( it may of may not be available to entry) and talk to some of the Aboriginal residents there about their culture. Take a walk through the botanical gardens in Cairns - see the Orchid farm and its display. In the Whitsundays I think I would go for either Long Island or parts of Hamilton. Check when you get there and see what bargains are available.
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 04:38 PM
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About Byron Bay - no it doesn't have high rises, nor fun fairs like Blackpool, it does have a beautiful beach and it does have a wonderful outlook from the lighthouse. It probably does have nice vegetarian food BUT it is the drug capital of the NSW ( probably with the exception of Nimbin which is pretty close by anyway). The Council has to wash out the parks and benches each morning to rid the place of needles, you can get high just walking down the street and breathing normally. The rock concerts must have more people attending who are "stoned" out of there mind than Fred Nile's Church in Kings Cross.
When you consider that between Sydney and the Gold Coast there must be 1000s of fantastic beaches and beautiful hinterland why oh why would anyone wish to go to Byron Bay when the likihood of getting Hep A, B or C is higher than most any other place?
Tell it as it is folks!
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 11:02 PM
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Sorry Liz but I still think Byron is worth it! Due caution has to be exercised no matter where you travel or even reside these days. Remember needlestick injuries aren't the only way to contract Hep A B and C. It is probably the least common cause of cross infection. Hepatitis is rife in a lot of countries.

It appears Sonia lives in the UK as I do (although I'm Australian born and moved to the UK four years ago)and could well live in a city with drug problems far worse than places she might visit in Australia due to the larger population. It is a sad fact that addicts live EVERYWHERE.

If I limited my travels to cities or towns without drug problems in an effort to reduce the risk of contracting a disease I'd be sitting at home spending too much time contributing to travel forums rather than actually travelling.
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 11:08 PM
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There is really nothing particularly exciting on the way to Phillip Island I'm afraid. On the island itself there's the Koala park - which if you haven't seen Koalas is worth a visit as you're guaranteed to see some. I'd suggest spending until mid afternoon in and around Melbourne - (you could take a trip to the Dandenongs ) and then head down to Phillip Island. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to get there.
Old Aug 15th, 2002, 01:31 PM
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Hi Sonia

I promise to keep this short cause I'll only address the Great Ocean Road.

There is a helicopter tour that goes to the GOR and to the Twelve Apostles and with the length of time that it takes and all that you'd like to do - I would recommend taking the helicopter tour. The area is simply beautiful - we loved it immensely but getting there and return is LOOOOONG!!
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