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Mary J Dec 26th, 2001 02:19 PM

Oz experts! Ultimate adventure with kids.
Fell in love with Australia fifteen years ago, while in my twenties without a care in the world. Had wonderful adventures in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and NT. Now am planning 6 week trip with husband and two daughters, ages 7 and 11. Will probably travel next Dec. and Jan. Plan a combination of camping, guesthouses, a short farm stay, and hotels. Want to stay us flexible as possible and be somewhat cost conscious. Loved Queensland and will definitely spend time there. Have good friends in Melbourne and may meet them in Lorne for New Years. What would you suggest as "don't misses". Should we try to do Darwin area, Alice, Uluru? Have been to many beautiful spots but need to wisely choose to best use our short six weeks. Would love a mix of beach, play and outdoor adventure, along with some 'culture' in Sydney. What would your dream itinerary be? Thanks for all your input. This trip has been a dream for a long time.

LizF Dec 26th, 2001 06:04 PM

As you are coming in Dec and Jan ( our hotest months and after this Christmas season and the heat wave we have had I would be very careful where I went to) <BR>Having said that you could have an each way bet and stay perhaps at Nara Seaworld Resort Hotel on the Gold Coast and have access to the theme park whenever which would be nice for the kids. There is a lot to do for adults and kids on the Gold Coast and its not too far north where it would be hotter. Unfortunately I would say say away from the Northern Territory as its the wet season and the heat and humidity would be dreadful. If the weather was good then trips up to the hinterland of the Gold Coast would be terrific and also the other theme parks too. How is that for starters?

Rhonda Dec 27th, 2001 02:49 AM

Firstly do a search here as you'll find lots of other web sites & links to investigate.<BR><BR>I agree with Liz. Nara Seaworld Resort would be a great place to stay. There are also other fun parks near the Gold Coast to visit such as Dreamworld, Movieworld etc.<BR><BR>Some other suggestions:<BR><BR>If you get the opportunity, climb Mt Warning. My son was 4 at the time and he managed. "They" say the view is spectacular at dawn, but it was also just great later in the morning.<BR><BR>As you'll be at Lorne, book into a surf lesson. See <BR>My kids had lessons at Angelsea with Go Ride a Wave and loved it. They supply full wet suits (the water's pretty chilly) and the lesson was certainly long enough. They were exhausted afterwards!<BR><BR>See the penguins, koalas and seals at Phillip Island, Victoria.<BR><BR>Perhaps camp & bushwalk at Wilson's Promontory.<BR><BR>Visit Ballarat's Sovereign Hill, a recreated gold mining town.<BR><BR>Go to Questacon, a hands-on Science Museum in Canberra.<BR><BR>Sydney's Tooronga Park Zoo must have one of the best zoo views in the world.<BR><BR>When you get here purchase a copy of our motoring organisation's (NRMA) Experience NSW & ACT book . Lists all sorts of accomodation, ratings, has maps and lists things to see & do. I find this little book invaluable.<BR><BR>Don't forget Dec/Jan is our peak tourist season as all children are on school holidays. I'd suggest booking some accomodation in advance.<BR><BR>I think Australia's Red Centre would be unbearably hot in Dec/Jan. I'd miss that and make it another trip.<BR><BR>

LizF Dec 27th, 2001 12:07 PM

Whilst I agree with the above writer on everything she said for activities I would strongly disagree with anyone getting a NRMA ( Experience NSW book or any other NRMA/RACQ/VRMA/AAA or whatever) The reason I say this is that their system of rating has become very flawed now and as they are going to charge through the nose for it from now on there will be a lot of people dropping out of thier scheme ( me for one) Their rating system is like rating apples and oranges i.e. a B&B with an up-market guest house etc which would have been purpose built - it cannot work that way. Also the 4br,2sh,wc,a/c is really not an accurate account of the accommodation. I am not saying this because I myself don't have a good rating - I have a 5 star rating but was appalled at the attitude of this years gradings when friends of mine with very lovely accommodation places were told that wooden coat-hangers would have to be bought instead of the ones they had supplied or they would be down rated!! This in a B&B which is not required to have coat-hangers anyway - and petty comments like that. Their breakfasts, a big part of what they do, were not rated and nor were they even asked about them, their helpfulness and hospitality was not rated either. What I am saying is that you will get a very biased view of accommodation through this outlet from now on and I hope everyone will become aware of this. Further at $410 for the benefit?? of having their rating with 4br/2sh etc I doubt many will continue to work that way. Get on the Internet - its a better method and you can see the accommodation and chat to the owners before booking - NRMA and the rest you have become Trogolodites!!!!

Rhonda Dec 27th, 2001 12:42 PM

Thankyou for your 'kind' comments. As someone NOT in the industry, someone NOT biased in any way, IMHO I, personally, find this book VERY helpful, especially with providing SO MANY accomodation options complete with all details, especially phone numbers and tourist tips such as what to do & see, what to do in a bushfire, maps etc.<BR><BR>I don't think $16.50 AUD is "through the nose" especially for the convenience and portability of this information.<BR><BR>

LizF Dec 27th, 2001 01:10 PM

You misunderstood me Rhonda - what is "through the nose cost wise" is the charge that the NRMA is asking accommodation houses to pay for a rating -which in itself is flawed. There are many accommodation houses that have so many avenues to advertise in that the NRMA etc is the one that they will opt out of because of the lack of proper rating which is now given and the fact that a lot of information is not put in - important information at that. What I am saying is that it is not (anymore) a good guide to accommodation places in Australia because it misses out the most important aspects of the accommodation and that there are many who are not listing with them anymore.

LizF Dec 27th, 2001 01:15 PM

PS <BR>This is not a "biased" comment but an informed comment because I am in the accommodation industry and I for one would not bother to look in any of the motoring books for any accommodation information. <BR>As I said I have my 5 Star rating with them so it is not going to effect me in any way if a person does or does not use that book - I am suggested that there are much better avenues to gain information about the accommodation you are requiring now and that the motoring books are an outdated method which is too costly for a lot of accommodation houses.

Mary J Dec 28th, 2001 05:00 PM

Thank you for the above suggestions. Any more input on "must do's?" I agree that the red center would be hot (have been to Coober Pedy in January- not a high point of my trip.) Any suggestions on Islands to visit. Not looking for fancy resorts. We are a pretty low key family. Would like to do some snorkling and kayaking, also some stargazing. Have also considered a boat charter for two or three nights in the Whitsundays. Any recommendations. Need to narrow things down a bit to find great beach towns and islands. Also more info on Hinterlands would be great. Not huge on themeparks though I have to admit they are great rewards for the kids. Also, will stay in a hotel in Sydney. Any kid-friendly recommendations? Thanks again.

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