OZ Holidays with family - pls help review

Nov 24th, 2004, 02:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 8
Now some questions regarding my revised trip:

1. We have not included Hunter valley but is it something worth trying to include??? Is it a must-visit place with Children?

2. On the last day in Sydney, i.e. Day6, if we have covered all other attraction in Sydney, we would like to go for a nice walk of about 3 to 4 hours in some area that is good for family walk. I remember seeing another post in Fodors strongly recommending a walk in Sydney but can't seem to find it any more - any suggestions for walk in Sydney - either beach or park walk that is doable in 3 - 4 hours? Any good place for cycling in Sydney where bikes can be rented?

3. Any good place for cheap & reliable car rental in Gold Coast?

4. We are planning to stay in Cairns at "Cairns Queenslander". Any feedback about this hotel?

Thanks in advance!

ozexplorer is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 04:51 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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ozexplorer- I believe you are referring to the "Spit to Manly walk."

Here are some notes I've cut-and-pasted from this site.

In Sydney, go to Wynyard Railway Station and find the bus stands in Carrington St. From Stand C take regular bus 180 (about half-hourly, but go before 9 a.m., as this is a full day's walk.) Ask the driver to let you off at the Sydney side of the Spit Bridge. Across the street from the bus stop is a group of shops... anyone there will direct you to cross the bridge and walk down the track to the foreshores on your right. This is the entrance to one of Sydney's best walks. Take drinks, as there are few shops until you get to Manly beach. It's all signposted, but the rock carvings are a few metres off the path about midway into the walk... right around the time when you'll think it's a good idea to stop for a rest and gaze at the view of the harbour (the aboriginal people knew enough to do their art work where the view, and the sea breeze, is at its very best).
Once you get to Manly, after about four hours of easy walking (a few steps, but our daughters have been doing this walk since they were four years old), you have a choice of transport back to Sydney: a long bus ride, or the terrific Manly Ferry trip (about half-hour, regular departures all day), or the more-expensive hydrofoil which takes only a few minutes (but is not nearly as scenic as the ferry, as you're confined to indoors). Manly is a real tourist trap, but there are some great salt-water swimming pools around the area (you will pass several), so you may want to have an afternoon swim. There's even a nude beach slightly off the track (there will be a sign to warn you).
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 04:51 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Continued from the above post. . .

Bring water, camera, and insect repellant--possibly wear a bathing suit and bring lunch to enjoy the secluded beaches

Shorter version: Take the ferry to Manly, and get a cab from Manly wharf to Dobroyd Point. Admire the view then pick up the spit to manly trail to walk to manly. Less than half the distance and all downhill.
The ferry walks booklet (from the ferry info booth at wharf 4 at circular quay) is recommended.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,092
Ozepplorer - Cheap car rental on the Gold Coast....try Red Spot car rentals.
LizF may know of other companies which are cheaper still.
Hunter Valley is really not a children's attraction, its about drinking wine. However, there are the Hunter Valley Gardens. Personally, I would forget the Hunter Valley, and utilise that day for something else.
Its funny how so many overseas visitors, pick on Sydney/Blue Mtns/Hunter Valley, etc, without even thinking about the beautiful south coast for 1 or 2 days.
There is a book that can be purchased in Sydney called, "Sydney by ferry or foot" and it lists numerous walks including the Spit to Manly walk.
Another shorter walk, is to walk around behind the Opera House, then into Botanical Gardens, and stay on the foreshore walk right beside the water, around to Boy Charlton Swimming Pool, then cut up to Art Gallery, then back through the Botanical Gardens (a pleasant place to escape the nosie & rush of the city), then back into the city streets, to catch your bus or train back to Chatswood.
tropo is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 04:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 288
Note: This is a 2 part response:

Hi Ozexplorer,

Okay, now I will suggest you do the Moonshadow V dinner cruise on the Friday night seeing as you will now be arriving at Port Stephens on day one. I rate it at good value for money, the food is plenitfull and the boat is very nice. You can go up to the bridge and chat to the skipper and it is pretty interesting.

As for accommodation well there are literally every kind and level available. So my pick for the different kinds and levels of accommodation are:

5 Star Resort:

The Anchorage Resort in Corlette:


4 Star Resort:

The Landmark Resort in Nelson Bay:

Paul_S is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 04:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 288
2nd part ...

3.5 Star Motel:

Nelson Towers in Nelson Bay:


The B&B's in Port Stephens mostly cater for couples only, the ones that do allow children are not that well located so I will not bother to recommend a B&B to you for this reason.

The Anchorage is right on the waterfront but is expensive as you would expect from a 5 star establishment. It is also a little out of the way if you did not have a car, this would not be a problem for you.

The Landmark Resort in Nelson Bay is probably my pick for the best all round accommodation. It is located about a 7 minute walk from Nelson Bay beach and the D'albora Marina complex. Most of the cruises leave from the marina in Nelson Bay it also has a booking office that allows you to book on virtually all the tours available in Port Stephens not just cruises. The Landmark is the newest resort in the Port and has a nice restaurant on the ground floor called the Port O' Call restaurant. It also has beautifull views across the Port and right up the north coast.

Nelson Bay CBD has a lot of fine restaurants that open for lunch and dinner such as DEPZ, Sandpipers, Rock Lobster and the marina has a Hogs Breath restaurant which the kids will like.

The Nelson Towers is a moderate class motel and it is located directly across the road from the Marina in Nelson Bay. It is probably the best located motel for those who do not have a car. However having stayed there on a few occasions I have found their lifts to be somewhat of a problem when the staff are cleaning the rooms as the staff tend to tie up the lifts. Nelson Towers is also located right in the centre of the CBD so you have all the restaurants and shops at your doorstep.


Paul_S is offline  
Nov 25th, 2004, 07:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 8
All Fodorites,

Thanks so much for all responses so far.

1. Spit to Manly Walk - Tim_and_Liz, thanks for sending the details - This is the info I was looking for. Couple of quick questions here:
(a) We are not sure whether we will do full walk or half walk. If we do half walk, do you know by any chance how much cab ride from Manly to Dobroyd Point would cost?
(b) While in Manly on last day, should we also check out the "Ocean World" in Manly before returning back to our hotel via Ferry? We are going to stay at Walsdorf in Liverpool street and our flight out of Sydney is at 6:30 PM. How good is "Ocean World"? Is it worth?
(c) Is there anything else in Manly we should check out? I am working backwards - to catch 6:30PM flight out of Sydney, we should leave our hotel )CBD)by 4:30 PM - so if we leave Manly via Ferry at 3:30 PM - will we be OK assuming that all we need to do is pick up our bags and catch cab?

2. Port Stephens - Paul, thanks for all info re: Port Stephens. Our flight arrive in Sydney on Friday 6:30 AM. Assuming that we are able to start from Sydney airport by 7:30 AM, we should be able to reach Nelson Bay by 10:30 AM or latest by 11:00 AM. Is it possible to cover both - Dolphin cruise and Sand Dunes tour on that day itself? Unfortunately the site http://www.portstephens.org.au seem to be out of action - I can't access it any more.


ozexplorer is offline  
Nov 25th, 2004, 11:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 288
Hi Ozexplorer,

Well I expect if you manage to get through customs and into your car by 7:30 am on the Friday you land then you should be able to make it to Port Stephens by 10:00 am. You will be going in the opposit direction to the peak hour traffic flow in Sydney and on the F3 freeway so barring any accidents causing delays I think you will have a good run up to Nelson Bay.

Most of the dolphin cruises leave the marina in Nelson Bay at 10:30 am and last for 1.5 to 2 hours. The bush mobile tour of the sand dunes starts at 2 pm so in theory you should be able to do both on that Friday.

The Port Stephens website is still operational and I have no trouble getting into it so I am not sure why you are hving difficulty with it. However there is a direct link to the booking centre at the marina in Nelson Bay which is:


I doubt you would be able to get into your accommodation and still make the 10:30 am dolphin tour so you may have to book in after the tour at your accommodation.

Try the Port Stephens tourism website again to see if you can get access, the website is:


By the way the Moonshadow dinner cruise link is:


As to your question on the Hunter Valley Vineyards and children, well it is more of an adult experience than one for the children but if you do decide to go then I suggest you plan to have your lunch at Pokolbin and take in the Hunter Valley Gardens there are play areas for the children there.

Hope this helps, if you need further info then just ask.


Paul_S is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 04:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 8
Thanks to everyone who responded my request for help. We just returned from our wonderful OZ holidays... I have been to Australia several times before for business visits but this visit was most memorable. We covered Port Stephens, Blue Mountains, Canberra, Sydney, Gold Coast and Cairns in the trip. After I recover from holiday hangover, I will try to publish a trip report covering what worked and what didn't.

Many thanks...
ozexplorer is offline  
Dec 21st, 2004, 01:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 288
Hi Ozexplorer,

Glad to see you had a great time, look forward to reading your trip report when you get around to it.


Paul_S is offline  

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