Planning an Australia trip for 8?

Reply

Jan 20th, 2010, 06:13 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 993
Planning an Australia trip for 8?

I am not even sure how to go about planning our Australia trip for May 2010.

There will be 8 of us going ranging from ages 75 to 13. We have two weeks total and one in our party has to spend at least one of those weeks split between Sydney and Melbourne. He will be joining us in Perth. Five are coming in from the US and 2 from Asia.

I guess my first question is: Should we spend the week in Sydney and Melbourne and then go to New Zealand? Or, is it better to stay in Australia? I'm not sure when any of us, will be back in that part of the world.
misha2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 20th, 2010, 10:38 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,039
No, don't try to split your time between Australia and New Zealand. I think two weeks is a minimum to spend in either country.
Are you planning just to visit Sydney, Melbourne and Perth? While each of those cities are great, they are just that--cities. Try to incorporate something into your travel plans that isn't a city. For example, I'd recommend Far North Queensland (Great Barrier Reef) and/or the Top End (Darwin and the environs).
longhorn55 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 20th, 2010, 09:37 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 50
Hi from Perth.
If you are coming to Perth. I can give you some first hand experience.
Our beaches are lovely but May is a month where it can be warm or cold. We have lovely cafes along the ocean. Pathways wehre you can walk and admire the beauty. The city has a hop on hop of bus. The river is lovely. Rottnest is our island off the coast. Day trip to walk, ride, no cars, bus etc.
I agree with the person above leave NZ out. Australia is so big. Melbourne is lovely great tram system. you may be able to see one of our footy matches. I am happy to answer any questions. In Melbourne or Sydney stay in the inner city but in Perth I would stay near the beach. If it is terrible weather it is still lovely to watch. it was 43.5 here the other day so our weather in May could be the same as your summer.
RebeccaHWA is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 24th, 2010, 11:02 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 86
I agree - 2 weeks is not long enough to split between two countries! Australia is a very big country! QLD is lovely and would be a shame to miss particularly the Gold Coast. What kind of activities are you interested in? Adelaide also has some lovely wineries in fact the Barossa Valley north of Adelaide is a great place to visit. Sydney is a very busy city as is Melbourne and both cities have many great sights and activities to offer.
emmamarie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2010, 01:19 PM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 993
Wow! Okay. I guess we should just explore Australia. I was tempted because I felt like we might not get out that way again. But, I guess I can see where you are coming from. Now, I just need to figure out how to get this all in. I absolutely do not want to have it all be a city tour. We will just need to figure out what and how to work out the schedule. We have a wide range of interests and ages. What is QLD?
misha2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2010, 03:44 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
QLD is Queensland, a rather large state on the north east of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, 2,000 km long stretches along much of its northern-central coast. www.queenslandholidays.com.au should give you an idea of the size of the state and what to do and see.
pat_woolford is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2010, 06:42 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 11,538
Mischa2,
This may help with orientation/size, when you're planning.
http://maps.howstuffworks.com/austra...arison-map.htm

You'll see how the idea of someone spending a week in Sydney & Melbourne and then going to New Zealand doesn't really work if you want to see a representative amount of either country. Rather like someone spending a week in New York & Washington and then going to Canada for a week, I guess

If I understand correctly, everyone is meeting in Perth, and one person will be in Sydney & Melbourne (presumably on business)for a week.

May is a lovely time in Australia; possibly the most reliable month weatherwise and ideal for visiting places which some may find too hot in Summer (WA (Western Australia)) being one of them.

Without knowing when the 2 are arriving from Asia, or anything of your interests, it's pretty difficult to make any meaningful suggestions.

However, we did a similar trip to New Zealand's South Island some years ago for a family wedding. Our party of 10 included a very sprightly gent of 92 and a 4 yo girl. We were there for a fortnight, with 3 days for the wedding, and had a wonderful time. We hired two vehicles - a "people mover" which had a capacity of 12, and a medium sized car. This allowed plenty of space for luggage & spreading out in the larger, and gave us a 2nd vehicle for those who wanted to do something different/ take a different route from time to time. We stayed in the same hotels/motels and had dinner together each night.

Sometimes our daily itineraries varied slightly, according to interests etc. This worked particularly well as it's unlikely that 10 people (or 8 in your case) of diverse ages, physical capabilities & interests will want to be lock-step all day, every day, no matter how fond they are of one another. It also gave people who don't see each other all that frequently a chance to catch up; driving to be shared and the usual drivers to see something of the countryside for a change.

Armed with maps & some brochures & recommendations from our soon-to-be NZ relatives before we left Australia, we had a loose idea of some of the places we wanted to see. The only definite was our departure date and the need to be back in Christchurch in time for it. Each night we all had tales to tell from the day's doings, usually to gales of laughter. We had to lie about the 92yo's age so he could come in the "Shotover jet" (a very, very fast jet boat). Over dinner we'd formulate tomorrow's plan and which vehicle would be used by which group, depending on who wanted to do/go what/where. This sometimes changed at breakfast as enthusiasms of the previous night waned or the weather dictated a revision. We'd choose a destination for that night and someone would be delegated to make the booking. Once or twice we stayed in the same place a 2nd night and did day trips; mostly we moved on.

I'd encourage you (and the other 7) to do some research, as you're doing, look through a guidebook. I like EYEWITNESS for lots of photos,succinct descriptions; identify your interests and work out a loose itinerary. Ideally, IMHO, everyone should be able to do/see something that's special to them, and try something completely new.

We did lots of things, saw some heartstoppingly beautiful scenery, had some great food, dreadful coffee and fabulous wines. But do you know what I remember the most? Just what a great time we all had hanging out together. Vignettes of faces, moments, hoots of laughter, incredulity, white knuckles; shared intimacies, a little girl's "secrets", an old man's dreams and learning something new about someone you've known all your life. These are the images you'll carry in your heart for ever.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 30th, 2010, 09:04 AM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 993
Thank you so much for all of your help. Bokhara2, thank you for putting the the map and the trip in perspective.

Now that I have a better handle on things I'd love to explain the itinerary we have to work around a little better.

First, two of us will be in Perth for a few days (itinerary not needed for this part of the trip yet.) Then, all eight of us will be in Sydney for about 3-4 days (business) and after that we have to go right to Melbourne (about three days). Once this part of the trip is over we have about five days free.

The Frommer's itinerary for two weeks looks wonderful. It includes going to the northeast around the Great Barrier Reef and some wonderful sounding aboriginal walking tours, Then they suggest going into the center of the country to the Urulu (?) area. However, with the constraints we we have on the trip it seems like even with two weeks we won't get to take advantage of this kind of itinerary.

We all love natural beauty and learning about native culture. There are a few in the group who really enjoy adventure. I know this is still rather loose. However, if you have any ideas to add or guidance to give, I'd really appreciate it. And, I will keep in mind that truly, just being together in that gorgeous land will be fabulous enough.

Many thanks.

Thanks
misha2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 30th, 2010, 04:06 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 11,538
Hi Mischa, May's a perfect time to see the "Red Centre" and I think you could do Alice Springs, Uluru and Cairns/GBR in 5 days. If you can open jaw to depart Cairns, it could be a really good option for you and not too frantic.

Qantas flies Melb - Alice Springs daily. Central Australia Time is 30 minutes behind Melbourne,(and will be 30 mins behind Qld (Queensland) in May.)

Just playing around with some ideas .....
I used 12 May as a departure date. (Qantas = QF)

12 May - 0840 - 1105. QF 796 Melb - Alice Springs (Direct flight). Overnight Alice Springs

13 May Alice Springs http://en.travelnt.com/explore/alice...S|e|4032125682 Overnight Alice Springs

Alice Springs: I'm a big fan of this area and recommend it to anyone genuinely interested in seeing what I think, is one of our "frontier" towns. It's immensely interesting from a historical point of view and, if for nothing else, the Desert Park is worth the trip, IMHO. The Birds of Prey exhibition is truly breathtaking. (What a pity "awesome" has been so degraded by facile overuse as to render it useless as a descriptor.) There's an excellent "hop on/hop off" bus that you might take on arrival to give you an overview of the highlights. Good for 2 days and about $40, I think.

Good place to view/buy Aboriginal art ... but talk to some of to some of the less "commercial/touristy" gallery owners. http://www.totaltravel.com.au/travel...y/artgalleries

14 May - One way coach tour .. Alice Springs-Kings Canyon- Uluru (Ayers Rock) Arrive evening. See sunset on Uluru (the Rock)
http://maps.google.com.au/maps?f=d&s...87&ie=UTF8&z=7

Yulara is where most of the accommodation is located. About 10 kms from the Rock. ( I just chose "Desert Gardens Resort" to get a location for the map link - don't know what it's like.)

If you arrive early enough, go to the Cultural Centre first. http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/...ion/index.html
Overnight Uluru. Accommodation can be expensive here - it's supply-and-demand driven, a bit irritating, but ....
I wouldn't do the "Sounds of Silence" dinner, but with a family group, it might be fun.

You can do this with a guided tour - a few options, I think, including one to have a tour with an Aboriginal guide.

15 May: 15:30 - 18.30 QF Uluru - Cairns (Direct)
16 & 17 May: Cairns/GBR/Hinterland
http://www.cairnsattractions.com.au/index.php

QF Flies Cairns - LAX (via Brisbane) and Cairns - Singapore. A number of other international carriers also depart Cairns.

That's enough to pique your interest
Bokhara2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:05 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 11,538
Aagh ! Edited out 15 May

As you'll have until 15:30, I'd recommend you get to Uluru (the rock) pre-dawn, so you can watch the first rays of sun strike & move around colouring the faces of the rock, highlighting the myriad nooks & crannies, changing textures. I find this an extraordinarily beautiful experience and readily understand why the Aboriginals hold this place sacred.

Ideally, walk around the base, either on your own or with an Aboriginal guide. I'm pretty sure you'd need to book the guide at the Cultural Centre or online.

The Aboriginal owners prefer people not climb the rock.
The climb is also closed if it's too hot/cold/wet/windy, which happens quite often, even if only for a few hours. Makes good sense to me. Far too many people who climb nothing greater than their house stairs, think they can clamber up this very smooth, awkward, slippery rock, and have heart attacks, slip and injure or kill themselves. Nuisance for the rescuers and expensive for us taxpayers. Same people would probably be very offended if people clambered all over their church/mosque/temple/synagogue/wat or whatever.

After watching the sunrise & walking the 10km around the rock, you'll probably feel like a break. This is the ideal time to drive over to Kata Juta (The Olgas) and take a walk around at least part of this fascinating area.

Usually I'm not one for organized tours,but it can be beneficial in times/areas like this, where you want to see a couple of areas within a limited time frame and get the most you can out of it. With 8, you can probably tailor quite a reasonably priced tour for yourselves, either from Alice Springs to take in Kings Canyon, get to Uluru and then collect you the next morning, take your luggage etc, and eventually take you to the airport.

Uluru/Ayers Rock and The Olgas/Kata Juta . You'll notice we use both terms. Some airlines use Uluru, others Ayers Rock.

It WILL be COLD in the evenings and especially around dawn, so make sure you take a jacket. It warms up quickly in the mornings. Please also take: More water than you think you need. (No shop at either site) Sunscreen. Hat. "Rid"/"Bushmens" or other tropical strenght insect repellent. You very well may not need it but it's not much to carry and you'll thank me if there are any flies around.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 11th, 2010, 07:41 AM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 993
Sorry. I got side tracked from planning. This is wonderful. I am so grateful. I'll look into all of this and probably get back with more questions.

I'm getting increasingly excited as versus overwhelmed because of your reply
misha2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2010, 02:23 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 49
I think after flying to Aust, then to Sydney & then to Melb, you will be sick of planes & packing bags ( especially the elderly). I suggest you stay in Melbourne, visit the koala park & Penguins on a day tour from your hotel. Go to the Melbourne Zoo to see our Australian wildlife, take a day tour along the Great Ocean Road, & the Hop on hop off bus around Melb, and use the free Burgundy trams which take you around the centre of Melb. passing alot of tourist attractions.
Magsbags is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 5th, 2010, 05:36 PM
  #13
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 993
Alright, now I have a better idea of how the trip is going to work out.

Day1-7 Perth (business related stuff) two adults

Day 7 -- Two adults to Sydney

Day 9 -- Two teens and grandparents arrive in Sydney

Day 13 - Two adults and children depart for Melbourne - Grandparents depart for guided tour (where? what group?)

Day 17 to 22 vacation for all

Day 22 depart

Bokhara, I really like the tour you outlined. I wonder, though if the grandparents should go to Uluru with some guided tour while we are in Melbourne? I really like the idea of the frontiers town while Hubs insists on Great Barrier Reef. He dives. He has also heard many people tell him Heron Island is fabulous.

Help, please.
misha2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 5th, 2010, 06:07 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 11,538
No reason why they couldn't, Misha2. Weatherwise, it's ideal.
OTOH, there are almost unlimited options for doing 3 & 4 day trips from Melbourne.

What do the grandparents want to do?
Bokhara2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2010, 05:14 AM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 993
They are totally trusting me to decide. I know they would probably love a combination of natural beauty and cultural insight.
misha2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2010, 06:34 AM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 993
ttt
misha2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 18th, 2010, 08:14 AM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 993
So, to confirm, looking at the trip below for six in May you think it is realistic and not too frantic to explore both Alice Springs and the Great Barrier Reef from Day 17 to 22? If so, what would you suggest for four day guided tour from Sydney for the grandparents while we are in Melbourne? They are more into history/culture and natural beauty than hiking, snorkeling and wine.

Thanks

Day1-7 Perth (business related stuff) two adults

Day 7 -- Two adults to Sydney

Day 9 -- Two teens and grandparents arrive in Sydney

Day 13 - Two adults and children depart for Melbourne - Grandparents depart for guided tour (where? what group?)

Day 17 to 22 vacation for all

Day 22 depart

Does leaving from the GBR area mean we should fly out of Brisbane?
misha2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 19th, 2010, 05:29 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,039
1. If the grandparents are interested in natural beauty and Aboriginal history/culture, then Uluru is a perfect choice for a 4-day tour. We've been to Uluru twice, but unfortunately I can't recommend a tour company as we did it on our own.

2. I think it is too frantic to try to explore Alice Springs and the GBR region from day 17 - 22. (Since you will be traveling on day 17 and departing on day 22, you really only have 4 full days here). I have been to both places and I would devote a minimum of 2-3 days to Alice Springs and a minimum of 4-5 days for the GBR. So, I'd skip Alice and devote all your free time to the GBR.

3. The closest airport for the GBR region is Cairns. To depart Australia for the US, you could depart from Cairns with a connection at either Brisbane or Sydney. It depends on how you want to route yourselves.
longhorn55 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2010, 08:29 PM
  #19
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 993
Really? Four to five days in the GBR? What kind of things do you suggest? I feel so ignorant. Did make one mistake though. We would travel on day 16 to get to Alice Springs or GBR or both. So confused.

If we don't go to Alice Springs area I want to send the Grandparents there. If we do, then I thought about having them take a four day tour from Sydney to Melbourne, meet us there and then we would all fly to Alice Springs.

If we don't go to Alice Springs are there genuine Aboriginal/cultural/historical experience we could have in Melbourne or Sydney or GBR?
misha2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 2nd, 2010, 07:08 PM
  #20
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 993
Just spoke to a friend in Australia who said that the recent rains have made the Center of the country gorgeous. He strongly suggested devoting all of our free time there. So, Longhorn55 I hope Alice Springs was not a real disappointment. Bokhara, I think we are going to stick pretty close to your itinerary but need to add a day or two. Magsbags, we are not staying in Melb. But, we will have one less stop.

Flights are more expensive this way and I am really going to need to book this soon. Any suggestions for a a wonderful but not too pricey tour offered for the NT?
misha2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:52 PM.