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Punkyl44 Feb 29th, 2004 12:03 PM

Please Comment on 10 Days in N. Quensland
Hi! After reading many of your wonderful posts I have at long last put together an itinerary for our North Quensland leg of the trip. Your input would be greatly appreciated! We are an active couple in our late twenties. We are planning to rent a car. Are we missing anything? Trying to do too much?

We are not yet certified to dive, but are planning to do so before we leave. We are very active and like to have a lot to do- will we be board on a liveaboard? Should we just do a day trip to dive and spend a few nights in PC or PD doing more activities like white water rafting or a day trip to Dunk?

Thanks for your help!

Day 1: Silky Oaks: Relax at night after long flight

Day 2: Spa Day/ Hang out at hotel to relax after 3 weeks in Asia. Night Tour with Dan Irby (

Day 3: Day trip to Cape Trip (Should we take ourselves or use a tour and is it worth doing Bloomfield falls the same Day in August? Should we try and get to Cookstown?)

Day 4: Hang Out at the Hotel- visit Port Douglas (anything else we should see on this day?)

Day 5: David Armburst Tour (are these tours going to be repetitive- ie. Armburst Tour/ Cape Trip/ Night Tour?)

Day 6: Depart Silky Oaks for Karunda Skyrail on our own. Stop at Tjabukai. Drive to Undara and overnight Undara (is this too much for one day? Any recs on where to stay that would be a short drive in the morning to Undara? I know they have there own lodge but are there any other options like a nice B&B?)

Day 7: Undara Lava Tubes morning tour- explore tablelands- back to Cairns.

Day 8: Liveaboard- Pro-Dive 3 Day/2Nights (anyone done this one? Anyone have any other recs?)

Day 9: Liveaboard

Day 10: Liveaboard- return to Cairns early evening. Dinner!

Day 11: Morning to hang out in Cairns/ last minute shopping/ depart for Sydney at 1:20.

Thank you!

Punkyl44 Feb 29th, 2004 03:51 PM

I'm sorry! I realized after I push "post" that I misspelled Queensland. Please forgive my over-eagerness to get input! Sorry!

pat_woolford Feb 29th, 2004 04:06 PM

Hi Punky - I don't think you'll be bored on a liveaboard - you'll be travelling with like-minded people and you get to do night dives as well. Pro-dive are professionals and you've chosen well there, as you have with Dan Irby's trip.

To get from Cape Trib to Bloomfield Falls you need a 4WD as you do for the coastal road on to Cooktown. Scenery is fantastic but the road is very steep and sandy in spots and there is no bridge over Bloomfield River. 4WD rental is expensive and may be best to do this as a tour. There are day tours which overnight you in Cooktown and ones that do one way drive and fly back to Cairns in the one day.

Whilst at Silky Oaks or on your way to from there to Port Douglas you could visit the Kuku-Yalangi people near Mossman Gorge for a "dreamtime walk" in the rainforest near the Gorge, where there are also some walks - also have a swim there.

My colleagues in that area also recommend Heritage and Interpretive Tours run by Pete.

Day 6 is too tight - it will take an hour to drive from Silky Oaks to Tjakupai/Skyrail/Kuranda train.Then you'd need a minimum of 4 and a half hours for the 3 and this still won't give you time in Kuranda. Then you've got at least a 4 hour drive to Undara (road is sealed so you don't need 4WD).
You asked about a B&B near Undara - the nearest one is the Pond Cottage at Ravenshoe - - it's actually a self-contained cottage with breakfast provisions and has heated spa. It's on 14 lush acres and there are platypus in the ponds. Hosts are the very affable David Nelson and Anne Shelton. The Pond Cottage is about 2 hours from Cairns and then it's another 2 hours to Undara. Happy travelling!

Punkyl44 Feb 29th, 2004 10:40 PM

Thanks Pat! Your responses on this board have been wonderful and I major reason we have decided to focus more of our trip on North Queensland rather than trying to fly all over the country on our first trip.

Do you think if we got an early start to Karunda, spent the morning until mid-afternoon there, then drove to spend the night at the B&B you recommended, and then the next morning headed out early to catch a morning tour at Undara before driving back to Cairns it would be doable? Also, is there anything in particular we want to see in the Tablelands on-route?

Thanks again!

pat_woolford Mar 1st, 2004 04:46 PM

Hi Punky - I think I've got it - you can leave Skyrail and Kuranda train until your last morning in Cairns - there is a service that will pick you up at your accommodation and take you and your luggage to airport after the trip - It's called International Coaches and Tours - email is [email protected] (any tour desk will book it for you)- if you do this there won't be such a rush on Day 6. Leave Silky Oaks at about 8am and catch the first Tjakupai performance at 9am and give yourself 2 hours. Then drive up to Kuranda - spend an hour or so there if you like (the best part of Kuranda is the scenery from Skyrail and train). Kuranda is actually on the lower part of the Tableland. About 40 minutes past Kuranda and on the way to Ravenshoe there is the rural town of Mareeba - just out of there are the Mareeba Wetlands - vast amount of bird life and kangaroos in the wild. When you reach the town of Atherton take a short detour to Yungaburra and see the Curtain Fig Tree - it's amazing. Go back to Atherton and head towards Ravenshoe - stop at the Mt Hypipamee (not sure of spelling but that's how it's pronounced) crater which is only a short walk off the road. Then head towards Ravenshoe - it can be very cool there at night so take something warm.
Make sure you take a map!! Good luck and enjoy yourselves.

Punkyl44 Mar 1st, 2004 11:13 PM

Those suggestions for where to stop sound great! The biggest problem I am running into is that the tours at Undara are at 8:30am or 1pm. If we wanted to make the 8:30am tour we would have to leave Ravenshoe by 6am and we aren't really morning people. If we took the 1pm half day tour (this way we can sleep in and enjoy the B&B) would we be ok getting back to Cairns that night? Any suggestions for a cheap stay in Cairns that night since we would arrive late and be leaving early the next morning for the live aboard?

I think we will put the skyrail in on Day 4 when we go to PD. We have to be at the airport in Cairns by 11:30 so I don't think we can make it that morning.

BTW I finally got all the flights I wanted on American One World and booked our flights today. We are so excited! Just wanted to tell everyone since you all have been such a great help.

Thanks for all your help again Pat!

copen Mar 2nd, 2004 09:02 AM

Excuse my ignorance, but what is American One World?


Judy_in_Calgary Mar 2nd, 2004 09:35 AM

>>>>>>what is American One World?<<<<<<

It's an airline alliance to which Aer Lingus, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, LanChile, Swiss Air and Qantas belong.

I don't know what that really means, but I believe there are some forms of reciprocity amongst them, e.g., a certain amount of cooperation in the earning and spending of Frequent Flyer points, etc.

Punkyl44 Mar 2nd, 2004 10:40 AM

Yes- Judy is right. These airlines have a sort of partnership. If you have ff miles on any of them you can use them to get a mileage ticket called a "one world award". The award lets you travel on a combination of any of the airlines and the miles you need to cash in for the award are calculated based on how many miles your total trip is. So, you can take as many flights as you want between cities and countries, than they add up all the miles, and tell you how many miles you need to cash in.

It works well if you are going on a trip that involves several continents because on a normal American Airline award you can only fly on one partner airline (ie if you are just going to Australia it's probably better just to use AA miles on a quatas flight). We are going to Japan, China and Australia on the trip with multiple stops in each so it was a good way to go. Very complicated though because there are a lot of rules and we only had a certain number of miles each so we had to make sure we fell in the "total miles" for the amount we had.

Hope this helps someone else in planning. If you have any question about it please let me know because we did a lot of research and spent hours on the phone with American!

pat_woolford Mar 2nd, 2004 03:54 PM

Hi Punky - yes, take the later Undara lava tube tour, have lunch there and head back to Cairns. Yes, include Skyrail on day 4 - sorry, I thought you had more time on your last morning. For that overnight before Pro-dive, have a look at under Cairns - Pro-dive will pick up at accommodation.

Punkyl44 Mar 3rd, 2004 04:33 PM

Thanks Pat! I think we've got it now and are going to book our hotels. We are going to do:

5 Nights Silky Oaks
1 night Ravenshoe
1 night Coral Tree Inn (it's very inexpensive and we will be arriving late from Undara and leaving early the next day)
2 Nights Live Aboard (prodive)
1 Night Oasis

Thanks again!

AndrewDavid Mar 4th, 2004 08:02 PM

Perhaps you haven't realized that our excellent (and modest) advisor Pat has a B&B in Cairns: Lilybank B&B
We are popping in and out of there as we explore the area late April and early May.


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