Please critique my Australian itinerary

Jan 15th, 2004, 04:50 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 146
Please critique my Australian itinerary

Our family of four including two daughters (19&16)is planning a trip to Australia in August for 24 nights. Please let me know what you think of this itinerary.
Sydney- 5 nights
-Day trip to the Blue Mountain
-Day trip to Hunter Valley
-Il Travatore at the Opera House
--on the 10th of August.
-Bridge Climb at night
Fly to Melbourne. Rent a car and drive on the GOR.
Arrive at Adelaide the next day, and stay there for 4 nights.
-Day trip to the Wineries.
-Day trip to Kangaroo Island.
Fly to Urulu. Stay 4 nights.
Fly to Cairns.
Stay at Hyman Island for 5 nights.
Stay at Silky Oaks for 4 nights.
Fly to Melbourne and stay there for 1 night and fly out to LA and then to Philadelphia.
We really want to do The Hayman Island and the Silky Oaks and because of this we have to budget the other nights. Please let me know of places to saty in other cities for US $150-$200 a night.
Thank You

adeleh is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 05:23 PM
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A good itinerary...

4 nights in uluru is a long time...

when you are at il intermission..go out and have a glass of champagne and enjoy the view down the harbour...just a sample of why sydney is a special place
johhj_au is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 06:23 PM
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I agree, 4 days in uluru is a long time. There's literally NOTHING there except a big rock, some camels and a bunch of red dirt. Two days is plenty, and no need to bother with Alice Springs.

Are you staying in Cairns or just flying through? I would suggest that you make it a point to stop, and at least take a day cruise to the outer barrier reef for a snorkel/dive and nice lunch. It is the most beautiful reef you will ever see, and you don't want to miss it!

Activities in Sydney sound good. Bridge, Opera House. I would also add Taronga Zoo to the list. You can take a ferry there to get out on the Harbour, and see kangaroos, koalas, and a beautiful photo opportunity to see the city, bridge and opera house from the other side of the harbour.

Also, take a bus out to Bondi Beach, one of the famous beaches, or a ferry to Manly, another great beach.

In my opinion both Melbourne and the great ocean road are overrated. Sydney, Queensland and the outback capture the essence of what most tourists think Australia is a lot better. Melbourne is just a city like any other, and Adelaide?s not even a big town. If I were you, I?d cut the southern destinations out and stick to NSW, Queensland and NT. Maybe add the Gold Coast or Byron Bay into the itinerary. Depends on what you like, I guess.
benderbabe is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 06:40 PM
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Hooray! Finally someone else has the same ideas as I do - re: the last poster. I agree with them about cutting out the southern areas. My only query is - are you going to Hayman Island first from Cairns or Silky Oaks? I ask this because Hayman is about 500 mls south of Cairns.
Instead of going to the southern areas why not spend some time in the Northern Territory and see Kakadu and Darwin OR so what the previous poster suggested and see that area around the Queensland border with New South Wales either from the Gold Coast/Byron Bay or points in between.
I have done the GOR and kept wondering when the good part was going to start. Also you would be doing it in winter which would make it a bit unpleasant too - same for Kangaroo Island and Adelaide.
Jan 15th, 2004, 11:35 PM
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Adeleh, I happen to be fond of Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, and the Great Ocean Road south and west of Melbourne ...... B-U-T ...... I do not recommend them in winter. So, to that extent, I agree with the posters who are advising you against Melbourne and the GOR. I've never been to Adelaide, but I understand Adelaide's winter also is cool and drizzly, so again, why go there?

If you cut out Melbourne, the GOR and Adelaide, and if you shorten Uluru from 4 days to 2 days as others have suggested you do, this will free up a fair number of days for you.

Benderbabe suggested you go to Cairns, and I agree with that ...... although, if I remember correctly, boat rides were available to the Great Barrier Reef from Hayman Island as well. Be that as it may, the section of coast just north of Cairns (Palm Cove & Port Douglas) and just south of Cairns (Mission Beach) is all lovely. I would second any suggestion that you go there.

If you have a chance, I recommend flying over the GBR in a small plane as well as snorkeling or scuba diving in it.

Janese suggested Kakadu National Park and Darwin. I haven't been there, but have heard that the Northern Territory is wonderful in Australia's winter. That certainly is an area I would want to include if I was heading to Australia in the southern hemisphere winter.

I've driven the Great Ocean Road in sunny weather and in cloudy weather, and there is just no comparison between the two. If I hadn't first seen it in sunny weather, when the sea was a sparkling blue, I would have driven along the grey sea in cloudy weather and asked myself, "Where is this Great Ocean Road that everyone keeps talking about?"
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 02:21 AM
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Thank you for all the suggestions.The only reason I wanted to do the south was because of the animals and Kangaroo island.
Is there anywhere else that we can see animals in their natural habitat?
After driving on Amalfi coast in Italy I wonder if anything can measure up to it? I don't want to be disappointed with GOR.
Please let me know where to see the animals.
adeleh is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 02:37 AM
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Hi. adeleh!

Most of this itinerary is good, but you should certainly cut your Uluru trip down to a night or two.... perhaps stay one night at Uluru and another night in Alice Springs.

Since you're going to the Barossa wineries near Adelaide, you probably wouldn't gain much by going to the Hunter River area as well... so I suggest that this be replaced by a two-day one night trip to Canberra, or even a one-day trip if you're locked in to a schedule. The Hunter area is, frankly, overrated and only recommended to people who wouldn't otherwise see anything in Australia except the coastal towns and cities.... but in your case this is not a problem.

Adelaide for four nights is probably a night too long... I don't know how long you planned to stay in Melbourne when you first arrive, but both are about equal in appeal, so you might be wise to divide your time up evenly between the two, with no more than three nights (total)in either.

In tourist places like Hayman Island and Uluru you will pay dearly for accommodation, but you can certainly stay MILES under your budget (that's nearly 300 Australian dollars a night!) when you get to Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide. If you search through this site you will find no end of good recommendations; just to start you off, the Grand in Hunter St Sydney has quad rooms for between $AUD130 and $150 a night.

Does your flight to Cairns stop in Brisbane? It's not one of the great cities of the world, but, personally, I much prefer it to Melbourne, and I would imagine in August it would be a more pleasant stopover than Adelaide, so try and find time to fit it in.

I envy you your tickets to the Opera House -- every now and then I go down in the hope that there will be some standing room left, but I haven't "scored" in years.

Have a great time!
Alan is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 07:23 AM
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In response to your question about where you can see animals, you could do a search here in the Fodors Australia forum, and I'm sure you'd find many old discussion threads. To get you started, here is a recent one:

As you will see from that thread, Kangaroo Island is not the only place with wild animals. There are wild animals across Australia.

Another point I would bring to your attention is Australia's colourful bird life. Sure, I think the marsupials are cute, but I believe the birds will knock your socks off!

Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 11:28 AM
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If its animals you want to see then I would suggest one of the many nocturnal animal tours up in the Cairns/Daintree area where there are some Australian animals that are only there and nowhere else i.e. the lemuroid possum, Cous Cous, Tree Kangaroo etc etc ( spelling is sus here)
The previous poster suggested Australian birds and I am with her 100% here because our bird life is fantastic and available all over Australia in as much as they live "with" us - we don't have to go and search them out. Brazil and Australia have 2/3 of the World's population if that gives you any idea of what is around. Breakfast with the birds in Port Douglas is a fun thing to do. Currumbin Bird Sanctuary on the Gold Coast is great and you get to play with kangaroos, Emus and other little critters, not to mention that the wild birds come in to feed and sit on your head.
Another area of interest at the time of year that you will be here is Carnarvon Gorge which is in the outback and is a fantastic place to not only see animals but a beautiful gorge, Aboriginal paintings and the outback life. Lawn Hill National Park in the north west of Queensland is a fantastic wonder as well. All these areas are abundant in wild life so if you give us some indication of what you and your girls are really interested in we can perhaps steer you in the right direction.
The cost of accommodation in other areas other than Hayman Island and Urulu will be well within your budget.
BTW I saw ll Travatore at the Sydney Opera house with your Leona Mitchell a few years back and it was fantastic. However that was because of Leona Mitchell whose voice was just fantastic and I had the pleasure of meeting her back-stage after the show as a friend of mine was singing with her that night and we had a little party after.
Jan 16th, 2004, 06:28 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 146
Janese or anyone else who can help,
What we really love to do in Australia is the things you can not do or see anywhere else in the world.
We are all seasoned travelleres who have travelled extensively around the world. This will be our last trip to Australia, therefore we want to see everything that is Australlian.
We LOVE animals,nature,red wine, blue water and rainforest.
adeleh is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 08:08 PM
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We did a family trip to Australia last August, covering some of the same ground you are planning. Here are some random thoughts.

The outback was one of the highlights of our trip. We spent two nights in Uluru and three nights in Alice Springs. While Alice Springs is not a pretty town in its own right, it is full of wonderful things to do and the country around it is beautiful. I do think four nights in Uluru is too long. We could have stayed three maybe, but that would have been absolutely it. We found plenty to do in Alice Springs to fill a three night stay (the desert museum, a hike in Standley Chasm (where we saw wallabies in the wild), dinner at a remote cattle station, visiting the old telegraph station, a fascinating tour (really!) of a reptile center, etc.

We also did Hayman Island for five nights. The sailing, hiking, and tidepooling were great there. It was a bit too chilly to really swim in August. It was substantially warmer up in Port Douglas, and that's where we chose to do our snorkeling/GBR activities, not at Hayman.
Miranda is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 08:50 PM
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OK, here's another great trip which I never hear mentioned - Play Postie for a Day with Cape York Airlines out of Cairns. They run the mail service to outback stations and towns all over the Cape and whilst priority is given to rural passengers and their mail and freight they are happy to take visitors (bring your own lunch). In the dry season between May and November there is a weekly return day flight to Torres Strait (at the very top of the Cape)fron Cairns - this covers a very large section of GBR. Cape York Air also does 30 minute and 60 minute GBR scenic flights from Cairns. Website is
pat_woolford is offline  
Feb 18th, 2004, 10:55 AM
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Posts: 43
I'm going to be doing the Play Postie trip in early March. I'm excited about it. Sounds like a LOT of fun, and not something that everyone does.
Kimbis is offline  

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