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Please help me choose a short road trip with varied terrain

Please help me choose a short road trip with varied terrain

Old May 3rd, 2009, 05:47 AM
  #1  
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Please help me choose a short road trip with varied terrain

I have a spur of the moment first-time visitor coming at the end of May for 2+ weeks. I have to move house in the middle of her stay and also am not 100% fit at the moment. So we won’t be rushing around hitting the ‘must sees’ (Rock, Reef). She’s not fussed and we are by nature slow travellers. Interests are exploring, history, walking, flora and fauna (but we’re not animal nuts). But I’d hate her to return to the UK having seen only Sydney and surrounds, so I’m trying to come up with a 2-3 day trip (max 4) that will have variety, be fun and reasonably affordable.

Which of my short list of three so far would you pick? Do you have any other routes/combinations you can suggest?

The obvious (1): Blue Mts, Mudgee, Hunter/Port Stephens or similar and back to Sydney – but this is quite a lot of driving; I have no idea whether the terrain is scenic or boring; and it would take four days (yes?).

The obvious (2): GOR. But you couldn’t just fly into MLB and drive straight out. So there goes a day. Would you be able to head west, see the best bits and circle round inland back to MLB in 2 days?

Waterfall Way (3). I travelled part of this ten years ago on a day trip and remember it fondly. This time we would go all the way from Coffs to Armidale, or even Grafton (or the other way around). We could fly to and from Sydney open jaw or maybe take the train for one sector one way.

Thanks for any thoughts you care to share.
afterall is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2009, 07:25 PM
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What about Canberra? It's an easy drive from Sydney and there's all the stuff there that you said she liked--history (National Museum of Australia, Parliament House, Australian War Memorial and, one of my favorites, Lanyon Homestead), walking (Namadgi National Park, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, paths around Lake Burley Griffin), flora and fauna (Namadgi and Tidbinbilla as well as the Botanical Gardens). You could do easily do that without rushing around in 3 days and since so many attractions in Canberra are free, it's certainly affordable.
longhorn55 is offline  
Old May 4th, 2009, 12:03 AM
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Option 1 is very scenic with far more variety than #2, but in 3 or even 4 days you would definitely need to trim it by making some choices.
Eg You could go to Port Stephens and then over to Barrington Tops, which is higher than the Blue Mountains, but the best parts are difficult to access. Alternatively, there's plenty of interesting coast between Sydney and the Lower Hunter. For history you could try Catherine Hill Bay. Or you could go straight up the F3 and turn at the Cessnock Rd. There's lovely scenery there as you pass the Watagan Mountains, and again in many parts of the vineyards. You could drive to Broke and on to the Upper Hunter. From there you can reach Mudgee, but it is a lot of driving. If you drive from Mudgee to the Blue Mountains via Lithgow do stop at the Capertee Lookout. I then like to drive down the Bell's Line of Road, stopping at Mt Tomah Botanical Gardens, and at Windsor for early settlement history. Of course you may want to see more of the Blue Mountains, eg the Jamieson Valley on the other side with the tourist towns of Blackheath,Katoomba, Leura etc. What sort of accommodation do you want?
Suelynne is offline  
Old May 4th, 2009, 06:14 AM
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I like the Canberra idea, perhaps adding in some of the sights and attractions of the Southern Highlands en route.

Another idea is Byron Bay and the Gold Coast Hinterland, one of my favorite parts of Australia. Fly to Coolangatta or Ballina and drive to Byron from there. There is a great walk along the cliffs at Byron, with magnificent views all around. The next day, slowly make your way to Binna Burra in Lamington Nat'l Park, perhaps visiting some of the small towns in the area - Mullumbimby, Bangalow, etc. Getting to Binna Burra, I would go via Murwillumbah and the very scenic Numinbah Valley, stopping off at the Natural Arch for a nice walk. Spend half the next day at Binna Burra, and then make your way over to O'Reilly's another guesthouse in Lamington - wonderful scenery and views on the winding road up to O'Reilly's. Next day, make your way back to the airport.

A longer, but more varied version of the above would be to go to Byron, then make your way inland to Tenterfield or Stanthorpe. Spend half a day in the Granite Belt (Bald Rock and the Pyramids), then make your way to O'Reilly's via the scenic (and partly unpaved) Mt Lindsay Hwy.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 07:12 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

Canberra is of course worth a visit and combined with a bit of the S Coast and a bit of the S Highlands might make a varied trip. But to my way of thinking it's not a particularly Australian one. Ralph R, I'd thought of Byron as a destination but hadn't much idea about the hinterland - so thanks - that's a real possibility.

Suelynne - Blue Mts big circle trip is out just because it's too long. May have to make separate visits to some of the areas you mention with or without a night away. What sort of accommodation? The sort I am always after in first world countries - places that are welcoming and haven't yet been tarted up with prices to match. B&B, guesthouse, hostel. Dislike international style clones on the whole; can't afford five, or even four, star!

Cheers.
afterall is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 01:37 PM
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I would definately vote for Byron bay... fantastic. We drove from Sydney to Blue Mountains, Port Stepehsn then Coffs harbour all which was nice enough (well Sydney was FABULOUS) but we LOVED Byron bay. It was our next stop after Coffs and we wished we had flown straight there from Sydney..
Smeagol is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 02:57 PM
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afterall...I was going to add that you may not want to visit both Binna Burra and O'Reillys as they are quite similar. If I were to choose one, I'd pick O'Reillys based mainly on the view, which is very very good. Other places in the area to consider are Springbrook (in particular Purling Brook Falls), Mt Tamborine, and the Border Ranges Natl Park Drive (http://www.tropicalnsw.com.au/nationalparks/border.html).
RalphR is offline  
Old May 5th, 2009, 02:59 PM
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correct Border Range link is:

http://www.tropicalnsw.com.au/nationalparks/border.html
RalphR is offline  
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