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Please help with itinerary Dec 26-Jan15 (Australia/NZ)

Please help with itinerary Dec 26-Jan15 (Australia/NZ)

Old Jun 25th, 2007, 12:45 PM
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Please help with itinerary Dec 26-Jan15 (Australia/NZ)

Hello, my DH and I (in our early 30s) are arriving in Sydney on 12/26/07 and leaving from Melbourne 1/15/08. Please help us in planning our itinerary for this period. These are the things that we'd like to do:

1) spend a few days in Sydney
2) go diving at the Great Barrier Reef
3) fly to Auckland (please recommend budget flights), spend a week in NZ (which cities?) - what to see in New Zealand for one week? (we wish we could stay longer but we have limited vacation days in the US, so we need to combine Australia/NZ on this trip!)
4) visit Melbourne the last few days of our trip

We are flying on award tickets - tried to book award travel FROM Auckland on 1/15, instead of FROM Melbourne, but no luck on the award seats. So if we want to visit New Zealand, we'd have to do fly to Auckland, then fly back to Melbourne.

Advice from the Australia/NZ experts will be much appreciated! Thank you in advance!

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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 05:39 PM
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I'll probably be the first (of many) to recommend you spend all your time in Australia rather than trying to do Australia/NZ/Australia......but if that's what you want then I'd suggest the following.....

- spend a few days in Sydney and then fly to Cairns or Brisbane - do you want to do day trip dives or a few nights on a dive liveaboard

- fly from Brisbane to the South Island of NZ (not Auckland/North Island) - I think there are direct flights to Queenstown and concentrate on the glaciers and Fjordland

- fly back to Melbourne - and depart.

Alternatively - if you stay in Australia you could do the Sydney portion, then the GBR portion then fly to Adelaide via Uluru and then drive the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne - there are some pix of that journey on our blog

http://lizandrichardsa.typepad.com/2...lia/index.html

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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 10:13 PM
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Hi Elizabeth - thanks very much for your reply! Yes, I've been reading the Australia/NZ forum and I know that many fodorites recommend just staying in one country (Australia or NZ) as opposed to going to both. Unfortunately, finances and vacation time are making us try to do these 2 countries in one trip .

- for the GBR, not sure yet if we're doing day trips or liveaboard (pending further research) but either way, we'd like to do AT LEAST 3 days of diving

- thanks, I will look into flights from Brisbane to the South Island of NZ (any budget airlines?)

- cool, I love travel blogs!

Thanks again!


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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 10:57 PM
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Your arrival date 26/12/08 is a public holiday in Australia, so banks won't be open, it probably won't affect much else though.

Another possibility for diving is to stay on one of the islands directly on the reef, Lizard, Heron, Green, etc.

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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 11:13 PM
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1. Try to be in Sydney for New Years Eve and see one of the world's best fireworks displays.
2. Rotorua near Auckland is a must as is Queenstown and Milford Sound.
3. Make sure you leave a few days for Melbourne and drive or bustour the Great Ocean Road. It will be hot, but it is one of the best times to visit.
4. Go to www.webjet.com.au or www.flightcentre.com.au for all cheap airfares.
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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 02:50 AM
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Try www.virginblue.com.au - some days, you can get a flight into Christchurch for A$114 one way - we booked ours for $144 a month ago and I went in to look at that same departure and return dates just a couple of days ago and the price dropped to A$114. My brother-in-law booked his for A$94 (one way) on www.airnewzealand.com.au but I haven't been able to find any at that price since...another airline is www.jetstar.com.au. By the time you add airport tax, it'll be close to another $150. Good luck....
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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 06:07 AM
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Jmoy - have you been reading anything else apart from the Fodors Forum?

Have you done some hunting around? doesn't sound like it else you would have found virginblue for yourselves.

Someone mentioned being in Sydney for NYE - great!! But make sure to book somewhere to stay now!! It's a seriously popular time of year.

You ask which cities in NZ - where to go for one week.

Wherever you go you will be able to say you've been there - but honestly to take 7 days out of this trip is crazy.

Do one or the other. You don't "need to combine Australia and NZ" - you can come back and "do" the other properly another time.

Suspect this is a waste of typing time.

Go ahead - whizz around - so the bog std stuff - Sydney, Cairns, Melbourne and whatever you can see in 7 days in NZ.

Your holiday not mine.
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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 07:29 AM
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Susan7 - thanks for pointing out that 12/26 is a bank holiday, it should be fine - will give us time to get over jetlag (long way from the US!) . Will read up on the islands you've mentioned for the GBR.

DownUnder - yes, we do plan to be in Sydney for New Year's Eve. Thanks for the websites for the budget airlines!

oinkoink - thanks for the info on the fares! Glad to hear that fares are reasonable (I tried plugging in December dates for jetstar yesterday - from Sydney to Auckland - and the fares were in the AU$400 range - so at least now I have a better idea of what the range of the "good" fares should be).

chimani - we only booked our tickets yesterday so I'm starting the serious trip planning just very recently. I've been reading the forums - and yes, I've heard about jetstar/virginblue - and will be buying books to supplement the fodors research.

Thanks again, everyone, for your help!
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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 05:52 PM
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My 2 cents:

Melbourne is a nice city but I'm not sure it's the place I'd want to be at the height of summer. I like the idea of Elizabeth's of flying from Queensland to Adelaide and then driving the Great Ocean Road to Melboune and not concentrating on the city itself.

As for resort islands Lizard, Heron and Lady Elliot are the best for diving/snorkeling. I wouldn't recommend Green Island because of the daytrippers. Heron Island is a wonderful place (been 5 times), though Dec/Jan is bird nesting season, a problem for less nature-loving visitors. Lizard looks fantastic but is super-expensive.
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 03:53 PM
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RalphR - thanks for the tips on the resort islands! And yes, we are planning to do the Great Ocean Road. (we're stopping by Melbourne to visit my aunt and her family but we're not planning a long stay in the city ).
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 04:51 PM
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For diving you might want to look at www.spiritoffreedom.com.au It's a liveaboard boat that has been highly recommended on this forum and in the research I did for our trip, it had the best features for the money, IMO. If you only go for day trips, you'll only go to the reef that is within 90 minutes of the shore. If you go on a liveaboard, you'll go to parts of the reef that are only visited by a few boats a week. Although the reef is vast and the day boats go to different places, it seems reasonable to me that the farther out ones would be better. We'll find out in October! Happy planning!
Sally in Seattle
p.s. do you know that you can see rainforest, unique animals, outback, and volcanic lava tubes just outside of Cairns? Why waste two days flying to NZ when you can spend them having a vacation? Save NZ for next time. I don't think you will regret it.
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Old Jul 9th, 2007, 10:17 AM
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Thanks, Sally! I'm interested in booking with Spirit of Freedom as well, from the glowing reviews I've read (saw some of your old posts too!). Have you decided which trip you are going to go on? I am trying to choose between the Cod Hole/Ribbon Reefs trip and the Coral Sea trip. What is the difference between the two dive sites (and is one choice "better" than the other)?

I'd appreciate your opinion on this. Thanks!!!
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Old Jul 9th, 2007, 12:45 PM
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We took the 4 night trip in March - the biggest difference (other than the obvious extra night/cost) is the shark feeding event..........it's *quite* something..........our favourite dives were at Steve's Bommie and I think both the 3 and 4 day trips go there. If you want to see email me and I'll send you a link to our gallery

eseibertca AT yahoo DOT ca

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Old Jul 9th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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Elizabeth - thank you! I will shoot you an email!
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