Please Help With Locations in Australia

Oct 23rd, 2007, 05:33 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549
Please Help With Locations in Australia

We are just beginning to plan a trip to Australia which will probably last between two and three weeks.

Among other things we would like to spend a couple of days "on the beach" preferably where there is some decent body boarding surf.

We would also like to spend a couple of days in the GBR area. We are not SCUBA divers but do snorkel.

I won't say money is no object but we generally stay in at least 3-4 star places at minimum.

We can fly from the US West Coast to either Sydney or Brisbane and are not adverse to renting a car.

Any comments would be gratefully appreciated.
Dukey is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Just a few ideas:
1. You might want to look at the Qantas Airpass. For one price, you can book your trip from LAX to either Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane and then 3 internal flights. You can arrive in one city and leave from another, so you don't have to backtrack. We found that to be a cost-effective way for us to travel to and throughout Australia.
2. Don't plan your beach days for the GBR if you want to body surf because the reef keeps the big waves away from the shore.
3. We've been to the GBR many times and always stay in Port Douglas, about an hour's drive north of Cairns. We love the feel of this little town--wide choice of accomodations, good restaurants, the fabulous Four Mile Beach and lots of boats that go out to the reef. If you are only interested in snorkeling, take a look at Wavelength, a snorkel-only boat. We've gone out with them about 5 times and have loved it every time.
4. Plan to stay in the GBR area more than a couple of days. There's a lot to see and do here besides going out to the Reef.
longhorn55 is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 11:57 AM
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Thank you VERY much for those suggestions.

As to the bodysurfing..wasn't planning to do that in the GBR area but rather wanted recommendations as to the best place TO do that elsewhere.

Any ideas on that?
Dukey is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 02:42 PM
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Dukey, Sydney has a lot of good surfing beaches. One option is to stay in the beachside suburb of Manly, providing you don't mind a ferry trip to access the central business district - a leisurely 30-minute harbour cruise, or 15 minutes by the fast catamaran service. Alternatively you could stay in downtown Sydney and do the trip in reverse, or visit one of the eastern suburbs beaches like Bondi or Bronte by bus.

The 4* Manly Pacific hotel, which is across the street from the beach, currently has discounted rooms (on for AU$209-229.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 05:09 PM
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Neil, thanks very much for your reply. We are cuirrently considering the possibility you mentioned and I appreciate the hotel recommendation.
Dukey is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 07:21 PM
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What time of year are you coming? Keep in mind that you cannot swim off the beaches of GBR in Dec/Jan due to box jellyfish. You CAN take the boats out to GBR and go snorkling on the reef, that's no problem at all. And of course everywhere has a pool.
As others have said, most Sydney beaches have body boarding surf - Bondi, Manly, Cronulla, Maroubra.
good luck
mel1 is offline  
Oct 27th, 2007, 04:19 AM
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Dukey - if you're staying at Manly check out Freshwater/ Harbord beach, over the headland (easily walkable) to the north and IMO the best/ safest body surfing beach in Sydney, but you and others may be more adventurous. The long strip of surf beach at 'Manly' includes Manly, South Steyne, North Steyne, and Queenscliff beaches (south to north along the 'bay'). Freshwater, over the hill from Queenscliff is protected by two headlands. South Curl Curl, the next beach further north also has a good saltwater pool and, my wife tells me, a nice cafe (as do most beach spots these days). She and her girlfriends walked from South Curl Curl to Manly and back last weekend (a mere 30 mins each way). Don't get too close to the edge of the cliffs at SCC - my old man was washed off about 50 yrs ago and was one of the few to be washed back.

To the south of Manly there is a nice walk to Fairy Bower and Shelly Beach and headland. Here is a website by some of your compatriots about snorkelling at Shelly Beach and elsewhere in Australia -

If you've got time, take a bus north from Manly up the peninsula, along the other northern beaches.

On the southside of the harbour, there is a coastal walkway from Bondi to Coogee beach and further south. Coogee is another fairly protected 'safe' beach and just before it there is Gordons Bay which is popular for scuba diving and snorkelling. Google all of these for good pics and advice.

Have a good trip.
farrermog is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 06:43 AM
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Dukey: You should definitely consider southeast Queensland as a destination for surf beaches and the Great Barrier Reef. Noosa comes to mind as an ideal spot to start...fantastic surf beaches and scenery. From Noosa, you could drive north (about 4 hrs) to Gladstone and take the catamaran from there out to Heron Island, right on the GBR at the southern end. Heron's resort is definitely 3-4 star (I'd guess more like 4 star now). Heron caters well to snorkelers and there are no day trippers on the island (unlike Green Island, off Cairns, for example). I'd say autumn (Mar-May) or spring (Sept-Nov) would be the best times of year for this area.
RalphR is offline  
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