Prelim Itinerary - Suggestions Welcome

Mar 29th, 2008, 07:59 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 54
Prelim Itinerary - Suggestions Welcome

Hey All,

My wife and I have just booked a two week vacation to Austrailia in May. This is my first overseas vacation from the states, so if anyone is willing to offer suggestions or better ideas, I would greatly appreciate it. Only the flight into Sydney has been booked so everything else is open including accomodations. Here is what we have penciled in so far.

5/17 - Arrive in Sydney early in the morning, rent car and drive to Port Stevens/Hunter Valley, explore and stay overnight

5/18 - Horseback riding in the Blue Mountains and stay overnight

5/19 - Drive back to Sydney and explore city

5/20 - Explore Sydney some more and fly to Cairns

5/21 - Snorkling

5/22 - Wet Tropics Rain Forest

5/23-5/24 - Open

5/25 - Fly to Adelaide and unwind/explore city

5/26 - Explore Barossa and other outlying area or Adelaide or possibly stay a night in Clare Valley

5/27-5/28 - Kangaroo Island

5/29 - Fly back to Sydney

5/30 - Explore Sydney some more

6/1 - Fly Home

Thanks for any help you're willing to give,


ken13 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2008, 09:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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It's late and my mind might not be working clearly, but I'm having trouble figuring out how your are staying over night in Hunter Valley and then you're horseback riding in Blue Mountain the day it that close?? I didn't think so.

Also, you might want to rethink about renting the car the second you land and driving to Hunter Valley. Of course, if you are really good with maps and are comfortable with driving on the left, then I retract my concern, but it seems a bit ambitious.

I'm not an expert and will defer to the regular experts, but just my two cents worth
anita63 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2008, 05:42 AM
Join Date: May 2006
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Hi Ken. Are you planning on flying to Kangaroo Island or drive/ferry? Clare Valley is about an hour or so north of Adelaide. If you drive, you need to go about 1.5 hours south of Adelaide just to reach the ferry terminal, so it would be a long drive from Clare to KI in one day and you would have to fit in with the ferry schedule too.
speckles is offline  
Mar 30th, 2008, 05:51 AM
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Ken, I would probably forget exploring Adelaide city altogether. There's not that much to see here that won't be overwhelmed by your stay in Sydney. If you arrive in Adelaide at a decent hour I would rent a car and head out to the Barossa Valley or Clare Valley for the 2 nights. That gives you at least one full day to drive around out there.

There is little to no public transport out there so if you don't wish to hire a car you will need to find a shuttle bus and stay somewhere central ie around Tanunda in the Barossa. Otherwise you'll be limited to a day tour.

Below is the South Australian Tourism website. Click on "Regions" for KI, Barossa and Clare Valley:
speckles is offline  
Mar 30th, 2008, 05:52 AM
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Good point about landing in Sydney and immediately driving north. I know we'll be jet lagged and travel weary. At the same time though, the local time will be 6am. What else could we do during this time? Plus, we were trying to avoid having to check into a Sydney hotel twice within 5 days if we didn't have to.

Another good point about driving from Clare Valley to KI. Yes, we were considering the ferry trip. Working out the logistics of this trip seems a bit challenging. I do know we'll be in this area for five days and want to spend two on KI.

Thanks for the replys guys.

ken13 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2008, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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1. Having flown from the US to Sydney several times, I STRONGLY suggest that you do not immediately hop in a rental car and start driving, especially since it appears that you have never driven on the left in a right-wheel drive car.
Rather, I suggest that you get yourself into Sydney either by taxi or public transportation and drop your bags off at your accomodations. (Sometimes we've been lucky and been able to to check into our room that early in the morning.) By the time you get checked into your room, it will probably be after 8am, so go have a bite of breakfast somewhere, preferably around Circular Quay. Then use the morning to do a harbour cruise and/or a tour of the Opera House and/or a walk around town. We usually go walking on our first day in Sydney because we love seeing our favorite places--The Rocks, the Botanical Gardens, the harbour views from Mrs. Macquarie's Chair, Hyde Park, the Queen Victoria Building, and Darling Harbour. All of this activity will help you get over your jetlag and you'll get in a full day of sightseeing in Sydney. Do all of your Sydney sightseeing days first and then arrange for your trip to the Blue Mountains,etc.

2. Another suggestion (which I have also done) is to fly straight from Sydney to Cairns and start out your vacation with a relaxing visit to Far North Queensland. While I would recommend staying in Cairns for your first night, you might want to spend the rest of your time in FNQ in someplace like Palm Cove or Port Douglas. You can arrange coach transportation to these towns or you can rent a car in Cairns and drive there. The road is a 2-lane road in good condition without a lot of traffic. However, it is a bit curvy so I wouldn't recommend doing it without a good night's rest under your belt.

3. I think you are doing too much in-and-out in Sydney. I would suggest either doing all of Sydney at the beginning of your trip or at the end of your trip. You don't want to spend too much of your 2-week vacation on the road or in airports.

4. Finally, since you have already booked your flight into Sydney it may be too late for you to book the Qantas Airpass. This would have worked well for you because the Airpass includes the flight from the US to either Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne and 3 internal flights and then return from either Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. I don't know if it's possible, but if you have booked your flight on Qantas, perhaps you could see about converting it to an Airpass.
longhorn55 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2008, 01:06 PM
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Thanks for the great info, Longhorn. I never thought just to go straight to Cairns, probably because the thought of another airplane after 30 hours makes me somewhat ill. However, it makes too much sense. Why waste another trip to an airport when we don't have to.

Thanks again.
ken13 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2008, 04:51 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 612
Kent, you are probably best forgetting the Barossa and the Clare Valley, and visiting the MacLaren Vale wineries. They are generally much nicer than the those in the Barossa and have outstanding reds. MacLaren Vale is about 1/3 of the way to the KI ferry at Cape Jervis, so you will not be going out of your way as you will be if you head to the Barossa and Clare. There are some nice B&B's there, also.

There are also some outstanding wineries in the Adelaide Hills, especially if you like Savignon Blanc whites.
Mitch04 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2008, 04:52 PM
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PS: Forget what Speckles says. He/She is a boring old fart )
Mitch04 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2008, 03:56 AM
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Hi Ken-
longhorn55 has given you very good advice about the first day. You will have major jet lag and fatigue.
You do not want to be driving anywhere, particularly on the left side of the road. Don't even think about it!

On our trip to Sydney three years ago, we followed this strategy exactly and it worked. We dropped our bags off at the hotel, walked down to Circular Quay and took a ferry over to Manley.
(You could also take one to the Taronga Zoo and walk around there.) The sunlight, fresh air and motion is the antidote. Later that evening, we ate dinner at the normal time and went to bed early. We felt surprisingly good the next morning.
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2008, 10:21 AM
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We have decided to just grin and bear one more flight. Upon landing in Sydney, we are getting on a Quantas flight to Adelaide. We will then just unwind in town and head to one of the winery areas the next day. We'll probably do two nights in a bed and breakfast and two nights on KI. I welcome any accomodation suggestions anyone might have. The McClaren Vale area would definitey be more convenient if we are going to head to KI. Are there any advantages to choosing the Clare Valley instead?
ken13 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 06:29 AM
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Mitch, if you read my posts properly you would see that I suggested Ken spend some time in a wine region. You have also suggested Ken spend some time in a wine region. So, if that makes me a boring old fart, then it makes you one too.
speckles is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 06:05 PM
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Just MHO, but if you are going to the Barossa or MacLaren Vale, you can skip the Hunter Valley. My DH who is a Shiraz lover and loves Australian wine hated the Shiraz in the HV because the soil makes it too peppery, and being late, late autumn in May, the vineyards may not even be very scenic. You can do a day trip there from Sydney if you need to go, so you won't have to unpack and pack up again. We went with a small tour to small "cellar door" wineries and had a nice day, but unremarkable wine. If you hadn't already decided to go straight to Adelaide, which is a good alternative, I would have suggested to go into Sydney (the Lord Nelson Brewery lets you in your room early if the room is available)(and is a great location) and do the day trip to the HV another day.
Sally in Seattle
SnRSeattle is offline  
Apr 5th, 2008, 06:03 AM
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I can't thank you guys enough for sharing your knowledge and info. I think we've decided to scrap the Hunter Valley portion from our trip and just spend that time in the Blue Mountains.

I think we're leaning toward staying a day or two in the McLaren Vale on our way to Kangaroo Island. We'll have 5 nights in the Adelaide area before heading to Cairns. We just haven't yet determined how many nights to stay in each area. We're leaning on one night in Adelaide, two in McLaren Vale, and two on KI. I'd love to know if anyone thinks that is too much or too little in one place.

Thanks again for all your help,

ken13 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2008, 01:15 PM
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Hi Ken,
Re Adelaide, McLaren Vale etc., ... If you've allocated 5 days to the region,why not just see how you feel when you get there? If you like one of them, stay on - move on if you think you've been there long enough.

You won't need to pre-book every single night's accommodation a month in advance at this time of year. Even if it means moving accommodation, it would give you the flexibility to follow your whims.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2008, 05:16 PM
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ken sorry for chiming in... but i agree with bokhara. because, i'm planning to do exactly the same. i will be stopping in sydney to change planes to tasmania staying tasmania for about 9 days, then melbourne 4-5 days and then see if i can take a tour thru the GOR to adelaide for about 4-5 days exploring the wine valleys, then by train to sydney where i'll stay for a conference, and then i'll fly up to uluru for about two days, and then... who knows?
i've had to move my whole itinerary 10 days later, so it will fall, in fall (lol) and i will have the luxury and flexibility of time.
i guess my code words for this trip are: "for about, depending, if i like it, maybe, okey, flexibility and flow..." janine
lavici is offline  
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