QLD and Sydney itinerary - what do you think?!

Mar 6th, 2005, 09:19 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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QLD and Sydney itinerary - what do you think?!

Hi everyone

First time for me on the Australia forum - first time to Australia!

I'm heading out there from London on 17th April with my mum and aunt (both mad and fun loving) to visit my brother who is living in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast. Not long to go and I CAN'T WAIT! I've picked up some fantastic tips from here but would appreciate any specific comments regarding my itinerary...

17 April: London - Kuala Lumpur (2 night stopover, Mandarin Oriental)

20 April: KL - Brisbane.
Staying in Paradise Grove apts, Burleigh Heads

21 April: fly from Brisbane - Cairns
(yes I know it's a day after we arrive and we'll be shattered but it's for my brother's birthday weekend!)
Staying 3 nights at Angsana, Palm Cove in 2 bed ocean front apartment.
Planning to spend 2 days relaxing and 1 day taking a reef trip out of Cairns - thinking about Ecstasea as we want to be in a small group (under 40 ppl) but with a glass bottom boat as well as snorkelling. Any others we should consider, around the AUS$100 price range? Small group is a must.
Also poss trip on the Skyrail, fear of heights permitting (see Sydney....!)

24 April: fly Cairns - Brisbane, back to Burleigh Heads.
Visits to Currumbin Sanctuary, Sea World, rainforest day trip (would prefer to do this from Gold Coast rather than Palm Cove, to give us more relaxing time - we want to make the most of the Angsana). Any suggestions as to good tours to Gold Coast hinterland??

2 May: Fly Coolangatta - Sydney
Staying 2 nights at Harbour Rocks Hotel, jumior suite.
Nothing specific planned yet, apart from meeting friends living in Sydney. Want to do harbour cruise, opera house tour but not bridge climb as the other 2 are terrified of heights and I'll never get them up there! Any other must-sees?!

4 May: Fly Sydney - London, via KL. 8 hour layover - trying to get free room at airside hotel from Malaysia Airlines.

any suggestions most welcome...


zoe_uk is offline  
Mar 6th, 2005, 01:18 PM
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Zoe, your itinerary sounds just wonderful, and my only suggestion would be one that would show my own (understandable)bias towards my home town: I think you should spend a few more days in Sydney, maybe come down here during the last week in April. Then you'd have time to do the Spit Bridge to Manly walk and maybe spend a day in the Blue Mountains. But, with only two days here, I don't think you will really feel it worthwhile to stray far from the CBD.

Don't fret about the Bridge climb.... as wonderful as I am sure it is, that's a LOT of money for an experience which you can, at least, simulate for free! Instead of climbing the bridge for $130, walk across it (the entrance is only a couple of minutes walk from the Harbour Rocks Hotel (a nice choice, by the way!), and the view, especially on a clear mid-morning, is pretty spectacular. It will take you 25 minutes to walk across, and you will enjoy a further half-hour stroll around the waterside at Milson's Point, where the view of the Opera House is the best of all. Then you can walk down to the wharf next to Luna Park and catch a ferry under the Bridge and back to Circular Quay.

Make sure, on the day you do your Opera House tour, that you do the following walk (in reverse, if you are doing the tour in the afternoon): Circular Quay -Opera House - Botanical Gardens - Government House - the Conservatorium - Macquarie Street - the Art Gallery - St Mary's Cathedral - Hyde Park - the Queen Victoria Building - Darling Harbour. From there you can, again, catch a ferry back to Circular Quay.

In fact, I'd spend a bit of time on ferries, if I were you. Try and do the Manly ferry trip, and maybe Watson's Bay. You could do both of these on the same day as the morning Bridge walk, and all on the one ticket, a Daytripper Pass for $15 (it will also cover any train and bus fares you decide to incur on that day, as well... so you could see a bit of Sydney by doing the Watson's Bay trip late afternoon, having dinner at Doyle's, and then catching a bus back to the city).

Taronga Park Zoo is also a great half-day, and April is the perfect month to do it, as it won't "hot up" too much and tire you out.

Have a great time -- but DO try for a day or two extra in Sydney... bring your brother with you!
Alan is offline  
Mar 6th, 2005, 01:48 PM
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Just one observation. Not all rainforests are created equal. You'll be missing out, in my opinion, if you do not visit the "wet tropical rainforest" in Far North Queensland.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 09:58 AM
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Alan, thanks so much for your reply. I'd love to spend more time in Sydney and did ask my bro if he'd come with us - but he's already taking time off work (a job he's just started) to come to the GBR with us. And the main purpose of the trip is to spend time with him. I love your walk suggestions - thank you so much! Particularly like the sound of Watson's Bay then dinner at Doyle's which is on our list of must-dos. (My mum saw it on a travel show and was sold!)
And thanks also to Judy - will def try and do rainforest trip in FNQ then.

zoe_uk is offline  
Mar 15th, 2005, 10:18 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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JudyinCalgary is correct regarding the rain forests but Lamington National Park which can be accessed from the Gold Coast is very beautiful. You could easily organise a day trip to Binna Burra in Lamington National Park they have an excellent 'tree top walk'. Lots of birds and animals to see and it would be worth your while to fit in one bush walk whilst there.
claret is offline  
Mar 16th, 2005, 01:32 AM
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Claret, how true, a lot of overseas tourists don't realise, that we have fantastic rainforests all up & down the Qld coastline, and also northern NSW.
tropo is offline  
Mar 16th, 2005, 02:41 PM
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Gotta say- I did the Sky Rail just north of Cairns and thought it was quite boring. If you're really into foliage, you'll love it. But otherwise, I'd plan to do something else that day.

A neat area to visit just north of Brisbane is Noosa. We drove up (from Burleigh) just for the day and had lunch, went to the beach.

I'm very jealous of your brother getting to live on the Gold Coast! I have friends there as well and I still wonder why I haven't just picked up and moved there!!
LM3682 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 07:45 AM
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Hi there,

Sounds like a great itinerary! I think someone else mentioned Blue Mountains outside of Sydney and I would definitely agree. We did a day long excursion and it was wonderful to see this beautfiul area. We also returned to the city via ferry from a stop near the Olympics site, so we managed to actually see quite a lot in that one day both in and around Sydney. Have a wonderful time!
australianhm is offline  
Mar 20th, 2005, 04:20 PM
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your itinerary looks good. In regards to your Palm Cove stay, I would suggest to skip the skyrail (except if you like to look at trees from the top) and rather go to the famous Daintree Nationalpark and Cape Tribulation. It is absolutely stunning and beautiful. You can drive up there yourself, but I would recommend to go on a tour with one of the smaller operators (eg Daintree-Specialised Tours). You will love it.
In regards to the Great Barrier Reef, I would recommend to go from Port Douglas, it is closer to the reef and the reef is much better than around Cairns. The boat I would highly recommend is the Wavelength. Takes only snorkellers and goes to 3 different reefs. It takes a maximum of 30 people BUT has no glass bottom boat.
myaustralia is offline  
Mar 21st, 2005, 03:47 PM
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My wife and I are just back from a fantastic 5 weeks in Australia. Just one point about Sydney - avoid Doyles at Watson's Bay. Over-priced and the food is nothing special. It is a real tourist trap. Also we really enjoyed the Captain Cook's coffee cruise - I know it is much cheaper to take the ferries but it is nice to have someone point out all the sites and to give you some history.

Jon_Vancouver is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 01:32 AM
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>Gotta say- I did the Sky Rail just north of Cairns and thought it was quite boring. If you're really into foliage, you'll love it. But otherwise, I'd plan to do something else that day.

I think the negative suggestions towards sky rail are exagerated. IMO there is no better way to see the rainforest. The suggestion that you only get to see the tops of trees is a load of crap. The sky rail has a number of stops. At each stop you can get off and take a walk or guided tour of the rain forest. Each stop provides something new and unique to view.

I'd say those who claim the skyrail is 'boring' would also find any rainforest walk boring. The difference between sky rail and other rainforest walks is:
1) You ALSO get to see the rainforest from above the canopy.
2) Guided tours are included in the price.
3) You can see what you want to see and get out of there quicly and without hassle.

The daintree is also beautiful as is cape tribulation. I'd suggest taking on of the crocodile spotting river boat cruises. I've been twice. Both times I throroughly enjoyed the tranquility of the sky rail and both times I was fortunate enough to see wild crocodiles in the daintree river.
Brisbanite is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 04:30 AM
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Both Daintree and Skyrail are worth doing. Skyrail did come under a lot of fire at its inception some 10 years ago, there was some worry from certain elements that it would "frighten the birds". I watched the whole thing being built, nothing could have been built in a more environmentally sensitive way, a miniscule amount of rainforest trees were removed for the stanchions and rest went in by helicopter. It is rainforest, the Djabugay (or Tjakupai) local Aboriginal people have a great interest in it and its protection. As noted above, there are two stops enroute to Kuranda with dedicated guides- if you catch Milton, a local Aboriginal elder, at one of the stops you will learn even more. Even Liz, Queen of England, was guided by Milton on her trip there a few years ago. The gondolas travel silently over the rainforest canopy which saves a lot of ground level rainforest destruction. Printed information is handed to each Skyrail passenger, either from Caravonica or Kuranda end, describing the variety and seasonal habits of rainforest vegetation and animal life below.
pat_woolford is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 05:16 PM
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Jon_Vancouver, I am sorry you did not enjoy Doyles at Watson Bay but where did you eat? There are three areas to eat 1/ at the restaurant on the pier 2/ at the Pub 3/ outside from the B b que.
I don't regard Doyles as a tourist trap and when I lived in Sydney I used to go there for Sunday lunch because the ferry ride was nice, sitting outside eating from the bbque was nice and the ambience of the little bay and busy water traffic was nice. I still go there every time I go to Sydney & if I have the time and I follow that with a walk over to the cliffs and along the sea-walk which has spectacular views. When I am in Canada I still eat at the Spaghetti Factory - not because the food is good but because it is quaint and has memories. Doyles at Watson's bay is on one of the loveliest spots
around Sydney but if you ate at the restaurant then you missed the plot!
lizF is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 01:09 AM
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Thanks to everyone for all the replies. Can't believe I'm going this Sunday! Will post a trip report when I get back.
zoe_uk is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 10:26 PM
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About the bridge climb: I thought that was one of the highlights of Sydney. It's expensive, but worthwhile. Also, for a reef tour, I took the one that went to Michalmas Cay and liked that a lot. Besides the snorkeling and diving, you get an incredible beach.
andrews98682 is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 06:01 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Gotta say- I agree that the Skyrail outside Cairns was a disappointment for me, and if your party don't like heights I would definitely give it a miss.
In Sydney, what about Doyles at the Fishmarkets? Lots of atmosphere, and you could buy some really cheap prawns for the next day's picnic to wherever.
sange41 is offline  

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