Queensland In June - suggestions?

Old Nov 18th, 2006, 11:05 AM
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Queensland In June - suggestions?

My Wife and I are in the early stages of planning our intinery for a three week trip to Queensland next June. We're looking at flying into Bribane, hiring a car and driving to the north end. We love the outdoors, ocean and rainforest alike, and like to avoid crowds. Any suggestions on places we shouldn't miss?
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Old Nov 20th, 2006, 07:53 AM
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Hi, yowilli, we are planning a three week plus trip with a driving portion from Mackay to Cairns. And our itinerary has only two nights in places, one in others which we try to avoid. From what I have read, it is a looooooong drive from Brisbane to the North End and there are so many interesting places to stop, it's impossible to do it justice. Others have said that the drive from Rockhampton to I think Mackay is extremely boring, though someone may jump in here to correct me. With only three weeks, unless you want to spend every day driving a long while, could you break up the trip into different portions? From Cairns to the Top End is pretty arduous driving, I believe. You can contact Greg at www.daintreeair.com and he can fly you there and other places (for a price.) Our itinerary (for places to check out) includes Eungella National Park, Mission Beach area for parks nearby, Undarra Lava Tubes and Cobbold Gorge (inland from Mission Beach), the Atherton Tableland incl. Chillagoe for animals, scenery and caves, Cairns for reef trip, Port Douglas for Daintree NP trip and reef trip, and Laura area for Aboriginal art. Near Brisbane, others have liked Lamington NP and Noosa as well as reef trips out of nearby places. Inland from Brissy is Carnarvon Gorge which we wanted to go to but decided it was difficult to do it with only three weeks and the other places we wanted to go to. You have lots of choices, but you won't have much time to savor anything with the milage you planned in only three weeks. Look at www.travelmate.com for time and driving distances between places to make sure this is what you want to do.
Sally in Seattle
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Old Nov 20th, 2006, 01:40 PM
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Well documented are Fraser Island and The Whitsundays.

Other stops should include the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Cania Gorge (more acessible than Carnarvon), Eungella National (wonderful).

It is true the drive through central Queensland is boring.

From Townsville north the options multiply.

Wallaman Falls,
Hinchinbrook Island,
Misty Mountains Trail, a long walk but you can just do segments.
Mission beach, my favourite beach and parts are away from it all.
Tully Heads may also be wonderful and quiet but I haven't made that side trip yet.
Tully white water rafting.
Undara Lava Tube (though if you see one you have seen them all, go on a short tour)
Chillagoe Cabins (my new favourite)outback, caves, kasts, marble and animals.
Tableland, a mix of rainforest, agriculture and dry savannah.

Then of course all the famous attractions that inlcude the Daintree, Cooktown, and the Great Barrier Reef.



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Old Nov 20th, 2006, 01:53 PM
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You may also want to investigate a stay at Mt Mulligan Station, west of Cairns. It is on my list of things to do. perhaps others have first hand experience.
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Old Nov 20th, 2006, 04:19 PM
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Also, you can find current road conditions on the State motoring site - www.racq.com.au as well as detailed maps, distances, local attractions, etc.
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Old Nov 21st, 2006, 04:28 PM
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Tassietwister was unimpressed with the variety of the tubes at Undara. I think that would depend on your interest in geology and your ability to appreciate the different formations. I always try to do a full day tour and I've been going there before it was a National Park!

How far north are you planning on driving? Three weeks is a short time to drive the length of the state and enjoy the scenery.

Perhaps a week and a half north of Brisbane to Hervey Bay and then the rest of the time doing a circuit around Cairns.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 08:16 AM
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Sorry about taking so long to reply to all the responses - I've been traveing the past couple of days.

Thanks for all the responses.

I agree it's a long way to go in such a short time as three weeks, but it's our first trip to Queensland and it's what time and budget will allow. I don't mind the driving and it looks like we can spred thre trip out enough so that we have only a couple of long drives.

So far we're thinking about a couple days around Moolooaba to get over the jetlag and get our feet on the ground. A trip to the Australailia Zoo would be in order for those days as my wife and I are animal lovers. From there we're looking at moving north to Hervey Bay for a few nights to allow for exploration of Fraiser Island and other sights in the area, then off again, driving through to Rockingham for an overnight to break up the drive to Arlie Beach where we're looking to stay a few days as a base to explore Whitsundays. Next stop would be an overnight in the Townsville area to break up the final long drive to Cairnes, where we would spend most of the balance of our time using that as a base to explore the Reef some more and tropical areas within striking distance.

It's still a pretty rough plan at this point, but does that sound workable?

We are also looking at the possibility going in November instead of June --would stingers be an issue then?

Thanks for your help!
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 03:20 PM
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TreeRoo

I was impressed but not to the point of doing a full day tour. I did not find too much difference between the tubes geologically speaking. I will admit I prefer to go to limestone caves where you need to get down and dirty, scratch yourself on cave coral and squeeze between narrow openings and crawl on hands and knees. Soon as I am on a boardwalk with a schooled guide rather than a passionate one I tend to nod off. I am not a geologist, but then nor are most.

yowill

Do not underestimate the drive from Townsville to Cairns.

There is a belief that the rainforest begins and ends in the Daintree. While a beautful spot without doubt, the actual world heritage sections weave themselves down the mountain range to Wallaman falls, then a break, then a patch just north of Townsville at Paluma.

Cape Trib is famous for having two world heritages areas, the GBR and the Rainforest, collide. But then most do the GBR from Port Douglas or Cairns.

Three weeks is not a bad amount of time. Better than what many try to achieve.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 07:04 PM
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yowilli - for an idea of the hugely varied scenery between Townsville-Cooktown and inland to Tablelands, outback and Charters Towers, have a look at www.greattropicaldrive.com.au

June is the first month of winter, cool in SE and even central Queensland, and can get positively cold at night. Pleasant enough in Far North Qld but don't expect balmy, tropical evenings. November much warmer and would certainly be my preferred time - today in both Cairns and Brisbane (1750kms apart) its 29C max.

The official start of "stinger season" in FNQ is 1st November, when the nets on beaches are installed. A little later in Whitsunday area. You'll start to see stinger warning signs on beaches from about Mackay north, but don't let their possible presence be a deterrent - swim at netted and patrolled beaches, they're not a problem on GBR. Or get yourselves lycra stinger suits, they'll also protect you from sunburn. They're very lightweight and you really don't notice you're wearing one.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 09:38 AM
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TreeRoo

I agree on lava tubes -- my wife and I have been to many in Oregon, California and Hawaii (we live in San Diego), so we could pass on geology in favor of more time in Rainforest/animal/GBR exploration. I'm looking into areas in additon to/other than Diantree to see what else might be in our range this trip. Thanks for the tips!

Pat,
Good website for the Townsville-Cooktown drive -- more reserch! Dang there's so much to see and do in Queensland. In discussing this with my wife and looking at my work schedule, among other considerations, we're seriously considering a late October/early November timeframe instead of June. We're both not big beach swimmers (we've lived in beautiful San Diego for 12 years and have been in the water only a few times. We much prefer snorkling, so we expect GBR trips to be most of our water exposure. Appreciate the help.

Yowilli (Dan in San Diego)
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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 01:23 PM
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yowilli

When I said if you have seen one lava tube you have seen them all, I meant that in this one park as they take you to different sections of the same tube. I believe Undara are not the largest in the world but way up there in terms of size. If they are of interest in the US then they could also be of interest here.

The overall experience is not only the lava tubes themselves, they are a destination of course but to see how rapidly the lush green tablelands and rainforest give way so quickly to an outback experience.

When you look at the area in general from the basalt wall near Charters Towers, to the lava tubes and then the kasts, marble and caves around Chillagoe it really does give an awesome overall impression of the upheavel and volcanic activity of so long ago.

Keep it in the back of your mind as it is only 2 hours or so away from the coast and gives an example of how extremely diverse the region is.

I would not normally recommend at all to a self driver from the US but as you would have had some experience already driving on the correct side of the road do keep it mentally tucked away as an option.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 03:25 PM
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Understood -- thanks for the additional information and certainly worth considering for my list of things to do. I can tell the decisions of coast vs. inland treks as I go north will be the toughest part of this trip and keeping from trying to do too much. I can certainly understand how so many people can spend six weeks to six months exploring Austraia.

An additional item I learned from an earlier post from SnRSeattle in this string in case someone else wants to use the link posted for travelmate.com - it is travelmate.com.au -- the '.au' was left off -- very useful site for drive planning.

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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 04:56 PM
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yowillie - Bed&Breakfast and Farmstay Assoc of FNQ offers a variety of accommodation options from Townsville to Cooktown and Tablelands. www.bnbnq.com.au - many of the properties have wildlife on site.

Daintree Wild B&B has accommodation in its own wildlife park and overnight guests have free admittance to the park - amazing collection of Australian native parrots and finches as well as crocs, emus, cassowaries, quolls, kangaroos, dingoes and just about everything else. www.daintreewild.com.au
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Old Nov 24th, 2006, 07:17 AM
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Thanks Pat,

As much as we enjoy wildlife and tropical forest, I think an overnight in Daintree is in the offing. I'm also considering staying in Port Douglas instead of Cairns for our reef trips in the north just for something of a quieter experience -- Cains sounds pretty hectic.

Any thoughts on that?
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Old Nov 25th, 2006, 04:47 AM
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yowillie, greater Cairns and Port Douglas aren't comparable, Cairns stretches from some 50km along the coast and inland and is a small regional city with a population of about 130,000 with about 36 suburbs which include the likes of Palm Cove. Port Douglas is a tourist town on a far smaller area. Like any city, Cairns has its good, bad and ugly. If you're looking for somewhere quiet, there's plenty of options, the website I gave you previously shows, amongst other, Zanzoo Retreat out of Cairns city, this place is a beautifully restored Queenslander sitting on 14 acres with a rainforested river flowing through property, there is nothing like that in Port Douglas. Easy access to Cairns city where the majority of reef trips leave. And for a city of its size, Cairns has an amazing arrange of different cuisines, usually only found in major cities in Australia.
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Old Nov 25th, 2006, 12:27 PM
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With the luxury of having a vehicle you could do both. Port Douglas is not far from Cairns in terms of distance but it is not a 100km limit road (even when posted that it is, especially with someone like me as a passenger)and not a drive you will want to be doing as a commute. Though very very nice it is very twisty turny.
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Old Nov 25th, 2006, 02:50 PM
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I see your point Pat. I'm thinking of staying near Cairns to enjoy what it has to offer, but away from the the crowds. I had the Golden Sands Beachfront Resort in Yorkeys Knob reccomended to me as a quiet place nearby (close enough for trips into town with a car), yet a quiet place to relax between activities. Any thoughts on this place?

I'm thinking we may just do the drive up from Cairns to Daintree, stopping to see the sights along the way and spend a couple of nights in the Dainteree area, using that as a base to see the Daintree forest.

On another note, I did the math this morning and saw that we were at the window for a frequent flyer ticket coming online for my alternate travel window next October, so I made a call on a whim to American Airlines this morning and landed a ticket stright away. Looks like Late October it will be!
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Old Nov 25th, 2006, 04:37 PM
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Golden Sands at Yorkey's would be ideal for what you're after, yowilli.
There's a terrific restaurant, "Star Apple", popular with locals, in its grounds . The yacht club is nearby at Half Moon Bay for "pub" type food with outdoor dining over the water.
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Old Nov 27th, 2006, 07:19 AM
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Thanks Pat,

I think I have enough info to take a step back and try to put all this into a hard itinerary. I'll repost if I have any other questions.

Thanks to everyone for your assistance!
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