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MYP Oct 13th, 2010 11:05 AM

Recommendations for 2+ week honeymoon in Australia and Fiji
Hello there,

It’s been a little while since I’ve been able to plan a great trip using the forum…sadly work has beckoned for the past 2 years! I am currently planning my honeymoon for Australia and Fiji. My fiancé and I are getting married in June 2011 and will take a belated honeymoon for about 16 days in the second half of November (would like to take advantage of better weather and our US Thanksgiving holiday).

We are active (hiking, scuba diving, etc), enjoy food and wine (but don't know all that much about the latter), taking photos and enjoy learning about other cultures. We are thinking about spending 2-3 days in Sydney, 1-2 days in Melbourne, a 3-4 day liveaboard in the Reef (with about a day or so in either Cairns or Port Douglas). Then we’ll fly back to Sydney, spend an overnight and then fly to somewhere in Fiji for a few days and then head back to Chicago. Could we fit in 2 days in Ayers Rock? I think that would be amazing to see. Also, where do you recommend in Fiji for a nice resort-y place (overwater bungalow would be awesome) that has great diving, but isn’t crazy expensive? We are thinking we’d like to spend about $200-$300 / night for lodging in Australia (other than the liveaboard) and maybe $400 - $500 / night in Fiji. Also, any recommendations for liveaboards would be great!

Is this too crazy? We don’t mind rushing around to get a feel for a place in Australia (I know that statement must be horrifying to some of you! :)), and then we’ll get some real R&R (and more diving) in Fiji. To be honest, I haven't done much research yet, as we are just starting to look into this. I thought I would ask all of you for your initial thoughts to help us frame our research / itinerary. We are planning to book our flights in December, so we can use miles. Thanks in advance! Truly appreciate it!


spassvogel Oct 13th, 2010 01:30 PM

$200-$300 / night for lodging in Australia (other than the liveaboard) and maybe $400 - $500 / night in Fiji. Also, any recommendations for liveaboards would be great!

Is that per person?

Matangi Prices is a very nice liveabord which starts on the mainland and travels up to Matagi.

Great diving!

Fiji tw has one of the BEST diving when it comes to reef fish - next to the Great Barrier reef and Papua NewGuinea!

The itinerary you are mentioning sounds too much to me in order to really suck in the destination you are travelling.

But well, if you like destination-hopping, so be it.

Turtle Island (the movie BLUE LAGOON with Brooke shields was shot there)
Yasawa Island resort
Qamea Beach
Costeau resort Vanua Levu

There are certainly much more favourable options - but not on a liveaborad. Liveaboards should be about 3500AUS$/per week/person.

So if you consider a dive cruis - the budget is even more important as well as keeping it to only a few destinations in order to safe air tickets and car rental/taxi.

O maybe first the liveaboard and then 2 nights on Matagi before heading back/further.

Regarding diving in OZ AND Fiji: Don't forget about the decompression period: 24h prior to flights NO DIVING!

From Townsville they do nice 3-4 days dive trips: Visit to the Yongala wreck etc.

We have been on Mike Ball boats a couple of times but they all were Coral Sea trips which took 10 days - at least 7 days.

Just provide some more details regarding budget. Without that it's difficult to advise on anything.


MYP Oct 13th, 2010 02:03 PM

Hello there, thanks for your note!
Re: lodging, that was per couple. We've done a bit of looking into liveaboards and it seems like it would be about $1000 / person for about 4 days (on a non-luxury boat).

If you had to chose between Melbourne and Ayers Rock for 2-3 days (in either place), which would you do? From what I heard, Melbourne has very European architecture, but is a little similar to Sydney. I wish we had more time for our trip! :)

peterSale Oct 13th, 2010 03:15 PM

First things first. Never compare Melbourne to Sydney as a "little similar". Melbourne is far superior!

Seriously though, given the choice, Melbourne can be easily left off an itinerary, in preference to Ayers Rock. Melbourne is a lovely city with great colonial gold rush buildings and wonderful parks, but cities are cities.

I would do Ayers Rock, as it is nothing like anywhere else. You will get colonial buildings in Sydney - just not as good as Melbourne's.

elaineobermann Oct 13th, 2010 05:56 PM

We were in Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns, Port Dougla and Hamilton Island - three years ago. We are going back next year. Cairns is awful. Just dirty mud and some water. You can do better staying an hour up the road in Port Douglas. You can do a lot of tours out of Port Douglas, instead of Cairns. It costs more, but it is better. We loved Melbourne. We spent a week in Sydney and a week in Melbourne., We enjoyed Melbourne better than Sydney. Make sure you do the Great Ocean Road tour out of Melbourne. It is an extemely long day trip though. We used Gray Line tours and booked it here in America before we left the U.S. We will do that Gray Line tour again. Our travel agent warned us and so did the tour books. It takes a long time to see Australia, even with just a few stops. I suggest you not try to see too much in a short time. Your trip will b eruined trying to fly here and fly there. Melborune and Sydney each require more than four days. I suggest you climb the Sydney Bridge. You can pay for the tour where you dawn a jump suit, you're teathered, etc. or just walk it without going to the top of the bridge. That is what we did. Enjoy.

spassvogel Oct 14th, 2010 11:16 AM

M E L B O U R N E - would be my bet! But this is personal choice. I simply love it!

A couple of years back it was one of the 10 most livable city in the world!

I also wouldn't compare it to Sydney. Two great cities - but each has it own charm, flair, atmosphere. The harbor in Sydney is unique. The South Bank in Melbourne is just wonderful. Architecture, restaurants, the docklands now...

Some choices are really really difficult.

What about a second trip to OZ? ;-)


PS: The loiveaboards you mention have simpler cabins and mutual toilet/shower. If you don't mind that: Go for it! The diving most probably is as excellent as on the more expensive ones!
Just make sure the dive spots are good and NOT crowded ones!
And it should include the Yongala wreck. It's one of the best wrecks in the world!

spassvogel Oct 14th, 2010 11:17 AM

Uluru or MEL? MEL!


peterSale Oct 14th, 2010 04:13 PM

I am biased, as I grew up in Melbourne and don't think it is that great a city. That is why I live in the country.

So it is nice for you to say it is wonderful and worth the effort.

We do go there occasionally and do some of the tourist things.

It is very hard for most people to compare a Geologic feature with a city. For me, Geology will win every time.

EBEK Oct 24th, 2010 10:45 AM


I was amazed when I read your post. My fiance and I are planning almost an identical honeymoon at the end of November 2011! Our original plan was to go to Sydney for 3 nights, then Melbourne for 3 nights, then do a liveaboard at the Great Barrier Reef and stay in a resort in Fiji for 5 nights on the way back. After pricing things with the travel agent, however, we've decided not to go to Sydney.

We're planning on going on the Spirit of Freedom Liveaboard to Cod Hole for 4 nights. We also looked at Mike Ball's Spoilsport, but the Spirit of Freedom is slightly less expensive and appears to be the same experience for the most part.

I'm currently in the process of researching resorts in Fiji. We're looking at Likuliku, Tokoriki, and Qamea. Each has significant pros and far this has been the trickiest part of planning.

I'd love to hear if you've discovered anything else. It would be fun to compare notes, especially if we're there at the same time. :) We're from Orlando.

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