Solo Woman traveling to Australia & NZ


Sep 21st, 2012, 09:15 AM
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Solo Woman traveling to Australia & NZ


I will arrive in Sydney from Us on Jan 03,13. I have about 5 weeks to travel.
I had planned to take day trips in Sydney to Blue Mtn & Opera House,
Manley etc, then I thought to go to Melbourne and visit Kangaroo Island
fly to Cairns to see Great Barrier reef then fly to NZ and spend about
a week in NZ. I have shortened my stay to 4 -5 weeks due to health
concerns. I will be mainly sightseeing not hiking or diving etc. All
advice will be greatly appreciated. Are all areas safe for a middle-aged woman traveling alone? Best route to get the most of my time? Will I
be able to see both Auckland and Christchurch or have to leave one out?
I don't like to be regimented but if anyone has information about local
travel companies who could help me with my arrangements I would
appreciate it.I had planned to just have hotels book day tours so that on days
I was tired, could just rest. Will this be a problem in high season.
Thanks so much for all of your help. Johanna
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Sep 21st, 2012, 04:26 PM
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Safety. Yes, all areas are safe but the usual common-sense rules apply.

Sydney - if the budget permits, climb the Harbour Bridge. It isn't cheap but it is an amazing experience.
Take a ferry to Manley, walk up the Corso to the beach, have breakfast/coffee/lunch, depending on the time of day.
Take a ferry to the Taronga Zoo (get a combined ferry/zoo ticket).
Explore the Opera House, Circular Quay, the Rocks.
Take a bus to Bondi, do one of the cliff walks.
Explore the rest of downtown, including Darling Harbour, Chinatown etc.
Do a day trip to the Blue Mountains. You can drive yourself or take a train but going on an organized tour is probably the easiest.

If you want to go to Kangaroo Island, that's Adelaide not Melbourne. In Melbourne, if you want to do the Great Ocean Road, you could just keep driving and you'll end up in Adelaide.
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Sep 21st, 2012, 06:05 PM
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Thank you tt7 for the wonderful ideas. Where would you go
after Sydney? I would not be driving a car by myself. I was thinking
to fly to Cairns after Sydney or going to Melbourne by train, then
flying to NZ from one of these cities and flying back to US from
Brisbane. Do you think it all can be done in 5 weeks? Thanks for
all the help. Johanna
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Sep 22nd, 2012, 11:46 PM
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tt7 says all areas are safe, this is too general a comment. I travel solo and would not venture off to remote areas on my own or wander around any large city or indeed town on my own late at night. So the general rule is treat any place you go to as you would at home. Sydney to Melbourne by train is quite a long journey and a lot of people break the journey for one night. I think it's best to make the most of that time in your chosen destinations so would suggest flying from Melb to Syd. From Sydney you could have a few nights in Brisbane and then go up to the Sunshine Coast which is my favourite area, there is so much to do and see there. A rental car there would give you more options of areas to visit. Do a search of the Sunshine Coast on google. You could then fly up to Cairns and across to NZ. In Sydney you do not need to do day tours of the inner city area, but a tour coach to the Blue Mountains for the day would be a good suggestion.
Why do you have to fly out of Brisbane and not Auckland?
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Sep 23rd, 2012, 02:32 PM
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Thank you for your kind suggestions, golfernz1. I, too travel extensively
solo all over Europe, but this is my first visit to AU & NZ. The reason for
the flight from Brisbane is I am using FF miles for Business. I am going too
try to leave from Auckland.

My tentative itinerary is:

Day 1 to 5 Sydney (allowing for trips to Blue Mtns, cruise to one
one of the beaches
Day 6 to14 Fly Sydney to Melbourne (allowing for day trips
Great Ocean Road Tour, Phillips Island tour & one day
Australian Open)
Day 15 Melbourne to Adelaide via train

Day 16-18 Adelaide (day trip to Kangaroo Island)

Day 18 -21 Fly to Cairns ( Great Barrier Reef tour, Daintree forest)

Day 22- 33 Fly to Christchurch
10 day Rail tour & ferry Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland

Hopefully, fly from Auckland to LA & to FL

I hope to stay at Hilton properties as I am a Diamond member & will be
able to use executive floors. I am trying to keep my flights to a
minimum & trying not to backtrack, if possible.

All thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Sep 30th, 2012, 08:09 PM
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Hi Joanna -
I currently live just north of Sydney and have lived in 4 states of Australia.

You will mostly be safe even in big cities as long as you keep to well populated areas at night. The concierges at the hotels will be able to tell you where to walk and where not to walk.

If you have health concerns do not even think about climbing the Sydney Bridge.

It's a long day trip to the Blue Mts and back - it would be better to stay overnight in one of the little towns there (e.g.Leura if you like gardens) if you can. It's a delightful area but you don't see much of it when 5-6 hours are spent on a bus.

It's also a heck of a long way by train from Melbourne to Adelaide and then to go to Kangaroo Island after...phew - think about what you'd like to see in Kangaroo Island because you will probably find that there are other places which could substitute.

Be aware that January is our summer and it is steaming hot in Cairns. Maybe you like that, but many people wilt in the humidity if they are not into water sports. The Reef and Daintree are well worth seeing but make sure that all transport has good air conditioning. (I know - I'm a wimp). If you go to the Reef go on one of the boats which has a mini-submarine to see the coral and fish. It's breathtaking.
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Oct 1st, 2012, 01:45 AM
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I think you've given yourself plenty of time to do what you want to see. I'm going Adelaide to Melbourne by train next year and it's quite a long trip but trains are so relaxing, I don't think it will be that tiring at all. The tour in NZ should be very enjoyable, it's not a luxury train but is very popular. The Hilton in Auckland is downtown at the end of the cruise ship pier so a great view over the harbour. The airport bus is a five minute walk from the Hilton. Are you sure there are direct flights Cairns to Christchurch, you may have to double back to Brisbane? Both the museum and art gallery in Brisbane which are side by side are well worth a stop to visit.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 04:41 AM
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I would definitely recommend the Blue Mountains as it is beautiful and so very different than much of Australia. We went by train using a multipass for Sydney public transport. Katoomba is closest to the 3 Sisters and spectacular views, but Leura is quieter and pretty. Easy to get between the two and to the major sights on the hop on, hop off bus. In Sydney be sure to see the historic Rocks area near the harbour which is charming. There is a walking tour in the evening which is free--tips only--and shorter than the afternoon city tour which might be a little much for anyone with health concerns.

I don't think you will have any more reason to be concerned for your safety than you would travelling in Europe, perhaps less, as I don't hear the same tales regarding pickpockets etc. as seems to be the norm in some places. Australians are friendly and welcoming, all speak English (or at least a version thereof!) the currency is like the North American, and and the food is familiar. The true adventure , IMHO, is found outside the cities where you can see the unique landscape and natural beauty.

Stay well and enjoy yourself.
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Oct 13th, 2012, 11:55 PM
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Hi, Johanna. I agree climbing the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge might be a bit much for you, so could I suggest the street level walk, which is beside the lanes of traffics? It gives you a wonderful view of different parts of Sydney, is perfectly stable and safe, and I didn't notice any petrol fumes or wobbles as the traffic drove across. We took about 30 minutes to stroll across, looking around and taking photos, and I really enjoyed it. I was very apprehensive about the height but needn't have worried. A walk I would definitely recommend.
Th Circular Quay area and the Rocks are also very interesting places to visit, as is Darling Harbour and Hyde Park - in fact most of Sydney!
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Oct 19th, 2012, 11:53 PM
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sydney is quite safe but like any large city has its problem areas

be careful on trains late at night,,its the behaviour of youngsters more that comes across as threatening but not necessarily directed at anyone in particular...lots of bravado mixed with alcohol and whatever else

...i doubt youd be out very late unescorted anyway
so i think youll be fine

aussies are pretty laid back and friendly...most are very willing to lend a hand

go have a pie at harrys cafe de wheels....thats a treat anytime and a great reward for walking through botanical gardens to woolloomoolloo
just keep asking for directions and youll get there
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Oct 20th, 2012, 02:17 PM
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Hi, Johanna,

My DH and I did the Melbourne to Adelaide trip both ways 13 years ago, and really enjoyed it. We left Melbourne late afternoon, and arrived in Adelaide in the morning. It was a relaxing trip, but I see the overnight is no longer running. Check out the following website for some reliable info.

In your NZ section you say a 10 day rail/ferry tour from Christchurch to Wellington to Auckland. I am assuming you are planning to stay in each city for 2 - 3 days and using the train or ferry as a link between the cities. Just bear in mind that all NZ and Australian schools will be on summer holidays while you are over here, so it would be advisable to book your hotels as soon as possible.

What are your interests generally? What are you particularly hoping to see in NZ and especially Wellington my hometown?
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