Sydney and where else?

Apr 6th, 2003, 03:21 PM
  #1  
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Sydney and where else?

We are in the early stages of planning a 4 week trip to Australia, preliminary dates are mid-Feb to mid-March 2004. The purpose of the trip is to visit my husband's mother who lives in Sydney (actually Maroubra). She's 85+ and for the first time ever, asked when we'd come to see her, so we both think a visit is in order. We've both been to Australia before (3 weeks in March 1996) and during that trip, we spent most of our time in Sydney, with 6 nights in the Cairns/GBR area. It wasn't a great trip - my mother-in-law ended up in the hospital with a heart condition the day we arrived and was in there until after we left (hopefully that won't happen this time around!), but we did manage to see a fair amount of Sydney, including day trips to the Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains. Although my mother-in-law is Australian, my husband isn't - he's from the US, but has lived in Canada for many years now.

I know we'll have to spend a couple of weeks in the Sydney area. I'm hoping we can find a serviced apartment, hopefully closer to rather than further from Maroubra since we'll end up visiting in that area a lot. If anyone has any ideas, please pass them on. Budget is a consideration - we usually don't spend more than $100 CAD / night and with a long trip like this, I don't think we can afford to splurge.

We know we want to see something else on this trip. I was thinking of maybe a week or so along the Sunshine coast. That leaves us with probably another week. Although we're both interested in Darwin and Kakadu area, it seems a long way to go. Any other ideas? Advice on the sunshine coast?

We usually go to Mexico in the winter - a week at a beach and then a week somewhere in the interior for more of a "cultural" experience. We've been to many places in Mexico, but on other winter trips, we've been to Costa Rica, Belize, etc. We're fairly active travellers - lying on a beach with a book is fine for a few days, but not much more than that. Since we've already been to the reef, I don't think we'd go again. We love to snorkel, but we're not divers. We're also independent travellers - we don't usually take packages or tours, unless it's something unique that would be difficult to do on our own.

I've already mentioned budget constraints. Airfare is high, but because it's so far, I don't want to go for less than 4 weeks.

Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
SusanInToronto is offline  
Apr 6th, 2003, 05:04 PM
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I have listed below some web sites for you to check out regarding the Sunshine Coast. It is a great place to visit with beautiful beaches, national parks, hinterland etc. and if you're interested Australia Zoo.

www.sunshinecoast.org

www.sunzine.net

www.maroochytourism.com

www.queensland-holidays.com.au

Hope this helps.
coastgirl is offline  
Apr 7th, 2003, 04:51 PM
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Thanks Coastgirl.

If anyone else has ideas, please pass them on. The trip isn't until 2004, but given how winter refuses to end here in Toronto, I need something to dream about!
SusanInToronto is offline  
Apr 8th, 2003, 12:34 AM
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Given the time of year, I would definitely suggest Tasmania. It's beautiful, and that time of year is great. Hiking and the like will be grand as it's the end of summer, so the water will be at its warmest, and the weather will be great.
PixieChick is offline  
Apr 8th, 2003, 09:03 AM
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PixieChick - thanks so much. I just did a quick search on this forum for Tasmania and it looks like it might just be the destination we're looking for.

I notice that many posters write about driving in Tasmania. Is it really necessary to rent a car or could we get by with public transit? We've rented cars before in other countries, but I'm concerned about driving on the 'other' side of the road. I suppose it depends on what we want to do when we're there. I guess I'll do some research and I'm sure I'll come back with more questions.
SusanInToronto is offline  
Apr 8th, 2003, 10:31 AM
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I think you MUST visit Tasmania! It's beautiful. Most vacationers stay on the mainland of Australia and never see this glorious state.
Honeycomb is offline  
Apr 8th, 2003, 12:29 PM
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Tasmania is a great place to tour - but - you will need a car. The places you want to visit may be accessible with public transport, but not easily, and possibly only on tours. Some of the fly-drive packages usually offer the best deals, and you may be able to get accommodation packages. Have a look at qantas.com.au - and their packages. Virgin also flies to Tassie - virginblue.com.au. They only offer airfares, I think, but may link to good car deals.

If you're hesitant about driving on the left, Tasmania is still good - a small, uncrowded island.
margo_oz is offline  
Apr 8th, 2003, 07:28 PM
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Susan, Margo is very right. You will need a car unless you're taking a tour. As for driving, don't worry. The roads aren't crowded at all (except for maybe in Hobart) and it only took me a day or two to get comfortable driving on the other side of the road....and that's in Sydney! I live in Sydney now, and I find it hard to drive back home!

One thing I would suggest is to look at tour itineraries to figure out places you'd like to go, and then set up your own itinerary. There aren't as many options for lodging in most places in Tasmania, so that's easy. One website that's good to figure out some places to visit (and potential orders to do them in) is aptouring.com.au. That way you can see what the highlights would be and do them yourself.
PixieChick is offline  
Apr 9th, 2003, 04:42 AM
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Thanks for the info on Tasmania. Actually we did go to a 'travel & leisure show' in Toronto on the weekend, specifically to gather information on Australia. I've got piles of brochures to go through, so I'll definitely look at some of the packaged itineraries to get some ideas, even if we don't plan to take a tour.

I'm actually starting to get excited about this trip, even with it being months away. I have to admit it - visiting my husband's mother isn't very exciting for either of us, but it's something we have to do. So we want to make sure that we plan some other great side trips.

If anyone has ideas on accommodation - in Sydney (near Maroubra), Tasmania or the Sunshine coast, please pass them on. Ideally in the $100 CAD range (I think that's about $115 AUD). Thanks again.
SusanInToronto is offline  
Apr 9th, 2003, 06:48 PM
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kbc
 
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Susan, We are thinking of going to Tasmania when we go back to Australia this Fall and I have been researching it extensively. It does look as though a car is most practical (I have the same concerns about driving too), as the bus services don't go everywhere easily or routinely. I think the highlights would be Freycinet Lodge on the Freycinet National Park, Cradle Mt. Lodge at Cradle Mt and there are many possibilities in Hobart. On another note, when we were in Australia 3 years ago, we had a wonderful time in Lamington Park staying at the Binna Burra Mountain Lodge. We, like you, enjoy trips that balance beach time and inner country exploration. In fact, we have many trips in common with you; Belize, etc. We arranged a reasonable transfer from LongBeach Limo which drove us to the lodge from Brisbane (so we didn't have to drive). It is a wonderful lodge with cabins, great hikes and abundant wildlife. After a few days here, we were transferred back to Brisbane where we flew to Gladstone and then transferred for a few days to Heron Island. This was our "splurge" but one we felt well worth it. Turtles come ashore to lay eggs here, snorkeling is nice and it was a wonderful "beach" portion to our trip. Prior to Binna Burra, we had a different beach experience which was more reasonable and very fun. This was sailing a few days in the Whitsudays. It was arranged through HB Cruise Travel Centre out of Airlie Beach. I don't have their web address but you might be able to find it on line. Best to you and your adventures.
kbc is offline  
Apr 10th, 2003, 09:47 AM
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I second third fourth fifth TASSIE!

and yes Rent a car!

as for hotels...I recommend the OLD WOOLSTORE APARTMENTS

Not sure if their prices are in your range but our room had a washer/dryer and a small kitchen so you could buy groceries and save $ that way???

Tassie absolutely INCREDIBLE...PORT ARTHUR is a must, Bonorong is great, MT Field Ntl Park was breathtaking....

wish I could have made it to Cradle Mtn

Mt Wellington was good too....we only stayed around Hobart and we missed the rest of the island but we only had 3 nights.
alise is offline  
Apr 10th, 2003, 04:36 PM
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Thanks to everyone - looks like Tasmania is definitely part of our itinerary. I picked up a guidebook today at the library, so am looking forward to reading more.
SusanInToronto is offline  
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