Sydney to Great Barrier reef

Old Jul 5th, 2004, 07:29 AM
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Sydney to Great Barrier reef

Hi There! This is my first time posting a message so please bear with me.

My wife and I are going to be in Australia for a week and will be coming into Sydney. We are into the outdoors and nature activity (not really into water sports). Does anyone have a suggested itinerary for Sydney for four days? Also, we wanted to find out the most economical way to get to the great barrier reef from sydney. Thank you for your advice.
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Old Jul 5th, 2004, 10:58 AM
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If the stay is only for a week, the only way to the reef from Sydney is by plane. I think it's about a 3 hour flight. I'm not sure you will have time for the reef as well as four days in Sydney, but others may have some ideas.
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Old Jul 5th, 2004, 02:16 PM
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Babu, can you cut short your 4 days in Sydney, as I reallly feel that 2 days/3nights would be sufficient in seeing the "major" attractions. Two full days in Sydney, would allow you to do a harbour cruise, or just use the Sydney ferries (daytripper ticket obtainable from down at Circular Quay), then late afternoon, perhaps a stroll around Darling Harbour, wonderful Maritime Museum there, and loads of shops, restaurants, etc. Otherwise, opt for a walk around to Sydney Opera House, then enter the Botanical Gardens via harbour foreshore walk, then when you have had enough, cut up through the Botanical Gardens (very pleasant...except for the bats in the Palm Garden, but then a lot of tourists enjoy seeing them, just dont look up with your mouth open)
The 2nd day in Sydney, could be a drive or bus trip up to the Blue Mountains, with the Koala Park at Pennant Hills on the way back. Alternatively, you could visit the northern beaches of Sydney, from Manly to Palm Beach, and take in the peaceful serenity of Pittwater, with its yahts & boats. There is even a boat service over to a place caled, The Basin inside Kuringai National Park, where there are various bushwalks.
Now by reducing your stay by one day in Sydney, you can add that onto a short break in Nth Queensland. As previously said, opt for flying to Queensland, and personally, with such a short time, I would opt to Hamilton Island in Whitsundays, which has walking tracks on the island, and additionally, they have day cruises out to the Barrier Reef. The beauty of Hamilton Island, is that you fly from Sydney "direct" onto Hamilton Island.
Hope this helps.
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Old Jul 5th, 2004, 02:58 PM
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Babu, all I can add to tropo's suggestions is that (as you asked about the most economical travel to the Reef) you may want to keep an eye on the fares to Hamilton Island and also Cairns. The domestic air fare situation in Australia is volatile, with spot specials being offered regularly. These sell out fast, so you'll need to monitor the carriers' websites in the lead-up to your visit -Virgin Blue in particular but also Qantas and JetStar (a budget subsidiary of Qantas). Offhand I don't know whether Hamilton Island is included in these spot specials, but Cairns certainly is. A note re JetStar: it seems they strictly enforce their policy of ticket forfeiture if you don't check in by 30 minutes before departure.
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Old Jul 8th, 2004, 03:30 AM
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Thanks so much for your replies. The information has been most useful. I think we will cut down our time in Sydney by a day or two, so that we can really experience the GBR. The information on what to do is Sydney was very detailed. I hope we can see most of those things. We will keep a close eye on air fares on the airlines mentioned!

Any other tips on where to stay near GBR, etc?

Thanks again!
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Old Jul 8th, 2004, 03:54 PM
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I agree that Hamilton Island may be the best choice. It has a full-length jet runway, which serves many destinations. Several high-speed catamarans leave daily for the GBR from here. There are quite a few choices of hotels, although most are of the high-rise variety. No automobiles are allowed on the island - everyone hires a golf cart, which is adequate for getting pretty much everywhere. There is a nice small zoo, and, as noted elsewhere, several walking tracks.

The only downside is that Hamilton Island is quite heavily-developed, and many folks go to the Queensland coast to find quiet relaxing places.
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