The last family vacation-suggestions?

Sep 22nd, 2003, 12:37 PM
  #1  
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The last family vacation-suggestions?

Okay- I am calling upon my fellow Fodorites to help me figure out our upcoming Australian family vacation? Our two college age kids (18 and 21) are going to be off for several weeks during January and I would love to schedule "one last family vacation" using our air miles. The kids really would love to go to Australia although the hubs feels that it will be high season down there and will be too hot to travel around (specifically to Great Barrier Reef).The 18 year is studying marine science in college so this would be a dream come true. I would love to fly out of Lax to Sydney and hit the major cities along with Ayers Rock;Alice Springs(still have a fond spot for that great PBS show "A Town Like Alice")and up on the coast. Would you even consider going at this time-I have not checked to see if we could get the airfare yet? Would you use rental car within cities and fly to outer areas (cost-traffic)? It would be around the first week of January and would probably be for about two weeks.Any suggestions on hotels,places you have loved,special tips,etc. would be greatly appreciated.I am on my way out for some travel books right now! Wish we could schedule this with the great airfares going on through the end of the year? Thanks so much!
dutyfree is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2003, 01:06 PM
  #2  
 
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You will have to check the past web postings, but I think January might be kinda insecty in Ayers & insecty & rainy near the GBR.

I really liked Kangaroo Island, Daintree Rainforest, GBR (Port Douglas), and Ayers Rock.

If Jan. is the only time you can go...then I would work it out. OZ was a wonderful place and the people are so nice. Enjoy your vacation
alliegator is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2003, 02:29 PM
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Thanks for your quick reply. My husband who was in the Vietnam war said that it used to be very hot up in the GBR(90-100's F) at that time of the year and he keeps saying that all of Australia will be on vacation then and we will have a hard time getting reservations to anything.Please prove him wrong?My daughter ,son and myself really would like to go and using the miles would be perfect if we could work that out.Any help would be greatly appreciated as I am the travel agent in this family-everyone else just comes along.........
dutyfree is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2003, 03:44 PM
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We had our first "last family vacation" in 1995 (our kids were 14 and 18 and the oldest one was off to college)and now, 8 years later, we have just come back from our "last family vaction number 5". This one was to Australia and it was awesome. Since we went in August/September we can't be too helpful. Went to GBR and to Sydney.
This is just to let you know that, if your kids are like ours, as long as you are willing to keep paying and going great places they will have no pride and will gladly accompany you.
Rweiner45 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2003, 09:10 AM
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Dutyfree, GO! Don't let the opportunity pass by. I have always felt that travelling is as good an education for children as the academic world. If they are willing and you are able, don't waste anymore time worrying about it, get booking! The only way you will find out if places are booked is to get busy. We are off to Oz in October but know plenty of folks who have been in January and loved it. Sure it might be hot or buggy in places but that is not enough to ruin your trip. Go, now, get busy! I'm sure it will be a trip you and your family will never forget. Happy planning! GO!
starfish1 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2003, 09:14 AM
  #6  
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Thank you for your support-certainly not getting any from the hubs!!! If any of you would be so kind as to tell me how long you planned your trip for and what major areas that you centered it around-I would be most grateful. for a 2 week visit would you hit Sydney,GBR and one other area? I have had a chuckle when reading other posts and everyone raving about Sydney-husband says that it is just "another big city" that will be full of people and heat at the time of the year.Do you see what I am up against? Thanks again for any opinions!
dutyfree is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2003, 12:53 PM
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Hi again. As far as hotels, when we traveled we booked apartments in Trinity Beach (Cairns area) and in Sydney. In Sydney we actually stayed in the Darling Harbour area. Many people don't like it but we really did. It was a vibrant area. Easy to get around. We stayed at the Mercure Grand Apartments. Nothing fancy but the location was wonderful. Had a two bedroom/two bath apartment. It worked out so well for us. There was a washer and dryer in both places we stayed (within the apartment) and that made packing so much easier as we didn't have to overpack (well, not as much as we usually do). Hope this idea is helpful.
Rweiner45 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2003, 11:11 PM
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I guess in this life you have to take the opportunities when you can and if January 2004 is going to be the last chance for a family vacation all together, then take it. I would definitely recommend not going to Ayers Rock/Alice Springs in January - it will be very hot and unpleasant. Far North Queensland will also be warm and humid, but there is always a swimming pool or shower handy. You will have to book ahead as it is our main school holidays at that time.
If your son is into marine science he may be able to visit the university at Townsville which specialises in marine science. There is also a marine science aquarium in Townsville which I am sure he would be interested in.
Re rental cars, don't hire one in Sydney - parking is a nightmare. Much easier to use public transport to get around. There is a big festival in Sydney during January - sorry, don't know the exact dates. Rent a car in Cairns or Townsville, traffic is light and the roads reasonably well signed.
Hope all your plans work out.
marg is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2003, 11:17 PM
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Janese
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G'day
The GBR is in the off-season at that time of year so you will have an opportunity to get the very best of accommodation for the least price. If you are there fairly early in January it should not be too bad as February is usually the worst month for heat but for the last couple of years the wet has been very late and then not much of it anyway.
It will be hot and humid but if you stay in an airconditioned apartment in say Port Douglas which is right on the sea you should be much more able to cope with the temps and then there is always the water to be on where it never seems so hot anyway.
The main Marine Biology unit is in Townsville but they will be on holidays I would think but perhaps you could enquire on line with them to see if your son could have a look around.
You could always stay on one of the islands in the Whitsundays which would not be so hot anyway and not as far either.
As for Alice Springs........NO WAY at that time of year as there is no respite from the desert heat and its a long way to go.
I live in the hills behind the Gold Coast and although it is holiday time there are sooooooo many accommodation facilities that you should not have any trouble. It won't be too hot then around here as its usually about say 33 C max and about 18 - 20 Celcius at night. Of course we have days that are hotter and days that are cooler too but its fantastic beach and barbi weather and of course we also have the inland waterfalls and swimming holes as well. Just stay close to the sea and you will have a ball! OR perhaps you may think of renting a houseboat as there is a family of you.
If you are coming to the Gold Coast area there are some fantastic house/Apartment rentals at Sanctuary Cove which includes usually a swimming pool and electric golf cart - would be a great place to stay and there is heaps for both the kids and yourselves to do around there.
 
Sep 24th, 2003, 04:53 AM
  #10  
 
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Dutyfree, for what it's worth our itinerary will cover Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to Adelaide, Barossa Valley, GBR (Palm Cove and then Dunk Island) and then Sydney. We will have two and a half weeks and are flying from Adelaide to Cairns and then back to Sydney. Not sure what your hubby wants to see/do. Just wondering if maybe Hawaii or Costa Rica might be a better choice for this trip if you haven't been. They are also truly spectacular. Not Oz I know but you don't want to take someone somewhere they are not really interested in going. Good luck in your plans.
starfish1 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2003, 08:06 AM
  #11  
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You guys are great with the information for our family. Starfish-the hubs has ALWAYS had issues about where I have planned vacations whether it was to Mount Rushmore or to Turkey.He complains,complains some more and then has a wonderful time. When we get home he is "sprouting off" about the trips to everyone-go figure.(I secretly call him Henny Penny as he always worries about the darnest things before we travel and why we shouldn't go.) I think that is why I wanted support from you all to know that it was okay to go.I am sure that alot of you have one of these living with you? Keep those suggestions coming...............
dutyfree is offline  
Sep 24th, 2003, 10:10 AM
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Hi there,

This message is for Janese. (thanks in advance, dutyfree, for asking another question:

Janese, you are at the gold coast. Is there bus or train service from Brisbane to the Gold Coast? We are travelling to Australia in December and spending 4 days in Sydney (no rental car), 4 days in Brisbane (no rental car) and 6 at the GBR (rental car). Thanks for your help!
smchrissy is offline  
Sep 24th, 2003, 10:24 AM
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Dutyfree, well you go girlfriend! I admire your perseverance in the face of adversity. Good luck with your plans.
starfish1 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2003, 12:35 PM
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smchrissie

There are certainly buses to the Gold Coast from Brisbane, and trains, as well. Depends on where you want to go.

I'm sure Janese will check in!
margo_oz is online now  
Sep 24th, 2003, 01:59 PM
  #15  
Janese
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I think dutyfree's husband is related to mine!! Seems that they have a lot in common.
What are hubby's interests - when he has them? Perhaps we can come up with some really good ideas that will engage him for most of his trip and shut him up for ever :0)
Smchrissy -
I think you may find that you are out of Brisbane more often than you are there if you intend to stay in the city - mainly because it is not really a tourist place, with only about one days activities to keep you interested. Also because it is not on the beaches people tend to gravitate to either the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast anyway with more things to see and do in both areas compared to Brisbane. Also Brisbane can be and feel sooooo much hotter.
To answer your question about transport to the Gold Coast. There are trains about every hour to the Gold Coast and it takes about one hour to get here... cost is about $18 Au the last time I looked and then you pick up a connection bus at the stations which take you into the main centre of the coast. There are also buses which I think still leave from the Myer Centre in town or Roma Street Station Bus and Train Centre. Again takes about 1 hour.
Go and visit the Government Tourist Centre in Brisbane when you are there and get all the information from them about travel.
If you want to visit Tamborine Mountain and see what we have to offer there are connecting buses from some of the train stations to Tamborine Mountain and if its a weekend then you will have the mini bus which drives you around the scenic spots and you can get on and off at will and take time to explore. Our local boutique distillery has won 5 International awards this year for their very unique liqueur made from our local fruits and Alla, the owner and lady distiller, paints all the bottles as well which is a truely beautiful souvenir - in her Australian/Russian style.
Unfortunately the trains go near the Sunshine Coast but not right to them and there is no connection bus. There are buses up to the Sunshine Coast but in the main they miss out on the spots which you would be wanting to see.
You can get a train to Beerwah and grab a cab to take you to Australia Zoo which is Steve Irwins place though. The cab fare would only be about $5 from Beerwah and the train ride there is nice.
Hope this helps I will add a web site or more info if you want.
 
Sep 24th, 2003, 07:39 PM
  #16  
 
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If you are coming to South Australia (Adelaide) you must take a trip to Kangaroo Island. A wildlife and scenery paradise. Only a short ferry or air trip from Adelaide.
Lots of kangaroos, wallabies, sealions, seals, pelicans even goannas and echidnas.
The weather is great in January as we have the influence of the sea.
If you want any information email me. More than willing to help with info on our beautiful island.
Michael
wm7901 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 12:13 AM
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I was in Sydney, Uluru, and south Queensland (Sunshine Coast) in Feb-Mar 2000, and am going to the GBR next month.

Any American who has traveled in Florida and the Southwest during the summer months will be familiar with the sort of weather you will encounter at GBR and Ayers Rock in January. It doesn't stop Americans from vacationing during our summer, and I don't think it should stop you from going to Australia during their summer. I never found the weather unbearable, even at Uluru. Everything is air-conditioned, and, in fact, the evenings outdoors were very pleasant.

As one of the replies said, it is off-season in the GBR, but is also high season in the coastal areas further south, so make sure you have your bookings for those areas.



Heimdall is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 05:15 AM
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Thank you, for the wonderful information! Dutyfree, I hope you have a wonderful trip! We will be there from 12/28-1/11. Thanks Margo and Janese for helping me also. Any websites you can provide would indeed be helpful. The distillery sounds great! I will definitely go there. We will want to see the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast and the Australia Zoo while in Brisbane. Dutyfree, you are such nice parents to bring your college age kids along--we are leaving ours at home!
smchrissy is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 12:54 PM
  #19  
Janese
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Heimdall
Just a couple of points on your post:
1/ When you went to Ayers Rock it could have been reasonable weather - however it does get up to about 120 deg F in summer and perhaps even Americans do not find that pleasant. I prefer to tell things as they are not as we would like them to be because it is better for people to have accurate information that be very, very disappointed and out of pocket!
2/ I live in the areas of the south part of Queensland and let me tell you that although it is holiday time there will be plenty of accommodation in the holiday resort areas at that time of year. I say this because (a) I had my own accommodation facility up until last year and that information comes from experience and (b) I live where Australia's major holiday destination is and have lived on the Sunshine Coast as well so that also comes from experience.
At ANY time of the year if you get on wotif.com for last minute specials there are plenty and at great rates as well.
I know that when people who have been on holiday in Australia reply to posts they are doing it with the best of intentions but sometimes a one-off experience is not indicative of the situation as a whole and tourists can get a "not quite right" view. The Gold Coast for instance caters for a doubling of the population in holiday time and so there is adequate accommodation available. If there is a problem I can guarantee getting quality accommodation for anyone at that time of year.
 
Sep 25th, 2003, 01:13 PM
  #20  
Janese
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For those who would like to check out the web sites:
This one is for the Gold Coast and the hinterland there-of.
http://www.reflections.com.au/GoldCoast/

The following is for the Sunshine Coast

http://www.sunshinecoast.au.nu/

Hope these help you plan your holiday.
 

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