Too much time in Sydney? Itinerary Help Please

Apr 2nd, 2008, 10:07 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 141
Too much time in Sydney? Itinerary Help Please

Hi folks, can't say how much i value your feedback. I've developed a preliminary itinerary but I'm worried that it's a little bit bottom heavy. I would really appreciate some comment (the dates indicate where I will stay overnight):

2.5 days Nov. 5-7 Sydney (Sir Stamford)
2 days Nov. 8 Blue Mountain (Carrington)
2 days Nov. 9-10 Sydney (The Russell)
3 days Nov. 11-14 Uluru (Lost Camel or Pioneer)
4 days Nov. 14-19 Cairns (TBD)
1 day Nov. 20 Brisbane (flying home on 21) (TBD)

I set the "days" up taking into account arrival/departure times.

I want to get the most out of southern Australia but I have such a limited time that I want to be able to see main sights in other locations. I'm particularly ignorant of how long to stay in Uluru.

I would very much appreciate any comments.

chadnycity is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2008, 11:03 AM
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Chad- I am going on my first trip to Australia this summer, but in my research people have really said that you only NEED one day in Uluru (I am assuming one FULL day, so fly in the night before and then out the next morning), so you could probably shift a day to Sydney to get more out of your time there. I know we have found a weeks worth of stuff to do in Sydney! Search Uluru on here and some good info will come up. I hope you have a GREAT time!
fiesty1 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2008, 12:56 PM
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Thanks Fiesty. Hope you have a great time. I hate feeling like I should have left more time in Cairns.
chadnycity is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2008, 02:05 PM
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Based on my two visits to Uluru, I'd say you definitely don't need more than 2 days there. That gives you a day for walking around the base of Uluru, doing a tour, and maybe doing an evening activity. Then you can use the other day to hike at Kata-Tjuta, hang out by the pool, etc.
I'd recommend cutting a day off the Uluru portion of your trip and adding to the Cairns portion.
longhorn55 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2008, 03:20 PM
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Agree with cutting the time at Uluru down from three days to two. Lodging is so expen$$$ive and the money you save can be better spent in the Cairns/FNQ area. Make sure you see a sunset and a sunrise at Uluru. The Sounds of Silence Dinner is a very memorable experience.
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 05:34 AM
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Thanks for the info on Uluru, that leaves still about 4.5 days on the ground in Sydney plus 2 days in the Blue Mountains. Should I cut some time off of this or do you think that I'll have enough to do in Sydney? Let me rephrase that, is there enough to do in Sydney that it justifies spending less time elsewhere?
chadnycity is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 06:35 AM
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"Southern Australia" is traditionally considered to be places like Victoria/Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart. So, you're not actually seeing any of southern Australia at all. Did you mean you wanted to get the best out of seeing Sydney?
speckles is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 06:57 AM
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assuming your 2days in Blue mountains is 1 night? that is more than sufficient (i personally think a day trip from Sydney is enough. We did a total of 7 days in Sydney and still didnt get to see everything. When you go to cairns are you staying there or further up (we stayed at Port Douglas about 1 hour north and it is VERY nice we much prefered it to Cairns) and you can do some great reef trips from PD (which am sure you can from Cairns)
Smeagol is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 09:27 AM
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Sorry, I meant Sydney not Melbourne, Adelaide. Unfortunately I don't think there's enough time to go to Victoria. I did hope to drive a little bit west along the southern coast to Pebbly Beach and maybe Montague Island to see wildlife in natural habitat. Maybe I should do that overnight and do daytrip to Blue Mountains?

With respect to Cairns, I did plan to go up to either Port Douglas or Palm Cove as I've heard so many wonderful things about both, but I am concerned about the heat and wet. I can't get a good fix on what it's like in north eastern Queensland in November. I've been trying to figure that out by reading other posts, but certainly am open to suggestion here as to which location and even a hotel to stay in.

chadnycity is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 02:07 AM
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I'm wondering why you are splitting your time in Sydney. Cos everytime you move you sort of lose a day (just a bit of day often isn't enough to do much other than wander!) I'm a great fan of wandering if you have loads of time, but you haven't.

So why not stay longer in Sydney before moving on. Assume you arrive 5 Nov.

Stay night 5,6,7,8 in Syd.
stay 9 Nov in BM. Ideally you'd plan to return to syd in time to take an afternoon flight to Uluru. Trouble is there don't appear to be any. So return later, stay the night in Syd (just one) and take early flight to Uluru.

Do the dusk thing. Stay 11 Nov in Uluru.

Do the dawn thing. Then get yourself to Alice Springs. Stay nights 12 & 13 Nov in Alice.

On 13 Nov go out to the West Macs or do one of the other day trips you can do ex-Alice (East Macs. Palm Valley, Chambers Pillar).

14 Nov spend most of the day in Alice Desert Park, Telegraph Stn, other ...). Take 1640 Qantas flight to Cairns.

Nights in Cairns (or surrounds as planned).

Some people may say you only need one day to see Uluru. But there's a lot more to the "Red Centre" than Uluru, and in fact, imho, the not Uluru bits are the best. And if you're going to go all that way (at quite a cost) you may as well have a good look around.

You still get five full days in FNQ which is plenty.

Some folk might say take a day off that, and add it to Sydney.

All a matter of taste and what you really enjoy most

afterall is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 06:43 AM
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Thanks for the detailed suggested itinerary. The outback is something that I really did want to experience for more than a couple of days. My only question is whether it would be really, very uncomfortable in November? The heat isn't my concern so much as insects. Some posts have described constant swarms of flies. Will it be really bad in November?
chadnycity is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 07:07 AM
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I sense that you are coming from the U.S. If so, the flies can be easily controlled by buying a mosquito head net, available at any U.S major sporting goods store. They are small, very light in weight and should cost about $5-$8 each. It's very cheap protection
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 03:53 PM
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Why don't you add a couple more days in the Brisbane area to see Byron bay and Surfer's Paradise? they are definitely worth seeing!!
mnss is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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As an Australian I can say that there are ALWAYS lots of flies in country areas and the outback during summer and they annoy us humans because they are attracted to the moisture on our skin when it's very dry weather. Use a veil as someone suggested previously but you may find it a little hot to wear. 2 days at Uluru is adequate.
The Sydney weather in November will be quite warm (in fact Nov was hotter than December in'07. Queensland is a warmer climate than NSW so it will be quite hot and very humid.
With regards to your itinerary - don't forget you will be getting off a very long flight and will want to rest up and adjust to the time zone so it would be better to stay in Sydney for the first 6 or so days (which shd be enough) and preferably at just 1 hotel. The Rocks is a very interesting place to wander around and very historical with lots of great restaurants. Nicer than the Circular Quay area. The other area which is very central and lots to see and do is Darling Harbour.
Blue Mountains can be done on a day trip quite easily.
As suggested, Port Douglas is much nicer than Cairns and a trip up to the Atherton Tablelands behind Cairns is well worth it, lots of rainforest, birds,and beautiful areas with small lakes.
Why not stay in a B&B or small apartment while in Qld.? Unless you're just into staying in hotels? They are more casual and layback and you get to mix with the locals rather than just other travellers and will get to pick up on lots of local info and places to see. Just Google B&B FNQ and it will come up with lots of sites.
We tend to look for B&Bs now when we travel as hotels can be very impersonal and you can find great ones even in the big cities in most countries. Some are not much cheaper than hotels and some are certainly more expensive but you make up for it with great locations, great breakfasts, meet interesting people and get lots of local info. Recently we did a trip to Sth Africa and stayed in B&Bs all the way down the coast while driving from Johannesburg to Capetown and found them excellent. We have also stayed in various ones in Australia and have always enjoyed them more than hotel stays.
Hope you enjoy your trip!
joode is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 05:22 PM
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As an alternate opinion, I think an overnight in the Blue Mountains is good if you want to get off the beaten path and go to Jenolan Caves and/or to Kanangra Walls for a hike in a place where there aren't too many people and just the wonderful Australian scenery (in addition to the mega-touristy places which are great, also). Also, a drive down to Montague Island is a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG drive (did I say LONG???) It takes forever if you are used to US interstate highways. It is scenic for most of the time, but it is not something to do down and back. We enjoyed our foray into south of Sydney very much (you can check out our trip reports by clicking on my name) but I am not sure I would recommend it for as short a trip that you have. It's a lot of driving. There are lots of things to do in Sydney and I don't think you are staying too long, but I might take a day off if you're worried (and have looked through several Sydney specific books and can't find three things each day to do) and tack it onto FNQ because that is a wonderful place, especially if you love snorkeling. We did a liveaboard out of Cairns (three nights on the Spirit of Freedom scuba boat, but they also take snorkelers) and had the time of our lives. I would recommend it if you like snorkeling. Also the night tour with Dan Irby on the Daintree River (you can google Dan Irby and it comes up.) Also we stayed 3 days in Uluru and were happy we did. We didn't rush and were able to appreciate the differences in the sunsets and were able to go to Kata Tjuta as well. Happy planning!
Sally in Seattle
SnRSeattle is offline  
Apr 5th, 2008, 05:34 AM
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I also really wanted the 'outback' experience when we went last month and was disappointed when the dust settled, that we were only going to spend one day in Uluru (arrived in AM and left mid afternoon the next day). HOWEVER....once we got there, I was VERY pleased that we did not spend more than one night. We did the sunset, sunrise, walked both Ayers and Olga and still had time to lounge around the -cold- pool. I only wish we had time to do Kings Canyon, but that would have been a 2 night stay minumum.

Please read my trip report if interested in our perspective of Ayers Rock and the things we did (Sounds of Silence Dinner, sunrise, etc..).
anita63 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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First, I must thank you all for so much input... this is the best resource there is for sure. Reading your responses made me come up with several additional questions. So many in fact that I wrote them down and copied them to post. I hope that someone doesn't mind responding

My future wife and I are torn about hotels because while we would prefer to stay in one hotel, I really wanted to have a four star hotel for first couple of nights to recover (Sir Stamford Circular Quay), but I also really wanted to stay in a more unique place (The Russell), should we just stay at one or another? I will search the forum, but if anyone can recommend a B&B or interesting spot in Port Douglas or Brisbane, I would be grateful.

I thought we'd stay overnight in the Blue Mountains only because from what I can tell, that's the only way to see the caves. Is this a good idea? Is Katoomba an appropriate place to stay for this purpose? I've reserved at Carrington, has anyone heard anything?

I still am most anxious about Uluru, but I think that I've figured out how to decide. I really would like to see Kings Canyon, can anyone tell me whether this can be done as a day trip from Uluru? Unfortunately our flight must arrive/depart from Uluru. If it's about 2.5-3 hours away, that's fine, but more than that is probably too much.

I would love to add the Atherton Tablelands, do you think it's too much?

I know there are a lot of questions here, and I sure do appreciate any answers.

chadnycity is offline  
Apr 5th, 2008, 07:26 PM
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Oh i wanted to ask, has anyone stayed at "Pool" in Port Douglas?
chadnycity is offline  
Apr 6th, 2008, 01:29 AM
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Chad - I like your thinking on places to stay in Sydney - somewhere seriously smart and somewhere a bit different. And hey, they can't be more than 10 minutes apart by foot!

Re day trip to King's Canyon. Probably can be done, but the reason for going is to walk, and only mad dogs and Englishmen walk in the Centre in November in the midday sun! In other words, I wouldn't.

I've never understood the fly thing. Have been to the Centre in January and July and don't remember flies being a problem. Maybe they were just good years. I believe things like above/below average rainfall at this or that time of year affect the prevalence of the pesky things.

afterall is offline  
Apr 6th, 2008, 06:38 PM
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Unless you are a real fan of caves, I wouldn't spend an overnight in the Blue mountains just to see the Jenolan Caves. The road down to them is a bit scary particularly when you pass a bus and they are not particularly spectacular or very different to caves I've seen in other countries.

However, if you like bushwalking/hiking then an overnightin the mountains would be well worth it, but otherwise a day trip would be enough.

The Carrington is a Mountains classic (as is the Hydro Majestic), it used to be fabulously frumpy with food style circa 1970, but it's been remodelled in the last few years so I'm not sure what it's like now. If you like heritage buildings, there's also a very nice pub at Mount Victoria that's heritage listed: Hotel Imperial.
Susan7 is offline  

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