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Kevin Oct 26th, 2002 04:23 PM

Travel route-Sydney-Brisbane-GBR
Hello-This is a great site!Thanks in advance for any help. In OZ 14 days 25Dec-7Jan,03. Daughters in Brisbane (school),we fly in to Syd. and meet her. She leaves Bris. 02Jan for U.S. HELP!? Advice on itinerary, what to do,where to stay (Ana, 4 points, etc OK)-drive to gold coast, scuba GBR, etc. OK you folks that KNOW...your advice would be greatly appreciated-greatly. OZ is huge! Thanks...Kevin

john Oct 26th, 2002 07:41 PM

The first basic points that come to mind are<BR><BR>you are smack bang in peak holiday time ...if you want to stay at hotels or good b&amp;b's better make your plans and bookings asap.<BR><BR>14 days isn't long..really only practical to drive sydney-brisbane (and southern GBR islands) or<BR>drive sydney-brisbane and fly to cairns to do GBR<BR><BR>You might consider <BR>several days in sydney,cheap flight sydney-brisbane,drive loop around brisbane(gold coast,byron,warning,sunshine coast,fraser,southern reef island)

margo Oct 27th, 2002 09:56 AM

December / January is not ideal time for the GBR - but there'll certainly be fewer tourists there. You'd need to check what's available.<BR>As John says, you'll need to book your accommodation, as it's absolute peak holiday time here. The roads north out of Sydney will be hideous, and I would not drive that way for choice at this time. Be even more careful if you are not used to driving on the left. Accommodation may be scarce. Think about flying - espec if you want to go to Cairns. But look for the airfares now - try both Qantas and Virgin Blue.<BR>Peerhaps best is to have a look around Sydney, then fly to Brisbane or Gold Coast, and then fly to Cairns.<BR>Check the web airfares, and then ask your travel agent about a Boomerang pass. I believe that often they're not worth it, but may be better, if you can't get any cheap airfares (and you may not be able to)<BR>Relax and have fun ;)

Kevin Oct 27th, 2002 10:20 AM

Thank you, John and Margo-great advice. As my daughter is meeting us in Sydney for holiday we plan on driving to Brisbane beginning the 29th-sightsee along the route-she flies out of Brisbane the 2nd. Is that too tight of schedule? How long to cruise between Sydney and Brisbane?<BR>Margo-you say GBR not as good-would you do Cairns Section or Central? I dive, my son will dive and snorkel and my wife really wants to stay dry but explore-WOW-that's quite a spread. Any advice? Thanks again...kevin

john Oct 27th, 2002 01:00 PM

Kevin<BR>On my reckoning you are set to have about 4 days in sydney and environs<BR>,3-4 days driving sydney-brisbane,and then 5 days GBR.<BR>This is a pretty good division of your time.<BR>4 days is good for sydney, 3-4 days good for sydney brissy (it takes 12 hours flat chat to drive sydney brissy)<BR>There are some nice spots up the coast.<BR>You could dive solitary islands (at coffs harbour) and Julian rocks at Byron.You could have new years at Byron...with 10,000 backpackers!<BR><BR>What style of accomodation are you wanting?<BR><BR>Where to go to do the GBR is sometimes a contentious issue here. It might be be cheaper and more convenient for you to do the central reef versus fly to cairns.<BR><BR>Check out diving comments on places like Heron,Lady Elliot,Orpheous,Lizard etc<BR><BR>

Kevin Oct 27th, 2002 01:55 PM

John-accomodations only need to be comfortable, clean-like what your wife would like! We realy want to see &amp; feel local type real stuff-not tourist trap/trinkets and things. Your suggestions for Coff's etc are great-I'm looking at Whitsunday area for GBR. Do we need to island it or are there good dive/fun stuff from the mainland? Air flights over the GBR? Cool stuff? Thanks for your help-Kevin

john Oct 27th, 2002 02:24 PM

Kevin,<BR>You should have no trouble getting that sort of accomaodation in sydney and up the coast.You should make your plans and book ahead. It might pay to go to slightly out of the way places (perhaps smaller beach places) rather than stay in the main spots of port stephens,coffs,byron.There are a lot of good ,real aussie smaller spots up the coast.Get yourself a road map and start web searches on places like smoky cape,south west rocks,port stephens dolphins,bellingen,dorrigo national park,nymboida rafting,woolgoolga,yamba,angourie,clarence river,lennox head,broken head,byron diving,byron sea kayaks,mt warning,lamington national park,currumbin wildlife sanctuary etc etc<BR><BR>As for the whitsundays the best way to get there is brissy-hamilton island flights.There is a wide range of islands to pick from...i think you may be better suited at an island trather than airlie beach.Search on hamilton,hayman,south molle,daydream,hook.<BR><BR>It is a fair hike to the reef fron these islands..they are continental islands with some fringing and son may like an overnight diving cruise to the reef..leave mum by the pool at hamilton.

Kevin Oct 27th, 2002 03:32 PM

Great stuff, John! You've taught me alot with your posts, your information (as well as Margo's) top notch and very useful. I'm going to absorb and research a bit more, especially GBR. But you say Coffs has diving? Good diving? Since it's rainy time in GBR should we maybe reconsider? We have the time-I would like best use of that time. 1,000 thanks, Kevin

john Oct 27th, 2002 03:48 PM

Kevin<BR>Lets get this right....Coffs and Julian rocks etc are NOT tropical reefs.But if you are in byron or coffs you should do these dives.<BR>If you are a diver and in oz you have to go to the reef.Sure the GBR in summer is tropical,sauna bath etc with the chance of storms most evenings but the chance of a cylcone is low.You HAVE to get up there.This is some of the best diving on the planet.Just put a fair bit of research into where you go.The coral cays enable you to dive within a short boat trip of your accomodation.The whitsundays and cairns etc require a fair boat trip to the reef.

Kevin Oct 27th, 2002 09:20 PM

Thanks again, John. I'll be back reading (and asking) more tomorrow!

liz Nov 3rd, 2002 12:45 PM

I agree with John that you HAVE to get to the GBR. I would actually wait until you get to OZ, see what the weather is like and then get on the Internet and see what great deal you can get for a few days - flying in and out from Brisbane to a GBR location. You then will be sure to get the right location and the right weather conditions. It's the low season so you will not have a problem. Even getting onto say Hamilton Island or into Airlie Beach ( airfield Prosepine) in the Whitsundays and winging it from there.

Kevin Nov 4th, 2002 04:27 PM

Thanks for the great help. I do have a question, though...a couple of mentions of the coral cays...I know what they are but where are you speaking of? North, South? Where do you depart?

john Nov 4th, 2002 05:27 PM

Kevin<BR>The reality is that whatever we say you are going to have to choose where you go on the reef.there is from time to time debate here about the pluses and minuses of the various sections,islands etc of the reef.<BR>At the risk of being torn apart and making wild generalisations here are Jacko's opinions.<BR><BR>1.It is going to be hot wherever you go,with a similar risk of rain so do not let weather considerations influence your choice.<BR><BR>2. Forget townsville as a base to visit the GBR.<BR><BR>3. Make a choice between the coral cays,the continental islands or the mainland(cairns/port douglas) as a base for visiting the reef.<BR><BR>The tourist coral cays are lady elliott,heron in the southern section and Green near cairns.Heron etc tend to be designed for divers,snokellers, your wife would be stuck on a patch of sand or in forgettable places like Gladstone or bundaberg while you dived.<BR><BR>The continental islands(whitsundays,dunk etc) tend to be a fair boat trip from the reef proper but are very nice places in their own right.<BR><BR>Cairns/palm cove and port douglas are well set up for short visits.You should be able to get a good package to a nice hotel there at that time of year.There is plenty to do apart from diving.Friends of mine had an excellent time on an overnight diving trip with down under dives on the atlantic clipper.You could leave the wife in palm cove or port and take off overnight out to the reef.

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