Uluru - add, skip or replace?

Aug 14th, 2009, 06:40 AM
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Uluru - add, skip or replace?

Hi again,

I feel like I may be commiting a cardinal sin by daring to skip Uluru/Ayers Rock. I know it's one of the golden 3 and what not, but still am unconvinced that I should make it a must-see during my 11-days in Aus. (arriving 9am on Day 1, departing 11am on Day 12) this November.

Tentatively we are thinking:
Day 1-3 (Fri-Sun): Sydney
Day 4-6 (Mon-Wed): leave morning for Melbourne, Great Ocean Rd
Day 7-10 (Thurs-Sun): leave midday for Cairns, Great Barrier Reef
Day 11 (Mon): leave for Sydney, return home on Day 12

I know I *could* squeeze a trip to Uluru/Ayers Rock, but I'd like some opinions on whether it's worth the detour and extra $600ish to do so. Can anyone tell me the most compelling thoughts on why I should squeeze it in? And if so, what's the best way to reconfigure the dates? If not, is the above a good allotment of time in each city? (please take into account a personal event on Day 3 in Syd that will take up about half the day)

Many thanks!!
awlrain is offline  
Aug 14th, 2009, 01:25 PM
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I love the Red Center, but I dont see the point in trying to squeeze it into your aleady tight itinerary. Seeing two big cities doesnt make much sense to me either, unless you are flying to Melbourne just to see the Great Ocean Rd, which I would do as an overnight two day trip. The stay in North Queensland seems short to me, knowing how much there is to see and do up there. Cutting the Melbourne leg and splitting your time between Sydney and Cairns wouldnt be a bad way to go.
RalphR is offline  
Aug 14th, 2009, 02:19 PM
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There are some of us in Australia who would NOT put Ayers Rock in the top 3 destinations and I am one of those. Maybe the top 300 but not the top 3. As for going in November when it will be as hot as - I would put it in the bottom 3. Your itinerary is far too tight and your stay in North Queensland, as Ralph says above, is far too short. There are far too many great things to see and do there than trek thousands of miles away to see a rock.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Aug 14th, 2009, 02:20 PM
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PS I absolutely agree with Ralph in cutting the Melbourne leg and splitting your time between Sydney and Cairns only.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Aug 14th, 2009, 04:18 PM
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I love the Red Centre, but flying in and out and just seeing Uluru is not my idea of visiting that area. The resort area at Yulara, while sensitively cited in the landscape, is overpriced, with not a lot to recommend it.

I agree with Ralph and Ivenot that dividing your time between Sydney and Cairns is a better use of the short time you have. Alternatively, you could divide it between Melbourne and Cairns.
Susan7 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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Hi Awlrain!

I don't know how these things get carved in stone - "the golden 3"...who says? Guide books, touring books? Your vacation should be about what you want to see, not what someone tells you is a "must do".

I'm adding my voice to the Ralph, Ive & Susan chorus!

Hope this is helpful!


Certified Aussie Specialist
wlzmatilida is offline  
Aug 14th, 2009, 05:11 PM
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I will probably upset some people in Victoria but I just wanted to say that recently I drove the Big Sur in California from San Francisco to L.A. which was a comparison between the GOR and the Big Sur and whilst I thought that our beaches along the GOR are much better the drive itself down the Big Sur was superior in every way. I really fell in love with Carmel, Pebble Beach, Monterey and Santa Barbara. Was over the moon seeing the beaches with the Elephant seals everywhere and the cliffs where we watched about 12 bald eagles flying in the thermals and coming within 10 ft of us.
As far as international destinations go Sydney has a lot more to offer than the other cities in Australia and you could easily spend a week in and around there. Cairns and its surrounds is a 10day destination to see as much as you would like to so between those two places you would have your time pleasurably taken up I would think. Cairns is not just the Great Barrier Reef, its the entry to the Daintree area with unique flora and fauna, its the entry to the Atherland Tablelands which again has plenty of unique flora and fauna. You can get involved with Aboriginal culture in that area whether its just a trip to see an Aboriginal show or a trip with an Aboriginal who can explain to you everything that know about the land and its legends. Then of course there is the reef but pick a good trip and you will see the colours like are shown in the brochures. I noted one person was disappointed that the colours were not like in the brochures - no they are better than that IF you go with the right people to the best spots and not with hundreds of people on a day trip to a used and abused spot on the reef. There are also many islands which are worthy of a visit - one of which is Hinchinbrook Island which has dugong colonies close by. Take time to enjoy Australia and do not rush around trying to get everything in because it will disappoint if you do.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Aug 14th, 2009, 09:26 PM
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I've been twice to Uluru, once driving there from Sydney, camping in a VW Beetle as a newlywed, and once on quite enjoyable bus trip also from Sydney, in hot, hot January. It's great, but not worth going for a day or so just to say you've seen it. The whole area needs time. Now that I'm older, I think it's better to have more quality time in fewer places, and not waste precious days with extra travel over long distances, and hanging round airports.

Spend a day in the Blue Mountains instead, from Sydney.

There are discussions at the moment, to climb Uluru or not. Banning the climb is being considered, but it should be open for a year or two yet, I think . If you really want to climb, that would be a reason to go now.
Carrabella is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 09:13 AM
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I drove the Great Ocean Rd back in the 80's when I was living in Australia. Did it en route from Adelaide to Canberra, unfortunately in a bit of a hurry. Nonetheless, I was very impressed with what we saw, the 12 Apostles, the now-collapsed London Bridge, Apollo Bay, etc. Have always wanted to do it again, more slowly next time. Having had a taste of it, as well as from what I've read, I'd say there's much more to do than just driving the road, for example detouring to Cape Otway and enjoying walks in the Otway Ranges with waterfals, wildlife, etc.
RalphR is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 09:50 AM
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Hi Ivebeeneverywhere!

High praise from you regarding Big Sur! I wish I'd known you were in my neck of the woods - I would have loved to meet up with you!

Your comparison between the two is very appropriate, in fact, I often say the the same thing to clients because most people in the Bay Area have done Big Sur, so when it comes time for them to visit Australia, and their time is limited, I use the comparison that the GOR is much like Big Sur, minus the "roadkill" (poor Skippy) and limestone cliffs.

Couldn't agree more with you about Monterey, Carmel and Pebble Beach...I'm originally from Pennsylvania; years ago I l took a vacation to California to check it out with the possibility of moving there. I immediately fell in love with Monterey, went back home, saved up some more money, and relocated the following year.


wlzmatilida is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 11:38 PM
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I sure that you will laugh at this but we stayed the night in Monterey and in the morning drove via Pebble Beach to Carmel, stopping for lunch in Pebble Beach Golf Club and taking our time looking around and as it got a bit dark decided to find accommodation in Carmel. It was not until the next morning we realized that Carmel was about 4 miles from Monterey going along the highway!
I thought that the scenery along the Big Sur was much more dramatic and you got views of the coastline for such a long way. It was the first time that I had seen Elephant Seals in the wild so that was a thrill together with the close up of flying bald eagles.
Tell me M, is there some Town Decree that says that "everyone" in Carmel MUST have a garden to be proud of on pain of death or is it that the people there are so happy to live there that they are house and garden proud to the enth degree? One other point that we thought was fantastic was that everyone of the shops was different and had interesting things for sale which most probably were not made in India or China ( something that is to be proud of). For anyone interested in that area of California, it is well worth while renting a care, and driving around the Napa Valley, Sonoma, stopping a while in San Francisco, heading south and then driving the Big Sur, making sure that you stop for a day or so in and around Carmel/Monterey in the north and Santa Barbara in the southern part. The cost of a one way car rental drop off was $60 - bargain!
We also drove out to Yosemite National Park but was not impressed with that due in part to having to queue up park the car to take a photo, its a bit like rush hour actually and in comparison to say, Yellowstone NP, it does not match up at all. But I did like the trees!
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Aug 16th, 2009, 10:38 PM
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Unrelated to the Big Sur turn of this thread, but thanks all for the thoughts. We'll still do Melbourne (for GOR + this is likely my lifetime trip to Oz), but glad to get the feedback anyhow!

More importantly - thanks bc I no longer like I'm missing out on something crucial by skipping Uluru! Esp since ivenotbeeneverywhere mentioned the possibility of doing Aborigines-related things in GBR area (that was my friend's big draw for Uluru). Any specific tips on who/where to reach out to for Aborigines guides/events/attractions?
awlrain is offline  
Aug 17th, 2009, 04:16 PM
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Your friend might find this link interesting for Aboriginal history and a map of the tribal boundaries. Most people don't realize there were so many distinct tribes throughout Australia.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2009, 04:44 PM
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awlrain: You are indeed missing out on something great by not going to Uluru and the Red Center. You are also missing out by not visiting other fantastic places like Kakadu Nat'l Park, the Kimberly and the Bungle Bungles, the Flinders Ranges, Tasmania, the Gold Coast Hinterland, etc., etc. My point is that with just 11 days you have to make tough choices, which you have done, quite sensibly. There are just too many amazing places in Australia to see, even with several months to roam. Hopefully, seeing North Queensland, The Great Ocean Rd and Sydney will will whet your appetite for a return trip another day.
RalphR is offline  
Aug 18th, 2009, 01:55 AM
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Hi awlrain!
It all depends on where you live and what you HAVEN"T SEEN! If you live in a city and come across the world for a once-off trip to Australia - don't miss Yulara (Ulhuru, Ayers Rock) just to stay in our well-populated coastal region (about 90% of Aussies live on the coast).
I would strongly suggest that you DO go to Uluru as you'll never see anything like it ... have you been driving in Arizona??? It is fairly similar, most people can't get over our 'wide open spaces' and amazing sky-filled panoramas of the outback.
You should definitely visit the Red Centre - Alice Springs is UNIQUE and a great place and 1,000 miles from the sea.

Celebrate the uniqueness of Australia and what you don't have at home!
Deaned is offline  
Aug 18th, 2009, 08:34 AM
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no offense meant to Uluru and Ayers Rock, but I guess the GBR and Melbourne/GOR are more appealing!

good news though -- seems Northwest/Delta have bumped my departure a day later! guess I will allot the extra day in Queensland. it's a good thing we hadn't booked interstate Australia flights yet!
awlrain is offline  

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