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-   -   We have a month looking for suggestions (https://www.fodors.com/community/australia-and-the-pacific/we-have-a-month-looking-for-suggestions-1674243/)

piperpilot Nov 21st, 2019 10:07 AM

We have a month looking for suggestions
 
I have read a bunch of threads, looking for some more targeted thoughts from folks. My company gives me 1 month off this next year since I have been with them for 16 years. We have decided to take the family to Australia (2 adults, 12yr boy, 11yr girl). We will travel during our summer, probably late June into July or early July into August. Our thoughts on cities/locations are as follows:

Fly into Sydney, spend a few days
Go to Adelaide
Train from Adelaide to Alice Springs
Drive to Uluru and back a couple of days
Fly from Alice Springs to Darwin
Darwin to Cairnes (Great Barrier Reef, rain forest, etc)
Cairnes to Brisbane (Australia zoo)
Brisbane to Sydney and home

Now that I write it all down, seems like a lot of stops. My wife and I have both been to Australia before but neither of us have made it to Uluru. The family loves outdoor activities, hiking, biking, etc.

We are also considering a stop somewhere in the South Pacific on the way home for some kind of beach relaxation, but it seems we might need the entire month in Australia to do everything we want.

Any suggestions are appreciated!

Diamantina Nov 21st, 2019 02:09 PM

How wonderful to have a whole month for your trip, which would certainly allow you to see those areas of Australia. In terms of your idea of stopping in the South Pacific for beach time, this would be the best time of year for that, as it's the dry season. You would be able to swim and snorkel off the beaches and generally without a wetsuit as the water is still warm. South Pacific vacations at this time of year are popular with Australians and New Zealanders.

As you've probably read, beaches along Tropical North Queensland are lovely but there is a small chance of crocodiles in the water (and jellyfish during the summer months). In August, my husband and I visited Port Douglas, which is known for its Four Mile Beach. A small portion of the beach was marked by flags as a safe for swimming and patrolled by lifeguards. The beach water was also murky. Of course, many accommodations will also have swimming pools. But it's a great beach for running, walking and biking (the sand was hard-packed so pretty solid).

Cairns has a large artificial lagoon that your children would probably enjoy.
https://www.cairnsattractions.com.au...tions.395.html
You might enjoy seeing the flying foxes (large fruit bats) in the tree tops next to the Cairns Library.

We also spent some time on Moreton Island, which is in Moreton Bay, located off the coast between the Sunshine Coast (the Australia Zoo is on the Sunshine Coast) and Brisbane. The beaches on Moreton Island were gorgeous but the water too cool for swimming, though it was fine for a quick dip. However, this is top whale watching time along the Queensland Coast. If this is something that appeals to you, I would highly recommend it.

On the Sunshine Coast, you might also be interested in visiting the Glass Mountains as your family enjoys hiking:
https://www.australia.com/en/places/...mountains.html

Will you stay in Brisbane or along the Sunshine Coast?

You've also chosen a great time to go the Darwin and the Top End because it's the dry season. Kakadu NP is both beautiful and fascinating. If you make it to Lithchfield NP, there are rock pools under waterfalls where it will be safe to swim (but check first). We swam at Florence and Wangi Falls. https://darwintour.com.au/blog/the-5...national-park/
Again, as with Tropical North Queensland, around Darwin there is a chance of crocodiles off ocean beaches (and stingers in summer), so only enter the water where lifeguards have set up flags and patrol the beaches.
https://northernterritory.com/darwin...ities/swimming

Near Uluru, you'll also want to visit the Kata Tjuta (also known as The Olgas). Sometimes there are a lot of flies, they don't bite, they're just annoying. But you can get a fly net to wear over your head.
https://parksaustralia.gov.au/uluru/do/walks/

So much to do in Sydney! Royal Botanic Garden and the Domain, Taronga Zoo, Opera House, the Rocks and walk to Barangaroo Reserve, Bondi to Coogee walk. But it sounds like you're been there before so already have a plan in place.

Adelaide is a lovely city, though for us, the main attraction was the nearby wine country.

KayF Nov 21st, 2019 10:57 PM

It does seem like a lot of stops, out of your list I'd probably skip Darwin or Adelaide. Also at the end, you could fly into Sunshine Coast airport and spend some time in that area. The beaches are gorgeous, check out Mooloolaba where there is a lot of accommodation, restaurants, shops etc. Also great beach. Lots to do and see on the Sunshine Coast - Noosa is popular, Eumundi market, beaches, Australia Zoo you have mentioned, Maleny and Montville in the hinterland, etc.

You could hire a car at Sunshine Coast airport and drive back to Brisbane though check if there is a one-way drop off fee. Also the main highway down to Brisbane can get very heavy and slow with traffic so leave plenty of time if you have a deadline, like a flight.

One other thought, in the south of Australia (Adelaide etc) it will be cold as that's our winter. In the north, places like Cairns, you'll need light clothing for warmer weather. If you do skip the southern area, you don't need to bring two different sets of clothing, for cold and warm days. Just a thought.

Kay

marg Nov 22nd, 2019 06:53 PM

Do you have a particular reason to visit Adelaide? You could fly from Sydney to Alice Springs (or Yulara), then take the Ghan to Darwin - probably the more interesting part of that route. Any where north of Sydney will give you mild or warm weather (hot in the far north) but Adelaide will be winter weather.

piperpilot Jan 7th, 2020 12:32 PM

OK, we are narrowing it down. Feedback is appreciated...

Depart the US on 7/5 to Sydney
7-7 - 7/13 (6-days) - Sydney
7/13 - 7/19 (6-days) - Cairns
7/19 - 7/23 (4-days) - Uluru/Alice Springs
7/23 - 7/24 (1-day) - Ghan train Alice Springs to Darwin
7/24 - 7/30 (5-days) - Darwin
7/30 - 8/2 (2-days) - Sydney
8/2 - Depart for Home

Hopefully this gives us enough time in each location to relax and enjoy everything there is to see but not too much time where we will get bored. We are trying to lock down the international flights and the train ride as prices are great on the overseas flights right now and the train seems to be selling out.

Again, thanks again for taking the time to give feedback!

Curtis

marg Jan 7th, 2020 01:34 PM

Your revised itinerary sounds good. Here are a two places I think your family would enjoy while travelling around - Desert Park in Alice Springs (animals, birds, scenery), Territory Wildlife Park at Berry Springs (just outside Darwin) has animals, birds and crocodiles, If you are taking the Ghan from Alice to Darwin, I think the train offers a side trip to Katherine Gorge - well worth visiting and taking a boat trip along the gorge. It would be easy to hire a car in Darwin if you want to visit Kakadu or Litchfield national parks - driving is easy and you really can't get lost as it is basically one main highway. Try to fit in a boat trip on Yellow Waters at Kakadu for bird life and lots and lots of crocodiles. It would give you more flexibility than taking a tour.
Hope you have a wonderful trip - to me, part of the fun is planning.

piperpilot Jan 7th, 2020 01:37 PM

Thanks so much for the validation Marg! I will make a note of the places you mentioned. We love national parks and already have plans to visit them in Darwin...thus the extra days.

eliztravels2 Jan 12th, 2020 06:02 AM

We have considered Darwin/Kakadu many times on our semi annual visit to W.A. to see family. We don’t want to drive ourselves so haven’t found a suitable tour until now: wayoutbacktours.com We will be taking a five day 4WD tour with them in May. Worth considering if you and your kids enjoy camping and want to see wildlife in its natural environment.


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