What about this plan for Sydney and FNQ?

Old Jan 14th, 2007, 05:42 AM
  #1  
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What about this plan for Sydney and FNQ?

We're heading to Australia in early June for a couple of weeks of fun. The plan is to spend 5 nights at the Marriott Harbourside in Sydney, 5 nights in Palm Cove and 3 nights in Daintree. I've been working on an itinerary and would appreciate feedback, particularly on whether any days are overbooked. I also have some questions following the itinerary.

Sydney:

Day 1 - Arrive via Singapore; Sydney Explorer bus (at a min visit Opera House and Botanical Gardens)

Day 2 - Bondi Explorer Bus; BridgeClimb

Day 3 - Visit Rocks (market day), tour Darling Harbour / Aquarium, take the evening Harboursights cruise

Day 4 - Manly ferry trip and tour Manly

Day 5 - Taronga Zoo and ferry

Day 6 - Travel to Cairns


Cairns:

Day 7 - Kuranda Railway / Tjapukai Dance Theater / Skyrail

Day 8 - GBR trip

Day 9 - Hot air balloon ride, Hartley's Croc Adventure

Day 10 - Day at the beach

Day 11 - Get rental car, visit Rainforest Habitat and Mossman Gorge on the way to B&B in Daintree Village; take an evening Daintree river cruise

Day 12 - All day private rainforest bushwalk w/ Pete Baxendell

Day 13 - Day trip to Cape Tribulation

Day 14 - Fly back to Sydney

Day 15 - Fly home

Aside from feedback on the itinerary, I could use some advice on the following:

1) It seems like a 5-day Sydney Pass would be a decent deal for us, particularly if we use it for our airport transportation. Yes/no? I'm working on the assumption that the Circular Quay station is just a couple of blocks from the Marriott.

2) It seems the Kuranda Wildlife Experience and the PD Rainforest Habitat are fairly similar. Is one better than the other?

3) If we chose the Kuranda Wildlife Experience as part of the Skyrail tour, is there enough time to also do the Tjapukai Dance Theater or would we be better off saving it for another day?

4) I'm guessing the only time a rental car would truly be needed is for the trip up to Daintree? I can rent a car from Palm Cove for $69/day, but would have to return it there and then get transportation to the Cairns airport. Is that the best option or would renting for the entire stay in NQL (at a weekly rate) make more sense?

Thanks so much for any and all comments!

Statefan is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2007, 05:59 PM
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Will leave someone else with more recent Sydney experience to answer the first section of your post, but here goes with the FNQ part:

Day 7: if you take the earliest train up to Kuranda (leaves Freshwater Station at 8.45am); come down on about a 1.15pm Skyrail and walk right next door to Tjakupai, you'll have enough time in Kuranda for "Wildlife Experience". This is actually in 3 different spots; Koala Gardens is small but you can hold a koala if that is your wont; Birdworld is a large walk through aviary with both native and exotic birds; and the butterfly sanctuary is unique. You don't have to book these in advance or take all three of them, just buy your ticket at each one's entrance. Skyrail has transfers from and back to Palm Cove in shuttle, but it will cost AU$19 pp. If you self-drive you will still need a transfer from Skyrail/Tjakupai back to your car at Freshwater station at AU$7.50pp. With exception of butterflies you can see all or more native animals at Rainforest Habitat than Kuranda offers, but no koala holding. It would be easy to drop into Habitat and or Hartley's Creek on your way to or from Daintree.

A few reef trips are available from Palm Cove jetty so no transfer costs if you go from there - Ocean Spirit has a sail/snorkel trip out of Palm Cove, but no opportunity for introductory dives. All Cairns reef trips pick up at Palm Cove and transfer and "fuel levies" vary - Ocean Spirit to Michaelmas Cay does not charge extra for transfers, levies or Reef Environmental government charge.

Billabong Car Rentals has an office at Trinity Beach which isn't far from Palm Cove and an office in Cairns - with free pickups and returns bay at Cairns airport. For rates see www.billabongrentals.com.au

pat_woolford is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2007, 07:58 PM
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Thanks Pat! Do I need to book the Skyrail and train trip in advance for June? Is it better to go one direction in the Skyrail versus the other?

We're leaning towards Reef Magic for the GBR. I want to do an intro dive and my wife wants to check out a submersible.
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 03:03 AM
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Re Sydney - A trip to Manly is not to be missed, especially if you return at dusk. But what are you going to do there for a whole day?

If you are beach lovers, fine. Otherwise there's not a lot to do or see there. Half a day is enough unless you want to walk.

Do you? Check out Split to Manly if the answer is yes.

Ditto Taronga.

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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 04:39 AM
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Actually, its Spit to Manly. A considerably long and scenic walk and a search here will give you details. I do have to agree with fuzzy though, without the walk and if you're not interested in Sydney beaches in winter you'd be hard put to spend a whole day in Manly. Unless you spend a bit of time catching a bus from Manly up to North Head (the northern headland on entrance from sea to Sydney Harbour) for some exceptional scenery. Sorry, wasn't going to talk about Sydney but since I am, don't miss Sydney fishmarket.

statefan, as you're including Tjakupai with train and Skyrail trip I do think its better to go up on early train and back on Skyrail and do Tjakupai last. Light is usually better earlier in day, rainforest looks fresher then, doesn't matter so much about Tjakupai. In June you don't need to book far in advance, wherever you're staying will book it for you - the night before should be sufficient.

Reef Magic; don't get excited about the boat, just treat it as a bus to take you to a really special part of reef. Great crew and a proper Aussie local operation. There will be a transfer fee from Palm Cove into Cairns and back, but they don't hit you for fuel levies and government environmental charge is included in price.
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