First, I apologize for this being so lengthy.
DH and I will be in Australia next March for 23 nights. We have both been before (me 5 times, DH 3 times) but it has been about 17 years since our last trip. We are flying in and out of Sydney, using FF miles for business-first class so hopefully we will be rested and ready to hit the ground running when we get there. Now that our international flights are booked (leaving NYC March 11, return April 5) I am looking to put together an itinerary so I can book flights within Australia and, then, hotels. Does this itinerary look good?
March 13-16: Sydney- 4 nights (thinking of renting a car the day after we arrive and driving to either the Blue Mts. or Hunter Valley for a one night stay and then back to Sydney for two nights).
March 17-18: Uluru- 2 nights (thrilled that there are now non-stop flights from Sydney to Uluru. There weren't when I was last there).
March 19-22: Darwin/Kakadu- 4 nights, thinking of two nights in Kakadu, or, maybe drive to Kakadu from the airport and spend three nights there, and then March 22 in Darwin. Or, two nights Kakadu, one night Darwin, add a night somewhere else.
March 23-26: Melbourne- 4 nights. Possibly a night or two in some surrounding area?
March 27-April 1: Tasmania- 6 nights. Start in Launceston and end in Hobart, or, vice-versa.
April 2-4: Sydney- 3 nights. Fly home April 5.
23 nights seemed like so many to have to fill, but now it's not looking like so much! I want to avoid going to airports every couple of days.
Questions: Is perhaps one night at Uluru enough? I have been there, DH has not. I remember flying in and getting there early afternoon, taking a walk through the Olgas that afternoon, going to see Uluru at sunset, and doing a sunrise at Uluru the following morning, and then a walk around the base before flying out to Darwin. Neither of us have any desire to climb Uluru, for various reasons, chief among them is the Anangu people prefer people do not. So maybe two nights there is not necessary?
We have been to Kakadu and really loved it. Twice as a day trip from Darwin, which was way too rushed, and once for one night at the Crocodile Hotel. We really enjoyed that. Two nights seem like it would give us time to see more. Or, is there someplace similar to Kakadu that is driving distance from Darwin? Or perhaps from Alice Springs? We have no interest in going to Alice and staying. I realize we may need to fly through Alice from Uluru. Likewise, we have been to Darwin several times and were not terribly impressed, so one night is enough, unless things have drastically changed since 1998 or so.
Is there any place that is a good day or overnight trip from Melbourne that you would recommend? We have been to Ballarat and while enjoyable, would probably not go back, unless it is on the way to somewhere else. Are there any wineries around the Melbourne area? We enjoy going to wineries and enjoyed our overnight in Hunter Valley way back in 1992.
Lastly, we have driven around Tasmania twice before, I think for 5 nights both times. We have been to Port Arthur twice, but the first time, I was feeling lousy, and the second time, it was pouring rain. I am hoping the third time is the charm! We have been to Russell Falls, Cradle Mountain for one night (really loved that and may go back. We even saw a platypus in the wild there). Have walked Cataract Gorge, twice, and spent time in both Launceston and Hobart. Are there any other must sees in Tassie? I do plan on reading some guide books (I have a couple of new ones), but it's always a good idea to see what people in Fodorville think.
Thanks for any and all help!
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First, I apologize for this being so lengthy.