First trip to Australia

Discussion in 'Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific' started by Italy98, Oct 25, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Italy98
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    Italy98 Silver Member

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    Hello all,

    Mrs. Italy and I are planning our first trip to Australia in April 2012, with a month plus for touring. We are looking at the forum post and would appreciate any additional suggestions on what to see or where to go. Maybe listing the five cities one must visit or places to see (Uluru)? Thank you!
     
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  2. TrueBlueFlyer
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    TrueBlueFlyer Silver Member

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    My favorite 5 places in Australia:

    1. Sydney
    2. Melbourne
    3. Perth/Fremantle
    4. Gold Coast/Brisbane
    5. Whitsundays

    The east coast is easy to cover relatively cheaply... venturing towards the center of the country will get pricey
     
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  3. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    I've been over 15 times on vacation and actually canceled a trip this year due to the poor exchange rate (fortunately booked with miles and refunded at no cost). The first couple trips were for a month each backpacking, with more recent trips being 10-14 days.

    I like it up on the Sunshine Coast (Noosa, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba) which is where you tend to find Australians vacationing versus U.S. tourists. Very laid back and plenty of beach. The late Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo is also up in this region and the zoo provides bus service from Maroochydore (or you can take a train from Brisbane right there). Just north of Brisbane and easily combined with that. There is an airport in Maroochydore but you might get better fares into Brisbane. I've flown into both. Check and see if Qantas is offering an airpass where you can mix and match destinations. They also have red hot deals with heavily discounted fares that can be booked one way that are attractive.

    Melbourne remains my favorite city in Australia just because it is so much like San Francisco. Great selection of restaurants both along the Yarra River down to the casino as well as about town, and easy to get around on tram or train. It's also the gateway to the Great Ocean Road which could be a 2-3 day sidetrip from Melbourne, and even longer if you want to head out to the Yarra Valley wine country or Barossa Valley wine county at the end near Adelaide.

    You can't miss Sydney, either, for a first time trip. You can get between Melbourne and Sydney by bus, train or air I've done them all. It's about 12 hours by bus. Plenty of shopping, the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Botanical Gardens, Darling Harbour, and Bondi Beach.

    Uluru/Ayers Rock can be a challenge. My first time there I slept on a bench in a trailer park with a pillow and blanket they graciously lent me. There wasn't a bed anywhere in town--couldn't even rent a caravan (trailer) for the night. I was one of three Americans that just showed up. One woman in tears from CT was taken in by a couple that had a large hotel room with a living room. I've been back and made sure I had something booked. On another visit, I flew into Alice Springs and did a 3 day tour from there on both paved and dirt roads. One of the best tours I've ever done. It can be pricey out here if you're looking for something other than backpacker accommodation so your first task should be checking hotels. That could eliminate it as a destination.

    Perth might be a little out of the way for a first time trip. There's wine country to the south in the Margaret River, and you could do a 2-3 day tour north up to Exmouth which has lots of scenery but very few people along the way. I didn't go that far west on my first trip. I was there last year again and just stayed around the city (free Hyatt nights) and Fremantle (easy train access).

    I've also been to Cairns a bunch of times which is touristy but not a very big city--maybe around 20-30K. Easily walkable couple square blocks downtown. The company I've always used there for reef tours actually left a passenger behind this year (as in out on the reef) and it was his lucky day to be rescued by another boat in the area. In my prior visits I didn't notice any boats around us when we were in the water. If you want something more upscale you could head a bit north to Port Douglas.

    I have been to Airlie Beach twice which is a gateway for the Whitsundays. I just did a day trip out to one of the islands there in pouring rain, though the main attraction seemed to be various watercraft heading out for the day.

    I have quite a few photos going back about 5 years linked below. Earlier ones have been purged.

    Is that the Vatican Museum stairway in your profile?
     
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  4. Italy98
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    Italy98 Silver Member

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    Thank you for the detailed info! Good eye, it is the Vatican Museum. Grazie mille.
     
  5. Italy98
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    Italy98 Silver Member

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    Great outline, along with tom911's epistle, to start our trip. Thank you.
     
  6. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    Some highlights for us on our Australia trips were:

    The Great Barrier Reef resorts of Hayman Island & Lizard Island - (just posted a review of both)
    The Outback - hiking Kata Tjuta/The Olgas, sunrise hike around Uluru/Ayers Rock, hiking King's Canyon
    Taking the ferry from Sydney Harbor to Manly Beach to catch some rays
    Touring the Daintree Rainforest
    We never got tired of looking at the Sydney Opera House

    There is still so much we haven't seen/done in Australia.
     
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  7. Italy98
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    Italy98 Silver Member

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    Thank you and yes, so much to see, so little time. Mrs. Italy maybe changing her place of residence (if the winters in GNV are as bad as the past 2 -3) from Aruba to Australia after this visit. First time I've heard her say "one-way ticket" for any of our travels. :D
     
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