Help with a short trip in Australia

Discussion in 'Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific' started by ned, Feb 13, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. ned

    ned Silver Member

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    We, my wife and I, will be visiting our daughter and her family in Sydney for five days including Christmas. On 12/26 they will be visiting New Zealand and we will be on our own until departing from Brisbane for the US on 12/30. We have spent time in Sydney before and are using award seats, hence the Brisbane departure. One option for the period from 12/26 to 12/30 is to fly to Brisbane and spend the entire time there while taking day trips or an overnight trip from Brisbane. Another option would be to travel from Sydney to another destination and continue to Brisbane on the 29th or 30th. Could some of you Aussies or Aussie travelers make suggestions as to places that would be interesting given either option. Now the hard part. I really do not want to drive. I have driven on the left before but found it stressful particularly in traffic. For this short trip I just do not want to deal with it. The other qualifier is that “beaches” are not high on our priorities. We are fortunate enough to live at the beach and I have spent my entire life living in various beach communities in California and Mexico. We prefer the country to museums and churches and are a little long in the tooth for the extreme sport adventures. Thanks for any direction or suggestions you can offer.
     
  2. bluesky
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    bluesky Gold Member

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    Hmm. Difficult!

    As you have probably realised, Australia is an enormous country and cars are an indispensible part of getting around from place to place. Most of the dozens of beautiful towns between Sydney and Brisbane, and the national parks outside of Brisbane, are only accessible by car, or by irregular public bus.

    If you want to see the countryside, you can always take chaffeured day (or overnight) trips to the Hunter Valley from Sydney - especially if you appreciate fruit-driven warm climate shiraz!

    I will try to think of countryside areas that are accessible by public transport, but none comes to me right now. Sorry.
     
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  3. TrueBlueFlyer
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    TrueBlueFlyer Silver Member

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    why not go to Melbourne before heading to Brisbane

    there is much more to do in Melbourne than in Brisbane, and its completely different from Sydney, so you get to experience a good chunk of east coast Australia without having to drive, as these major cities all have excellent transport systems.
     
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  4. ned

    ned Silver Member

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    Thank you bluesky and TrueBlueFlyer. I currently have the option, for a fee, to change our departure to Melbourne. Since I probably have to make the change immediately do you think this advisable?
     
  5. bluesky
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    bluesky Gold Member

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    If you haven't seen either city, I would recommend Melbourne unequivocally!

    There's another discussion on this topic here: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/welcome-to-melbourne.775/
     
  6. ThatJohn
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    ThatJohn Silver Member

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    I recently took the long-distance CountryLink train from Sydney to Melbourne, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It took 12 hours, but trundled through some absolutely quintessential Aussie countryside.

    ned, as it also runs to Brisbane from Sydney, you could consider the train for part of your journey. There are even first class compartments, although I found train-Y good enough.

    From Melbourne, there are also trains that strike up into country Victoria from Southern Cross station. I thought the trip to Bendigo was very pretty, and I know the line goes further than that. (To Swan Hill, is it?)

    Edit: I should highlight that during the Christmas and New Year period, train timetables are likely to change to take account of track works and whatnot. (I had to take a coach from Melbourne to Albury, for example.) Not a huge problem, but you should be aware.
     
  7. Go to Melbourne. Of course I am biased because I live in Melbourne when I'm in Australia.
     
  8. ned

    ned Silver Member

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    We have now changed our plans and will be going to Melbourne and departing to the US from Melbourne. I will be investigating the train as that sounds very good. Thanks for the help and keep it coming!
     
  9. infoworks
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    infoworks Silver Member

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    As you have a daughter, a visit to the Gold Coast and its theme parks (the "worlds" Seaworld, Dreamworld, Movieworld - MGM) is popular (and busy in summer).
     
  10. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    A couple years ago I investigated taking the train from Sydney to Melbourne and decided to fly instead, as my hotel concierge and travel agent suggested. I was told that the trains can be late and are not so great. In particular, FC compartments do not have private toilets and showers. There are few single compartments available.

    There once was an Orient Express train that ran along the eastern coast of Australia, but it seems to have permanently suspended service. If by chance it's operating again (IIRC, it had been once a week), this could be a fun and pleasant (but very expensive) way to travel.

    Australia's national rail system also runs a few special trains, IIRC Darwin to Adelaide/Melbourne through Alice Springs. I'd love to do this someday.
     
  11. That was such a wonderful vacation. I'm sure you all will have a great time together.
     
  12. bluesky
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    bluesky Gold Member

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    How is your trip planning coming along?
     
  13. mtkeller
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    mtkeller Silver Member

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    There are three high-end (tourist) sleeper services still operating in Australia: The Ghan (ADL-DRW via ASP), The Indian Pacific (SYD-PER via ADL), and the Sunlander (BNE-CNS). The first two run once per week much of the year and twice per week during other parts. The Sunlander does three services a week, but only two with the high-end Queenslander class. I looked at all three for my upcoming Australia trip and settled on the Sunlander since it was the only one whose schedule I could line up with the other things I wanted to do. It's certainly not a fast way to travel (ADL-ASP, ASP-DRW, and ADL-SYD all take about 24 hours, ADL-PER takes about 48, and BNE-CNS takes 30-ish), but I like train journeys, even. (They are very expensive, however, and the toilets and showers are at the end of the carriages in most classes of service.) It should be noted that the Ghan and Indian Pacific are run by a private company, while the Sunlander is operated by the Queensland government's rail system, from what I can tell.
     
  14. ned

    ned Silver Member

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    Thank you for all the responses. As I mentioned we have changed our plans based on the input received here. We will travel LAX-BNE-SYD. We are traveling through BNE as a result of the availability of award tickets. We depart LAX 12/19 and will stay with our daughter until 12/26. She and her husband live in Manly. We will be joined by another daughter and her family who will be escaping the snow in Utah. We have all been to Sydney before and done the usual tourist things. While in Sydney we will relax and spend time at the beach. Actually beaches are not a high priority for my wife and me. I have lived on beaches all my life. Now for the additional help from all of you. On 12/26 we travel to Hobart for a few days before heading to Melbourne on 12/29. Being an avid sailor I have been fascinated with the idea of visiting Hobart, although I am not sure why. Unfortunately we will not be there long enough to witness the finish of the race. We will not have a car. Could anyone suggest some activities while in Hobart? We will have only one full day in Melbourne before returning to California. While in Melbourne we plan to take a tour of the city and enjoy some of the food I have read so much about.
     

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