Western Australia ideas please!

Discussion in 'Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific' started by jmrich1432, May 20, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. jmrich1432
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    jmrich1432 Silver Member

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    I am planning a trip to visit my brother (lives in Melbourne) over xmas and new year's. I plan on being in Australia for around 25 days. My brother mentioned visiting the western territories as he has been wanting to go. I am not sure how much time I would be spending there, but I would really appreciate some ideas on timelines, carriers (should I/can I just fly back to the states from Perth?) and of course activities! I've seen that you can swim with the whale sharks there, which I would LOVE to do! If anyone has done this (either in Aus or elsewhere) I would love some feedback on it.

    Ideas, comments, suggestions are GREATLY appreciated!

    Thanks so much!
     
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  2. thewinchester
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    thewinchester Silver Member

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    Well glad you're joining us in WA, you'll hopefully love it here.

    Carriers and earning opportunities

    Flying direct to Perth either to or from the USA isn't an option, and you'll need to stop off first an an east coast port (either SYD, MEL or BNE) before catching a connecting flight to your final destination.

    Routes to/from Perth are serviced primarily by Qantas (QF) and Virgin Australia (DJ) who have at least 7+ flights a day each way. Tiger Airways (TT) also flies to/from Perth, but don't use them unless you like torture and bad schedules which never ring true.

    Within the state, in addition to QF and DJ you can fly intra-state carriers including Skywest, Skippers Aviation, and Alliance.

    Looking at your profile, you'd obviously want to keep your points with Delta but this might be a challenge as I don't know of any airlines flying within Australia which credit back to them (Don't think their V Australia alliance agreement extends that far). Best to do some research beforehand to maximise your returns.

    Lounge access

    Domestic airline lounges are plentiful here, and they put your US counterparts to absolute shame in terms of quality, service and F&B.

    If flying J on QF, you'll have access to a lounge in every port where that service is available (they don't offer paid one-time access). DJ only have lounges in major capital city ports, and one-time entry can be purchased for a fee if not travelling in a qualifying class.

    Flight discounts

    Overseas visitors can purchase tickets that allow them to easily travel around on one carrier within the country at a fraction of the normal cost if buying the segments normally. On DJ this is called the Airpass, and on QF this is the standard One World single continent ticketing option.

    Weather

    Christmas and New Year is one of the hottest times of the year in WA - so pack accordingly. You can expect at least 2-3 days over 40 degrees Celsius during your visit, so shorts and t-shirts/polos are well advised for your checked luggage.

    If planning to head into the state's south western region at any point, carry a pair of jeans and a light jumper (specially in the evening).

    Airport transfers

    Taking a cab from the Domestic airport terminal to the city will set you back around AUD40. Cab drivers are generally good, and queue marshals ensure cabs are always available to get you on your way quickly.

    The Perth Airport Connect shuttles are also available, and provides a door to door service in the city from AUD15 one way, and AUD25 return (prices are cheaper for 2 or more pax travelling together).

    Accomodation

    You're in luck, as there's a Hilton property (the Parmelia Hilton) for you to crash at in the capital city (Perth). Beyond that, you'll need to look elsewhere. Not many reviews here on MP, so swing over to AFF for recent reviews on the property.

    Standards of accommodation in regional areas are more than acceptable and some are pretty snazzy. Best Western is the predominate regional chain, and you will find properties part of Choice Hotels in major regional centres.

    Money and banking

    Sorry, but the current AUD-USD crossrates at around 1.06 are going to put a dent in your pocket.

    Plastic is perfectly acceptable in Australia, and virtually all stores and restaurants will offer it as a payment method. Major international cards (Visa/MC/Amex/DC) are accepted, however credit card surcharges may be incurred in some locations (anywhere from 0.5 to 4%) - and these should be clearly advertised or explained to you before purchasing.

    You can also draw money out from any ATM as they'll accept international credit and debit cards (which are members of an appropriate processing network). Check if your bank has any alliance partners in Australia for fee-free ATM access before arriving, as most will charge fees to users who are not customers of that bank or financial institution. Fees are generally around AUD2 for withdrawals, with private ATMs (such as those in restaurants, pubs or gaming venues) often charging more.

    Things to do

    There's truckloads of reputable tourism operators which will get you to these locations and attractions if you choose not to drive (we're on the left, not the right here in Australia).

    This could be one very long list, so I might make a quick start now and provide some more later.
    • Whale sharks - Yes you can, up in Exmouth (that'll require a flight). A number of reputable operators which you can locate via the local tourist bureau at the preceding link. There are other places where you can just whale watch or swim with dolphins.
    • Rottnest - A somewhat small island just 25min by ferry off the coast of Fremantle. nice relaxed leisure destination with beaches a-plenty, natural wonders, history attractions, and also nice to cycle around if your legs can manage it.
    • Fremantle - Coffee culture, markets galore, and a large port where you can take in the state's maritime history or have fun with seagulls as you sit down to a classic serve of fresh fish and chips.
    • Natural wilderness - WA has expansive lands, and national parks spread far and wide filled with some of the oldest and most stunning native timbers such as jarrah and karri that will leave you breathless. Climb the Gloucester Tree in Pemberton (the local Best Western is a great place to crash, and their restaurant puts on a great meal), or take a walk through the canopy in the Valley of the Giants near Denmark.
    • Wine and food tourism - Yep, there's a lot of it here if you go for that sort of thing. There's a large number of well developed wine regions across the state, from the Swan Valley to the east of the city, down to Margaret River and beyond 200kms south of Perth. Just remember the customs rules for your home country in case you need to send a few cases back in checked luggage.
    Hope that gives you a good list of ideas to get you started on the planning. There's a few members from MP as well as AFF who live in this city, and I'm sure they'd love to say hi and show you around or help you out. Don't hesitate to ask.
     
  3. jmrich1432
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    jmrich1432 Silver Member

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    Thank you so much for all the info!! I do wish to use DL miles to get to Australia. I have status with *a and oneworld accounts (this does look like the best option with the one continent deal). I should probably update my profile to include my lesser statuses.

    I really appreciate all of the logistical information. I have sent the link to this thread on to my travel companions to review!
     
  4. These are the best restaurants in Perth in the best tourist locations with beautiful views. I would highly recommend all of these spots whether for lunch, dinner, coffee, cake, or a wine or beer.

    Frasers in Kings Park, the botanical gardens, with stunning views over the city http://www.frasersrestaurant.com.au/

    Cottesloe, where Heath Ledger (the Joker) had his wake, beautiful beach http://indiana.com.au/

    Another great by the water restaurant http://www.bluewatergrill.com.au/docs/home/index.aspx

    Historic well worth a visit - http://www.theoldbrewery.com.au/
     
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  5. wolfsatz
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    wolfsatz Silver Member

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    I cannot wait to go back to that continent! Spent 40 days on the East coast in the early Summer of 2005 and it's still one of my best travel experiences ever! Certainly can't offer any better insight that what thewinchester has provided other than to say I had a great experience flying Virgin Australia.
     
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  6. Melboune Must Sees

    Tallest residential building in Southern hemisphere, if you like sharks you'll love the Edge ride - http://www.eurekaskydeck.com.au/

    Best views of Melbourne - http://www.eureka89.com.au/

    Once in a lifetime experience, three hour five course dinner, all beverages included, book well ahead http://www.tramrestaurant.com.au/en/

    Great Whisky side bar on the Yarra -http://www.pjs-sidebar.com.au/

    For a drink or bite to eat, casual on the Yarra in the heart of the action - http://www.bearbrass.com.au/

    Great Irish Pubs - http://www.pjobriens.com.au/pj_main.htm

    Great drinking spot if you love sports - site of the infamous Great Bookie Robbery -http://www.turfbar.com.au/

    Great spot http://www.temperancehotel.com.au/
     
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  7. jmrich1432
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    jmrich1432 Silver Member

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    Thanks so much for all of the ideas and the links! Cottesloe looks beautiful!!! I CAN'T wait to go!

    Update on the inter-Australia flights: I called both *A and oneworld and you have to fly the international leg on one of their carriers to use the pass. So I will have to decide which carrier I will be flying before seeing if it works out.

    Thank you all!
     
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  8. oprahbeth111

    oprahbeth111 New Member

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    Hi,

    Have fun in Australia. Australia is a lively country. At there you can do everything you want. But i will suggest you to consult with a consultant for accommodation services. They will suggest you rightly.. I also visited there in the month of January and taken the services of accommodation from mountainedge.com.au. I have never lived in such a beautiful cottage before that. That was an unforgettable experience for me.
     
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