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Australia Itinerary Advice Sought

Jersey City, New...
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Australia Itinerary Advice Sought

Hi guys,

I am looking to do a trip to Australia between July and November and would appreciate feedback from Australia experts here on some questions I had even after going through guides.

My estimate is that I'll have two full weeks to fill and would like to see as much as I can. I intend to take internal flights between cities. My (4) points of interest are: Sydney/Blue Mountains, Cairns, Alice Springs/Uluru and Melbourne/Vicinity (Again, if there is something you think I am really missing out on, would love to know.

*Time - I'm a pretty active traveller, but even so, is it possible to get a reasonable taste of all 4 destinations within 2 weeks using internal flights (Cost isn't an issue)

*Weather - If combining these multiple destinations, what would be my optimal time to go between July and November?

*Getting Around - I'm a right-side driver, so renting a car is out of the question. Should I be budgeting a lot for private transportation?

*Schedule - Hypothetically, I was thinking:

Sydney - Would like 3-4 days to unwind, explore the city and have a day for the Blue Mountains

Cairns - Does not seem like the city itself has a lot to see, but 2-3 days to go to the surrounding areas

Alice springs/Uluru - 2-3 days to check out the National Park

Melbourne - 2-3 days including Yarra Valley

Any thoughts and suggestions on how to make the best of this timespan? any other advice? Sydney and Alice Springs/Uluru are non-negotiable for me given that one is my transit point and another is just too amazing to miss up, but I still feel "unconvinced" by Melbourne and Cairns. Thanks in advance.

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Sydney Australia
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1. Re: Australia Itinerary Advice Sought

Hi Rahulpat,

Weather: September / October (ie our spring) when weather is warming up but not yet cyclone/stinger season in the north.

Timing: The usual consensus is that three destinations is best in a 2 week trip. This would typically be Sydney/Rock/Reef (ie Cairns) and this is consistent with your stated preferences and as it's the most common route the transport logistics are pretty easy.

There is heaps to do around Cairns far north Qld. Especially if you like nature and wildlife. Similarly if Uluru / Alice really captures your imagination you might want to allow a bit longer. There's plenty to see around Alice.

Being a right side driver shouldn't rule you out for driving here. The adjustment isn't difficult... it's changing back that is harder IME, but really it's not as hard as you expect. You won't need a car in Sydney. IMHO you are better off having a car (book in advance) in the red centre.

Arlington, Virginia
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2. Re: Australia Itinerary Advice Sought

Great advice from Snodge. I, too, was concerned about driving on the left before I went to Australia, but, it comes rather easily. You definitely don't want or need a car in Sydney, but I agree that having a car is preferable in Cairns and Uluru. But, if you'd rather not give it a try, you can use a combination of your feet, public transportation and tours to get around in those places. It will, however, limit where you get to go, what you get to see, how long you get to stay, etc.

Jersey City, New...
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3. Re: Australia Itinerary Advice Sought

Hi snodge and longhorn74, thanks for your responses. It seems like the area around Uluru wouldn't be much of a traffic concern anyhow - what about Cairns? Also, does there are tend to be enough of petrol stations, assistance available, etc. around these areas? The day trips I've seen tend to be on the steep side and while I don't mind a few useful ones, I would like to explore Uluru a little independently.

Do either of you have recommendations on what takes priority in the Cairns area? Since I'm not a diver, I'd be interested in something like the Kuanda Railway and rainforest.

gk
Brisbane, Australia
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4. Re: Australia Itinerary Advice Sought

I think you have to see the reef even if you aren't a diver. You can take a trip to one of the cays or islands and snorkel as well. Try Passions of Paradise.

Kuranda and Skyrail is lovely and has many tourist attractions, but if you want the real, raw deal, go to the Daintree Rainforest. Billy Tea does a 1 day trip up there.

Cairns is a big tourist town, so there's lots of help up there if you need it, although you might be a bit shocked by our petrol prices. :)

Sydney Australia
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5. Re: Australia Itinerary Advice Sought

Hi Rahulpat,

don't be afraid of a little traffic, it's actually easier when there's other cars that you can follow.

There's no reason why you can't explore independently. The areas you're talking about are popular tourist destinations. Thousands of other people travel the same routes so there will be petrol stations and assistance available. As a rule of thumb just be sure not to set off to a new destination without filling up. When on a long journey (eg Alice to Uluru) stop and fill up when you reach a petrol station along the way.

For stuff to explore in FNQ Have a look at

http://www.greattropicaldrive.com.au/

Jersey City, New...
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6. Re: Australia Itinerary Advice Sought

I'll definitely look into Billy Tea, gk. The scenic railway just seemed like something easy to access from Cairns, but I'd really just like to make the best use of time there.

Seeing as how two weeks is impossible to encompass 4 destinations, I'd love to hear anyone's opinion on picking between Cairns/FNQ and Adelaide/Barossa Valley/Kangaroo Island? I really want to see both but will have to put off one for the future trip.

So my abstract idea is:

Days 1-3 - Sydney with one day at the Blue Mountains

Days 4-6 - Cairns, Daintree Park or Kuranda Rainforest, Barrier Reef

Days 7-9 - Arrive directly to Ayers Rock (Realized thats actually a ridiculous distance from Alice Springs) and self-drive to Uluru

Day 10 - Fly back to Sydney.

With the option to tack on a day in any particular place if I find enough things to fill time.

Sydney Australia
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7. Re: Australia Itinerary Advice Sought

Just so it's clear your plan would/should translate to:

Days 1-3 Sydney/BM

Day 4 Fly to Cairns

Days 5-7 Cairns

Day 8 Fly to Ayres Rock/Uluru

Days 9 - 11 Uluru/Kata Tjuta

Day 12 Fly to Sydney

Choosing between Cairns / FNQ or Adelaide / Barossa is going to be purely personal interest. What sort of thing do you enjoy?

Jersey City, New...
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8. Re: Australia Itinerary Advice Sought

Snodge, I am interested in the Barrosa Valley and Kangaroo Island, but more inclined to the variety of Flora and Fauna up in FNQ, and it seems like the Adelaide area might require more time than FNQ.

Sydney Australia
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9. Re: Australia Itinerary Advice Sought

I shouldn't think one would require more time than the other really. If you're keen on doing Uluru then it does make sense to tick of Cairns in this trip, then maybe if you can come back you could concentrate on southern Australia.

Penang Island...
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10. Re: Australia Itinerary Advice Sought

In preference to Adelaide I would suggest the far North Coast of NSW, particularly Byron Bay, which is very different to anywhere else in Austalia. This is an international destination in its own right, and is on route to Cairns from Sydney... about 10 hours drive from Sydney, and another 45 minutes north you have the Gold and Brisbane another 90 minutes further north... all great places to visit. Both Byron and Gold Coast have spectacular rain forest hinterland. You could hire a car from Sydney (or catch a bus), and drop off in Brisbane, then fly to Cairns.

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