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First Time Visit To Australia

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First Time Visit To Australia


My family (Mom and siblings/in our 40's) will be visiting Australia for the first time in July. We will be fulfilling one of our lifelong dreams of visiting Australia. This will be our 5th continent!!

Day 1 to Day 2: Depart USA

Day 3: Arrive in Melbourne (rest of the day is free) - What should we do? How is the skytower??

Day 4: Go on a sightseeing tour of Melbourne and see the Royal Botanic Gardens, Queen Victoria Market, and Parliament House.

Any suggestions for the evening or a nice restaurant?

Day 5: Fly to Cairns and visit the Rainforestation Nature Park and Wildlife Park. Any other suggestions for the day in Cairns?

Day 6: Great Barrier Reef (go snorkeling) - first part of the day and then return back to Cairns for late afternoon/evening. Any suggestions for the remainder of the day?

Day 7: Fly to Sydney. Any suggestions on must sees? How is the skytower restaurant??

Day 8: Go on a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House and a cruise on Sydney Harbour. Go to Bondi Beach.

Day 9 - 11: Sydney (Would like to take a side trip to the Blue Mountains and take in a performance at the Sydney Opera House).

Any suggestions on a nice restaurant with a view of the Opera House and Harbor prior to going to the Opera House for a show. How far in advance should one book a show at the Sydney Opera House?

Any thoughts on the following?

Port Phillip Bay and Phillip Island (to see the penguin parade) - in Melbourne

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant (in Melbourne)

Red Orchre Grill restaurant (in Cairns)

Thanks ahead for your comments and suggestions!!! Being that this is our first visit to Australia we know that we will not be able to "see it all". We, however, would like to make the most of our time. I am sure that we will enjoy it all!!

Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: First Time Visit To Australia

It sounds like you have given a lot of thought to planning your vacation, but I definitely think you are trying to cover too much ground in a short amount of time. With only 9 days actually on the ground in Australia, I would not attempt more than 2 destinations. With the schedule you now have, you will lose half-a-day getting from Melbourne to Cairns (giving you only 1.5 days in Cairns unless you are taking that 6am Jetstar flight from Melbourne) and you'll lose another half-a-day getting from Cairns to Sydney unless you take the early-early flight from Cairns.

You could do either Melbourne and Cairns or Sydney and Cairns (which I would recommend). You could fly into Cairns, via Sydney, and depart from Sydney.

This is what I would recommend:

Day 1: Leave U.S.

Day 3: Arrive Cairns mid-day (via Sydney). Walk around, relax, try to get over jet lag.

Day 4 - 7: Some suggested activities to choose from-- snorkeling trip, guided tour or self-drive tour to Daintree N.P., train and/or Skyrail to Kuranda, day trip to Port Douglas for Wildlife Habitat, Mossman Gorge, Four Mile Beach, etc.

Day 8: Fly to Sydney--Sightseeing

Day 9 - 11: More sightseeing in Sydney plus a day trip to the Blue Mountains

Day 12: Depart for U.S.

This plan significantly cuts down on the time you are sitting in airports and flying around the country. Yes, you will miss out on Melbourne, but you will have much more time for actually "seeing" Australia.

Sydney Australia
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2. Re: First Time Visit To Australia

Excellent advice from Longhorn. I agree with her. Definitely a situation where the matra "less is more" applies.

Melbourne's a great place, but I think the impact on the overall trip of trying to fit all three destinations in 9 days is too great, and IMHO you wouldn't really "get" Melbourne in the brief time you have planned there anyhow.

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: First Time Visit To Australia

Have you already bought your tickets? If so, you will have a good time even if it is very busy (that's how I travel). Phillip Island & the penguins is very much based on personal intetests. People who have gone there just because they think they should are sometimes dissappointed. But others who have an interest in seeing wildlife in nature love it. Perhaps read some reviews to see if it's a must do for you. There are bus tours & I think one does an afternoon tour just to see the penguins.

With a full day in Melbourne, you can see a lot. I don't know if you have booked a tour, but it's easy to visit all those places by yourself. The tram system is very good & the tourist info centre at Federation Square should be able to show you on a map where to go. Even your hotel should be able to help you. You can get trams to St Kilda also, which you might like to visit.

Edited: 24 March 2012, 21:33
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4. Re: First Time Visit To Australia

Many thanks for all the wonderful suggestions -- very much appreciated!!

Adelaide, Australia
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5. Re: First Time Visit To Australia

Hope your trip is going well. There is a great 3 hr bike tour that runs from Federation Sq in Melbourne, just down the steps by the Yarra River. A real intimate adventure that gives a wonderful undstanding of Melbourne. Good for all ages and quite low cost. Enjoy and welcome to Oz!

6. Re: First Time Visit To Australia

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