From reading, I see this is a rich and diverse board full of detailed information I'm not ready to ask questions about yet. My family is short on time but not on desire to see as much as possible of what we realize is a big and varied place. I am starting from scratch at planning a surprise trip to celebrate my wife's next birthday.
We enjoy a mix of culture and nature (maybe more nature?) and are open-minded about which cities to visit. I know my wife would love to see (and maybe also hold) koalas. And how can one go to Australia and not see kangaroos in their natural environment? Of course there's also the Great Barrier Reef and Australia's fabulous beaches. Timing is most likely in December, due to school holidays.
I am seeking itinerary suggestions: what "must" we see and what can we put off for a future visit (I'm certain we'll want to return). An escorted tour will probably help us cover more ground. Maybe a customized, private tour rather than a one-size fits all "canned" tour? Perhaps something along the lines of rcrusoe.com/journeyCaptainCookAustralia.aspx… Participants of this board have experience with and passion for Australia, and I am looking forward to your suggestions.