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Ten-Day Initial Visit to "Oz" for Family of Four

Michigan
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Ten-Day Initial Visit to "Oz" for Family of Four

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.

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Oz
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1. Re: Ten-Day Initial Visit to "Oz" for Family of Four

Hi,

Most on this forum are of the DIY school when it comes to holidays so I'm not sure what sort of tour info you will be given. In my case organised tours are not my thing.

Given your stated preferences and time of the year I would give Central Australia and the tropics a miss on this tour and stay south of Sydney. A mix of Sydney, Kangaroo Island, and Tassy would see you pick up all your wildlife icons, some amazing landforms and cityscapes. BTW you will find kangaroos almost anywhere and around dawn and dusk on country roads they will find you!!

Cheers,

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2. Re: Ten-Day Initial Visit to "Oz" for Family of Four

Hi!

The most popular itinerary is Sydney-Ayres rock (Uluru)- barrier reef. However it's wet season at the barrier reef and generally costal north aus. The wet season goes from around beginnIng of nov to the end of feb. You may still wish to continue with this itinary anyway, as it is a good mix of nature and culture. As OZRCFLYER stated, you may be better off going Sydney-kangaroo island- Tasmania.

As for your question about koalas; I believe it is illegal in Australia to hold koalas (correct me if I'm wrong) however the Australia wildlife centre (in Sydney) allows you to pat and cuddle the koalas and get Photos.

Best wishes,

South Pole
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3. Re: Ten-Day Initial Visit to "Oz" for Family of Four

www.australia.com is a great web site to look at all your options for a visit to australia including tours

australia.com/plan/plan-your-trip/tours.aspx

they also recommend specialist travel agents which u can find here.

australia.com/plan/…find-travel-agent.aspx

but 10 days is not a lot. 2 maybe max 3 destinations. and in december (xmas/school/summer holidays) i would not want to be on the road much so flying between places would be best option. under those circumstances a DIY tour may be the best.

syd-melbourne

syd-tasmania

or indeed only tasmania

Edited: 22 January 2013, 21:13
Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Ten-Day Initial Visit to "Oz" for Family of Four

I'm going to go against the flow and say if the GBR is on your must see list, then don't be put off because the weather might not be good. There is every chance the weather will be fantastic the days you visit, and also every chance the weather may be bad even if you leave your GBR visit to a "dry" month.

Personally I'd split your time evenly between Sydney & GBR, adding in Uluru or one other destination only if you can extend your trip by a few days. It all depends on what you most want to see, first.

I'm normally from the DIY school too but I really like the sound of that trip in your link :)

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Ten-Day Initial Visit to "Oz" for Family of Four

As I was reading your post I right away thought "Sounds like Queensland" but then I read December and thought "Oh, maybe not". Are you stuck on December? Its the hottest time and the "wet' season. There's also "stingers" to consider (not a big deal, but something to consider).

For Queensland - our summer, the antipodean winter, might actually be a better time to go, and then you have summer break and have lots of time to work with.

Otherwise, even going at Spring Break (which is what we did last year) might be better. As mentioned you certainly can go in December, but that's a better time to be touring the south of the country.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Ten-Day Initial Visit to "Oz" for Family of Four

Just as an aside, the distance from Cairns to Melbourne is greater than the distance from LA to NYC, so you really have to focus your attention on a couple of areas with the time you have.

South Pole
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7. Re: Ten-Day Initial Visit to "Oz" for Family of Four

"Cairns to Melbourne is greater than the distance from LA to NYC'

u think?

the flight times certainly dont reflect that.

3.5 hrs v 5.5 hrs

Arlington, Virginia
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for Arlington
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8. Re: Ten-Day Initial Visit to "Oz" for Family of Four

I wouldn't recommend a guided tour, even a private guided tour like the one linked in your posting, for a family with children. Kids get bored (even in Australia) and you need a lot of flexibility for playground breaks or whatever.

I also would not recommend going anywhere close to the Red Center (Uluru) in December unless you enjoy energy-sapping heat and flies (and more flies.)

With the short amount of time that you have, I would stick to 2 destinations, either Sydney and Cairns (with the understanding that the weather is not optimal in December), Sydney and Adelaide/Kangaroo Island or Sydney and Tasmania. (Actually, based on your stated interests, I'd probably choose Sydney and Adelaide/KI.)

Finally, the only state that allows koala "cuddling" is Queensland. You will be able to pat koalas and get your photo taken with them in other places.

Lethbridge, Canada
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9. Re: Ten-Day Initial Visit to "Oz" for Family of Four

Sydney to Cairns is in kilometres what NY to LA is in miles, which makes the latter 1.6 times farther. Either way, though, it's a bit of a hike.

Still, if I could recommend just two stops in Australia, I would suggest Sydney and Cairns. Not only do they have lots to offer, but they show something of the country's diversity.

Michigan
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10. Re: Ten-Day Initial Visit to "Oz" for Family of Four

Thanks, all. We're squeezed by our kids' school vacations and the amount of time my wife and I will have available to take off at the end of the year. But we're not letting us deter us from going somewhere (we presently have a refundable deposit down on an Antarctic cruise).

Rainy season isn't a worry. We spent this past Christmas in French Polynesia, so we know the drill. I'm beginning to zero in on Sydney and Cairns (Ayers Rock can wait, and December sounds like a hot and buggy time to visit it). I really wish there was a flight, even just a couple of times a week, between Cairns and the U.S. That would save us from backtracking on the way home.

I've got to ask, what's a "stinger"? I'm guessing some kind of insect, but perhaps a jellyfish?