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Please help me with travel.

Burlington, Kentucky
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21 posts
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Please help me with travel.

My husband and I are planning a trip to Sydney, Ayers Rock and Port Douglas in mid-October as an anniversary trip. We would like to go through a travel agent in Australia that is reputable. Has anyone had any experience with a 'good one'?. We have flights to and from Australia booked. We need hotels, tours and flights between destinations. Thank you!

Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: Please help me with travel.

Booking this on your own will be SO simple and you can choose exactly the accommodations, flights and tours that you want (instead of those that the travel agent may be pushing.) The Australia forum here on TA is "chock-a-block" of information on the iconic Sydney-Rock-Reef combo which you have planned. You can find out how long you should spend in each place (based on the total time you will be in country); you can find out which airlines go to those locations; you can find recommendations for accommodations; and you can find out what sorts of tours you should book (e.g. snorkel tours) and what things you can easily do on your own.

I'd start by reading the Top Questions and doing a search on "Sydney", "Uluru", "Port Douglas" and "Sydney, Rock, Reef". Reading a guidebook from your library is always a good idea too. Then, if you have any specific questions, we are here to help!

Isle of Wight...
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2. Re: Please help me with travel.

I don't know if Freedom Australia is a UK or Aus based agent (?) but we booked our trip through them (Easter 2012) and I honestly couldn't fault them (plus they gave us the best price - I got quotes from several agents). We had a similar itinerary to yours plus visited Singapore and Bangkok. The accommodation FA booked for us WAY exceeded our expectations, especially in Port Douglas and Sydney (see my reviews), and the excursions were great too ( the Reef, Daintree Rainforest, plus city tours in the other places). I just left it all in their hands as I hadn't been to any of those destinations before and I was impressed (as you can tell)!!

Gungahlin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Canberra
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3. Re: Please help me with travel.

The first night of the big overseas trip hubby and I took many years ago, all done through a travel agent, we found ourselves in a B&B out in the suburbs with no onsite dining instead of the nice convenient city hotel we were expecting, and there was also some confusion over extra charges by one of the car rentals which was going to be followed up and sorted out after our trip but we never heard anything more. These days the internet makes it possible to do so much research yourself so I would certainly consider 'doing it yourself' especially for a single country with a common language (more or less). Or at least check the details of what the travel agent arranges.

Oh, speaking of common language, keep in mind we write dates as D/M/Y not M/D/Y.

Brisbane, Australia
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4. Re: Please help me with travel.

I use Escape travel in Aus. Other big travel agencies are flight centre and harvey world travel. Cant imagine you would have any trouble with these companies. Normally i would use a travel agent in aus to book for other contries though.

When i book holiday travel on my own through the internet - no problems. You can get exactly want you want if you are prepared to wade through loads of sites.

when I book my work type overseas /domestic travel through a travel agent (for one large tax office friendly receipt) - Always have minor annoying issues for some reason. Not sure if its coincidental bad luck.

Depends if you have the time and energy to do the research i guess.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, New South Wales, Cruises
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5. Re: Please help me with travel.

I think it would cost you more money to book through an Agency.

What you need is internal flights, accommodation and maybe renting a car or a couple of tours.



IMO, no tours are necessary - it's very easy to DYI - it's a very walkable city so getting around on foot is no problem at all if you do not have mobility issues.

There's Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) buses that leave from near Circular Quay, there's a free "555" bus which does a limited loop and no commentary around the city. In fact Circular Quay which is adjacent to the area known as The Rocks is a transport hub with tourist, free and public buses leaving from there to various places. There's a train station and ferry terminals there too so it's easy to get on a ferry to Manly or the Zoo or take a ferry ride under the harbour bridge to Darling Harbour and beyond.

If you need a tour at all in Sydney it's most likely to be to the Blue Mountains tho many DYI it from Central Station and arrive at Katoomba Station about 2 hours later. There's lots of trip reports about DYI tours there.

Accommodation in Sydney

The "best" area for me is The Rocks / Circular Quay area. It's perhaps the most expensive area but it has everything on the door step so to speak. There are chain hotels here from Holiday Inn to the Four Seasons, Radisson and Intercontinental to name a few. Looking for something cheaper ? Then there is a B&B in this vicinity as well as a newish YHA The Rocks where you can book a room with private facilities.

Ayers Rock

Fly into Ayers Rock having reserved your car in advance and DYI - all accomodation here is owned by the one company but there are different levels of accommodation ranging from camping upwards. You can arrange an Aboriginal guide here if you wish - have a look at the relevant forum for more information

Port Douglas

last time I was in Cairns which was a while ago, I think you could get a shuttle from the airport in Cairns to Port Douglas....or hire a car if you wish. It's easy to organise tours and trips to the outer reef when you arrive or a tour to the Daintree too if you have time.

Again, there's plenty of accommodation here to choose from.

My tip would be to read other's trip reports and see what they did, where they stayed and to look at Tourist Information Bureau sites too as there's a lot of info there. Also go to the relevant forums and read the FAQs and the top questions.

My other tip would be to be aware that flying between places takes time, eg just over 3 hours from Sydney to Cairns and something similar from Cairns to Ayers Rock ... so you will lose quite a few hours in transit.

How many days are you thinking about coming for and have you booked your flights yet ?

Edited: 22 March 2013, 12:23
6. Re: Please help me with travel.

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