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Need a reality check on itinerary

PWP
McLean, Virginia
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Need a reality check on itinerary

Starting from US on July 23rd,

Fly in to Sydney where we meet our 21 year old daughter, who will have just completed a study-abroad program. Spend 3 days (includes travel time and jet lag recovery), as we have all been to Sydney before, and want to discover other areas of the country

Fly to Melbourne - stay 2 days

Rent a car

Drive the Great Ocean Road - 3 days

toward -

Kangaroo Island - 2 days

Adelaide - 3 days (this is where our daughter had been studying - thought she might want to show us around a bit)

Fly to Uluru or Alice Springs - 2 days (worried this isn't enough time). Book a tour here?

Fly to Cairns (Great Barrier Reef) - 4 days.

Rent a car for exploring the area

Fly to Sydney, then home

We realize that much of the trip will be in the cold South, but hope to end the trip on a warmer note before heading back to Washington, DC where it is usually very hot and humid in August. As for our many interests: we like history, nature, scenery, food, culture and moderate hiking. We are torn between staying longer in fewer places and not seeing as much, and the itinerary above. Not sure how much time my husband will agree to be away, but 2 1/2 to 3 weeks is the most I can hope for! As I mentioned, we traveled to Australia 20+ years ago and visited Sydney, Blue Mountains, Lord Howe Island, and Tasmania - loved it all and want to discover more of the country, along with our daughter this time!

Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: Need a reality check on itinerary

This itinerary is not ideal because it involves a lot of flights (Sydney-Melbourne, KI-Adelaide-KI, Adelaide-Uluru, Uluru-Cairns, Cairns-Sydney) and every flight will subtract many hours from your sightseeing. But, it's doable and it seems that you recognize that you won't get to spend nearly enough time in any one place.

I've been to all of the places you plan to go and the one I might consider dropping is the GOR drive. It's a long drive and not all of the drive includes spectacular scenery. Also, considering the time of year you plan to go, the weather may not be co-operative. So, if you want to add time to other locations, I would skip Melbourne and the GOR and add those days elsewhere. You could even take those 5 days and add a day from Adelaide and go to the Top End. The area around Darwin, Litchfield and Katherine is one of my favorites in Australia and August would be the perfect time of year to visit.

I wouldn't worry about spending only 2 days at Uluru. That gives you enough time to visit both Uluru and Kata-Tjuta. I would not rely on tours at Uluru as they are expensive and restrict your sightseeing. Instead, rent a car and do it on your own. There is a free daily tour at Uluru by the park rangers that you might enjoy. Note: Be sure to arrange your rental car in advance--they don't have a big fleet there so you can't just get a rental car on a walk-up basis (unfortunately, voice of experience.)

PWP
McLean, Virginia
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2. Re: Need a reality check on itinerary

Thanks, longhorn! Looks like we are neighbors, too - as I am "next door" to you in McLean! Thanks for the advice on the GOR - I was wondering about whether this was worthwhile doing - especially at that time of year. And I understand your comment about the flights (driving the Adelaide to KI route, however - not flying), but how else to cover so much of the country? Will investigate further the Top End recommendation. Perhaps that's a better option for us!

Darwin, Australia
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for Darwin
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3. Re: Need a reality check on itinerary

If you only have 2 days for the Red Centre fly into And out of Uluru - don't try to fit in Alice Springs as well. I agree hiring a car at Uluru is the best way to go.

Edited: 19 April 2014, 00:20
Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
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4. Re: Need a reality check on itinerary

Hi,

Another vote for dropping Alice Springs just see Uluru & rent a car... For additional info on Uluru

tripadvisor.com.au/GoListDetail-i17672-Uluru…

I also agree about 3 days on the GOR - you can drive from Melbourne to Port Campbell & take the major attractions in.Stay overnight at PC or Lorne. - make it a day / night trip - at least you will get to see it.

Itinerary suggestion -

Melbourne - 2 days - GOR - 1 day/night

Adelaide - 3 days

Uluru - 2 days

Darwin - 3 days

Cairns - 4 days

Sydney -

You could consider flying to KI from Adelaide but having been to all the places as much as I love KI I would opt for Darwin - Kakadu & Litchfield NP as the weather will be more favourable & it's very different.

Arlington, Virginia
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5. Re: Need a reality check on itinerary

Have you checked about taking your rental car on the ferry to KI? On our second trip to KI, we took the ferry but we had our personal vehicle as we were living in Australia at the time. It was my understanding that not all of the car rental companies allowed their cars on the ferry.

On our first trip to South Australia (Adelaide, Hahndorf and Kangaroo Island), we went in the month of July and we had a wonderful time. I don't know if we were just lucky with the weather but it was cool, yet sunny, almost every day. .

Geelong...
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for Geelong, Great Ocean Road
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6. Re: Need a reality check on itinerary

Even though it will be cold along the GOR it has its own mood during winter which can be just as spectacular and enchanting as in summer. With road works planned at least three locations due to the GOR which should be underway by then you just need to exercise a little extra care. www.visitvictoria.com.au has more information.

Enjoy and safe travelling.

Adelaide, Australia
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7. Re: Need a reality check on itinerary

Melbourne for 2 days sounds fine. The GOR can be done in two days with a one night stop over, and yes it will be very cold, but not as cold as it gets in America. Kangaroo island is beautiful and 3 days would give you a good look around there. Don't forget to taste the local honey, they have special bees there, it's delicious. Adelaide (which is where I live) is not huge, but if you like wine, I do recommend a day in mc claren vale for the wineries and local produce. Alice springs, would be a lot warmer during the day, and you must see Uluru. 2 days there would be fine. Cairns.....I lived there for 6 months, from jam until August. The summer months are unbearably humid, but you will be there at the perfect time of year. Take a day tour out to green island, it is on the Great Barrier Reef, you can snorkel, have lunch and see some very big crocodiles. Then I would drive up to port Douglas for 1 night, before heading up to the daintree, which is magnificent, I would spend a night up there too. Don't forget to visit kuranda, either by train or by sky rail. I hope I've helped a little, enjoy our beautiful country :-)

Brisbane, Australia
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8. Re: Need a reality check on itinerary

Regarding Cairns, some Canadian friends just did a dive on the reef. Overnight on the reef and believe it was a remarkable experience. This was just after the cyclone Ita.

This is worth considering as part of your Cairns visit. Also they enjoyed Port Doyglas as their base as much more to do and see and less driving. They hired a car and also did the Atherton Tableland.

The sky rail and historic train to Kuranda would be a wonderful experience too. You can go up on the train and back on the sky rail.

Darcy

McLean, Virginia
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9. Re: Need a reality check on itinerary

Thank you so much! You have given me a lot of wonderful information!

10. Re: Need a reality check on itinerary

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