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Visiting Daughter and Making the Most of a Trip to Australia

Trumbull...
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Visiting Daughter and Making the Most of a Trip to Australia

My daughter will be spending next semester studying in Melbourne, and we (DH and I) would like to visit for approx. 2 weeks during that time (right now I am considering anywhere from early September to late October). I do not typically have trouble planning trips, but am finding it very difficult this time, as I need to work around my daughter.

We will most likely start and end in Melbourne, to be able to visit with her (and include her on weekend plans, if possible) on both ends of the trip. We would also like to visit Sydney (opera house, climb Sydney Harbor Bridge, see the beaches). Although we aren't divers or snorkelers, I THINK we should still go to the Great Barrier Reef area (maybe not??). We like nature (animals, beaches, mountains, short hikes). We would definitely like to drive the Great Ocean Road. Penguin Island sounds interesting. Uluru would be right up our alley, but I realize we will most likely be able to go there due to distance/cost. We are NOT at all into shopping.

I have taken guide books from the library, but like I said, I am just having a really hard time. If someone could point me in the right direction regarding an itinerary, I can take it from there. Although I can't say that money is no object, this may very well be the only time we ever get to Australia and are willing to pay what it takes to see as much as we can.

Any help is most welcome.

Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: Visiting Daughter and Making the Most of a Trip to Australia

I'll start with your time frame--with only two weeks to devote to your trip, I would recommend no more than a total of 3 destinations--Melbourne and 2 others. The main reason for this is distance. With so little time available for your trip, any trips outside of the Melbourne area (e.g. Sydney, GBR and Uluru) would require that you fly. And, depending on where you are going, your flights will take 1/2 to 1 full day from your sightseeing (when you factor in transportation to/from airports, wait times in airports and actual flight time).

Personally, despite the fact that you are already visiting a large Australian city (Melbourne), I think that Sydney is a "must see" for any visitor to Australia. So, I would plan to spend 3 - 4 days in Sydney. (If you stay 4 days, one of those days could be a day trip to the Blue Mountains--good for scenery and short hikes).

So, that leaves 1 more destination. I think this 3rd destination will depend somewhat on your interests and the amount of time you have to devote to it. Uluru can be well-seen during a 2 night/3 day stay. If I were going to Cairns/Port Douglas, I would want to spend at least 4 - 5 days there (and I've found plenty to keep me entertained there for a full week.) The weather in late September/October should be good at both Uluru and the GBR. If it were me, I would choose the GBR because late September/October is a really nice time to be there--warm weather, little chance of cyclones (hurricanes) and no stinger jellyfish at the beaches.

So, I guess start with the time you want to spend in Melbourne with your daughter and I'd allow around 3 days to drive the GOR, if possible. (You'll find tours that do it in a day, but it's best not to rush it if you can ) Add 3 - 4 days for Sydney. Add in all the intra-Australia flights. And then if you have 4 - 5 days remaining, go to the GBR. If you only have 2 -3 days remaining, go to Uluru.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Visiting Daughter and Making the Most of a Trip to Australia

Perhaps this is a silly thought..

Ask your daughter when.

Mine would kill me ifI turned update october as it is close to exams and end of semester.

September she may have mid sem break (29th) so this may suit better. If she's likely to be doing Unigames they are in Sydney in that period...

Australia
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3. Re: Visiting Daughter and Making the Most of a Trip to Australia

Well the Sydney part is easy.

There is a multitude of flights each day between Melbourne and Sydney. Booked in advance, you should be able to get a really cheap flight deal.

Go in the morning to Sydney and travel back at night. Or stay overnight.

In Sydney, I would personally arrange a my multi pass

sydneytrains.info/tickets/which/mymulti_day

which will allow you to hop on and off any government owned public transport such as the light rail, train, bus or ferry. It means that for no extra cost, you can cruise around Sydney Harbour all day on several ferries. One ferry to travel on is the Manly ferry. There is a popular beach at Manly. The ferry takes you past the Opera House and gives you good photo opportunities from the water. There is a ferry that goes under the harbour bridge. There is a ferry to Taronga Park Zoo. You can also catch the train then bus to Bondi Beach. You can catch a train from Circular Quay over the harbour bridge then catch a ferry back to circular quay.

Trumbull...
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4. Re: Visiting Daughter and Making the Most of a Trip to Australia

Well, you have confirmed my thoughts that I should limit us to only 3 areas. I will continue to read up on Melbourne, Sydney, and probably the Great Barrier Reef. Thank you!

Gungahlin, Australia
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5. Re: Visiting Daughter and Making the Most of a Trip to Australia

This worries me....

>>Although we aren't divers or snorkelers, I THINK we should still go to the Great Barrier Reef area (maybe not??)<< and >>Uluru would be right up our alley, but I realize we will most likely be able to go there due to distance/cost.<<

6. Re: Visiting Daughter and Making the Most of a Trip to Australia

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Darwin, Australia
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7. Re: Visiting Daughter and Making the Most of a Trip to Australia

Thats a tough one as depending on how much time you want to spend with your daughter , you may not want to go away for the nearly the whole time, unless she can come with you.

One thing that may assist is budget and number of days you want to spend either away from her.

Sydney can be done more of a budget with booking cheap flights and public transport. You could allocate 3 days maybe 4 if you want to add in Blue Mountains.

Port Douglas will be nice at that time, and lots of possibilities for nature walks swimming, relaxing etc. 4 days.

So as you can already see your time is dwindling in Melbourne with even two other places. No point just visiting places spending the money to get there if you cant invest the time to have a good look around.

Trumbull...
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8. Re: Visiting Daughter and Making the Most of a Trip to Australia

Thanks again to all replies.

MacKnee, I don't mean that I would only go to the GBR because I feel like I should, but just pointing out that we don't snorkel. As it is one of the most famous places in the world, I would think there would be lots of other things to do in that area. :)

AustraliaTripPlanner, Wow, that is a lot of helpful information, thanks!

hamiriver, Yes, we are struggling with how much time to spend with her. I would have loved to have just gone at the end of her semester, mid November, and traveled with her, but I have another daughter who will be coming home from her freshman year of college for Thanksgiving, and we just can't be away at that time. I just think she will be happy to see us for a few days at the beginning and end of the trip, get whatever goodies we can manage to bring to her, and hopefully spend the weekends with her.

Arlington, Virginia
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9. Re: Visiting Daughter and Making the Most of a Trip to Australia

Hershey, just because you may never have snorkeled before doesn't mean you can't snorkel at the GBR. Most GBR boats are very good with novice snorkelers, especially Wavelength, a snorkel-only boat out of Port Douglas. (I've been out with them many times and once took a friend who had never snorkeled before. She had the time of her life!)

I would strongly urge you to give snorkeling a try since seeing the GBR this way is an amazing experience. But if there are other reasons that prevent you from getting in the water to snorkel, you can still experience the GBR on a boat such as Reef Magic out of Cairns or Quicksilver out of Port Douglas. Each of those boats go to a fixed pontoon where you can snorkel if you want, but they also have glass bottom boat rides, semi-submersible rides and underwater platforms so you can experience the GBR without getting wet.

Just don't skip the GBR if you go to Far North Queensland!

Melbourne, Australia
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10. Re: Visiting Daughter and Making the Most of a Trip to Australia

I personally don't think you need to book anything through Viator as recommended on Post #6, half the suggested activities can be DIY, and if you want to book a tour, why not direct as opposed to through an agent?