We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

HELP! Need to choose only ONE destination in Australia.

Turin, Italy
Level Contributor
76 posts
62 reviews
Save Topic
HELP! Need to choose only ONE destination in Australia.

Hello, I will be staying in Sydney for a month in December with my boyfriend. We are flying from Italy and will be staying at a friend's house. We are on a tight budget, and seen the prices we won't be able to do a classic australian tour (Uluru, Darwin, Cairns, etc.). I've been to Australia before, but for my boyfriend is the first time and I wanted to pick at least one destination out of Sydney to show him something different. Considering to spend no more than 1.000 AUD total for both of us, what location would you suggest? I was thinking either Cairns (great barrier reef), Uluru, Kangaroo Island or Darwin. Maybe even Tasmania or New Zealand, but I don't know how feasible that would be given the 1.000 AUD budget. What would you suggest? My boyfriend loves wildlife, and we'll have plenty of beautiful beaches in Sydney and around, so I want to take him to a place where he can see something different and exciting. Please advice!!! Thank you :)

Mentioned in this post
Sydney
Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
Uluru
Uluru
3,635 Reviews
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia
Cairns
Cairns
Cairns Region, Australia
Australia
Australia
South Pacific
Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island
South Australia, Australia
Tasmania
Tasmania
Australia
Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
274 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: HELP! Need to choose only ONE destination in Australia.

You are really going to have very little left over if you have to buy two airline tickets. I would really suggest using the money to rent a car for a week. Go the the Blue Mtns for a night. Lots of wildlife, the take the Putty Rd up north. Stunning scenery. Amazed no one else mentions this drive. Spend a night in Hunter Valley and go further north to Forster. Coming back down the coast via Myall Lakes, Salamander Bay and Terrigal. There are many attractive towns and the coast line is very beautiful. In December the weather in Northern Queensland and Norther Territory would not be the best anyway. Uluru would be very hot. If you can get a good deal on an internal flight, maybe in combination with your international flight, try Tasmania. Weather should be perfect. Maria Island is filled with wildlife. Again hire a car for few days and go to Cradle Mt, east coast and Port Arthur.

Mentioned in this post
Hunter Valley
Hunter Valley
New South Wales, Australia
Forster
Forster
New South Wales, Australia
Terrigal
Terrigal
New South Wales, Australia
Tasmania
Tasmania
Australia
Sydney Australia
Level Contributor
8,122 posts
98 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: HELP! Need to choose only ONE destination in Australia.

I agree re the avoiding plane tickets. Scratch all due to budget except maybe Tassie. If you just go for a few days with carry on only you can get your tickets for $100 each one way... but there's almost half the budget gone already.

Another option:

I reckon you could do NSW outback or central west within your budget and it would be different to the beaches etc you'd get around Sydney.

We have always seen plenty of emus driving around the outback, even in drought years...and shingle back lizards too, but we are typically out there in spring when they are meeting up for breeding, so not sure how visible they are at other times. Places like Warrumbungle National Park, you're sure to see roos. Very pretty scenery around Parkes and Forbes and down through that general area. Hay as Shear Outback which is excellent. Do a bit of googling, play with googlemaps and see if anything interests you.

You can hire a car for a week with unlimited kms sydney to sydney for about $300. However the limiting thing is the balance between transport/accommodation and other expenses and then distance from Sydney ie how long you need to be able to get out to wherever. If you are prepared to accept a modest standard of accommodation you should be able to get out of it for about $100 per night per double. Then you need to consider what you're going to that destination for. If it's just scenery and getting into nature that's pretty cheap. Tours can be expensive or add up. Some of the outback towns have tours of local area for about $35 per person. I would recommend trying to do these as they are usually run by someone local and you will get much more out of the experience that way. For example the Black Opal Tour at Lightning Ridge was brilliant. Much better than wandering along the same route on your own.

Mentioned in this post
Sydney
Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
Turin, Italy
Level Contributor
76 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: HELP! Need to choose only ONE destination in Australia.

Thanks for the suggestion. The Blue Mountains were already on my list. We will rent a car (or borrow one from my friends). Do you think one night at Katoomba would be enough? I was thinking about doing a bush walk of about half a day and then head back...other suggestions? Thanks!

Also...someone suggested Broken Hill...what do you think?

Mentioned in this post
Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains
New South Wales, Australia
Katoomba
Katoomba
Blue Mountains, Australia
South Pacific
Destination Expert
for Hobart, Tasmania
Level Contributor
29,712 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: HELP! Need to choose only ONE destination in Australia.

I think your budget makes any air travel almost impossible. While Tasmania is the logical place to go, I agree with whatacircus and Snodge: you need to be looking for somewhere within easy driving distance of Sydney. And that isn't Broken Hill either.

Luigi

Mentioned in this post
Tasmania
Tasmania
Australia
Sydney
Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Family Travel
Level Contributor
9,198 posts
162 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: HELP! Need to choose only ONE destination in Australia.

It is likely to be very hot at Broken Hill at that time of year & is a very long drive. I would stick to areas closer to Sydney, some of these have been suggested already such as the Central West . You could continue on there after the Blue Mountains/Jenolan Caves.

http://www.jenolancaves.org.au/

visitnsw.com/area/Orange_and_Surrounds.aspx

visitnsw.com/area/Cowra_and_Surrounds.aspx

visitnsw.com/area/Parkes_and_Surrounds.aspx

Mentioned in this post
Sydney
Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains
New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Australia
Level Contributor
8,122 posts
98 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: HELP! Need to choose only ONE destination in Australia.

It was me that suggested Broken Hill.. haha so I reckon that's a great idea haha. But seriously, Broken Hill is probably the easiest most iconically high profile outback destination in NSW, and while you might want to avoid the high end tour operators, you can currently do a tour on the Menindee Lakes (you'd need a car) for $32.50 per person (II hear that business is for sale though, so who knows what will be going on by December) and you can head out to Silverton or explore BH itself on your own. I'm heading out to Broken Hill myself in a few days from now, we're driving and taking about a week Sydney to Sydney, but we've seen a lot of the central west a number of times before so we're skipping over the many things to do and see in that part of the trek. Anyway have a look at

http://www.visitbrokenhill.com.au/

Indeed in a week you can get to most places in NSW. Last spring we did Dubbo, Lightning Ridge and Bourke and back to Sydney in 11 days, but you could cut that back to a week also if you needed to. Ours was a very leisurely trip. These sorts of places are among the best value destinations IMHO and they are really worth getting to if you want to experience something different to Sydney and beaches. December the temperatures are getting quite high and it's not unexpected to have temps in the mid 30s Celcius, though it is also possible temps could be high 20s Celcius, so I would encourage you doing that sort of place as early in December as you can.

I blogged our lightning ridge and Bourke trip. This link takes you to day one, but you can skip over to the later posts for bits you're interested in if you like.

…blogspot.com/2010/09/day-1-friday-17-septem…

The Blue Mountains is easy to do from Sydney, a half day walk is fine, and there's galleries and things you can do also. If you really love the walking, you could go up a couple of times. Also, if you're interested in exploring the Jenolan Caves while you're here repeat visits are much better value than just going for one cave, and you can then hand the discount voucher to your friends/family to use for the next year (they actually encourage you do to hand it on to family and friends!) . In that case you might find it handy and good value to stay at a local pub or somewhere overnight and do more things in the mountains.. for example there's this place

http://www.halfwayhotel.com/Tariffs.html

which could make more sense than paying the cost of back and forth from Vaucluse on multiple days.

Now, I haven't stayed there myself but its an example that you can find some cheaper places around.

PS the original suggestion for Broken Hill was for a train trip.. it's a good solid two days of driving to get out there!

Edited: 18 April 2011, 22:35
Mentioned in this post
Sydney
Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
Dubbo
Dubbo
New South Wales, Australia
Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains
New South Wales, Australia
Jenolan Caves
Jenolan Caves
1,616 Reviews
Jenolan Caves, Australia
Turin, Italy
Level Contributor
76 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: HELP! Need to choose only ONE destination in Australia.

Thank you all very much for the suggestions. I will look into the outback area. I checked Broken Hill by train, but roundtrip seems very expensive to me. So I wil take up Snodge advice and google the area. Thanks again! Valentina

Brisbane
Destination Expert
for Brisbane
Level Contributor
3,260 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: HELP! Need to choose only ONE destination in Australia.

Perhaps the airfares may not be out of your league especially with discount flights from Virgin and Jetsar. Sign up to their email alerts for cheap fares and if you find something in your budget go for it.

Oscar

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
748 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: HELP! Need to choose only ONE destination in Australia.

Blue Mountains is a good choice. Easy to get to, cheap, and a multitude of things to do. Stay at the YHA in Katoomba, or one of the privately owned backpacker places (like this one: http://www.numberfourteen.com/)

You could also try a couple of days in Canberra which is fairly cheap - the train fare (see http://www.countrylink.info) is only about $40 pp each way or so and you can catch the bus around for very little.

Some of the other towns in the Central West are also accessible by train too.

Mentioned in this post
Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains
New South Wales, Australia
Katoomba
Katoomba
Blue Mountains, Australia
Canberra
Canberra
Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, New South Wales, Cruises
Level Contributor
11,635 posts
160 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: HELP! Need to choose only ONE destination in Australia.

Tough call ... I'd be in a dilemma about what to choose - going to Broken Hill or doing a loop from Sydney to the Blue Mts then the country towns of Bathurst or Orange and down to Canberra.

I think both suggestions are great and I don't think you'd have too much trouble finding accommodation even tho' it would be school holidays / Christmas-New Year season.

Cairns and Uluru would be far too hot as others have noted, and Tasmania is a good choice too...as I said ... tough call.

Edited: 19 April 2011, 14:01
Mentioned in this post
Sydney
Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
Bathurst
Bathurst
New South Wales, Australia
Orange
Orange
New South Wales, Australia
Canberra
Canberra
Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Cairns
Cairns
Cairns Region, Australia
Tasmania
Tasmania
Australia