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Sydney & surrounds - Self drive itinerary

Singapore, Singapore
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Sydney & surrounds - Self drive itinerary

Hi,

We are arriving in Sydney on 3rd Dec ’13 to Sydney for a 7D6N trip. We are a couple with a 4 year old son. Would appreciate if I can get feedback & tips on the itinerary below. It is our first time in Australia.

Day 1: Arrive from Melbourne in the afternoon - 2pm. Pick up car & check into hotel. We are looking at a hotel around Circular Quay or Woolloomooloo. Rest of the evening spend around the hotel - Opera house (outside only), The Rocks, Sydney Harbour. A ferry ride later in the evening to see the lights. Not planning on any shopping.

Day 2: Check out & leave for Blue Mountains via M4. Stop at Featherdale Wildlife on the way. View Wentworth Falls & Leura Cascades before entering Katoomba. Take a ride to Scenic World. Night at Katoomba - Best Western Alpine Motor Inn.

Day 3: Check out & leave for Jenolan Caves. After this, leave for Port Stephens. We are not into wines, should we stop at Hunter Valley? Rather, will we have time to stop at any of the places in Hunter Valley like the Chocolate/Cheese factory? Check into hotel at Port Stephens. Night at Oaks Pacific Blue Resort/ Comfort Inn Sir Francis Drake.

Day 4: Sand dunes & Dolphin watching. Leave for Sydney in the afternoon. Check into hotel in the evening. Any suggestion where we should stop for the night?

Day 5: Check out & leave for Grand Pacific Drive. Jervis Bay, Kiama Hole & Wollongong. Spend the night at Kiama/Wollongong.

Day 6: Leave for Sydney. Rest of the day at Sydney. Visit Wild Life Sydney.

Day 7: Leave for Singapore.

Is the above doable? Any other sights/must do things that I should add or anything to exclude? Thanks in advance for your help!

South Pole
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1. Re: Sydney & surrounds - Self drive itinerary

I would be picking up the car in one of the city depots on day2.

no need for a car in the CBD and parking is expensive and traffic is a mess.

if not interested in wine would give the HV a miss.

however drive the putty road from the BMs to singleton to join up with the new england/pacific hwys to port stephens.

from PS depending on your time schedule u might be able to get to the southern highlands (by bypassing Sydney on the m7). Stay in Mittagong/Bowral and get down to the coast via the Kangaroo Valley road.

stay in Kiama. Wollonging doesn't have much going for it as an overnight stop.

u can do the grand pacific drive on the way back into Sydney.

drop your car back at city depot on return.

train or taxi to airport.

Singapore, Singapore
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2. Re: Sydney & surrounds - Self drive itinerary

Thanks Lien. Especially, for the suggestion about using M7 & staying in Kiama.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Sydney & surrounds - Self drive itinerary

Day 1 stay around The Rocks - what is your budget ??

agree pick up car on day 2 - there is a Thrifty Car Hire at 9a York Street so close to the Rocks and then straight onto the Bridge for trip to BM via M2 or via M4

The drive from Jenolan Caves to PS via Singelton will be around 5 hours (400km and bit windy so factor this in). If via Sydney around 4 1/2 hours.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Sydney & surrounds - Self drive itinerary

I think that you are trying to do too much. You appear to be underestimating the distances and driving times; particularly day3.

It is about a 90 minute+ drive from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves and then you need to leave time for at least one cave inspection. It would be a full day just to get back to Katoomba for overnight.

From Katoomba, travelling via the M7/M2/F3 it would be between 3 & 4 hours to reach Port Stephens.

The Sir Francis Drake is at Heatherbrae/Raymond Terrace on the Pacific Highway and would be the shortest journey. From there it is a 20/30 minute drive to Nelson Bay.

It would be cheaper and more covenient to collect your car on day2 rather than at the airport on arrival. I also agree that you should avoid the CBD and use the M7 to drive from the north to Kiama. Kiama would be a better stopover place than Wollongong.

Edited: 16 July 2013, 12:08
Sydney, New South...
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5. Re: Sydney & surrounds - Self drive itinerary

Day 2: Leave Featherdale park out - cant do that AND the Blue Mountains (Wentworth Falls, Katoomba etc.) - just not possible.

Day 3: Again, looks like you're trying to fit in too much - You could stop at Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley for lunch, checkout the Smelly Cheese Shop if you like cheese.

Pick up the car on day 2.

You can look into staying at Shangri-la, its in the rocks and is a great place to stay.

Kiama is definitely the place to stay.

I agree - bypass Sydney on the way to Kiama, Bowral is a great place for a stopover.

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6. Re: Sydney & surrounds - Self drive itinerary

Another suggestion >

If you are not into wines then I also suggest giving the Hunter Valley a miss.... plus I would probably give Port Stephens a miss & just head down south to Kiama & maybe think of doing the dolphin tour in Huskisson which also has heaps of resident dolphins.

www.dolphinwatch.com.au

http://www.southern-highlands.com.au/drives

Day 3: Check out & leave for Jenolan Caves. After this, leave for Kiama. - stay overnight.

Day4.- Drive to Huskisson & do tour - stay overnight.

Day 5 - Drive back from Husky via Kangaroo Valley to Southern Highlands - stay Bowral.

Day 6 - leave for Sydney

Approx driving times -

Jenolan Caves to Kiama via Grand Pacific Drive - 4hrs.- full day.

Kiama to Huskisson - 1 hr

Kiama to Bowral - 1hr .30mins

Bowral to Sydney - 1hr .30mins

Sydney, New South...
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7. Re: Sydney & surrounds - Self drive itinerary

I would chose between Wildlife Sydney and Featherdale and not do both. Featherdale has much more hands on stuff and is less "touristy" than Wildlife Sydney, I am pretty sure it is cheaper too.

Nelson Bay will be crowded that time of year , you will find the South Coast less crowded, again i'd do one or the other not both.

Singapore, Singapore
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8. Re: Sydney & surrounds - Self drive itinerary

Dear All,

Thanks for your suggestions. Will have to re-think about doing PS. :(

DyTokyo - Was thinking of The Russell Hotel or similar in budget. It seems to be at ~ AUD 225 on Wotif. Can go up to AUD 250. Any other suggestions for acco from where it will be easy to view the major sights keeping in mind I will not have too much time? Thx for the car hire & Jenolan caves tip.

LesS_10 - Thx for the info on Sir Francis Drake. Any other options? We would anyway have to think about PS. We were keen due to the Sand Dunes & the Dolphins. Though yes, we could do Dolpins at Husky.

VishalT & MrsmacAus - Yes we would do either Featherdale or Wildlife Sydney. Leaning towards Featherdale. Perhaps we need to add an extra day at BM seeing the suggestions about Jenolan caves as well.

Ellemay - Thanks for the details on the timings! That was really very helpful!!

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Sydney & surrounds - Self drive itinerary

Have a look on TA for accommodation at Nelson Bay, Shoal Bay and Corlette. You will be visiting before the Christmas holiday rush begins so accommodation should be reasonably available for a couple of nights.

The whale watch cruises leave from Nelson Bay so this is the area to stay.

A fallback position would be to stay in downtown Newcastle and drive up to Nelson Bay after an early breakfast. The driving time and traffic should be ok as the major flows will be in the opposite direction.

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10. Re: Sydney & surrounds - Self drive itinerary

Hmmm

I feel exhausted by your original itinerary. I know it's tempting to want to see as much as possible but it can also defeat the purpose of a holiday when you are constantly on the move - just the check in - check out procedure can waste a lot of time all.

I feel you should either head north OR south, forget about Featherdale particularly if you are going to Wildlife Sydney. BTW, if you go onto their site you can get Combo tickets at Wildlife Sydney and other places but I don't know if breakfast with the Koalas is on offer in December ... something you may want to consider if it is available.

One thing I would suggest about driving long distances such as Katoomba to Port Stephen and back to Sydney is to consider the traffic. At that time of year, some early birds take their annual leave before Christmas and head north to their favourite spots with their caravans, boats, trailers etc particularly on the weekend. I can see that part of your driving itinerary involves driving the highway/motorway on a weekend so you may want to consider when you head north or south to avoid weekend driving on the highway / motorway if possible.