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Is it worth going to GBR from Melbourne in mid-August?

San Francisco...
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Is it worth going to GBR from Melbourne in mid-August?

Traveling to Australia for my first time in mid-August. Will be in Melbourne with about 5 days to play and trying to determine if it's worth going up to the GBR in that time. Questions:

1. Is it worth the travel time to get to GBR from Melbourne or is there something even more fabulous around Melbourne area?

2. What part of GBR is best for snorkeling/scuba?

Any and all tips appreciated!

Darwin, Australia
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1. Re: Is it worth going to GBR from Melbourne in mid-August?

With only 5 days I do not think it is worth wasting time travelling that distance. There is so much to do around Melbourne anyway. Have you looked into the Great Ocean Rd? Or in winter the spa town of Daylesford is lovely.

Melbourne
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2. Re: Is it worth going to GBR from Melbourne in mid-August?

Agreed, Cairns is a 4 hour flight from Melbourne, reef tours generally run from 9am-4pm and then it's a 4 hour flight back. So really you will be eating up 2 days of your trip to get up there and see the reef, not to mention spending a lot of time in airports and on a plane.

Whilst it is amazing, with on 5 days its not really feasible to visit somewhere at the other end of the country for a quick trip.

Arlington, Virginia
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3. Re: Is it worth going to GBR from Melbourne in mid-August?

Oh my gosh, yes, I would definitely recommend spending those 5 days in the GBR area! There are two World Heritage Sites there--the Great Barrier Reef and the Rainforests--and they are both well worth seeing. While Melbourne is a nice big city and there are some interesting attractions in the area, there is nothing there that is as unique as the Great Barrier Reef! And August would be a great time of year to be in Far North Queensland--a nice warm break from the chill of Melbourne.

The nonstop flights between Melbourne and Cairns take about 3.5 hours. If you could leave early on Day 1, you could be in Cairns by either 9:30 am or 1pm. Then you could leave Cairns at 6:30 pm and be back in Melbourne around 10pm on Day 5. This would give you the equivalent of over 4 days in the GBR region.

I have always stayed in Port Douglas on my several visits to the GBR area, but Cairns would also work and would save you the travel time between Cairns and Port Douglas. With this much time in the GBR area, you would definitely have time for a full-day snorkel trip, a trip to the rainforest (either Kuranda or Daintree), a day on the beach (either in Port Douglas or the northern suburbs of Cairns) and a couple of half-days for other activities.

FWIW, when I lived in Canberra, I made a 4-day trip to Port Douglas with a friend who was visiting me from the States. We had a fabulous time and did not feel at all like it was a rushed trip.

Edited: 24 May 2014, 02:59
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4. Re: Is it worth going to GBR from Melbourne in mid-August?

You could get the 7:15 Tiger flight up the day before ($92), stay night somewhere in Cairns, do the reef trip and then take the 8:05 Jetstar flight ($149) back to Melbourne after the reef trip.Only you can decide if 'it's worth it' but is can be done.

Winter on the Great Ocean Road can be quite spectacular but it's often freezing with a howling wind, so come prepared!

For something at the other end of the weather scale, you could have a day on the slopes as August is the middle of the ski season.

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5. Re: Is it worth going to GBR from Melbourne in mid-August?

Oops - sorry, misread your post.

You have 5 days SPARE not 5 days total?

Definitely head up north and visit the GBR - apart from anything else, Melbourne's weather can at best be described as 'miserable' in August.

Darwin, Australia
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6. Re: Is it worth going to GBR from Melbourne in mid-August?

If you have 5 days spare then yes. Its a perfect time to snorkel and lovely weather. Its kind of optimal time up that way.

The others have all given you flight times etc so it can be done. I would maximise the time and spend it all in one place, a GBR day trip or two , Daintree, a + few days lazing about .

Or it depends on your interests as there are many wonderful things around Melb, or for something different Darwin /Litchfield...or Uluru

Darwin, Australia
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7. Re: Is it worth going to GBR from Melbourne in mid-August?

I agree if you have 5 spare days it is worth it, but I initially read your post as it being 5 days total for your trip. Which is it?

Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: Is it worth going to GBR from Melbourne in mid-August?

How many days do you have altogether ? Ie is the 5 days you have to play on top of your time in Melbourne? Or is it 5 days altogether for both destinations?

If the former, definitely go up to cairns / port Douglas area and enjoy the reef. If it's the latter, I don't think you have time.

San Francisco...
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9. Re: Is it worth going to GBR from Melbourne in mid-August?

Thank you all for your tips! I will be working in Melbourne for a few days then have 5 days EXTRA totally free to play. Flying in and out of Melbourne, but arranged 5 non-work days to explore.

This is the first time I have used this forum and it's fabulous to have you all reply... so helpful!!

San Francisco...
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10. Re: Is it worth going to GBR from Melbourne in mid-August?

Thank you so much for your reply. I will have 5 days totally free after finishing work in Melbourne that I can do what I like with. Sounds like a trip to GBR is what you recommend! Do you have a place you can suggest staying up north?