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Hamilton Island or Cairns - 3 nights

Northern Ireland
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400 posts
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Hamilton Island or Cairns - 3 nights

Hi

Planning our(me,hubby and 3yo son)November 2008 trip to Australia. Trying to decide whether to do option 1 or 2 below.

1. Melbourne, GOR to Adelaide fly direct to Cairns

2. Melbourne, GOR back to Melbourne via Grampians and fly direct to Hamilton Island.

The advice we get on this will help us plan our GOR drive better.

Thanks

Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
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1. Re: Hamilton Island or Cairns - 3 nights

OOh line ball,

babysit options may be better on Hamilton island but onc you are on the island choices for your reef trip are limited.

I'd choose the drive GOR to Adelauide and fly CNS but I'm not a fan of Waikiki like hammo or jetstar adn i don't need to offlead a 3yo (mine always came out to the reef to snurgel) but now they want to dive ? (

Bargara, Australia
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2. Re: Hamilton Island or Cairns - 3 nights

Laura,if i was you i would stay in Geelong,not far from Melbourne. you can travel the GOR from here,you don't need to go all the way along it to get the feel of it.,especialy with a 3yo.its very windy and kids often get carsick. you can do say a three hour drive, stayover and come back inland.Then fly from Mel to Cairns. i think there would be more to do for a 3yo there.The train trip to Kuranda or the Skyrail.They have a lovely shallow pool area too.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Hamilton Island or Cairns - 3 nights

I'd recomend option 2.

Hamilton Island is a beautiful tropical retreat surrounded by gorgeous beaches and water with lots of water activites and cruises.

Cairns is a city with no beach. To me, I see it as a base only see the surrounding area - like visiting Palm cove, Port Douglas, Kurunda or doing a great barrier reef tour, all of which are great things to do.

I guess it depends on what type of holiday you are after. Relaxation (option 2) or exploration (option 1).

Brisbane, Australia
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4. Re: Hamilton Island or Cairns - 3 nights

I haven't been to Hamilton Island but I absolutely love Cairns. Yes, as some one else said no beach as it is a city but beautiful beaches like Palm Cove are only 20 minutes away. There's so much to see and do up that way, particularly if you hire a car.

Here's my GoList: tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i16655-Great_si…

Are you intending to spend much time in Adelaide? If you can take a day out and head to the Barossa (an hour or so in the car) the wineries in the region are superb.

Cairns, Australia
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5. Re: Hamilton Island or Cairns - 3 nights

Well there are beaches in Cairns collectively known as the northern beaches. Like if I said there were no beaches in Sydney because there isn't one right next to the ferry terminal next by the opera House lol. Downtown they do have only waterfront that is tidal so sometimes gorgeous, sometimes well..muddy :) depends on the mood of the moon! I find most people forget they are spending so much time on the reef swimming, snorkelling, sunbaking that the need for a beach is somewhat diminished..even if they have chosen beachside accommodation probability is they will not use it perhaps to the extent they imagined.

Hamilton Island maybe the ticket if you have already done a lot of touring and want to unwind and chill out a bit. Cairns area has so much to do and maybe 3 days cutting it fine to appreciate what the area offers and you may feel rushed. Either will offer reef trips which is essential if travelling to this part of the world.

So almost:) totally agree with DebDeb good summation . Hammo for relaxation and Cairns for exploration !

Northern Ireland
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400 posts
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6. Re: Hamilton Island or Cairns - 3 nights

Thanks for all the advice, we will probably want a bit of relaxation as we plan to fly to Brisbane and drive down to coast to Sydney - its looking likely to be option 2 at the moment. Just need to plan the rest of my trip......

Washington DC...
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7. Re: Hamilton Island or Cairns - 3 nights

I've stayed at Hamilton Island and Cairns and Port Douglas. I think Port Douglas would be my choice because it is warmer and I liked the beach. (Not sure if November is stinger season, though...) We thought the beaches at Hamilton were iffy because of the tides and exposed flats. Also it was a bit too cool in the water for my tastes. Cairns is a nice tropical city but has the same mudflat problem with the nearby beach.

Northern Ireland
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400 posts
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8. Re: Hamilton Island or Cairns - 3 nights

Thanks for this, I think we are going to head to Port Douglas for 4 nights (5 days), its about a 50 minute drive from Cairns but the reviews I've read seem to be good. fingers crossed.

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Hamilton Island or Cairns - 3 nights

Good choice - have fun in the sun !!

Cairns, Australia
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400 posts
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10. Re: Hamilton Island or Cairns - 3 nights

November will be stinger season in both Cairns and Port Douglas, it may be a little early for Hamilton Island.

So this means no swimming off beach at Port Douglas, except for a small netted box jelly fish-proof enclosure, but OK on GBR.

Cairns city may not have a beach, as above poster has noted, no-one expects a beach off downtown Sydney either and do not know why so many expect it from Cairns. What Cairns CBD does have is a large, free to public (if not to ratepayer), all season swimming lagoon, no stingers or crocs. I'm very pleased that Cairns city does have mudflats, these are a rich feeding ground for migratory birds and attract birdwatchers from all over world, November is a particularly good month to see them.

Cairns' suburban northern beaches are residential Machans (sand on southern end), the rest are all sand, mostly residential Holloways, Yorkeys, Trinity, Half Moon Bay (a boat harbour), then a very long beach which is made up Kewarra, Clifton and Palm Cove, Palm Cove and Trinity Beach have the most tourist infrastructure. And due to recent council amalgamation, technically all beaches north of Palm Cove, including Four Mile Beach of Port Douglas are part of Greater Cairns.

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