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1st time to Australia ...

B P
Redding, California
2 posts
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1st time to Australia ...

My husband will be going to Perth for business this Oct or Nov (not locked in to specific dates) & I can travel with him & keep myself busy while he is working. As it is soooo far from Northern California he has not wanted to ever go that far. However, I have always wanted to go to Australia/New Zealand/Cook Islands. No reason, just thought it would be an awesome adventure! So, this may possibly be my only chance. We will need 5-7 days in Perth & then can possibly add another week or so of vacation time. As it costs so much to get there & I have no idea yet on cost of hotels/apts or condos yet(&which would be most cost effective for our time frame. We do like to have refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot,etc if possible. I can cook to save some $$ on eating out all the time) So, I do have to be reasonable with my wish list, but it doesn't need to be a totally "bare bones" type trip either. My hope is to find input from those with recent experience which can help us figure this out...Questions I can think of right now are:

Airlines/flights/day of the week - We have to drive to either Sacramento (2 1/2 hrs) or San Francisco (4 1/2 hrs) or fly from Sacramento to another larger city like Los Angeles or ??? Are there certain cities that service Australia frequently & therefore have better fares? And, are there certain airlines that are either Good/Great or Not so Great to fly this far with? We have some airline points (Southwest & United) which could get us to different US cities to fly out of if that helps with cost. I don't think they could get us to Australia though(United, maybe an upgrade?).

As I'd like to also see the other side of Australia would flying to Sydney or ? get us a better fare & then from there fly to Perth. Then fly back when he is done with work & continue the vacation from there?

Aside from Perth, where else would be areas we absolutely should visit while in Australia if possible? And, is flying to New Zealand for a few days reasonable? Or, am I trying to hard to fill my wish list? Also, while in Perth, what should we plan to do/see together & what can I do on my own?

This is probably a lot of information to ask for, yet I could ask a lot more...I haven't spent much time researching any of this as I never thought it would happen. So now I have know idea where to start!

Thank you for your time! B.P. In Northern Cal

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Perth
Perth
Greater Perth, Australia
Sydney
Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
1. Re: 1st time to Australia ...

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Removed on: 24 August 2014, 03:05
Fremantle, Australia
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2. Re: 1st time to Australia ...

Hi BP. It is daunting isn't it planning your first trip to a country. You do need to do plenty of your own research. Going through TA reviews, newspaper articles and official tourist web sites is a good start.

So flights. Australians are keen travellers and the route to the US is well serviced. Used flight web sights to start your research eg http://www.skyscanner.com.au

Try for flights both from SF and LA to both Sydney and Perth to see what you come up with. Then if necessary use domestic. From memory as well as United there is Qantas and Air New Zealand ( direct flights Auckland to Perth)If you were just wanting Perth then flying Cathay from SF is great with stop over in Hong Kong. Would be great if you could organise a stop over on the way to Perth so you can avoid jet lag.

In Perth you will find a lot to do and easy by yourself- either tours or wander. I disagree with Keith ( who I think is promoting a business and whose posts will be removed) about staying in Swan Valley. Better off staying around Perth city or Fremantle.

westernaustralia.com/au/Pages/Welcome_to_Wes…

You could consider to go to Margaret River region with your husband to see some Australian bush and spectacular coastline. Wineries as well if you wanted something different to Napa. If you had time then Walpole/Denmark/Albany is a fabulous region and would round out an Aussie experience.

You can't do it all though and I am thinking maybe stick to WA and then Sydney and/or Auckland.

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Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
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Margaret River Region
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Western Australia, Australia
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3. Re: 1st time to Australia ...

Getting to Australia from USA - as you probably already realise, first you have to cross the Pacific.

Australia is a big country - the distance from Perth to Sydney is 2,500 miles - ie about the same as New York to San Francisco. There are plenty of domestic flights from the main east coast cities to Perth on the west coast. The two biggest international airlines are Qantas and Virgin for getting here.

Qantas has daily flights from Los Angeles to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide in Australia. qantas.com.au/travel/…en. (You could also go from San Francisco via Hawaii if you dont like long direct flights (like me!) but this will probably cost more.)

Virgin Australia operates direct flights from Los Angeles every day, to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. virginaustralia.com/au/…

Flying to New Zealand for a few days is an option - maybe consider at either the beginning or the end of your trip while you are on the eastern side of Australia - New Zealand is a nine hour direct flight from Perth! Auckland is around the same latitude as Melbourne - so most of New Zealand is well south east of Australia.

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Perth
Greater Perth, Australia
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New South Wales, Australia
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Victoria, Australia
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Perth, Australia
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4. Re: 1st time to Australia ...

Also, here's a handy, one page overview with some great ideas for what to do in and around Perth, to get you started:

tripadvisor.com.au/Travel-g255103-c137216/Pe…

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Perth
Perth
Greater Perth, Australia
Fremantle, Australia
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5. Re: 1st time to Australia ...

Good idea to stay in an apartment- check reviews on TA or http://m.stayz.com.au/#search

Public transport is quite good here but probably best to choose apartment relatively close to train line.

Edited: 24 August 2014, 00:24
Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: 1st time to Australia ...

Great info from Jean as always.

In regards to your flight, I personally would try and minimize the number of connections, so my suggestion considering you've got UA mileage, is to fly SFO-SYD. Depending on how much points you've got, it maybe worthwhile buying E+ and trying to upgrade to J.

Internally from SYD-PER, you could opt for QF or VA, whichever suits your connection.

I don't think a week extra is sufficient to cover NZ and AUS.

Arlington, Virginia
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7. Re: 1st time to Australia ...

There are a ton of airlines that fly from either SFO or LAX to Sydney or Perth. Just check some site such as Orbitz to see what the fares are and how many stops each airline makes (and then book directly with the airline.) The major players on these routes are Qantas, United, Virgin Australia and Delta.

If you want to spend time in Sydney following your business trip in Perth, I would look into purchasing a multi-city flight arriving in Perth and departing from Sydney and then buying a domestic flight between Perth and Sydney. Or you could easily spend your free week in Western Australia doing a driving trip. That would give you a great opportunity to see something of Australia besides a big city. We did such a driving trip a few years ago and had a fabulous time.

What I would NOT recommend is trying to squeeze New Zealand into this itinerary unless you intend to go there in lieu of any other place in Australia. You need at least 1 week to see the North Island of NZ. (You don't have time for either the South Island alone and definitely not both the North and South Islands.) I wouldn't bother just trying to go to Auckland for a few days--too much time involved for too short of a visit in yet another big city.

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Greater Perth, Australia
Perth, Australia
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8. Re: 1st time to Australia ...

I'm sure you will absolutely love Western Australia! As others have suggested it may be too much to squeeze in New Zealand as well. Getting a multi city fare will be cheaper and you might decide to spend a few days in Sydney on the way to Perth and perhaps spend a few days in Melbourne as a stop over on your return flight.

Our overseas business colleagues who travel with their partners or families frequently stay at apartments that are located in Northbridge - while they are not brand new or 5 star they are reasonably priced, have kitchen facilities, are centrally located and while husbands are working it can be quite easy to connect with the free CAT bus and day tours that depart from the nearby hotels and youth hostels.

Edited: 24 August 2014, 05:58
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9. Re: 1st time to Australia ...

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