Post # 31
jackiebee : Australia is huge as the others have said. I’d stick to 3 or 4 main regions in the time that you have. My partner and I are on the last night of a fabulous 5 night trip…. we live in Brisbane and took flights to Melbourne (approx $500 US return for both of us). From there we hired a car and spend 2 nights on the great ocean road. Lovely towns included Lorne and Apollo Bay. Heaps of gorgeous scenery. After that we drove to the Yarra valley (wine country), and spent two nights at a gorgeous old homestead in a lovely picturesque town called Healesville. We drove to lots of wineries and the scenery was beautiful (it was freezing though! Although January would be a very different story). Then today we drove back to Melbourne for a day of sightseeing here. We head home tomorrow. Just for a point of reference, because it’s off peak season, we paid approx $140 US per night for nice accomodation (not fancy but definitely not crappy). Meals were around $35-45 US for breakfast or lunch (for 2 people at a sit down cafe…you can get takeaway/bakery options for much less), and dinners at reasonable places (with an alcoholic beverage or 2 for 2 people) were around $60-75 US. Again you can find cheaper or more expensive options. And you don’t need to tip here. Car hire for 5 days was about $280 US. Some of our accommodation had basic kitchen facilities so we could make toast and coffee at home for breakfast (or even dinner!) if we needed to save a buck.
Another great 5/6 day trip I did was to Tasmania…flew into Hobart for a night or two, hired a car and drove to freychinet/wine glass bay, followed by 2 nights in a cabin at cradle mountain. We did horse riding at cradle mountain and it was lovely.
Whitsundays is worth a look, but be aware that you can’t really swim (ocean is full of stingers up north so you need a stinger suit). It’s super super pretty though, and super hot and humid.
Whilst Sydney isn’t perfect, I do feel it’s important to see the harbour bridge and wander around circular quay and The Rocks. It’s an iconic part of Australia. The blue mountains are also lovely. If you don’t want to hire a car, you can get a train from Sydney to the blue mountains very easily.
Tripadvisor is a great resource for narrowing things down!
Post # 32
jackiebee : if you like seafood you need to try Moreton bay bugs. They look weird, but honestly there better than lobster (imho). Also fresh mud crabs and sand crabs.
Post # 33
I’ve lived in Melbourne and Sydney (and Canberra), but I have to say that Melbourne is a much better example of urban life than Sydney. Yes, Sydney has the ferries in the harbour, the Opera House and the bridge – all of which are great! But central Melbourne is humming with activity in a way that Sydney isn’t. I hated working in the Sydney CBD because it felt depressing walking around the streets after dinnertime, and there wasn’t a good mix of restaurants for different price points in the financial district.
However, if you want to enjoy Melbourne, you really need to know where to go. I would suggest taking part in a tour (even if it’s a food degustation tour), or do a fair amount of research. Melbourne is woven together by laneways and arcades, and these are where the activity is happening. If you miss these, it seems like just another city.
Post # 34
jackiebee : I thought of something that I don’t think anyone else has pointed out, January is school summer holidays and the height of events season (Australian open in Melbourne for example) which means crowds and increased prices. Just something to consider.
Post # 35
If I was travelling to australia I’d fly into Cairns, hire a car and travel through north QLD. Cairns is a bit of a tourist hub. I’d suggest starting in cairns, driving up to the daintree and port douglas then down to the whitsundays. Some things you coud see on this route include:
– a crocodile tour https://snappingtours.com.au/tours/
– josephine falls https://www.cairnsattractions.com.au/explore/getting-back-to-nature/josephine-falls.416.html
– wallaman falls https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/girringun-wallaman/
– magnetic island (stay at the koala bay backpackers) http://www.bungalowbay.com.au/
– mission beach http://www.jackarootreehouse.com/
– a cruise at the whitsundays.
– diving / snorkeling on the reef off port douglas https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotel_Review-g255070-d288390-Reviews-Dougies_Backpackers_Resort-Port_Douglas_Queensland.html
I wouldn’t freak out about what the others have said about flooding / fires etc. You might get rained on in north qld in january but floods are usually a bit later like february – and there’s still plenty of tourists here then. Personally I would choose mid year to come to this part of the world just because of the heat.
WA is beautiful but very vast and remote – and very expensive to get to anywhere else from.
Post # 36
Canadian bee here but I backpacked around Australia for about 6 months. The highlights of my trip was a camping trip to Fraser Island, sailing the Whitsundays, and snorkling the Great Barrier Reef. I traveled from Sydney up to Cairns and my favourite place would have to be Byron Bay. I’d honestly skip Brisbane… it just felt like any other city. Things that I want to go back and see is Ayers Rock, the great ocean road, and rent a camper van and drive around western australia.
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