Post # 17
@arose29- that IS an awesome deal! I would be interested in what hotels you are staying at and the airline you used if you have the info easily accessible! 🙂 I have looked into farmstays there… it wouldn’t be something I’d want to do the whole time but a few days to save $$ and have an interesting experience would be ok.
Post # 18
To ride on your honeymoon coattails a bit since we’re in a similar situation, Mrs. Boom, I’d also love to hear about your deal, @arose29!! Sounds great!
Thanks too, everyone!
Post # 19
April is a good time to visit Australia. Depending on where you are from, it never gets “really cold” here – we just had our first real snow fall last week and the season’s been going for 6 weeks! Thank goodness for snow machines 🙂 In the capital where I live it is considered cold by the rest of the country and April is a lovely month.
Schoolies is in late November/early December (you can google it) and the car race (sorry I can’t remember its name) is on soon after that – there should be a Gold Coast tourism page that will give you key dates.
Post # 20
Well I live on the west coast of australia.. and even I say.. go to the east coast if your if your visiting oz for the first time.
A site I can reccomend for crazy deals is http://www.booking.com Hit that site up and choose your destination. Has great search fields.
I say, skip sydney.. even tho I was born there and it was home of the 2000 olympics and has sites to see like sydney harbour bridge and the opera house. I would head to queensland. The idea would be just to do one state and just enjoy it. Like with qld.. I can think of many things to just occupy 3 weeks off the top of my head let alone trying to cram it all in.
Or I did a road trip once.. Flew into brisbane.. hired a car went to goldcoast (stayed there a week) and did the nature walks, theme parks.. then drove down to sydney (took 3 days, i had to be in newcastle, which is 2hrs drive away from sydney otherwise I wouldve taken longer) and stopped along the way with whatever that took my fancy. I.e stayed half a day in byron bay and made my way to newcastle. I was in newcastle for a week but didnt stay at a hotel.
My hotel in goldcoast cost me just 1000k and I stayed for 6 nights.. My hirecar cost me. 79.00 a day = $1343 and I had it for 17 days. plus fuel. So it ended up being quite costly over the scheme of things. in hindsight…
If I was coming to australia.. I would fly in to sydney… book myself a cruise that goes up the coast of australia where I could get it for 2k a person… which includes the travelling, the cruise experience, visiting differant places.. tours being optional at which place you choose and it paying for your accomodation also.
That would be the cheaper option.
Post # 21
I think you should definately be able to do a tour of Australia for that length of time and price! Obviously as many have said, the more cities you go to, the more expensive it will be as our domestic airfares are quite expensive.
I would suggest Port Douglas – you said you love nature and that would be the ideal place because you can go snorkelling on the great barrier reef from there. It is right near the Daintree rainforest so you can go hiking through there, and I would also suggest a trip up to Cape Tribulation (a short car ride from port douglas) as it is beautiful there. We had lunch at this backpackers style place in Cape Tribulation when we were last up there and the accommodation actually looked OK so if you wanted a few nights up there it might be an option for cheap accommodation. I dont know the name, sorry, but there are only a few places there to stay anyway!
You can get cheapish apartment accommodation in Port Douglas as well or try out the back packers
As a Melbourne girl I would vote for Melbourne, but then again, I might be biased! It depends what you want out of your stay here… if you do want to see a bit of the city and all that it is a great place, with some really good restaurants (cheap and expensive!) and some cool sights. You could also head to the yarra valley for some wine tasting or down the great ocean road to see some of the nature sites like the 12 apostles.
Post # 22
@CupcakeLove: my FH and I are coming to melbourne for our honeymoon. were super excited and even bought a dorky little travel guide to find out the best restaurants! were staying on market street. which apparently is sooo close to everything! totaly looking forward to it!
Post # 23
Sorry for responding so late. All flights are with Qantas Airlines. My fiance is kinda obsessed with the A380s. Go to tripmasters for what hotels are available and such. I actually have a travel agent working on this for me now, because I didn’t want to use tripmasters (afraid they may just take my money and run). They are trying to get the same trip for even less. We shall see. Also check out Qantas Vacations and travelzoo.com because they post specials all of the time for Australia/New Zealand.
Post # 24
If you have the time, the Northern Territory is worth a visit–big distances to travel, but you get to see the red dirt against the blue sky, sit in natural warm springs and see crocodiles (hopefully not at the same time!). Plus Kakadu, Australia’s national park, is gorgeous… I haven’t been to kakadu myself, but it looks like a nature lover’s dream come true. May is the beginning of the dry season in the NT, so you should miss the rains.
Post # 25
Despite being an American, I lived in Melbourne for a while and am now currently in Brisbane with my Fiance. As the previous posters have said, Australia is very, very expensive to travel around and the distances are massive! Your timing works out pretty well for the tropics as the wet season is just coming to an end in the north and the stingers are starting to disappear for the most part. As someone else suggested, Port Douglas (north of Cairns) and the Daintree would be a lovely place for a honeymoon where you’d be able to do some diving and a lot of outdoor exploring. THey also have a range of accommodation from super expensive to more normally priced…
That being said though, I think it would be a shame to come all the way to Australia and not see Sydney, even if you just do a day or two there. If you’re going to head north to Cairns, you’d most likely need to fly into Sydney first anyway, so you might as well spend a night or two there. Seeing the Harbour Bridge and Opera House really is pretty impressive…
I don’t think your budget is unreasonable, just hope that the US dollar gets a bit stronger! Currently 1 AUD is getting 91 US cents; usually the exchange rate is closer to 70 cents to the dollar…. You can definitely find some cheap places to stay and United generally has the best flight deals, albeit the most uncomfortable airline experience (no on-demand or individual tv screens like you’ll get with Qantas or Air NZ).
For a good read that is highly entertaining but also incredibly informative about Australia and the various things to see, check out Bill Bryson’s book Down Under (in the States I think it’s called In a Sunburned Country).
Post # 26
@ccranetobe: oh my gosh – enjoy it!! Take a day trip out to the yarra valley and try the wine! And there are so many great restaurants too! You are right, Market St is nice and close to everything!
Post # 27
There’s a ton to do there… I went to Australia for about 11 days or so?…maybe 2 weeks, I can’t remember. I think it cost about $6000…for 1 person…we went on a lot of tours though. The annoying part is that there are jellyfish there, so you can only go in the water at certain places and had to wear a head to to toe type of wetsuit..this was in their summer though……As far as food,the food there wasn’t so good and expensive… We ended up being able to eat grilledcheese almost every night at our hotel after that. This was all inCairns. There’s rainforests to see there..Kuranda Rainforest is a good one.., plus you can go to the Great Barrier Reef there….I also recommend Port Douglas. There’s a lot of adventure like tours you can go on around there: gold coast,rainforest…see crocodiles in the wild, etc.
We also went to Brisbane where you can go to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary…it’s really amazing there….and it’s a city with similar weather to San Diego…friendly people. There’s a cool river you can travel down too. You’re in distance to go to Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo…very cool place to visit too, I think it’s in Melbourne??
There’s a lot to do there….
Post # 28
I’ve just come back from our 2 week Australia honeymoon. We spent 8 nights in Cairns, Queensland (Great Barrier Reef leg) and 5 nights in Sydney, NSW.
The weather in Cairns was gorgeous at this time of year. It was warm and sunny. We were sitting by the pool and snorkelling and having a great time. The sea water was a bit cold but if you go snorkelling or scuba diving most boats will provide wet suits for you. Queensland is tropical so when it rains (which it did at the start of the trip) it feels really muggy. Take a good pair of walking shoes for rainforest activities and at least two swimsuits. Cairns doesn’t have a natural beach but there is a great outdoor swimming lagoon for sunbathing and swimming. If you’re after hitting up the beach instead of the pool I’d look at places like Port Douglas (with it’s famous Four Mile beach) or Palm Cove – both of which are close to Cairns. Most hotels in Cairns will let you book tours through their tour desk without commission so definitely check that out – we did a bit of rainforest, some island trips, a snorkel day trip and a helicopter ride all booked through our hotel tour desk. Food was a bit pricey in places but I’m sure you can find some hole-in-the-wall cafes that do amazing food for less tourist-trap prices. Even then it was all pretty reasonable when we converted it.
Sydney on the other hand was chilly. It’s their winter at this time which is sort of mid-Spring like weather for us in the Northern hemisphere. Around 15 degrees Celsius (compared to Cairns where it was around 30 degrees Celsius). I’d definitely look at what you want to see in Sydney before you go as I don’t think there’s as much to see – but you can do some awesome things like walk up on the top of the Harbour Bridge and whale watching. But I’m biased because I’ve visited Sydney a lot over my life.
We probably did the whole trip, including flights and accommodation, for around £4K which works out at just over $6K in US Dollars. If you can buy the flights early then do it and if you aren’t afraid of taking indirect routes because it’s cheaper I certainly would. We flew direct from London to Sydney (2 hour refueling stopover in Bangkok) and then Sydney to Cairns in one big travel trip and it was a struggle. You can probably get flights cheaper if you fly into Darwin or Perth. Or into one of the Asian countries (Thailand or Brunei) and then onto Australia.
Hope that’s helpful ladies!
Post # 29
ok… so I have been doing hardcore research and I think if we go it will go something like this:
about $3000 for round trip flight. hopefully less, but just to be sure.
2 days in cairns ($150 per night at bed and breakfast, $400 for activities)
2 on a liveaboard ship ($900 including 7 dives and food)
1 more day in and around cairns ($150 per night at b&b, $500 for activities)
The activities consist of tours I found that knock out a lot of the must-sees in 1 day and they include food and pick up from the hotel.
Fly to New Zealand- now here is where it gets tricky… lol from what I’ve looked at I am going to budget a round trip flight from Cairns to New Zealand at about $1000-$1500 for both of us. The pictures of New Zealand are amazing and I am determined to try to do both…
After all of that we will have about $1500 left of our budget ($8000) to explore NZ.
So, I am thinking maybe 4 days at about $150 per night. That leaves about $1000 left for activities and transportation… I’m thinking rent a car, take a train and just do free nature stuff! 🙂
Does this sound reasonable? Can anyone suggests ways to save money?
Post # 30
Two words: LIZARD ISLAND. Spent a week there when I was abroad in college, based out of Cairns, and have dreamt my entire life of going back for my honeymoon. It’s deserted except for a research station and one hotel ($800/night – not cheap) but is an absolute deserted paradise. If you have the funds to make it work, GO.
Post # 31
The only thing that I can think of is that you’re going to be majorly jetlagged in Cairns! Those full day tours start super early with a pickup at the hotel (we did a dive where we had to get up at 5AM to be ready and on the boat on time) and you won’t get back until late in the afternoon. So just be aware you’ll be tired on those days if you do a big day tour like the Daintree or the Tablelands.
I’ve never been to NZ so I can’t offer that much opinions.
I think you’re going to end up finding you wish you spent more time in one place though. We did a week in Cairns (as I said before) and we didn’t get to see everything we wanted to just because there’s so much to do. Although seeing both would be amazing I think that the time and money would be best spent in one place and then go to the other place on a later anniversary.