We are going to Australia in December and we're wondering how to divide our time. Definitely want to be in Sydney for at least 3 days, but since we will have another week and it costs the same to add Brisbane area or Melbourne flights, which should we chose? Thinking in Brisbane we could at least make our way to a part of the Great Barrier Reef, but also wondering if Melbourne and Canberra might be better. Ideas? Recommendations? Will cost the same to fly in Melbourne or Brisbane and then out of Sydney. Thanks!
The Great Barrier Reef ends pretty far north of Brisbane, and is quite far away from the coast at that point (which makes trips to it expensive and less practical). Also given that it'll be the middle of summer, and temperatures in Brisbane will be sweltering, I'd go for Melbourne instead. Rent a car there and drive the Great Ocean Road to the Twelve Apostles for some awesome scenery. Make certain to take the side road down to Cape Otway on the way there, and watch for Koala's in the trees along the road.
(Canberra is nice, but not worth spending precious time in.)
Yep, spend more time down south. I'd personally skip Canberra, but I'm an Aussie and I've seen it done it and most of us find it leans on the boring side. But then again, each to their own. The War Museum is incredible and usually surprises people, because they get to realise how much Australia has been involved in all the major world wars. Parliament house is worth a walk around but then get out of there. Watch out because Canberra people can't drive
The coastline all the way from the south of Sydney down to The 12 Apostles is beautiful. You could spend time hopping on and off the bus all the way around the coast from those two points. The N.S.W south coast is beautiful and less crowded than the north but most people from overseas skip it and miss out on one of the nicest areas of Australia.
Brisbane will be very hot. If you do head up that way, I'd be more inclined to head out to the places around Brisbane i.e Sunshine Coast and/or Byron Bay. Beautiful.
MELBOURNE all the way! its a lovely place!
I agree with Sander & Wonderbus, not to discount a whole lot of other spots. A nice detour might be to Mount Kosciuszko - see Australia's version of Mountains, but its a fair hike off the coast. Doable with kids - but depends on how much they like walking and how many snacks you can carry.