help please, we are elderly travellers and would like to go to Australia in April/May next year, travelling first to Sydney then onto Canberra and Melbourne before going onto Tasmania. Any recommendations from anyone, regarding flights,trains,buses and the ferry to Tasmania, thanks stokesy
Sydney to Canberra is about 4 hours on the bus - you can get the greyhound for fairly cheap. From canberra on to melbourne by bus its a day's drive so you may want to look in to getting a budget flight with jetstar or virgin blue.
i would recommend flying from melbourne to hobart - when i investigated this route, flights were cheaper than the ferry and obviously much much quicker. I manager to get a Melbourne - Hobart return with Jetstar for $100.
Once you are in tassie, the public transport is not great so you might want to hire a car or do some tours. I did a 3 day tour of the east coast and a day tour to cradle mountain out of Hobart. getting between the major places - ie hobart and launceston is not a problem via public bus. Hobart is worth spending a few days in and Launceston has a few attractions too. Leave yourself plenty of time for tassie - i had 2 weeks and wished i had had longer.
Let me know if you need any more info.
I think the best way between Sydney and Canberra is bus, it might be cheaper to fly between Canberra and Melbourne (not 100% sure on that one).
For Tasmania you have two options and it will dpend on how adventurous you are feeling as to what would best suit you. You have the Spirit of Tasmania (which is extremely expensive unless you just get one of the cruise seat type things (I heard something about them getting rid of those seats soon if they haven't already got rid of them). That will get you to Devonport from where you could get a bus to Launceston or Hobart. Alternatively you can get a flight with either Jetstar or Virgin Blue which if you book in advance is normally the cheap price is $69.00 (you do need to book at least 1 1/2-2 months minimum in advance for this sort of price normally). Occasionally you can get flights as cheap as bex76 says, but very rarely cheaper than $69.00 one way (a lot of sales have been on for almost every month until February next year so a lot of flights will have low availability and are probably getting a bit more pricey). Tiger Airways has introduced flights between Melbourne and Launceston, but as yet aren't flying in to Hobart. It is definitely adviseable to hire a car to get about Tasmania if you can drive, because buses are very infrequent (Don't normally operate on a Sunday at all except the metro buses from Hobart to the surrounding suburbs). If you were to rely on the passenger service from Hobart to Port Arthur, you'd require a minimum of 3 days due to the times the buses leave Hobart and depart from Port Arthur. If you had a hire car you could do it as a day trip. A lot of the nicer areas of Tasmania are either inaccesible by public bus, or buses only operate every couple of days.
Maybe a good idea if you want to be very adventurous is get the Spirit of Tasmania over and then get a flight back (or vice versa). If you can drive, you may be very lucky and be able to find a car rental company in melbourne which needs a vehicle relocated back to Hobart and will give you a bargain like I saw the other day. This place was renting the car for $5 a day and paid you $300 towards costs for you to relocate the car from Melbourne-Hobart. The car would cost $79 on the boat, if you got a cruise seat that'd be about another $79 and petrol would probably be about $30-40 maybe more if you decided to do a bit of a scenic route to Hobart. This would mean you'd gain some money for doing what you may want to (assuming you could drive). So in short that would be enough to get you to Hobart at no cost. I haven't seen this often, so it'd probably be a bit of a fluke if you found a place that'd have a car needing to be returned from Melbourne-Hobart. As far as I knew you aren't even meant to be allowed to take a rental car from Tasmania to the mainland, but obviously that company allowed such a thing.
If you are in Hobart on a Saturday a must visit is the Salamanca Market. That is world reknown but to purchase anything there is normally quite expensive as it is definitely aimed towards tourists. During the week from Sunday-Thursday after dark Hobart is pretty much a ghost town as nothing in the CBD (except a few bars) is open after about 6.00pm at the latest. North Hobart is a bit more vibrant after dark with quite a lot of restaurants of various types open.
Tasmania is not a destination that is budget minded with tours usually costing a major fortune, so if you can't hire a car and are on a budget you are going to be very restricted as to what you can see and do in Tasmania.
If nature is what you like when travelling, Tasmania is a fantastic destination and right now is a nice time to come because the weather is beginning to get warmer during the days so you wont freeze your butt off. Infact the last couple of days it has been shorts and T-shirt weather. If you need any help or ideas about Tasmania let me know because I live here so I know quite a bit about Tasmania.
Have a great trip.
[ Edit: Edited on Aug 27, 2007, at 5:29 AM by aharrold45 ]
Tours shouldn't be too expensive if you go with one of the backpacker companies. Mine was good value - no more expensive than mainland oz.
Thanks Bex and Aharrod for really good advice, forgot to say that we shall be travelling in April/May 2008, whats the weather like there at that time? stokesy
Weather is alright in April/May, but certainly not at its most fabulous anywhere in Southern Australia. Depending on where you are go, you could be looking of maximum day time temperatures of between 10-18C with a reasonable chance that at least a bit of rain on some days. Every year the weather seems to be getting dryer so I wouldn't worry too much about rain because unless you are very unlucky it won't rain everyday (but come prepared for a little rain/enough to need a coat if you want to be outside when it happens and pretty cold weather, but you may be used to colder). Temperature this year on some days in May reached record lows (at least it did in Tasmania and Canberra for a lot of the year is colder than Tasmania especially at night) and reached even more record lows in June and July.