Hello fellow travelers,
I will be travelling in Australia for 3 months starting May 8 2009. My first stop will be Cairns, to see the grand coral reef. From your point of view, what would be a must see in terms of location and attractions in Australia. It is important to note that I will be there from May to August, so Sydney and Melbourne seem a bit cold at this time of year. I know Darwin is a must at this time of year.
Thank you so much for your opinions,
In my opinion... Darwin is never a must... in any season lol... theres nothing there... just a stop gap to get to somewhere else... eg Litchfield or Kakadu... If you heading over that way then be sure to head to Katherine Gorge... lovely place to Kiyak
the east is good...heaps of stuff to see and do on the east.
Fraser Island & the Whitsundays are manditory.
Great ocean road ... granted it wont be the warmest time to cruise it, but with the winter swells coming in, the Bass strait is quite the sight! ... i did it over 7 days, allowing us plenty of time, one of out greatest road trips! .... heaps to see!!
First off, as an Aussie I can tell you that Fraser Island & the Whitsundays are not mandatory - if I had to nominate some of the "must sees" they'd be the Rock, the Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Then add to that Kakadu, Litchfield, Katherine Gorge, the Kimberley and the Bungle Bungle.
Basically, May through to October - see the top half of Australia and November to April the southern half. Anything south of say Rockhampton the water will be too cold for swimming. And on the west coast, north from Ningaloo Reef/Exmouth is warmer.
What is your budget, will you be staying in hostels, doing tours, or taking transport? Will you be hiring a vehicle, do you prefer to see cities or natural attractions or a combination of both?
You have the choice of travelling the top half, Cairns>Port Douglas>Cape Tribulation (you could continue further north to Cooktown), then fly Cairns to Alice Springs>Ayers Rock/Uluru, then Darwin>Litchfield>Kakadu?Arnhem Land>Katherine then over to Kununurra and down the west coast to Broome and the Kimberley.
You have the time to do a half circumnavigation - Cairns>the East coast>Sydney>Melbourne. The GOR>Adelaide, then up the centre Ayers Rock/Uluru>Alice Springs > Darwin.
Depending on which city you'll be flying out of, should you choose the latter, I'd recommend you do the east coast straight away before the temperatures drop too much.
Also in the Top End, the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land are IMO also "must sees".
Our budget airlines are Virgin Blue...Jetstar, and Tiger Airways. currently, Jetstar have what is known as "Friday Frenzy" - between 4.00pm and 8.00pm AEST, cheap flights and specials are available. They vary from week to week and the downside is are only available for travel during certain dates.
Greyhound is our interstate busline - see route map;
and Firefly buses travel Sydney>Melbourne>Adelaide. Great Southern Railways (GSR) have three trains - see map route. As an international traveller you can purchase Rail Explorer Pass which is currently AUD$590 and is valid for six months from the first date of travel. You can effectively travel from the east to west coast, down to Melbourne and up the centre to Alice Springs and Darwin. The pass entitles you to a day/nighter seat.
Personally, I would suggest a combination of flying and bus. I've travelled on all three trains - Gold Kangaroo (First Class) on both the Ghan and the Overland (the Overland was until recently an overnight service to Adelaide) and greatly enjoyed it. I went tourist class ie a day/nighter seat Perth to Kalgoorlie and they were the most uncomfortable seats I've ever sat in.
I'm happy to post up information so let me know which places you're interested in.
[ Edit: Edited on 14-Mar-2009, at 19:50 by Whistler 2 ]
I just want to start be telling thank you for this exstensive info on Australia. This being said, I will be backpacking in hostels and working on a WH visa. I think that flying is a bit to expensive for my taste, and I really don't mind the seats, because I will be able to see a bit of australia by train or bus. I thought of going a bit south of Cairns, then to darwin the outback and then I dont know. I would love to see a combination of the natural attractions and cities. So, a combination of bus and train seem perfect. I checked on Greyhound, and the offer a variety of passes for you over a 12 month period. I'm still a bit confused on what I must see before I leave australia back to Canada, I think I will do a bit of planning here and do the rest in Australia. So, if you have other suggestion feel free to tell me.
Thank you very much for that very useful info
I think that flying is a bit to expensive for my taste...I thought of going a bit south of Cairns, then to darwin
Frank, it's a helluva lot cheaper to fly to Darwin than it is to go by bus. To travel from Cairns to Darwin by bus (Greyhound), you'd need to catch a bus to Townsville - a 5 hour plus trip, costs around $50 (that's on special), then Townsville to Darwin involves three buses leaving at 7.00am and arriving in Darwin at 5.30pm the following day - coast $515.00. Plus it's nearly 40 hours sitting in a bus, plus you'd have to stop somewhere overnight, so add on another 24 hours!
Flying Virgin Blue - $320 (Cairns>Brisbane, Brisbane > Darwin.) I chose a random date. 17th June. It's a 2 hour flight to Brissie, 2 hours in Brissie, then a 3 hr 50 min flight to Darwin. A total of 8 hours!
Or...Wild Places has an express coach for $362.
Quoting Whistler 2
First off, as an Aussie I can tell you that Fraser Island & the Whitsundays are not mandatory
idunno, they are pretty awesome as well as easily accessible. I mean the one has the nicest beach in the world... and the other is just plain fun.... my camp was attacked by dingoes! good times!