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Itinerary Advice, please?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Itinerary Advice, please?

1. Posted by ErinTomato (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y

Hi everyone!
I was wondering if I could get some input.

Some notes about me:
1. I'm from Toronto, Canada and I've only visited Asia and the West Indies
2. I love food. I want try new things that I can't get anywhere else and if there are "foodie" cities, that would be wonderful
3. I love hiking and the outdoors
4. I love exploring cities - not necessarily for monuments but taking in the culture and not feeling rushed to from site to site. That being said, I'm more of a nature-lover
5. I can't drive
6. I am not a resort or lay-on-the-beach type of girl
7. I'll most likely be travelling alone. I don't like the idea of tours very much.
It turns out that it's VERY likely that I can get 8 weeks!! EIGHT WEEKS! I'm beaming with joy and anticipation. I might even get 10, if I forgo a side trip to Korea - still deciding if that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.
So I'm toying with the idea of 5-6 weeks in Australia and 2-3 weeks in New Zealand, but not booking my New Zealand flight until I'm there to keep it flexible.

I have decided against PNG and Fiji in favour for Tasmania.

So after some research I've come up with a list of things that I'm interested in, but I know I can't hit them all. My priorities have become food, natural sites/animals, with a touch of city life here and there - but I'd rather see Aussie's natural beauty. I've fallen in love with so many sights after seeing the pictures. Delicious food and beautiful sights are my priorities.

1. Uluru & Alice Springs
2. Sydney
3. Melbourne
4. Tasmania
5. Perth/Rottnest Island
6. Purnululu
7. Cairnes/Karunda
8. Noosa
9. Shark Bay
10. Gold Cost
11. Katherine
12. Wolfe Creek
Phew! Research is exciting!

So I'm toying with this, understanding that I should be flexible and perhaps avoid booking flights and such until I get there because plans change. Also, flights are most likely the best way to go if I really want to hit places on both costs. Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth are all more or less the same price for starting points.
6 weeks in Aussie:
1. Start: Perth 3 days
2. Fly to Ayers Rock & Alice Springs 6 days
3. Fly from Alice Springs to Darwin, which will lead me to Purnululu 7 days*
4. Fly from Darwin to Cairnes/Karunda 7 days**
5. Travel from Cairnes to Gold coast, perhaps stopping in Noosa if convenient 4 days
6. Sydney 4 days
7. Melbourne 4 days
8. Tasmania 5 days

  • Told that he road will be closed due to the wet season. So perhaps sticking to Darwin, or trade this time in favour for more Tasmania/New Zealand/Shark Coast
  • *Due to timing however, I’m thinking of skipping Cairnes due to the wet season in favour of Shark Bay, or an extra week in New Zealand

Thoughts?
Too ambitious? There are flights from Perth to Monkey Mia, but the Shark Coast seems inconvenient to visit for a tight timeframe due to the limited flights from there to other cities.

2. Posted by timtravels (Respected Member 350 posts) 6y

It sounds like a full on itinerary, I think you'll find it hard to do everything you want in the timeframe. What time of year are you coming? I think you mention it's the wet season but don't think you mention a month.

How are you planning on travelling from the airport/city to attractions? Purnululu is about 1500km from Darwin so you'll need to take a tour, or at least a bus out to Warmun and arrange a tour from there. Similarly Uluru is about 500km from Alice Springs so you'll need to arrange transport.

If you want to get the vibe for Perth I'd look at flying in and discounting the rest of the day for sorting out what you want to do. I'd think a couple of days in Perth to check it out and at least a night (two days) on Rottnest Island which leaves about 5 days for Perth.

If your flight arrives at Alice Springs at about midday you'll spend the rest of the day getting settled in your accomodation and checking out the area. I think a few days in Alice Springs and checking out the gorges around would be sufficient, if you're arriving in the Australian summer (December-February) be aware that it will be very hot and dry in the area.

It'll take about 6 hours to bus from Alice Springs to Yulara (resort near Uluru) and usually I usually suggest a minimum of 2 days in the park, one to check out Uluru and the other to check out Kata Tjuta (the olgas), if you choose to you can check out Kings Canyon which is amazing but you'll need a day there to fully appreciate it. If you can I' think a tour that does all of the above would be worthwhile, but again in summer it might not be that enjoyable and you may want to leave sooner. 6 days would be the minimum time to see only specific parts of the area.

Darwin is likely to be more humid than Cairns, road closures because of heavy rain will be more likely because the Stuart Highway is really the only way out of there. Purnululu may be closed and much of Kakadu will be closed for the wet if you're up there at that time. If you're coming during the wet season I'd skip Darwin and Purnululu and add the time onto Tasmania.

Cairns will be humid, it will be stinger season so you'll need to wear a full length stinger suit if you go diving/snorkelling. I didn't particularly enjoy Kuranda but lots of people do, the Atherton tablelands and waterfalls should be good because of the seasonal rain and the Daintree should be awesome. You'll probably need to arrange a tour for the above.

Melbourne and Sydney will be warm this time of year and should be enjoyable. Tasmania will be fantastic and you can catch the bus to most places of interest including hikes (dropoff at start and pickup at end).

Sorry for the long post, hopefully you get something useful out of it!

Post 3 was removed by a moderator
4. Posted by DocNY (Respected Member 416 posts) 6y

I was there last in the middle of the wet and getting out to Purnululu just wasn't possible - Kakadu was fine as was Lichfield (which I really enjoyed more than Kakadu). And personally I'd skip Cairns. You'll have a lot more fun near Noosa and can add the rest of your time to the southern part of that country or a couple weeks in Korea (excellent choice, btw).

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 6y

Quoting ErinTomato

2. I love food. I want try new things that I can't get anywhere else and if there are "foodie" cities, that would be wonderful

You'll love Melbourne and Auckland, and Sydney's not all bad either on this front. :)

3. I love hiking and the outdoors

Spend more time in New Zealand. Absolute hiking paradise; gorgeous scenery of all types; lush rainforest mere hours from rolling hills, volcanic desert landscapes or wild and craggy mountains.

7. I'll most likely be travelling alone. I don't like the idea of tours very much.

Great choice. The traveller infrastructure in Australia and New Zealand is superb, and you can get everywhere you want and do everything you want to do by yourself, using public transport.

1. Start: Perth 3 days

Personally I'd find 3 days still too much for Perth; I found it a very unexciting city. What I can recommend, however, is to head south to the stretch of coast from Cape Leeuwin to Cape Naturaliste. Gorgeous scenery and wonderful limestone caves there.

2. Fly to Ayers Rock & Alice Springs 6 days

I might be reading over it, but I don't see when exactly you're planning on going, outside of a mention of "wet season". Just be aware that Uluru will be really, really hot that time of the year. Maybe consider flying straight into and out of Ayers Rock airport and skipping Alice Springs altogether? (Although I must say I did so myself, so don't know what you might be missing.) 2 days will then be enough to see both Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

4. Fly from Darwin to Cairnes/Karunda 7 days**

Kuranda felt to me like mostly a tourist trap. It's a nice enough daytrip from Cairns to take the skyrail rainforest cableway up and the scenic railway back down, but don't expect too much of this (although at least in the wet season you should see Barron Falls in their full glory (?)). Heading out to Mossman Gorge, the Daintree rainforest and Cape Tribulation definitely is worth it, though.
I do usually recommend people to skip Cairns during the wet season, but again, no personal experience on just how bad it gets.

6. Sydney 4 days

Make sure to spend at least a day visiting the Blue Mountains (there's trains there every hour), climbing the stairs down to the canyon floor. Be sure to visit Glebe Point Road for wonderful little cafes and bakeries and restaurants (not to mention the used bookstores) and great atmosphere.

7. Melbourne 4 days

The Great Ocean Road is a must, though here I'm afraid you'll have to take a tour since you can't drive. (Or maybe you can hook up with someone at a hostel who also wants to do the great ocean road, and chip in on car rental? If so, be sure to stop off at Cape Otway to see the koalas by the side of the road.) Melbourne as a city doesn't have that many attractions, but an absolute abundance of wonderful places to explore for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (And you probably can fit in second breakfast, elevensies, supper, etc, too.) :)

8. Tasmania 5 days

Much though I love Tasmania, if you're also going to New Zealand I would consider skipping Tasmania in favour of extra time in New Zealand and/or the rest of Australia - Tasmania's landscape is very similar to what you'll find in New Zealand (unlike that found in the rest of Australia), but New Zealand does it far more expansively. Then again, this is the best time of the year to visit Tasmania; it's bearable while the rest of Australia is too hot. :)

In general this sounds like a very full (but doable) itinerary. Be careful to take rest days every so often, where you purposefully don't plan to do anything, and just aimlessly wander and sit down to catch your breath. You're going to need it. :)

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Nov-2010, at 14:33 by Sander ]

6. Posted by ErinTomato (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y

Whoa! I thought I replied to Tim but I guess after writing it out I goofed and just went to bed or something.
So. This was my idea, all flexible except for my wish to be in Sydney for New Years.

Dec 1st - 7th: Melbourne (I heard this is the foodie city!)
Dec 7th - Dec 28th: Fly to Cairnes, take the greyhound down to Whit Sunday Islands, Hervey Bay, Noosa, Gold Coast, all the way to Sydney
Dec 28th - Jan 2nd: Sydney
Jan 2nd - Jan 24th: New Zealand
Jan 25th - February 9th: Tasmania
February 10th-14th: Spontaneous. Ayres Rock/Urulu if I decide to bear the heat. Darwin for an aboroginal walking tour and lightening storms. Perth for lovely sights.

I am coming NOW...in fact, I'm leaving next week! Not the best time of the year I know but I'll work with what I got and love hte adventure all the same. I've dropped Purnululu because I heard it will be closed anyways.

It seems that going to Perth won't be worth it on my itinerary. I'd be better off spending more time in Melbourne, Sydney, Tas, or NZ. However, going to Darwin is very tempting - I heard that it will be very stormy but the idea of seeing lightning shows, lush green fauna and flora, and full flowing rivers is pretty exciting.

I was also told that going to Port Douglas after flying to Cairnes is a good idea.

It also seems like the heat will be too much for Alice Springs/climbing the rock, so that might be crossed off.

I haven't heard of Cape Leeuwin/Cape naturaliste but I'd love to see caves so I'm noting that for my research

Blue Mountains are on my list - figure I'd do that eihter at the end or if I get to Sydney sooner than expected. I'm quite worrieda bout Sydney. ALl of the hostels are already booked, except for the ones that ask for a minimum 10 day booking. I don't know where I will stay now

I can't drive, but I heard that the Great Ocean Road is fabulous. Maybe I'll meet some tourists who will want to do with with me like Sander suggested. Roadside Koalas sound fabulous!

I"m still wondering if I should just leave Aus on Feb 10th and catch 4 days in Malaysia since it's a stop over to my next destination, Korea. I think I'd be happy either way! Maybe that will be a last minute decision.

THANKS EVERYONE! :D

7. Posted by timtravels (Respected Member 350 posts) 6y

Purnululu is usually open until December 15, you can get current status here.

Sander is right, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste are both beautiful, I have some photos in my profile of the area. Blue Mountains are awesome, great for hiking although I'm a bit biased. Uluru might not be too bad during November, usually January and February are the worst months for heat.

Last time I did the Great Ocean Rd I found all of the attractions very crowded, a line of people at each point so I didn't enjoy it much.