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21 days in Australia, our plan - tips?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific 21 days in Australia, our plan - tips?

1. Posted by Flusher (Budding Member 41 posts) 5y

Me, my wife and our daughter (9 years) is going to Australia in february. We've started the planning now, but we have a few questions that we hope you could help us with :)

We're landing in Brisbane, and we're going to stay there for 2-3 days. Then fly to Sydney and stay there for around 4 days, before flying to Cairns and work our way down to Brisbane again. We have 21 days in Australia.

A few questions:

  1. How many days do we "need" in and around Brisbane?
  2. How many days do we "need" in and around Sydney?
  3. Is it a good way to see and explore the east-coast by taking the bus from Cairns to Brisbane, stopping on the way?

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4808 posts) 5y

Quoting Flusher

Me, my wife and our daughter (9 years) is going to Australia in february. We've started the planning now, but we have a few questions that we hope you could help us with :)

We're landing in Brisbane, and we're going to stay there for 2-3 days. Then fly to Sydney and stay there for around 4 days, before flying to Cairns and work our way down to Brisbane again. We have 21 days in Australia.

Be aware that February is the wet season in the north of Australia, which means torrential rains in Cairns, and extreme humidity in Brisbane. It's really not the best time of the year to see that part of Australia. If you're not too set on this plan, and haven't booked flights yet, I'd recommend switching it around to seeing Sydney, Melbourne plus surroundings (great ocean road, the Grampians, maybe Wilson's Promontory or Phillip Island) and Tasmania.

I'll answer your questions as if the weather was good, though.

# How many days do we "need" in and around Brisbane?

I personally consider a single day enough for Brisbane itself. It's really not a city with a whole lot of sights. There's a ton of theme parks and attractions interesting for a 9 year old girl in its immediate surroundings, though.

# How many days do we "need" in and around Sydney?

I'd say five days is an absolute minimum; four to properly explore the city, and one for a daytrip to the Blue Mountains.

# Is it a good way to see and explore the east-coast by taking the bus from Cairns to Brisbane, stopping on the way?

As you have only a short time to see this stretch (barely two weeks), I'd consider flying some hops, as distances are huge, and the scenery for a large part of it is just endless boring sugar cane fields. But yes, in general getting around by bus and getting off every so often is a good idea.

3. Posted by Flusher (Budding Member 41 posts) 5y

First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to answer :)

I'm afraid the flight to Brisbane is already booked, as this was our only chance to get vacation from the job and so on..

Brisbane - Yes, we thought to check out the Steve Irwin park, and a koala-park. Not much more really.

Sydney - What about Bondi beach, isn't that worth checking out?

Cairns - Is the weather really "that" bad in february? We were thinking of going to the Great Barrier reef and Frasier Island. Maybe spend a night at Frasier Island?

Hmmm..now we're really thinking hard. How's the climate in the Sydney-part of Australia in february? And what about Melbourne, is it "worth" a visit maybe?

Sorry, many questions here :)

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4808 posts) 5y

Quoting Flusher

Sydney - What about Bondi beach, isn't that worth checking out?

It's a tiny and overcrowded and overly touristy beach. But yes, it does look very pretty, and has a nice neighbourhood around it to explore. Plus you could walk along the coast to Coogee, which is a great (1-1.5 hour?) walk. Coogee is not quite as touristy and has a pretty good beach of its own (albeit even tinier). Other things really worth doing in Sydney is just exploring the Botanic Gardens (be sure to look up at the trees to see the bats), taking a ferry across the harbour to get a view of the city from the water (maybe visiting the zoo, or going all the way to Manly? (big beach there)), exploring the funky eateries lining Glebe Point Road, seeing Darling Harbour (the Chinese Garden of Friendship here is lovely), etc, etc.

Cairns - Is the weather really "that" bad in february? We were thinking of going to the Great Barrier reef and Frasier Island. Maybe spend a night at Frasier Island?

Well, I don't have any personal experience, as I avoided the north around that time of year, but if you look at the climate chart for Cairns on wikipedia, you'll see it's the worst possible month on all accounts.

Hmmm..now we're really thinking hard. How's the climate in the Sydney-part of Australia in february? And what about Melbourne, is it "worth" a visit maybe?

Sydney is perfect that time of the year. Perhaps a tad on the hot side, but basically it'll be perfect hot summer weather. Melbourne doesn't have as many "sights" as Sydney, but is a wonderful city with great atmosphere (great restaurants), and there's a ton that's really worth visiting within a few hours of Melbourne, such as the beautiful coastline along the great ocean road (with wild koalas a very frequent sight around Cape Otway) and the Grampians, which has great hiking and tons of kangaroos coming out around dusk.

5. Posted by Fraycam608 (Budding Member 10 posts) 5y

Hi Flusher.

I'm living in Brisbane at the moment and have a friend visiting from the U.K later this month. We are going backpacking for just under 3 weeks.

There is not a lot to see in Brisbane as the place is so new and I don't feel that you would miss much if you left here straight away after landing.

Our rough plan so far.....

Fly from Brisbane to Melbourne for New years Eve and 5 nights stay (hire a car and see the sites outside the city Great ocean road, Wilsons Prominatory etc

12 hour bus journey from Brisbane - Sydney (greyhound) 4 night stay taking in the city and Blue Mountains

Fly from Sydney - Townsville and Bus to Magnetic island 2 nights

Bus to Airlie Beach (Whitsundays) 3 night cruise on a sail boat and 2 nights at hostel

Bus to Cattle Station 1 night

Fraser Island - 2 nights camping

Brisbane

If you were to get a bus journey from Sydney heading north there is a vast space between Sydney and popular stops along the way. It seems the only place people visit is Byron Bay which is only a 2.5 hour drive south from Brisbane.
Noosa heads is 2 hours from Brisbane (family friendly beach and surrounding area in the evenings)
The Zoo and Glass house mountains are about an hours drive (definately worth seeing and a good day out for the famlily)

Hope that helps.

6. Posted by Flusher (Budding Member 41 posts) 5y

Thanks for great tips!
I think that we might re-consider the amount of time we've originally planned. It seems better to spend a little more time in the south, Sydney area. After all, we want sunshine!

It's a bit difficult to know what people meen by "bad weather" in the Cairns-Brisbane area. Is it raining all day, every day? Or is it more like it's raining a couple of hours in the afternoon? It seems like the temperature is around 23-31 degrees, which is a nice temperature.

We also want to visit Frasier Island, Whitsundays, and I'll google Magnetic Island now :)

We just went skiing here now, it's fun, but we're really looking forward to warmer climate in Australia! :)

7. Posted by molibrown (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5y

Melbourne is a fantastic place if you want a bit of culture and flair. It can get really hot - high 30s celsius - but generally is in the mid 20s in summer.

There are great beaches along the great ocean rd, but they do tend to be cool and not what you are really looking for.

cheers.

Brigitte

8. Posted by kirtyo (Budding Member 7 posts) 5y

Definitley visit QLD - it's got much better weather than victoria - Melbourne in particular is known for its 4 seasons in one day sort of thing. It really depends on what you want to see, the beach, barrier reef, islands and that sort of thing QLD is definitely your choice. if you are more into cities, sight seeing like the oprah house & hussle and bussle than victoria & NSW are more your thing. Definitely spend time in QLD tho- the weather is not that bad!! its gorgeous & will find it hard not to fall in love with it :)

but to make the most of your time once you're in brisbane head north and do the QLD thing & make your way down so you are not back tracking.

Have Fun!

9. Posted by hmclehto (Full Member 142 posts) 5y

Cairns +23 - +31 temperatures are nothing like those in Europe, It is super humid and feels like you are in sauna when you step outside. They sometimes get flooding that time of the year too. I would head that way in winter months June- August.