My name is Mark and I from the UK. Just joined the forum after reading several threads on travel and was looking for advice on a trip I am currently planning.
I am panning on taking 3 month's off work, either at the end of 2012 or start of 2013 and want to go traveling down the east-coast of OZ! I have a rough route planned out but at the minute only have the 'big' cities planned in. What I am looking for is advice on places I should look at stoping off on the route.
I plan on flying into Cairns and either driving or getting the train down the east coast, eventually ending up at either Melbourne or Adelaide and flying home. So apart from the likes of Cairns, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, are there any must see places I should stop off at for a few day's? I am currently planning on spending at least 5 days in each place.
I like to think of myself as a city boy, but would like to look around places away from the major cities and would be looking for places to explore!
I am not planning on working and will just be getting a non working Visa.
Also, could someone point me in the direction of either threads or websites that will help give me an idea of budgeting, as i have searched but have come up empty handed (I do realise this is properly because I have not searched hard enough)
Thanks in advance everyone, and look forward to becoming a part of the TravellersPoint community!
As different people like different things, if I were you I'd invest in a Lonely Planet guide to Australia which is packed with useful information, places to go, things to see, places to stay and so on. You can look in travel agents windows or even pop into one when in Australia to get some ideas of local sights.
This will be the high season in Australia so possibly you might need to book ahead on rooms (though this would tie you down).
If you pick up a car in Cairns and drop it off in Melbourne or Adelaide it will cost a fortune in one way rental. I would go by public transport and hire a car for a day as and when needed. You would not want to try and find parking in the larger towns.
Australia is a very big place and people will sometimes fly rather than drive huge distances.
As to budget, Australia is fairly expensive. I think I'd like £2,000 a month at least. The more you travel, the more expensive it becomes. Take some credit cards with you (even if you cut them up when you get back home) and your cheque book so you can make payments on them if you use them. Tell them and make sure they understand that you will be going to Australia from such and such a date as otherwise they may want you to phone them to check it is you using them in Australia.
You need to ask specific questions on this and other travel websites (Thorntree, Tripadvisor, Fodors, etc) for definite information.
If it was me and had the choice between December & Jan I'd probably try to arrive in Oz at end of Jan & avoid school holidays which typically end about end of jan in most states. There'll be less people in your face and prices will dip out of peak holiday rates.
Also I'd probably do the trip in reverse - avoid Nth Queensland in the middle of a hot wet summer.
Arrive Adelaide or Melbourne in summer.
Try to get to the MCG for the cricket or an AFL game - soak up the atmosphere.
Transport - whatever you decide will get you through fine.
IMO public transport = less hassling with purchase/registration/insurance/selling, but more time hanging around waiting. Got a good book - no probs.
I'd say if you're half decent at negotiating and know how to change a tyre, a radiator and an oil filter then buy yourself an old reliable toyota camry station wagon or ford XD XE station wagon or a toyota hiace van or get a wicked camper on buyback.
It is a bit of hassling to buy it register it and then get rid of it - but it gives you a lot of flexibility in getting around - and whenever you break down you'll be forced to meet some great people. Aussies love the underdog - so if you need help - they'll be there.
Cairns - arrive there mid to late April - seeing a lot of things that you wouldnt see on public transport.
You'll spend a bit on fuel - because the distances are large.
For example in a typical vehicle at rough 2011 prices you'll spend close to $100 to fill a tank of fuel which will probably get you between 500-1000km depending on the vehicle and the driving. The distance is about 4500kms from adelaide to cairns following the coast. So theres $500 to $1000 in fuel straight up, without side trips detours etc.
Plenty of good advice amongst these forums, here's a tidbit on Sydney and Nth NSW Coast.
Among the excellent stuff already posted, here's a couple of Sydney ideas.
Pick a good weather day, pack yourself some snacks and a wind jacket and head to Circular Quay ferry station.
Buy an all day explorer ticket. It costs about AU$20 and you can ride the ferry all day,
getting on and off as many times as you like. Places worth checking out from the Ferry:
Manly, have a walk around the Corso and check out the beach. Maybe take a surfing lesson. Enjoy a beer with the other 5 gazillion tourists.
Taronga Zoo: have a walk around the foreshore and beyond - IMO a visit to the Zoo will require at least a full day. maybe more if you're right into zoos.
Sydney Luna Park: get off the Ferry and go into the park (through the Big Teeth) and buy just a single ride on the Ferris Wheel.
Cost you about $7 and only does about 2 or 3 revolutions - and while up the top you get some good views of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and the harbour in general.
Or you can get the unlimited ride pass and stay all day. $45 and you will get your moneys worth if you pick a good day with not too many crowds (midweek non school holidays).
Darling Harbour and beyond - the ferry will take you to lots of places - its all yours to pick and choose.
There are also a number of excellent walks along the Harbour Foreshore.
Throw this into Google "Sydney Harbour Foreshore walks" and you'll get a decent rundown.
All of the little coastal towns along the route are worth a visit - but as much as they are all beautiful, you may tire of them after about 2 or 3.
On the way up the coast between Sydney and the Central Coast is the Australian Reptile Park (Somersby). This is a good half to full day out and will familiarise you with some of the critters you might not want to stumble on in your travels.
Central Coast (Avoca, Terrigal, The Entrance, Soldiers Beach), Newcastle, Foster, Tuncurry, Port Macquarie (take the car ferry across to Point Plomer & on to Crescent Head), Nambucca, Coffs Harbour, Iluka, Yamba, Ballina, Byron Bay, Bogangar, Kingscliff. Nearly to the Queensland border. Then you've got the Gold Coast.
March/April is likely to be a good chance for some decent rain as you head north. Nothing to stop you going but be ready - it may not be all bluebird days. As you probably have seen 2011 has been a disastrous summer for Queensland.
All of the Whitsunday Islands have their pluses and minuses - we went to Lindeman Island and it was excellent.
Not the most pristine of snorkelling compared to some of the other places you will find but great fun and plenty of other things to do. I'd be wary of locking yourself into any island stay for more than 4 days.
So much more but have a hunt through some of the threads here and you'll find lots of advice from people who've been.
Actually - dont overlook Canberra - some pretty interesting stuff to see there and I'm not taking the piss. War Memorial, Art Gallery, Parliament House old & new, Science Centre.