Route planning help!

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Route planning help!

1. Posted by KiriLoizou (First Time Poster 1 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!


A couple of friends and I want to plan an epic 8 week trip from the UK to South East Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands next summer.
We want to focus the majority of our time travelling the Gold coast maybe via camper van and visit islands like Fiji and Fraser Island. Potentially even squeeze in South Island of New Zealand.
But we also want to get a flavour of South East Asia, maybe just one or two countries? But we are struggling to choose which one! We want a destination that has great food and amazing wildlife (potentially volunteering opportunities), we would rather not visit a massive city and favour more of a beach or jungle type of area.
I understand this is a lot to fit in, in such a short period of time, therefore any travel routes or advice would be so helpful! We are finding this logistically very challenging.

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1876 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hi there! Welcome to the forum. :)

Sounds like a fun trip.

"Next summer" - UK summertime? So that's winter in the southern hemisphere, so check out the average temps and rainfall for the places you're going. It could be that a lot of the places you're going don't have "summer/winter" weather like at home, in the tropics it can be more "wet/dry" seasons but it varies depending on the geography.

"Potentially even squeeze in South Island" - okay you could fly into Queenstown for a few days and see some stuff, but to see South Island properly I'd say you should allocate the same amount of time as seeing all of Australia. Generally people look at Australia and New Zealand and allocate their time according to their sizes, and this is the wrong way round, as NZ has a lot of variety and takes a long time to get around, while a lot of Australia is pretty empty. My minimum is four weeks for a quick zip around both islands.

Yeah all of this plus Fiji and some places in Asia is cramming it in, and then factor in some down time for jetlag, in 8 weeks that's a busy schedule. Not sure how long you plan to take seeing east coast Oz in that and how much time that leaves for the other stuff?

I suggest Thailand and Australia. Fly into Bangkok, see some sights but get out quickly, go north to Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai for "jungle", or south or to the islands for beaches, it's cheap and very geared up for backpackers, then go to Australia and spend the remainder of your time there.

I'd skip NZ - winter in South Island for a brief visit isn't the best way to see NZ. And I think Fiji may be a budget killer and just a box ticking exercise - you'll get plenty of beaches in Thailand and Australia without the need for the expense of another flight (you'll be sick of flying by this point).

Bali could be another alternative - easy onward flights to Australia, logistically it makes sense, and it gives you that whole beach/jungle thing in one place.

3. Posted by ToddP (Moderator 225 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Consider Borneo for some wild adventure...

4. Posted by mparveen (Budding Member 10 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hi Kiri

As you've mentioned going Down Under, me & the daughter were there just over 3 weeks ago and what a fantastic adventure it was.

As we'd won this fantastic prize money couldn't buy, we had access to a campervan but that was in Victoria. Before we went I'd done our itinerary as to where we were going to go and what the cost was going to be for staying overnight in the caravan parks. We'd saved just over $2k and 3 locations we stayed in Victoria varied from $25 to $50. Plan what you are going to do as we had the campervan for 4 nights, me & the daughter are into nature so we focused on scenic locations and wildlife in action.

Our next part of the journey was a lot more inspiring that I'd love to go back to the Northern Territories. We flew out from Melbourne to Alice Springs and stayed overnight in Aurora 3.5* which backed onto Todd Street and where the main shopping area of the town was. Some fantastic places to eat and we were lucky to catch the Todd market on a Sunday (which is every 2 weeks) with some fantastic aboriginal wares and scenic painted pictures on canvas or on cloth.

The following morning we were transported via AATKings to Ayers Rock Resort (which is close to Uluru, The Olgas and MacDonnell ranges) and to our delight we were upgraded from Outback Pioneer Hotel 3.5* to Desert Gardens Hotel 4.5*. If you've the budget to fit these in I'd highly recommend this place as there's loads on the resort itself plus there's apartments in the complex and Uluru Camel Tours. We had a lot of excursions already on our schedule, On these tours expect to wake up mega early as you could be waking up to view the sunrise or having a barbecue whilst the sun is setting (we got to do both). On the last day before we went back to Alice Springs we visited Kings Canyon and hiked the 6km along the rim walk (P.S. you have to be physically fit to complete this and most of the group were in their 60's, I'm 52 and daughter will be 10 next wk).

I'd definitely recommend Uluru and The Olgas (Kata Tjuta) as they were extremely scenic whichever part you passed, Kings Canyon can be a challenge and the views are breathtaking. Should you wish to view my photo's I do have a group set up on FB with all of the pictures from Victoria & Northern Territories. Don't go in the summer as it will be bitterly cold and the temperatures we'd experienced in Victoria were similar in comparison to the UK as we flew out on the 20th of October, also be prepared to pack some long sleeved clothes as the evenings do go cold quite quickly. As for the Northern Territories we packed a summer wardrobe and most days the temperatures were in the mid-30's but there were a lot of thunderstorms during the night.

5. Posted by LeeXee0819 (Budding Member 37 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I feel like your 2 countries in SE Asia is not enough to see the beauty of it. If you like beaches and staying under the sun Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. If you like luxury and comfortable environment, Singapore.

Philippines has a lot of beautiful beaches (you just have to do a lot more research to find one). I would say El Nido, has really fine sands and nice underwater and more secluded and less touristy than other beaches, Ive been there once. Boracay has recently underwent a massive clean up, and I would say its one of the best beach and has the crowd and party a bit elevated compare to Phuket. There's a lot more hidden gems in the southern part as well.

Thailand although I have not been to phuket, according to my friends, this place gets really crowded but if you like crowd and party this is the place to be in. From my local Thai friend its best to go Krabi, less touristy and you can enjoy the island more. Bangkok is such a cheap and food hub for street foods.
You can find everything at a lower price.

Vietnam, I've been to Halong Bay and took the 2D1N Cruise and the trip really gave me a peace of mind from the hustle of Corporate World. Its a nice place to visit too with their history and food.

Singapore, if you would like a more comfortable and straightforward trip this is the best place. But a little more pricey compare from the 3 countries I've mentioned. From Singapore you can cross over to Malaysia via bus or have a day trip to Bintan Indonesia where you can relax and enjoy beach and Sunset.

Hope this helps.

6. Posted by Gitsoms (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hi, were you able to work on reliable accommodations for the trip? That can be a real spoiler for the trip and many times the destination grabs so much attention that the living accommodations take a back seat, that is, until you arrive at your destination and check in, only to realize that your living arrangements didnt pan out!