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Trip List by aanda77

Highlights of Australia's east coast

Apr 14, 2013  We have been lucky enough to be able to do this in 2010 and again in 2012 after getting advice from friends who did similar trips and friends who have moved there.You need at least 4 weeks to do it justice.
4.5 of 5 stars based on 1 vote

A trip that sees the many different facets of this wonderful country

  • 1. Sydney Harbour
    Sydney Harbour, New South Wales

    Our trip was from mid Febuary to mid March. We found employers happier to give us the time off at this time of year and you escape the English winter and just catch the end of the Australian summer. We stayed in the Darling Harbour area on our first visit and found it a great base to explore the area. It is right by China Town and if you time it right you can celebrate the chinese new year there. Paddy's Market is a huge place to shop but we found it useful for a healthy breakfast in the little cafe. The arena is there also so maybe check out the dates and go to a concert. On the first day we put on comfy shoes and not forgetting sun cream we walked from our hotel up to Hyde Park and continued through this lovely place until we got to the Botanic Gardens. As you reach here you begin to see the Harbour and you continue around the bend to the money shot. Get your cameras ready as the Opera House and then the Bridge come into view. After spending time in the area having a drink or snack you can explore The Rocks or continue your round trip up the main shopping strip called George St back to your Hotel. We had pre booked a Harbour Bridge Walk as we knew it was a must do and so explored the rocks area that day. We allowed 4 days for Sidney so on day 2 we caught a bus from the harbour to the beaches on the southern coast. This included the famous Bondi but also Cougee beach and Maroubra which both have natural rock pools. For the more energetic travellers there is a coastal path to follow. You buy a bus ticket in the shop depending on the zone you need. You could easily spend a week or more just in Sydney and on our second trip we took a ferry to the northen beaches which include Manley and we timed it right as they had the surf competition. The other attraction is Taronga Park Zoo which you catch a ferry too so as well as it being a great place to spend the day, it is a photo opportunity to see the harbour from the sea and saves you buying a harbour cruise. There is also an aquarium at the harbour which is well worth the visit and we got a discount for paying with our credit card on the entrance fee. Also on our second visit we had booked a ticket to the Blue Mountains which I will talk about separatley so plenty for all tastes. My advice is to choose what attractions you would like to see and time your length of stay accordingly with a rest day at either end where you take into consideration time difference and jet lag. Sydney is a great place to hang about so your rest days can be spent in a cafe having a relaxed lunch or on a beach people watching.

  • 2. Blue Mountains
    Blue Mountains, New South Wales

    We booked a coach trip to see the famous Blue Mountains as you do get a guide that tells you something about the history of the area but there are other options such as hiring a car.The trips are available from offices aroung Darling Harbour and elsewhere in the city or you can pre book like we did with our holiday. We found the Flight Centre very helpful in booking our whole trip after I presented them with a long list of dates and places. The coach picks you up from the hotel before 8am and takes you to all the best viewing points to see the Three Sisters and drops you off at Scenic World where there is a cable car, a glass bottom cable way and the steepest railway. You buy a valley return or a scenic pass depending on which you want to use A$18 or A$28. We were offered a meal included in the trip but we declined and were glad as there is so much to see and your time is limited to 2 hours which is plenty if you dont have the meal. We had the hotel buffet breakfast that day because of the early hour and this is cheaper if you opt for the continental choice. You can take or buy fruit or snacks. You are back in Sydney for your evening meal.

  • 3. Whitsunday Islands
    Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

    This is a very special part of the trip and one we repeated on both occasions.We flew from Sydney to Brisbane and then got a connecting flight to Prosperpine which is a small airfield at your destination. We caught the bus that meets the plane for A$15 to take us the Airlie Beach. Plan to spend the next day in and around the town. There is a safe salt water lagoon to swim in by the beach and loads of bars and resturants. People dont swim directly off the beach this time of year as there are jelly fish. Its the stinger season but dont let that put you off. The reason you come here is to book onto a cruise around the islands. There are tall ships or pirate ships or the more luxurious catermarans. We went with Whitsunday Getaway booked from home but based in Airlie Beach.There are 4 couples and the crew and all your meals are included. 3 night cruises leave on a Tuesday and 2 night cruises leave on a Friday or Sunday so time your arrival. There are time differences up this coast so watch this when you book flights.Snorkelling or scuba is available and they supply the stinger suits. Again plan a rest day as most hotels have washing facilities so you can do the laundry and chill out and also if you are flying again you need to leave a day after scuba. You can get overnight coaches or trains up the coast to the Great Barrier Reef or Hire a car or camper van. If your not in a camper van you need a hotel for before and after the cruise and you can keep your main luggage there as only a small holdall is allowed aboard. You take your own booze on board for the evenings.

  • 4. Great Barrier Reef
    Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

    Most people have heard of the Great Barrier Reef I am sure and it was a must for our trip. we had been at the Whitsunday Islands so had a day of flights where we had to get back to Brisbane and then up to Cairns but you can either fly here straight from Sydney or do as I suggested in my Whitsunday section and get an array of road transfers up the coast. The town that you stay in is called Port Douglas and it is wonderful and based on a headland called a spit. You can then book a day to go to the reef and snorlel or scuba. Look up Silversonic Reef Tours and they have different size boats and tours. If you have a bit more money and time you can get a flight over the outer reef but this can be cancelled if the weather is bad so ask early. Again have a day at the beginning and end of stay to rest and recuperate and allows for delays etc. You can also book trips to the rain forest from here. depending on your age and ability you can get a coach and go to the Skyrail at Kuranda where they also have a steam train journey and a fantastic waterfall, or get 4 wheel drive trips. Its where the rain forest meets the reef.

  • 5. Adelaide
    Adelaide, Greater Adelaide

    You can fly from Queensland down to Adelaide and this is a great base to visit the wineries. We hired a driver to take us places like barocca valley and Jacobs Creek as you taste the wine ther and have lunch out so cant drive yourself. If you find someone to go with you can share the cost. It has a nice beach area where locals live and a river that can be followed into the city with cycle routes and paths.
    You can set off to Melbourne by car via the great Ocean Road and see the 12 apostles rising from the sea and spot koalas in their natural habital at Cape Otway

  • 6. Great Ocean Road
    Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

    If you hire a car you can take your time and drive this amazing route passing the 12 apostles which are stacks rising from the sea, stop at georgeous beaches or stand on the cliff at Bells beach and watch the surfers catch the waves. There are coach trips available too from Melbourne. Its best if you are driving between Adelaide and Melbourne to stop half way in a town like Port Campbell or Lorne or if you are returning to where you set off stay overnight before you return as to do it all in a day is too rushed and you would not get the whole experience. Turn off at Cape Otway which has a lighthouse and you may be lucky like us and see Koalas in their natural Habitat. Look up when you see the eucalyptus trees or quite often you will see people have pulled as they have spotted them.

  • 7. Melbourne
    Melbourne, Victoria

    The reason Melbourne is last on the list is because you can get an international flight home from here without having to return to Sydney. There is so much to do here that is not as well known. There is the Mornington Peninsula with its views, beaches and hot springs. There is the Great Ocean Road, there is the city itself and the Dandenong Mountains where you find Puffing Billy. My favourite is Phillip Island which has many zoos, wildlife parks and the Penguins that you can book to see as they come ashore each evening as the sun goes down. The numbers vary but there were 1400 on the evening we went.

  • 8. Penguin Parade
    Penguin Parade, Summerlands, Phillip Island

    An evening event to see the penguins come ashore as the sun goes down