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Perth/Adelaide/Sydney in March or Adelaide/Sydney/Cairns Dec

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Highworth, United...
posts: 365
reviews: 97
Perth/Adelaide/Sydney in March or Adelaide/Sydney/Cairns Dec

We were looking at a month in Oz (with a 9 and 12 year old) in Dec 08 over Christmas starting Adelaide for friends and Kangaroo Island, then on to Sydney for a week and then up to Cairns for reef/rainforest/ tablelands etc. Now wondering if March to Easter would be better (cheaper!) but will the weather in Cairns be trouble? (see highest rainfall in the Rough Guide = cloudy reef?, not to mention seriously soggy rainforest oh and millions of mozzies!!!!)

We're now wondering if we'd be better going to Perth and heading up to the reef there (read the access is easy but does it match up?) and sticking with Adelaide and Sydney instead but not at all sure.

I spent a year in Oz in 1990 and headed up the east coast, across the top and ended up in Kunnanara (plus Bungle Bungles) then went down the middle on a motor bike, so this will be a seriously diffent trip but know nothing about Perth and whether it would be a good area to use a lump of our precious hol? We love wildlife and getting off the beaten track but hate huge drives and know the area is vaste (would consider a short flight north of Perth).

Would really appreciate any advice on Perth versus Cairns in March etc.

Adelaide, Australia
posts: 10,100
reviews: 32
1. Re: Perth/Adelaide/Sydney in March or Adelaide/Sydney/Cairns Dec

Hi

I presume you mean ningaloo Reef north of Perth- which is absolutely magic and I think very bit as good as the barrier Reef with the added bonus of being much closer inshore - but it is difficult and expensive to get to and being at much the same latitude as the Barrier Reef the weather will be just as hot and the likelihood of late cyclone etc just the same. Also it is desert country and while it is spectacular there is no rainforest, mountains etc like cairns.

Harrogate, United...
posts: 440
reviews: 13
2. Re: Perth/Adelaide/Sydney in March or Adelaide/Sydney/Cairns Dec

We have just returned from WA. We stayed in Fremantle for 3 night, then Cervantes (1 night) (the pinicales) Kalbarri (1 night) Monkey Mia (2 nights), Exmouth (2 nights) then back down with 1 Night in Cervantes. Then 2 in Perth and 2 in Margeat River

The drive to Exmouth is 1100kms and very boring. If I was doing it again, I would fly to Monkey Mia for a couple of days, then fly on the Exmouth and get a hire car. You need one there, snorkeling off Turquise beach, see the Turtles nesting, If its the right time of the year.

Glass bottom boat and snorkeling at Bu???????

Oz
posts: 44
reviews: 3
3. Re: Perth/Adelaide/Sydney in March or Adelaide/Sydney/Cairns Dec

Hey Sarah,

Ningaloo and the Great Barrier Reef are 2 very different reef systems. Cairns has the real colourful coral & tropical fish that you see photos of however it is a boat ride to get too. Ningaloo is just off the beach(literally), a great array of wildlife and swimming with the whale sharks is one of the best experiences you'll have.

Both are better however a few months on from December. Exmouth is great through April-July. GBR is probably a bit later around July-Nov.

In terms of location both are better flying too then driving. Cairns has the benefit of a lot more years of being a tourist hot spot whereas Exmouth is relatively new to large numbers of tourists. So you will find a better range of accomodation in Cairns then in Exmouth.

It depends what you want from your holiday. If you want a typical tourists view of a great reef with nice hotels and a whole bunch of other tourists then head to Cairns.

Otherwise if you want a visit an unspoilt section of one of Australias most beautiful stretches of coastline, with comfy accomodation and not so many people then Ningaloo and beyond is your place.

Needless to say i know which one i'd choose.

cya

Hutch

Highworth, United...
posts: 365
reviews: 97
4. Re: Perth/Adelaide/Sydney in March or Adelaide/Sydney/Cairns Dec

Hi Hutch - you're selling Ningaloo really well! I only heard about it this w/e reading a Sunday Suppl and it sounds right up our street. Only quesiton is - should I still expect plenty of fish and coral etc ... not sure what you mean there??? I visited GBR in 1990 and made the mistake of going to Green Island and was so upset to find I was struggling to find somewhere to sit down! Have also been up to Cape Trib, Tablelands etc etc, so just need to decide what the family needs to see as I'm making the plans (bit of a responsibility but it has it's upsides!) No, don't go for crowds at all. Have been to Florida this year and only coped for a week in the parks before exploring further - best times were in the backwaters meeting the locals and seeing the manatees!

Reading btw the lines, Mar/Apr looks better than anywhere Dec/Jan. And if whale sharks/turtles etc are around March/April onwards, I'm best starting in Sydney or will it make no difference? Of our of 3 1/2 weeks or so, how long would you reckon for Perth area (I know you're biased?!) We were looking at Ningaloo Lodge near Coral Bay as a poss but have only just starded looking, plus Monkey Mia obviously and flying up seems a good idea but haven't a clue how long. Not sure from there on. Have no idea of the distances to Murray River etc, or where else would be recommended in the area without spending hours on end in the car. We'd rather get a feel for the place instead of running around like headless chickens! Sarah

Highworth, United...
posts: 365
reviews: 97
5. Re: Perth/Adelaide/Sydney in March or Adelaide/Sydney/Cairns Dec

Hi Alexa - sounds as if you've had the best time! baring in mind we are travelling with a 9 and 12 year old, what would you recommend from where you went. We may stay about a week and a half in the Perth area as there is so much to see but don't think too many 'interesting rocks' will go down too well! But chilling out and wildlife are right up my street! Agree that flying north is definitely the way to go to save time and sanity. Pardon the ignorance but where/what is Bu? Sarah

Perth, Australia
posts: 6,079
reviews: 44
6. Re: Perth/Adelaide/Sydney in March or Adelaide/Sydney/Cairns Dec

Hi Sarah

Can you just clarify that you are talking Easter 2009 if not Christmas 2008? If you are talking March/April 2008, you may be a little limited/disappointed/out of luck in accommodation availability in the MM/Exmouth vicinity. Our school holidays are 12-27/4 and the north is a very popular destination at that time of year.

Murray River is in South Australia - Are you referring to your trip to your friends in Adelaide or perhaps mean our Margaret River Region? You can see a lot of our South West in 5 days. MR is around 3 - 3 1/2 hour drive - could go to Dolphin Park in Bunbury on the way and then compare with your north west trip :-)

www.downsouth.com.au for ideas

Alexa's Bu??? Means she can't remember the name - right Alexa? :-) Can't help you there - I know there is glass bottom boat/snorkelling tours in the vicinity of Turquoise Bay but that doesn't begin with Bu :-)

Perth Metro area - 3/4 days to see Fremantle, Kings Park, Whiteman Park/Caversham Wildlife Park/go to Scarborough beach etc

www.westernaustralia.com

Hope this helps a little.

Oz
posts: 44
reviews: 3
7. Re: Perth/Adelaide/Sydney in March or Adelaide/Sydney/Cairns Dec

G'day Sarah,

I wouldnt worry about not seeing fish or coral you will see an abundance! From large fish to clown fish(nemo) to dugons, manta rays and turtles. Even 5m offshore you'll see a heap of marine life. You'll have your pick of quite vacant beaches.

Snorkel sites listed here:

http://www.exmouthwa.com.au/pages.asp?code=42

Turquoise Bay is the popular one due to the drift however Lakeside is just as good.

March/April is basically the start of the season and as Perthite said it's school holidays. It's also the times where you will see the coral spawning(28-30 March minor & 27-30 Apr major) which makes for murky waters however it can look spectacular at night as it glows pink. Another plus is it usually makes the marine life that feed on the coral more active. Better times are May/June however you should see the whale sharks, turtles and plenty of other marine life.

I agree with Perthite's 4 days in Perth and if you have time visit Margaret River. I dont know how much time you'll have but a week in Ningaloo/MM should be enough. Definately fly up to MM/Exmouth then hire a car.

Oh and i reckon Alexa's referring to Bundegi which is on the Gulf side of Emxouth. It's mostly a boat ramp & kiosk but they do tours out of there for sure.

Cya

Hutch

Highworth, United...
posts: 365
reviews: 97
8. Re: Perth/Adelaide/Sydney in March or Adelaide/Sydney/Cairns Dec

Hi Perthite -oops Margaret River! Also, would appreciate it if you could let me know when the school hols are in 2009 for March/April. Many thanks. Sarah

Harrogate, United...
posts: 440
reviews: 13
9. Re: Perth/Adelaide/Sydney in March or Adelaide/Sydney/Cairns Dec

First things first its Dave. Alexa is the name of our Hotel in Harrogate.

Yes I did mean Bundegi. The glass BB cost $100Au including mask and flippers.

If you are driving watch your speed, lots of speed cameras even in the middle of know where and no warnings like the UK. Don't ask how I know :-(((

Plenty to see in Margaret River Region, wineries, caves.

We prefered Fremantle to Perth for a few days chilling out

Dave

Oz
posts: 44
reviews: 3
10. Re: Perth/Adelaide/Sydney in March or Adelaide/Sydney/Cairns Dec

Dammit Alexa was heaps hotter than Dave...j/k