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Your thoughts on our Itinerary please

United Kingdom
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Your thoughts on our Itinerary please

Hi we are a family of 4 (2 girls will be 14 and 7), we are looking to visit October next year and will be in the country 24 days

We were looking at

5 days in Bondi or Coogee to enjoy what the coast has to offer there whilst recovering from the jet lag (or is there a better suggestion perhaps?) We will not have a car at this stage so will be relying on public transport.

We then thought 3 days in Sydney to see the sights there and soak up the atmosphere, before flying to Cairns. We do want to do Taronga Zoo and ride the Ferry at sunset back as we are told this must not be missed?

For Cairns I looked at but I have no idea what order yet, however we will get a hire care for when not in Cairns - I also wonder about pools etc as we are coming in stinger season so takes the beach out of the equation

2 nights Palm Cove

4 Nights Port Douglas - This will include out Reef Snorkel Tour, Mossman Gorge and Daintree - should we do a night at Cape Trib perhaps and just 3 in PD?

3 Nights Atherton Tablelands - This looks great to go biking for a family but need help on bike hire?

6 Nights Cairns - is this too long?

Now you will note I still have a day spare, do I use this in OZ or in Singapore perhaps when flying in or out.

We will depart from Cairns to LHR and looking at Singapore Airlines for all flights Internationally but Virgin for Sydney to Cairns as I am struggling to make this work on SIA website if i'm honest.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts

Brisbane, Australia
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for Brisbane, Queensland
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1. Re: Your thoughts on our Itinerary please

Hi, you are certainly getting in to the planning, but with 24 days, you are concentrating it in only two locations and moving to new locations not very far away.

Bondi is not a great place to recover from jetlag, and is also only a 30-40 minute public transit from Circular Quay and I think the family will be bored silly after a couple of days. A much better beach location in Sydney is Manly, but I would still head to Cairns region first.

Also, you do not need six days in Cairns after you have had all that time in PC, PD and AT (great choices there - and make sure you do an overnight to the Chillagoe Caves, but pre-book a caves tour - don't rock up and hope to get in).

You are best to fly straight to Cairns on arrival in Aus, and transit to PC for a couple of days of super-chillax, before relocating to PD (hopefully over the jet lag) and then do the AT region. There is a lot to see, but I'm not sure I'd do it on pushbikes......

Re car hire, you need to get a car in Cairns to return it to Cairns, but I don't recommend you jump in a hire car after such a long flight - so spend the first night in Cairns, and then grab the car to drive to PC for two days (you won't use it much, but you need it for the rest) then on to PD and AT, returning the car to Cairns at the end - depending on flight time you might want to spend the last night in the region in Cairns too.

In Sydney, I suggest three-four days to see the sights, but you might also want to do a side trip to Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves, which will require another night/two days.

The six-ish nights you had allocated to Cairns could be spent exploring another region, and given your beach focus, I highly recommend the Sunshine Coast just north of Brisbane - check our Noosa/Noosaville/Mooloolaba/Alexandra Headlands/Maroochydore/Caloundra for options. The SC is very spread out, so you need a car in this region too. You can have some beach days, some learn to surf lessons, explore the hinterland at Montville/Glasshouse Mountains/Eumundi Markets and also enjoy Noosa Heads National Park and the gorgeous beaches and sandy rivers in the area - learn to SUP too.

So, in short, I recommend the following:

1 night Cairns, 2 nights Palm Cove, 4 nights Port Douglas, 3 nights AT, 5 nights Sunshine Coast, 2 nights Manly, 2 nights Blue Mountains, 4 nights Sydney CBD.

cheers.

United Kingdom
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2. Re: Your thoughts on our Itinerary please

Thank you, this is so helpful.

Planning is half excitement and not wanting to miss anything out, and half to make sure the budget is good enough for the trip if i'm honest.

We are looking at $330 dollars a night for accommodation as a max and then between $5780 - $6350 for all our flights

Can I ask why you would do Cairns area first please?

We were looking at Sydney first purely because our Children have never been abroad before and therefor thought it may be better to get used to Sydney temperatures before seeing real high temps in Cairns etc (we are in the UK so will be leaving probably 9 degrees here if we are lucky lol. Would you change it or still do Cairns first?

The girls are desperate to swim with Dolphins (in a controlled environment) and therefore had considered Coffs Harbour but flights there did appear to be silly prices compared to more major cities but I guess I could look at how long the drive would be from Brisbane?

Thank you

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Your thoughts on our Itinerary please

Great advice as usual from Sweetbiscuit.

At the risk of sounding a bit snotty - may I suggest you get /download a map of Australia & Sydney.

It's apparent fro your post that you don't realise Bondi & Coogee are just suburbs of Sydney - not townships some distance away. A decent map & use of Google maps will be invaluable in orientations yourselves.

Rome2rio is quite a good app for transport options.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Your thoughts on our Itinerary please

Well October is our spring so weather is warming up but not guaranteed beach weather in Sydney (plus water will be cold).

You don't need 5 days in Bondi/Manly (what are you going to do ?) and then 3 nights in Sydney. Stay in central Sydney for say 5 nights and travel to Bondi, Manly. Blue Mts.

Cairns (or really it should be Port Douglas) is recommended first to get over jet lag, do reef, rainforest etc and then head south.

24 days really does give you more time to see Australia - depends on what you are interested in ? Melbourne and GOR, Tasmania, Sunshine Coast/Fraser Island.

United Kingdom
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5. Re: Your thoughts on our Itinerary please

Thank you, I did look at the map, I just figured with jet lag sticking to beaches and a day doing the coogee Bondi walk would be more relaxing than being in CBD and enjoying that with clear heads.

Maybe I am overthinking the jet lag? By the sounds of your post, I am misjudging transport links too? (I did go on Rome2Rio) I think my mistake is I live in the tiny UK and in a very small town (we only got a multiplex cinema 5 years ago :-) ) so I am perhaps misunderstanding the ease of getting places?

Edinburgh
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6. Re: Your thoughts on our Itinerary please

You'd actually be better going straight up North for the Port Douglas Atherton Tablelands part so you're not so close to the build up to the wet and stinger season.

I cannot emphasise this enough, you CANNOT spend all day on a beach in Australia in the way we Brits do in the Med or other places. It's not safe. I'm a fair skinned Scot but with SOF20 can stay on a beach in Greece for hours, I usually get bored in the middle of the day, and go off for a long lunch. In Australia I need SLF50 and limit myself to a few hours on the beach in the morning or later afternoon. I e even had my back burnt through a sundress. Bettrlot, blisters and all. You can't be spending 4-5 days on a beach. Sunburn is going to ruin the rest of your holiday.

I don't see much point either in staying in 2 parts of Sydney. You'll waste time packing up and moving. Public transport is great. Why limit yourself to be stuck at Bondi when you can see loads of them by public ferry from CQ or train or bus?

Brisbane, Australia
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for Brisbane, Queensland
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7. Re: Your thoughts on our Itinerary please

Sydney is fantastically easy to get around - almost as good as London.

Reason for suggesting going straight to Cairns is that the later you leave it, the higher the temps and humidity, as well as the risk of deadly stingers in the water - they usually come in November, but it has been a very warm winter, and climate change is a thing, so I'd be going early rather than late if you want to swim at the beaches in PC and PD.

Also, Sydney is a place that can do with your full brain engaged, rather than the fuzzy jet lagged brain - Jetlag is great for the beach as well as cocktails and not doing much at all with a tropical view....but in Sydney, you can get in to history, arts, culture, as well as nature walks and lovely beaches, so do it last to be fully in to it.

Have a look at "things to do" in all the destinations I mentioned - PD/Mossman Gorge/Daintree, Atherton Tablelands - self drive trips are recommended : athertontablelands.com.au/trail-itineraries/ then Sunshine Coast (and even a couple of days in Brisbane - lovely at that time of year) then finishing off in Sydney.

We are very happy for you to come back with questions/itineraries, and we can help you make it work.

cheers

Darwin, Australia
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8. Re: Your thoughts on our Itinerary please

Well I will go againgst the advice above and say that Bondi and Coogee are great place to stay- Near the beach- even better if you have views, shops, cafes- your girls will love it. Great casual atmosphere. The coast walk as well as the other places like Gordons Bay, sea baths etc etc

Yes, its a ride into town, but heaps of tourists stay there, and its only 30-40 mins ! I would allow 4-5 days. Then add on a side trip- maybe hire a car and do a loop from Sydney to Blue Mountains, Canberra and up the coast. days.

I would also choose to stay at Port Douglas rather than the other two places . Stay 5 nights there. Atherton- maybe three days . I am not sure about bike hires- I havent seen any there. Waterfall circuit is great.

I would then add another location . Are you interested in Uluru ?

or noosa and fraser island for another 6 days woudl also be perfect with plenty to do.

Edited: 5:29 am, September 13, 2017
United Kingdom
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9. Re: Your thoughts on our Itinerary please

Thank you, all of your comments have been fab. Back to the drawing board for a few hours, but I will definitely post on here this evening (UK time) to see what you think to my revised plan. I am hoping to take it to the travel agent at the weekend to decide whether to book it all myself or through them, so want a good idea of what I want

United Kingdom
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10. Re: Your thoughts on our Itinerary please

I think my concern is 24 days is a lot longer than the 16 I was originally planning, but I don't want us to be tired out and constantly moving so much we can't enjoy it. My partner wanted to not book hotels etc at all locations but with eldest being 14 everywhere classes her as an adult when really she is a child and still the size of an 8 year old lol. I don't want to find we can't get in somewhere and end up paying for 2 separate rooms to accommodate us.

I am also very interested to hear views on the YHA in PD area as I know they have family rooms