My apologies in advance for this lengthy post! We are planning a once in a lifetime trip to Australia in April 2014, and would like to see as much as possible in a 4 week period, but still have time to relax and enjoy where we are.
I have found that our most enjoyable travels have been those that involved little planning and spur of the moment decisions, but since we will be visiting during a busy time of the year, we have decided to make some definite plans.
Our original plan was to rent a campervan in Sydney and drive to Cairns, but thanks to the large number of comments and wonderful advice from the posters here, we have decided to fly from point to point. I have made the arrangements and was very happily surprised to find that the cost of flying for 2 was less than that of van rental, campsites and fuel costs.
We are in our mid-50s, and enjoy beach time, snorkeling, cruising through the countryside visiting small towns and markets, animal encounters, beautiful scenery, etc. We both have minor mobility issues, so long difficult hikes are out of the question.
So this is what we have planned so far, we would appreciate any advice or suggestions of what to do at each stop on our itinerary:
We arrive in Sydney on April 4 and plan to spend 5 days there. Have not really made any plans on what to do, other than the usual “must see”.
On April 12 we will fly from Newcastle to Brisbane, rent a car and drive to Tweed Heads, where we will stay for 3 nights. This will be a start point for day trips to Byron Bay, Nimbin, Lismore, Lennox Head, and some of the beaches on the south end of the Gold Coast.
On April 18, we will drive back to Brisbane airport and fly to Proserpine. We have a hotel booked in Airlie Beach that night, then board a Tall Ship for a 3 night/3 day tour of the Whitsundays. Then another hotel in Airlie beach upon return from the ship on the night of the 22nd.
Since I could not find a direct flight from Proserpine to Cairns, we will rent a car and drive to Townsville, stay there overnight and then fly from Townsville to Cairns. We will rent a car there and drive to Port Douglas for a 7 night stay. Hope to get in a few day trips to the GBR, see Daintree, Mossman, Cape Trib, and Kuranda.
On May 1 we fly from Cairns to Melbourne, thinking of staying the night in Geelong in order to get a head start on the GOR the morning of May 2, probably stay overnight in Port Campbell then back to Melbourne. Not sure of the route, should we continue on to Port Fairy, then back through Dunkeld and Ballarat? Or back through Colac? Is it worth spending a night (May 3) in the Daylesford area?
We will be flying back to Sydney the evening of May 4, so don’t have a lot of time in this area. Not sure if I will be able to fit in Philips Island?
We leave Sydney for home the morning of May 5. So much to see, so little time!