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Help Guruswife!

CAlifornia
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Help Guruswife!

Would appreciate your advice on our upcoming visit to Australia Oct 19 -29. We are looking at staying at the Radisson TreeTop in PD, do you know it? We are looking for a moderately priced full service hotel for myself, hubby, and 11 yr old daughter. We want to use the hotel as a hub for day trips to DainTree and day snokeling trips on the Reef. We don't plan to spend much time hanging out at the hotel really.

We will be in sydney for 5 days and then up to Queensland for another 5. It looks like PD is a good place to stay away from the more crowded touristy places? What am I missing in my assessment of where to stay? Any other suggestions of how to spend our 5 days in that area? I see you do recommend a car, which is fine...but watch out for us left siders on the road!

In Sydney area I would like to take daughter to see koalas and kangaroos...when I was there once before we went to a place where you good touch both but I forget the name.

Any other ideas? With only 10 days (3 of which I am working), I don't want to cram to much in.

Also I assume we should fly from SYD to Cairns? any way to get cheap fares?

Thank you for any help you can give.

Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
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21. Re: Help Guruswife!

Tip for the shuttle buses into Port... it's often the same price if there are four to use the limo service!! It depends on how busy the drivers are...

CAlifornia
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22. Re: Help Guruswife!

Hello all, have changed our minds yet again and decided to say some $$ and stay in an apartment. We are looking for a quiet one tho....any ideas? I am thinking Nautilus, Mandalay, or ???

Just a month away, getting very excited!

CAlifornia
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23. Re: Help Guruswife!

MyPL8TES....or yourplates....yes you do sound just like us! we are just a month away from going and very excited. What did you do while there? Since you have an 11 year old I'm curious. We plan on a wavelength snorkel trip and something at Daintree, not sure what. my daughter loves to shop...what is the shopping like? everyone keeps talking about pricey food...how does it compare to southern Cal...in sandiego we spend about 40-50on dinner, 20-30 on breakfast, 30 lunch.

Love to hear more about your trip.

Sydney, Australia
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24. Re: Help Guruswife!

Assuming you are talking US dollars pp then your're pretty much on target pp... to give you an idea most of the restaurants are around 30AUd per main course.. for the beetr restaurants...

Cheaper alternatives are the sailimg club and Mango jam Pizza (check your bill good food but they've added drinks or others food to our bill 3 times... at around 10-12 aud PP MAIN COURSE)

Los Angeles
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25. Re: Help Guruswife!

San Diego:

I didn't think the food in Australia was particularly expensive, especially by our Southern California standards.

At first, walking into a mid-market restaurant and encountering a $30 main course dish was slightly shocking ("main course" is Australian for "entree." "Entree," in Australia, is our "appetizer." They do this on purpose to confuse Americans).

But, if you do the math, the $30AU meal is not expensive. You can subtract 20% from the hypothetical $30 to account for the exchange rate. Then, you can subtract another 8 1/2 percent because, unlike California, tax is included in the menu price. Then, you can subtract the 10 to 20% to account for difference between what you would tip in the U.S. and Australian tipping practices. Then, voila! Your $30AU meal costs between $15 and $20 US. I often performed that calculation, felt better about the expenditure, and ordered another drink.

Here's a couple other observations about restaurants. Soda is more expensive than in the U.S. and refills are generally NOT free. We learned this the hard way. They have never heard of the soft drink we call "root beer," and the waitress in Melbourne looked horrified when my five year old ordered it ("root" being Aussie slang for s*x - TA censored the word).

Don't order cocktails -- stick to beer and wine. Liquor is more expensive, and no one can apparently make a decent martini anyway. Australian beer is so far superior to American beer that I can't believe the same noun identifies both beverages. Australian wine is excellent (as opposed to what they expert). Ask your server for recommendations.

Also, the kids learned the hard way that ketchup ("tomato sauce") is apparently a scarce national commodity that must be carefully rationed by the authorities. Most restaurants will give you a single packet per meal, and make you purchase additional packets. One Red Rooster restaurant (a surprisingly good local chain) didn't even have any. Since my kids are heavy ketchup users, they found this frustrating.

Eat Asian when possible. Not only was it inexpensive, but it was consistently far, far better than Asian restaurants in the U.S.

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26. Re: Help Guruswife!

With our five nights in Port Douglas at the Radisson Treetops we: took an all day trip snorkeling, we all loved it and my eleven year old daughter got the hang of it. I think she will now be hooked! I understand that you will be going with a different company...we went with Quicksilver for the diversity, and took advantage of it all: the semi-submersible sub ride for a half-hour, the underwater observatory, and snorkeling and the buffet lunch...also the morning and afternoon coffee, tea, cookies, cheese, crackers, etc. We took an all day tour that I definitely suggest: Australian Day tours Co - skyrail (just the three of you) over the treetops of the rainforest in an aerial gondola for approx. 40 minutes, which takes you into the town of Kuranda, then to the 'Rainforestation' for three attractions: the amphibious vehicle through a swamp, an animal park, buffet lunch, and aboriginal dancing finishing with aboriginal cultural demonstrations including boomerang lessons, playing the didgeridoo, etc. and then finishing the day with a one hour train ride (the Kuranda Railway) down the mountain, which has beautiful scenery (different than on the gondola) before the bus ride back to the hotel. Really enjoyable for all three of you! We also took an all day tour north from Port Douglas to the Mossman gorge/river/rainforest; Daintree river looking for Crocodiles, snakes, birds, (found 'em), lunch at a hotel on the beach at Port Tribulation (beach and pool there, also), Rainforest Discovery Center and tour. This tour did not have as many kids as the snorkeling or Kuranda/skyway/train tour, but we all enjoyed it thoroughly. We also spent an afternoon walking along 'four mile beach' behind the hotel (about a four minute walk) and walked over to the beautiful Sheraton. Shopping in Port Douglas will be fun, lots of souvenirs for your daughter. Food, yes, expensive...it sounds like you spend a moderate amount on food so it will just be a bit more! We suggest Mango Jam, at least once, fun, inexpensive, tasty! Also, try out the food at the Marina! they have early-bird specials - By the way, the pool at the Radisson is fairly cool, not heated, but will probably we a few degrees warmer than when we were there in August. I think you'll have fun.

CAlifornia
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27. Re: Help Guruswife!

thank you Mypl8tes and middle aged: great feedback. Sounds like the food is not expensive compared to Southern Cal. we aren't big drinkers so beer and wine will be fine. Glad for the tip on sodas and ketchup!

My daughter loves snorkeling so we are really looking forward to that, and the rainforest is almost too hard to imagine.

thanks again!