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Help With General Itinerary and Kangaroo Island Especially

Atlanta
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Help With General Itinerary and Kangaroo Island Especially

We are planning a trip to Australia (first time visitors) and need feedback on a possible itinerary and recommendations for how we should do Kangaroo Island. Background information: we're a slightly senior couple (66 and 60 years young) who enjoy museums and the arts, scenic beauty, wildlife, good food and wine, and a fair amount of creature comforts when we travel.

First, your thought on the following itinerary:

Days 1, 2 & 3 – Sydney (use public transportation)

Day 4 – Blue Mountains (early morning train to Katoomba, use the Tram and then return to Sydney the same evening?)

Day 5 – Early morning flight to Melbourne (use public transportation in Melbourne)

Day 6 – Melbourne

Days 7 & 8 – Rent a car and drive the Great Ocean Drive and on to Adelaide (turn in the car and use public transportation to see Adelaide—is this a good idea in Adelaide?)

Day 9 – Adelaide

Days 10 & 11– Kangaroo Island (see "Second" below)

Day 12 – Rent a car and drive through Barossa (and Clare?) Valley to visit wineries

Day 13 – Drive to Flinders Range

Day 14 – Flinders Range and return to Adelaide

Day 15 – Fly from Adelaide to Sydney for return flight to the States

Second, we need recommendations for how we should do Kangaroo Island. From the research I've done so far I see that we could either sign up for a tour that would pick us up at our hotel in Adelaide and take care of all the details, or get ourselves to the island by ferry or plane and rent a car or use a tour company there. I also see that several tour companies operate inns or B&Bs on the island. Suggestions?

Recommendations for hotels (we've already booked a terrific deal at the Four Seasons in Sydney but otherwise we're wide open for suggestions), restaurants, and things to see and do will be appreciated.

I realize we are missing some major tourist destinations (Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, etc.) but we plan to return at some point to pick up what we miss this time. Thanks in advance for your help. Isn't TripAdvisor wonderful?

Uden, The...
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1. Re: Help With General Itinerary and Kangaroo Island Especially

Hi Rag

Your itinerary certainly is doable but you'll have to make choices with only 15 days. Blue Mountains can be done on a daytrip but better stay overnight. No time, I understand.

2 days between Melbourne and Adelaide really is very short. I'd drive first day Melbourne to Port Campbell and see as much of GOR as possible. Next morning spend time for 12 Apostles, London Bridge and other sites and drive to Naracoorte in the afternoon

Maybe this:

Day 7: Melbourne-Port Campbell

Day 8: Port Campbell-Naracoorte

Day 9: Naracoorte (great caves) to Barossa Valley

Day 10: Barossa Valley to Flinders Ranges NP. I suggest to drive via Burra, Peterborough and Hawker. Roads are all sealed and it's a beautiful route. Very beautiful! Find a place to stay in FR. I can recommend Rawnsley Station and Wilpena Pound resort. The latter is at the foot of Wilpena Pound.

Day 11 and 12: Flinders Ranges NP.

This is one of the most amazing NP's in Australia. It also is in the Outback. You can visit Flinders Ranges for a whole day, but roads inside the NP aren't sealed and your rentalcarcy forbids to drive off paved roads. Ok, that said, we drove ourselves with our rental SUV and had a fantastic day. Saw all kinds of animals, Emu's birds of prey, wallabies, kangaroos etc. We also took a flight over Wilpena Pound. There're lots of hiking trails and scenery is overwhelming.

Day 13: Drive back to Adelaide via Quorn and Pt Augusta. This will take most of the day. Traffic in Adelaide is slow, lots of trafficlights.

Day 14: Adelaide.

Kangaroo Island also should not be missed but I don't think it's a good idea to see both Flinders Ranges and KI in only 5 days. KI is big! If you want to visit I'd fly Adelaide-Kingscote and rent a car on the island. Flinders Chase NP is at the far west end of the island and a long drive. Plus so many other things to see, your time will be very limited. I'd recommend 3 full days for it, 2 full days the very least.

Tough choice, I know, so you have to come back another time and again and again as we did-lol-

Don't hestitate to ask more questions and I'm sure our local expert TW-Yachtgirl will join soon.

Tet

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2. Re: Help With General Itinerary and Kangaroo Island Especially

Thanks Tet! I endorse everything you've said... and I agree that if you want to see the Flinders Ranges the choices of accommodation are Rawnsley Park (if the budget can stand it book a new eco villa.. the other motel rooms are fairly basic) Wilpena is best seen by the air so please take a flight if possible. I also love the Prairie Hotel at Parachilna.. unlike "Wilpena pound resort" and rawnsley park.. this is a real outback pub .. stay a day and you'll meet some locals. The accommodation is unique and a good standard. www.prairiehotel.com.au

Re Kangaroo Island. I agree with Tet, if you only have two days I would fly down and book a car on the island then fly back.. you will save a lot of time and not all rental car agencies will allow you to take a car to KI in any case.

If you are driving youselves I would make my way down to the KI Wilderness Resort, dropping into Seal Bay, (if you are travelling on a weekend see if you can view the Birds Of Prey show at Vivonne bay - there are shows each day but only available to public on weekends.. other days is via sealink tour buses so you'd need to do a tour).. Drive directly into Flinders Chase National Park and see Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch etc. Travel back to the Wilderness Resort for the evening (just outside the park boundaries) Next morning drive back towards Kingscote, calling in at the Marron Farm, Honey Farm or any other places which take your fancy. If you had time, the other thing I'd recommend is KI Marine Tours dolphin tour which departs from Emu Bay near Kingscote.. the Airport is only a short drive. If going over by Ferry then I think you'd just have time to travel down to Flinders Chase, stay a night and call into one or two places on your way back to the ferry. REX and Air South both fly to KI, REX from the main airport and Air South from a smaller terminal building a short drive away.

We can advise more details once you've digested this... make a decision whether you will fly or drive and then look at the available time ON the island and we will devise a route to see as much as possible in that time without rushing. Have you been to www.southaustralia.com ? on that website you can download the Kangaroo Island brochure... a MUST have for planning your days here. An idea of your nightly accommodation budget would also help us offer more tailored advice. Happy to help further if you need ... !

Atlanta
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3. Re: Help With General Itinerary and Kangaroo Island Especially

Thanks so much Tet14 and TW_Yachtgirl. Great advice! I'll be digesting all of your information in the next day or two and get back to you. Thanks again.

Uden, The...
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4. Re: Help With General Itinerary and Kangaroo Island Especially

Here's a site for KI tours. www.sealink.com.au

If you decide to go KI instead FR I still would recommend to go on your own and take your time. We are your age and travelled KI this year. Stayed 4 nights and took the ferry. Advantage of that is you also could see some of Fleurieu Peninsula. A hidden gem. Maybe stay McLaren Vale for a night. So instead Barossa stay McLaren Vale for the wineries. Driving around KI is not that interesting and staying on the road you won't see many animals. You'll have to go off road and visit places what's it all about. The are restrictions bringing your rental car though. Only Thrifte allows bringing it to KI but only from their Adelaide rentallocation. We had a Hertz car and brought it taking the risk because we had that car for a long time but we took a risk bringing it to the island. I hope I don't offend anybody but for the wineregions in that area to us it is:

1. Mc Laren Vale

2. Clare

3. Barossa and we stayed in all three of them.

Tet

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5. Re: Help With General Itinerary and Kangaroo Island Especially

We've decided that we will forgo KI this time around for a number of reasons. That decision having been made, we have a few more questions:

Tet14 - I assume you feel that going through Naracoorte is a better choice than continuing up Princes Highway because of the caves?

Also, I had already thought that the best way to travel from Adelaide to Flinders was via Burra, Peterborough and Hawker. Good to have that confirmed.

Tet14 and TW_Yachtgal - Rawnsley Park Station and Wilpena Pound Resort are both offering a two-night special that includes a flight over Wilpena Pound (Rawnsley also includes a dinner in the Woolshed Restaurant with a bottle of Dusty Dog Wine and the room would be an Eco Villa. Wilpena Pound Resort throws in a half-day 4WD tour.) Any thoughts on which of these two you would recommend?

I'm also intrigued by the possibility of spending a night at the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna (I'm really interested in sampling the wild game menu in the restaurant!). What about two nights at either Rawnsley or Wilpena Pound resorts and one night at Prairie Hotel? How long would it take us to drive from Walpena to Parachilna?

Or....rather than going to Parachilna, should we try to take in Arkaroola? Or am I trying to squeeze too much into our itinerary again?

Thanks a bunch for your help.

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6. Re: Help With General Itinerary and Kangaroo Island Especially

A shame you'll miss out on KI but its a fair bit of travelling for only two days. I always advise at least three or four.

You will love the Flinders anyway... so let's concentrate on that... If you are driving you can always drive over to the Prairie hotel, there are some scenic routes which, depending on your car and time of year, you could take. The EcoVilla deal at Rawnsley with the flight is definitely the way to go. Wilpena is a little "tired" there is new management in there and it is in a beautiful location but the Eco Villas are brand new and hard to go past. You will have views of either Rawnsley Bluff, The Chace Range or the Elder Range from your villa and the people running the Woolshed are lovely.

Arkaroola is another fairly long haul, good if you had a few extra days but there should be enough for you to explore if you spend time at Parachilna (for the food and a drink. - even a night... the nights are when everyone mingles out the front and a lot of fun.) Rawnsley Park and the Pound (Wilpena) A couple of side trip suggestions include a tour with Paul from Wallaby Tracks and Aaronn at Flinders Ranges Water Cruises.. Port Augusta is a relatively short drive, on the highway back to Adelaide. If you take the "back way" up (via clare, Burra, Peterborough etc and even Barossa Valleys if you want to sightsee) then return via the Highway and allow an afternoon to do the Top Of The Gulf Tour for a different view of where the outback meets the sea.

Keep thinking and we'll keep offering suggestions :)

Uden, The...
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7. Re: Help With General Itinerary and Kangaroo Island Especially

I mentioned Naracoorte for the caves yes. You also can take Princes Hw all the way, nothing wrong with that. Won't make much difference to drive via Mt Gambier (stop at Blue Lake!) to Penola and Naracoorte instead. Between Penola and Naracoorte also are many famous wineries. Just off Princes Highway is Robe, a lovely little town and stop by the BIG lobster along the road in Kingston.

We visited Flinders Ranges without a reservation and checked Rawnsley first. You can't beat the Eco villas but we found them too expensive. The cabins weren't appealing to us. No shade either. At Wilpena Pound they offered us a great deal. Stay 3 nights, pay 2 (it was off season). We had the best rooms with kitchens and a private deck in a building with 6 other apartments. Shade and great and wallabies came to say hello at dusk. I would not want to stay at the motelrooms. Not to compare with the kitchen rooms. Wilpena has 2 restaurants, a pool right in front one of the restaurants, fuelpump, visitorcenter/shop. We didnot take tours but explored on our own. We just booked the flight at the receptiondesk and the airstrip is less than 5 minutes from the resort. We really liked Wilpena Pound with elderly people like us, but backpackers and campers also. We like a mix like that. And we also liked the pool just steps away.

The road from Hawker to Parachilna is paved, but from Wilpena P. shortest is to drive through the NP on a dirtroad. Great drive but I'd recommend a SUV. No 4wd needed in dry conditions.

I also give you a great hotel back to Adelaide from FR. It's associated with the Prairie hotel and the name is North Star Hotel Melrose in the South Flinders. Couleur locale, a great bar and good food!

South Flinders also should not be missed and the drive via Clare back to Adelaide is nice till you reach the urban sprawl. It's all traffic lights from there.

Tet

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8. Re: Help With General Itinerary and Kangaroo Island Especially

Reread TW's post and she's right about the motelrooms at Wilpena. Bit tired. But the kitchen/apartment rooms are modern and bright.

Btw, I like the way you are planning your trip! We don't often see that on the forums.

Tet

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9. Re: Help With General Itinerary and Kangaroo Island Especially

Thanks Yachtgal and Tet. You guys are really helping me with the planning process. Much appreciated.

I think we're going to go with the Eco Villa deal at Rawnsley. Sounds like a winner to me.

The Wallaby Tracks tour also sounds good. I'm definitely considering that.

Questions:

1. Concerning Parchilna, although the dining experience is particularly enticing to us, will a couple of 60+ year olds feel out of place at the Prairie Hotel?

2. Although we don't plan to undertake any challenging off-road adventures on our own, do you think we should still plan to rent an SUV rather than just a sedan since we'll be driving on some dirt roads (for instance, the road through the NP to Parachilna)?

3. Do you have suggestions for a hotel close to the airport in Adelaide? We will have an early morning flight back to Sydney. Don't need anything fancy as we'll probably be late getting in and leaving early--just clean and reasonably quiet (considering it's near the airport). I'll also check TripAdvisory hotel reviews of course but thought you guys might have a recommendation.

I'm know I'll have more questions as I continue planning. Thanks for staying with me. Can't wait to get Down Under for the first time!

Uden, The...
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10. Re: Help With General Itinerary and Kangaroo Island Especially

Hi

1. We have not been to Parachilna because we were too busy visiting Flinders. I'm sure you don't feel out of place. We never felt in Australia at any place but don't visit discodancing-lol-

2. We saw a few normal cars on the tracks but I would not recommend. Some bumpy crossings and a high clearance vehicle will be better. We had a Toyota Kluger but also rented a Ford Territory before. We prefer the Ford to be honest.

We drove 110 kms that day, 60 kms unpaved. We drove the loop clockwise as follows:

Turned left off Blinman road at the yellow billboard and stopped at: Bunyeroo scenic drive-lookout point-Bunyeroo Valley lookout-Razorbacklookout-Bunyeroo Gorge-Twin Gum lookout-Brachina Gorge-Aroona Valley (with a sign for Heysen Trail) Slippery Dip-ABC Range lookout-Youngaana. Returned on paved Blinman Road. After that on our way south we drove a bit of a rough dirtroad to Stokes Hill Lookout and stopped at Hucks lookout. Stokes Hill should not be missed.

Next day we did some hiking, took the scenic flight and drove to Sacred Canyon. This is a 12 kms bit wasboard drive to a gate which is closed. Open it and drive another 2 kms to the parkinglot. (Close the gate again, always leave gates as you found them). From the parkinglot it's 250 meters walk to a great gorge with rockpaintings. The paintings weren't all that but the gorge is great.

Always carry water, let the rangers know where you are heading and bring a picnicbasket (no food in the NP). We made some short hikes and saw lots of wildlife. Wear sturdy shoes for walking and don't lift rocks but you already knew that. Slop on sunscreen and wear a brimmed hat.

3. Last nights in Adelaide we stayed at BreakFree On Hindley.

Pros: At the west side of Adelaide but right in the City and only 10 minutes from the a/p.

City bus stops right in front of it

Fully selfcontained (apartments)and decent TV reception (eventually...)

Covered, secured parking (fee applies, $ 15,-- per day)

Walks to Rundle Mall and the Museums

Cons: Not many good restaurants nearby.

Also backpacker lodging close by and they come back drunk and make "noises"

Not very romantic.

HTH

Tet