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Planning A Visit To Australia  
User currently offlineLY777 From France, joined Nov 2005, 2671 posts, RR: 2
Posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 4239 times:

Hi all,
I am currently planning a visit to Australia.
With my job, I can only go there 18 days maximum.
What are the best months to visit?
What to visit?
I guess it is not worth spending 18 days in Sydney only...On the other hand, I know that I won't be able to visit the whole country in less than 3 weeks.
Also, which airline who you advise me from CDG?
Is it inevitable to rent a car as I don't like to drive abroad.

Thanks!


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27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineLonghornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3278 posts, RR: 45
Reply 1, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4220 times:

If I had 18 days in Australia, I'd do 4 days in Sydney, 4 days in Melbourne, 3 days in Alice Springs (Ayers Rock/Uluru), 5 days in Far North Queensland (Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Atherton Tablelands). That gives you some wiggle room to adjust as necessary, and/or to account for travel.

As far as time of year, it all depends on what you want to see/do. If you go up north to see the Great Barrier Reef (which really is a must), January-June is the "wet" season, where it's hot and muggy pretty much all day, every day. Winters in the south (June-August) are frigid/mild, but not freezing most days.

I would split the difference and go in the October range.

Sydney is fantastic, and you must go to the Blue Mountains. It's a lovely day trip. Also, for a cheap, spectacular view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, take the 30 minute Neutral Bay ferry from Circular Quay. It passes right past the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and is a terrific way to do those two sights.

Melbourne is also great. Lots to see and do there, but don't forget to enjoy some Italian food on Lygon Street! If you go between March-October, make sure to catch an Australian Rules Football ("footy," at least in Victoria/South Australia) match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Just don't let anyone talk you into becoming a Collingwood or Carlton fan.  

Uluru is pretty self-explanatory.

Far North Queensland all depends on what you want to do. Of course, snorkeling or diving the GBR is a must, but there are some absolutely wonderful areas around Cairns. The Atherton Tablelands, 30 km inland from Cairns, are an incredible mixture of lush tropical rainforest, fertile agricultural lands, and rich cultural history. There is a quaint town up on the Tablelands called Yungaburra, which is one of my absolute favorites, and well worth a visit. If you want a more coast-oriented town, Port Douglas, an hour north of Cairns, is a great beach town. Further north is the beautiful Cape Tribulation. Either way, make sure you take a cruise on the Daintree River, and if you're lucky, you'll get to see some crocodiles!

Personally, I'd fly CX CDG-HKG-SYD, then jet around using the low cost carriers like Virgin and Jetstar, (book well in advance for the cheapest fares), then return CNS-HKG-CDG.

Cheers,
Cameron


User currently offlineNAV20 From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 9909 posts, RR: 36
Reply 2, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 4153 times:

I think Longhornmaniac has done a good job and covered a lot of the ground, LY777.

I agree that Sydney is 'top dog' in terms of 'cityscape' - all the sights he recommends are 'musts.' Melbourne is the more 'liveable' city, in my view - with even better restaurants - but it's not as scenic. The strong points of the Melbourne region are probably the very scenic east side of Port Philip Bay, leading down to the bay entrance; and also the 'Great Ocean Road' to the west, which has marvellous views of the Southern Ocean and lots of pleasant towns and tourist resorts (and plenty of working vineyards!). A trip to Ballarat, the centre of the old 1840s goldfields, will also be enjoyable. One good thing is that, as far as I know, there are lots of bus tours available for those areas, so you won't need to drive yourself.

http://www.wildlifetours.com.au/tour...r?gclid=CPHS9ei_m7ICFUNNpgodaF8Afw

I agree also that October onwards is probably a good time to visit - the Australian spring is September to November, so you'll get warm weather without too much risk of the really hot stuff, 100 degrees or more, which quite often sets in in January.

Only snag is, at that time of year, you'd be out of luck in terms of sporting spectacles at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Australian football season ends on 29th. September, and the international cricket season doesn't really get going until December. The 'high point' of that season is the Melbourne Test Match, but that doesn't occur until Boxing Day, 26th. December. There will certainly be the odd inter-state game going on at the MCG, you could try going to one of those; but I can't guarantee anything like the atmosphere of that Test Match, with 60,000-plus people attending! This is the welcome they gave to Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian (opposition!) captain, just last year!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIgcb0JAxlY

Agree with Longhorn also about the 'outback,' Uluru/Alice, if the time and money lasts out; and about North Queensland.

[Edited 2012-09-04 01:38:14]


"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
User currently offlineLY777 From France, joined Nov 2005, 2671 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4121 times:

Thanks for the advice.
My wife is afraid of flying, I don't know how she will be on a 24-hour journey!!!



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User currently offlineallrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2003 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4088 times:

Good suggestions from the others. Unfortunately, getting to the interior of Australia does tend to be expensive and time consuming. I have yet to see Ayers Rock myself. One place I do love is the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, though I'm not certain how doable that will be for you.

In Sydney, take a ferry ride and a walk along the Rocks. The Sydney region is blessed with three very scenic day trips by train to the Blue Mountains, Newcastle and the South Coast.

You could also consider a quick side trip to Canberra by bus, train or flight. It's a very pretty city, good for cycling around, with a number of excellent museums and galleries.

If you don't have a car you should find Victoria easiest to get around. Melbourne is my favourite Australian city with many easily accessible sights, great food, culture and, as others have said, Australia's most sacred site (the Melbourne Cricket Ground, or MCG). Ballarat is a historic city with the goldfields recreated at Sovereign Hill. Bendigo has the Central DeborahGold Mine underground tour and old tram rides past historic buildings, plus a nice art gallery. There are old Paddlesteamer rides along the Murray River at Echuca. Daylesford has some lovely natural springs, while the route from Beechworth and up into the mountains is very pretty (but a car is best, especially if you want to stop by the roadside fruit stalls).

The whole coastal route from Melbourne to Adelaide is wonderful. Start at the sleepy Bellarine Peninsula (accessible by train and bus via Geelong), which has steam train rides and the best fish and chips and ice cream I've ever had in Australia. You then go past famous surf beaches and along the very scenic Great Ocean Road. Past Warnambool is Port Fairy, where we ate great seafood in the pretty town. Over the South Australian side there is the quiet, but beautiful, Coorong and small beachside towns with crayfish and other seafood. Inland, Mt Gambier and the Naracoorte caves. Near Adelaide there's Victor Harbour and the pretty Adelaide hills.

Cairns is probably worth a visit, though I don't think much of the city itself. The train ride up to Kuranda in the mountainsis pretty and you can take a cable car back down over the tree tops. Good way to explore the rainforest. Do take a cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef while you can. Three days in Cairns may be sufficient, depending on how many additional activities you want to do and at what pace. You could certainly stretch it out.

My policy when flying between Europe and Australia is to have a stopover somewhere along the way. It makes it much easier and you get to visit another wonderful country along the way. If you do want stopovers think of an airline that will allow you to do a routing via two different cities. For example, we once did SYD-SIN-LHR-CDG-LHR-NRT-SYD with QF and BA. Now I realise that you *don't* want LHR, but both OneWorld and Star have carriers that pass through BKK, HKG, NRT, SIN (perhaps KUL as well with MH, or ICN could be another option) to and from CDG en route to Australia. It's amazing what you can achieve in an Asian city given a single day to make it a worthwhile visit!



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2711 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 4062 times:

I'm Australian, lived in Paris for 10 years now and in that time I've done the round trip 32 times. Why don't you send me an IM to discuss?

Suggest CX or EK out of CDG.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineLY777 From France, joined Nov 2005, 2671 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 3994 times:

Thanks. What about MH? Do they have a good product on the route? (maybe cheaper?)


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User currently offlineNAV20 From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 9909 posts, RR: 36
Reply 7, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 3987 times:

Can't help with airlines, LY777 - I don't fly much anyway nowadays, but on the rare occasions that I do I tend to accept whatever the travel agent recommends. In my experience, if you're clear on what your priorities are, they're pretty good at 'getting it right.'

Occurs to me, though, that none of us has mentioned beaches yet. They're a 'big thing' in Australia - given that most of us enjoy warm weather for more than six months in the year. I don't know if you and your wife like them, but if you do never mind the sight-seeing - you'll be in clover just about anywhere along the Australian coast.

I mentioned that the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay is 'scenic,' but I didn't say that the Bay has two other important advantages - clean water and lots of beaches. The Melbourne beaches start right in the city - places like St. Kilda and Port Melbourne - but all the suburbs all the way south down the Bay have good beaches too.

Found this site that provides plenty of shots of the (east side) suburb I still live in - Beaumaris, about 15 miles south of the city. It's typical of many others along the Bay shore.

http://www.google.com.au/search?q=Be...sqi=2&ved=0CDwQsAQ&biw=782&bih=481

My own hobby was sailing (mostly the 'hard stuff,' dinghies) and my wife and kids used to love the beach, which was within walking distance.

Life was pretty hard when the kids were all at home. Do a day's work, drive 15 miles home, and then have to join them all on the beach and drive them back to the house before I got any supper  Smile. And then, at weekends, try to persuade one or other of them to come and crew for me at the sailing club.....

Anyway - never mind the up-state bus trips, if you just fancy a lazy relaxing time you can both just spend time sunbathing and swimming pretty well anywhere along the Bay Shore......

[Edited 2012-09-05 07:22:20]


"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
User currently offlineLY777 From France, joined Nov 2005, 2671 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3966 times:

Thanks, NAV20! The pics look great!


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User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2711 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3947 times:

Quoting LY777 (Reply 6):
Thanks. What about MH? Do they have a good product on the route? (maybe cheaper?)

J or Y?



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineBraybuddy From Ireland, joined Aug 2004, 5633 posts, RR: 32
Reply 10, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 3940 times:

Quoting LY777 (Reply 6):
nks. What about MH? Do they have a good product on the route? (maybe cheaper?)

There's absolutely nothing wrong with Malaysia Airlines's product on the Australia route, and they're usually cheaper than the competition. I've flown economy with them a couple of times and you'd hardly notice the difference between them and Singapore. The only reason to choose Singapore over them would be the A380, but maybe Malaysia will have it on the Paris route by the time you're travelling.


User currently offlineLY777 From France, joined Nov 2005, 2671 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3902 times:

I will fly in economy Y


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User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2711 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 3889 times:

Quoting LY777 (Reply 11):
I will fly in economy Y

In Y, generally, A380 will always be better: quieter, more space / width; higher pressure = less dehydration

MH, SQ and CX are all known for service, even in Y. EK, mixed reports.



[Edited 2012-09-06 03:03:30]


When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6406 posts, RR: 39
Reply 13, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3881 times:

CX will have a consistently decent product to CDG soon, once the whole 77W fleet is retrofitted with the new seats. SQ is also a good choice on their A380. The timing out of CDG for both airlines' main flight means you arrive in Asia early in the morning and face the second leg down to Australia straight away - possibly being bad for jetlag. Emirates has a flight which leaves CDG at 2100, arrives in DXB early morning and gives you the whole flight to Australia to rest and arrive in the morning there.


It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineLY777 From France, joined Nov 2005, 2671 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3875 times:

Thanks for your advice.
Anyway, I realize I can't take neither MH nor EK since my passport is full of Israeli stamps...

[Edited 2012-09-06 04:45:46]


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User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6406 posts, RR: 39
Reply 15, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3872 times:

Quoting LY777 (Reply 14):

That shouldn't affect anything.. My friend has been to Israel, flew Emirates and even got a Saudi Arabian visa. It's only a flight and it's not like they ban Jews or people who have been to Israel. That'd be extremely archaic if they did.



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineLY777 From France, joined Nov 2005, 2671 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3868 times:

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 15):

I know that people who have Israeli stamps on their passports cannot enter in Dubai. Maybe flying EK is another debate, I don't know.



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User currently offlineNAV20 From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 9909 posts, RR: 36
Reply 17, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 3780 times:

Quoting LY777 (Reply 16):
I know that people who have Israeli stamps on their passports cannot enter in Dubai.

I don't think you have much to worry about, LY777. Due to numerous recent assassinations/terrorist attacks 'both ways' since 2010, both the Arab nations and Israel tend quite often to refuse entry to passport-holders on both sides. But, to the best of my knowledge, this only applies to Arab and Israeli nationals, not to people who have only visited Israel (or, indeed, the relevant arab countries).

I take it that you hold a US passport which merely contains Israeli entry stamps? If so, according to this recent (Dubai government) website, you shouldn't have any problems. The various Middle Eastern airlines are very important in economic terms to the countries in the region, they'd be crazy to do anything that prejudiced their operations (except on genuine 'national security' grounds, like actual Israelis wanting to enter Arab territory, or vice versa).

http://www.dubaifaqs.com/israeli-stamp-passport-dubai.php

In any case, do you actually want to 'enter' any of the countries concerned? If you're just planning to spend an hour or two in the transit lounge, you won't have to show your passport at all?

[Edited 2012-09-08 06:19:04]


"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
User currently offlineLY777 From France, joined Nov 2005, 2671 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3725 times:

Thanks for the advice, I think I will choose CX, .

I am surprised nobody mentionned the QF/AF combo...

[Edited 2012-09-09 05:34:27]


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User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2711 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3712 times:

Quoting LY777 (Reply 18):
Thanks for the advice, I think I will choose CX, .

I am surprised nobody mentionned the QF/AF combo...

The code share is being cancelled as part fot he QF / EK tie-up in Apr 2013. So you'd have to hurry to use it. Also, AF's 10 abrest in Y on 777 for 12 hrs is not so attractive.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineLY777 From France, joined Nov 2005, 2671 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (1 year 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3693 times:

Quoting OzGlobal (Reply 19):
So you'd have to hurry to use it. Also, AF's 10 abrest in Y on 777 for 12 hrs is not so attractive.

Although I love the 777, I avoid AF 777s in Y, unfortunately



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User currently offlinerahulrahul From United States of America, joined Jun 2012, 175 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 3455 times:

I went there 2 years ago. It is awesome. In Sydney, go to the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Circular Quay, Sydney Tower(great views of city and in the distance, the airport)etc. Then go to Katoomba, which is a beautiful little town in the Blue Mts. See the Three Sisters(mountain), take the inclined railway and the cable car. At Sydney Airport, there is a nice viewing deck.

Rahul



A300/320/321/332/333/343/346 B732/738/744/752/762/763/772/773 CRJ200/700/900 ERJ140/145/170/175 MD88
User currently offlineLY777 From France, joined Nov 2005, 2671 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 3367 times:

Thanks for the advice, Rahul


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User currently offlineKent350787 From Australia, joined May 2008, 960 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 3356 times:

Fear of flying does limit things a little, as Australia is approx. the same size as the "lower 48" of the USA.

October is a good month for most of the country, and Sydney the best entry point for a short stay to see most sights. For a major city, it also has stunning beaches, which are readily accesible by bus (or train+bus) from Sydney. We even have a beach as a spotting location, although getting there by public transport isn't simple (but doable).

A day trip to the Blue Mountains is very doanble, and absolutely worthwhile. Vistas that are almost Grand Canyon but with trees. Many bus tours to the mountains also stop at Featherdale wildlife park, which allows you to get up close to Koalas, kangaroos and other native animals.

The main Sydney sites have been covered, but for beach swimming that time of year you should really be heading to Queensland, with Cairns probably the most accessible location with good access to the Great Barrier Reef. It's around 3.5 hours from Sydney. Cairns itself it very touristy though (the beache villages just north from it are much nicer), but readily accessible to rainforested mountains and the Daintree rainforest.

The outback experience requires flying - there is no other way of doing it. Either Uluru (again, 3.5 hours from Sydney, but expensive for flights and accomodation), or even flying up to Darwin and visiting Kakadu. Both Can be done direct from Cairns also (or maybe Uluru is via Alice Springs.

For a longer visit, Victoria is well worth visiting, and South Australia is probably my favourite part of Austrlaia outside NSW.


User currently offlinesomething From United Kingdom, joined May 2011, 1633 posts, RR: 21
Reply 24, posted (1 year 10 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3198 times:

Hey all,

as it happens, I'll make my way to Australia as well as it seems. I'm going next March and will stay there for 22 days, flights go in and out of SYD. What can I expect the weather to be like? 'Climate diagrams' seem of little help, as apparently it can be anything from 2°C to 41°C.

My budget will be about AUS$250 per day, for a party of two. I hope to cover accomodation, transport, food and admissions with that. Does that seem sufficient?

Is Alice Springs worth the visit? It seems very time and money consuming for something that doesn't look excessively interesting online.

Any ''insider tips'' in and around Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef? Also, dumb question, but should I watch out for any sneeky insects that'll kill me?

If you wanted to see Sydney and Melbourne, would you fly, take the train or rent a car? I was thinking a car rental to check out Canberra for a day. Or is Melbourne-Adelaide the better choice (considering I want to do only one)?

If you could do only one of the two, would you recommend to visit New Zealand or Cairns? If NZ, North or South Island?

Is Brisbane worth a visit, or the Gold Coast at least? It looks very nice, but I've heard that it's lame.

I'm sorry for all the questions and I usually figure this stuff out on my own, but all the amazing and detailed suggestions provided above inspired me to give this a shot for a change. Thanks so much for the help everyone!

[Edited 2012-09-23 13:17:33]


..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
25 tootallsd : something (UK): In 2001, I flew from LAX to SYD, picked up a car and drove south and then west to Melbourne. Lovely drive. Several days in Melbourne i
26 kent350787 : March is awkward for temp, as mid-30s are not unknown in Sydney or Melbourne. But not regular. Expect mid-high 20s daytime max., although it could al
27 Longhornmaniac : I posted quite a bit on that in my reply, but PM me if you want more info. Cheers, Cameron
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