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Old 07-02-2014, 04:58 PM   #1
Cousin Orville
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Planning and Australia ABD - need advice

My son and I are going on an Australian Adventures by Disney and I need some advice. We will likely spend 3-4 days in Australia before and possibly up to 4 days after the trip (depends on work schedule). The ABD visits Cairns, Alice Springs, Sydney (just 2 full days) and a couple of areas in Tasmania.

Question 1:
Do you think there are any major sites in Sydney that are not on the ABD itinerary?
Sydney Day 1 (half day) - Domain Park and Mrs. Macquarie's Chair, Dinner at Botanica Brasserie.
Sydney Day 2 - Harbour Bike Tour, Harbour Cruise, Sydney Opera House Visit, Dinner on our own Sydney
Day 3 - Private Surfing Lessons (which Gavin and I prob won't be able to do, so there is an optional walk down the coastal trail from Bronte to Bondi), Lunch at North Bondi RSL Club, Afternoon/Evening on our Own.

Question 2:
What other areas would you recommend visiting? Melbourne and Phillip Island have been recommended as has Kangaroo Island. Any strong opinions out there?

Thanks!
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:55 PM   #2
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I'm not overly familiar with Sydney, but that does seem like most of the major usual tourist sites. Are you interested in climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge? I would definitely add that to the itinerary if I was doing it. I'm sure if you spent extra time in Sydney you would find stuff to do

Melbourne seems like it would be a great addition to your trip. I'm quite surprised it's not included in the ABD itinerary actually - guess they can't do everything If you are likely to only have a few days in Melbourne, I would probably base yourself in the city and look at the following options as day tours:

* Phillip Island including the Penguin Parade (since you've already expressed an interest in this)
* Great Ocean Road if you're interested in coastline
* Yarra Valley including Healesville Sanctuary if you're interested in wine and/or Australian animals
* Dandenong Ranges including a ride on Puffing Billy if you're interested in forest/trees/hills/birds

Of course there are many other options, and also many places to see in the city itself too. I would probably allow at least one day for exploring the city.

I'm not very familiar with Adelaide, but Kangaroo Island does look nice. It would seem a shame to spend your whole few days there and miss out on some of the other places around Adelaide, but not sure how it works as a day trip either. On the other hand, maybe you'd appreciate a few days of relaxation before you head back? I visited Adelaide as a kid and I remember going to Victor Harbour and Granite Island, as well as visiting a German style village (Hahndorf?), and a huge rocking horse that you could climb to the top of. You may also be interested in the Barossa Valley if you're into wine and vineyards.

I'd love to say visit Perth on the west coast. I grew up there and it's really beautiful. But realistically it would probably be too far out of your way for only a few days there. It is the most isolated capital city in the world after all.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:08 AM   #3
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Congratulations on booking in to an AbD trip DownUnder. I hope that you and your son will enjoy your time here.

Looking at your siggie, it looks like you're travelling in July. That's a great time for Cairns, Uluru and not too bad for Sydney. It could be colder in Melbourne at that time of year.

If you provide us with a bit more information of what things you and your son would like to see and do, we might be able to recommend a few more options.

As a Melbournian, I would encourage you to come down and see it for yourself. It really is a great place to visit with the arcades, markets, great food and architecture. Depending on when in July you come, there may be a few festivals that could be on in Melbourne. Normally the last weekend in July is Open House weekend. A few of the buildings in Melbourne are opened for free to the general public; most of which are normally not opened during the rest of the year.

The food/restaurant scene in Melbourne is pretty decent. Are you into food? Is there any particular cuisine you like to eat?

You have mentioned Philip Island and the penguins....just be aware that in July, it will be antarctic-ally cold. Watching the penguins come in isn't as much fun in the cold. You'll definitely want to wait until a few batches of penguins have started to come back in and then take a very slow walk back so that you can see the penguins heading back to their nests.



In regards to Sydney, if you don't want to spend the money, an alternative to climbing the Harbour Bridge is to climb up the Pylon. I would combine that with when you are the Rocks. Your tour itinerary does not mention the Rocks area, so you might want to explore this area by yourselves. There are daily walking tours that take you through the Rocks and provide you with the history behind this area. It is considered to be the birthplace of European Australia.
The other touristy area of Sydney is Darling Harbour. There are a number of attractions in Darling Harbour, including a Wild Life Zoo, an Aquarium, Madame Tussauds etc. There is also a very good Chinese Garden on the one side (the Chinatown end) of Darling Harbour.

I also would be remiss in not pointing out that about 2 hours away from Sydney is the Blue Mountains. It is a beautiful area to go-see and you might want to see if this area appeals to you and your son. The other area that is within 3 hours of Sydney is the Newcastle/Port Stephens area. July is the time for whales and you'll be able to catch both dolphins and whales in Port Stephens.



As I mentioned earlier, if you give us an idea of the sorts of things that you and your son prefer to see, we might be able to provide a few more suggestions.

Good luck with the trip planning!
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:33 AM   #4
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I'd add Taronga Zoo as an option for Sydney. Has some amazing views and plenty of Aussie animals. We love Nelson Bay/Port Stephens but have family there, so a little bias. There are a few dolphin cruises that you can go, DH recommends the Moon Shadow - apparently they have the best boats and food.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:40 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by zanzibar138 View Post
I'm not overly familiar with Sydney, but that does seem like most of the major usual tourist sites. Are you interested in climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge? I would definitely add that to the itinerary if I was doing it. I'm sure if you spent extra time in Sydney you would find stuff to do

Melbourne seems like it would be a great addition to your trip. I'm quite surprised it's not included in the ABD itinerary actually - guess they can't do everything If you are likely to only have a few days in Melbourne, I would probably base yourself in the city and look at the following options as day tours:

* Phillip Island including the Penguin Parade (since you've already expressed an interest in this)
* Great Ocean Road if you're interested in coastline
* Yarra Valley including Healesville Sanctuary if you're interested in wine and/or Australian animals
* Dandenong Ranges including a ride on Puffing Billy if you're interested in forest/trees/hills/birds

Of course there are many other options, and also many places to see in the city itself too. I would probably allow at least one day for exploring the city.

I'm not very familiar with Adelaide, but Kangaroo Island does look nice. It would seem a shame to spend your whole few days there and miss out on some of the other places around Adelaide, but not sure how it works as a day trip either. On the other hand, maybe you'd appreciate a few days of relaxation before you head back? I visited Adelaide as a kid and I remember going to Victor Harbour and Granite Island, as well as visiting a German style village (Hahndorf?), and a huge rocking horse that you could climb to the top of. You may also be interested in the Barossa Valley if you're into wine and vineyards.

I'd love to say visit Perth on the west coast. I grew up there and it's really beautiful. But realistically it would probably be too far out of your way for only a few days there. It is the most isolated capital city in the world after all.
I'm from Adelaide & agree with all recommended places. Barossa, Handorf & Victor Harbour are definitely the tourist spots. If you like wine definitely come to Mclaren Vale as well - which is on the way to Kangaroo Island.

I have lived here all my life & live about an hour by car from Kangaroo Island yet I still have never been! The ferry ride over there is a bit expensive but I've been told it's very nice - there are some beautiful places to stay, one day we'll go!
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:50 AM   #6
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If you have limited time in Adelaide & are going to Kangaroo Island then give Barossa a miss as it's the opposite direction.

Mclaren vale covers the wine & Vineyards and you could pop into Handorf on your way through. Victor Harbour is also down South with Kangaroo Island bit out of the way but still down south.
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Old 07-03-2014, 01:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
In regards to Sydney, if you don't want to spend the money, an alternative to climbing the Harbour Bridge is to climb up the Pylon. I would combine that with when you are the Rocks. Your tour itinerary does not mention the Rocks area, so you might want to explore this area by yourselves. There are daily walking tours that take you through the Rocks and provide you with the history behind this area. It is considered to be the birthplace of European Australia.
The other touristy area of Sydney is Darling Harbour. There are a number of attractions in Darling Harbour, including a Wild Life Zoo, an Aquarium, Madame Tussauds etc. There is also a very good Chinese Garden on the one side (the Chinatown end) of Darling Harbour.

I also would be remiss in not pointing out that about 2 hours away from Sydney is the Blue Mountains. It is a beautiful area to go-see and you might want to see if this area appeals to you and your son. The other area that is within 3 hours of Sydney is the Newcastle/Port Stephens area. July is the time for whales and you'll be able to catch both dolphins and whales in Port Stephens.

As I mentioned earlier, if you give us an idea of the sorts of things that you and your son prefer to see, we might be able to provide a few more suggestions.

Good luck with the trip planning!
Thanks for the suggestion of the Pylon. I'll show my son both options and see what he prefers. I think the Pylon, rather than climbing the bridge, may be a better option for him as he will be 10 yrs old.

It sounds like an extra day or two in Sydney might be good as well as a 3-4 day visit to Melbourne.
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Old 07-03-2014, 01:11 PM   #8
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If you have limited time in Adelaide & are going to Kangaroo Island then give Barossa a miss as it's the opposite direction.

Mclaren vale covers the wine & Vineyards and you could pop into Handorf on your way through. Victor Harbour is also down South with Kangaroo Island bit out of the way but still down south.
The last few days of our Adventures by Disney tour is spent in Tasmania. We're doing a number of things there from zip lining to kayaking. We're also visiting Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary there. Is Kangaroo Island very different from Tasmania or would you spend more time in and around Adelaide?
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:21 PM   #9
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I would second the suggestion to look at the Blue Mountains. Gets you out of the city and the scenery is beautiful. Lots to see and do up there. If you had more days I would recommend Jenolan Caves, which are a further 1.5 hours west from the Blue Mountains. One of my favourite places in the world.

Closer to the city, I'd definitely look into the bridge climb. It's really not as scary as it looks. You are a long long way from the edge, and you are always securely attached by a harness. Other attractions include a ferry to Taronga Zoo, checking out the Aquarium/Wildlife world/Madame Tussauds at Darling Harbour.

Melbourne is a great place too, with lots on.

If you're in Sydney or Melbourne of a weekend, you might consider checking out one of our winter football codes for a look at something different. A big AFL game at the SCg (Sydney Cricket Ground) or the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) would definitely be a highlight, or a rugby or rugby league game at Allianz Stadium or ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

Whatever you do, don't spread yourself too thin. Better to do fewer locations than to spend most of your trip on a plane or bus

Good luck!
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cousin Orville View Post
The last few days of our Adventures by Disney tour is spent in Tasmania. We're doing a number of things there from zip lining to kayaking. We're also visiting Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary there. Is Kangaroo Island very different from Tasmania or would you spend more time in and around Adelaide?
I don't know much about Kangaroo Island, but it doesn't strike me being similar to Tassie at all. It's quite a small island, and I don't think there's that much in the way of structured activities. There seems to be a eucalyptus oil plant and a shearing shed, as well as several wildlife interaction opportunities. It sounds like you'll have already seen plenty of wildlife, but maybe not seals, which you can see on Kangaroo Island (not sure if it depends on the time of year though). Apart from that, your main activities would be bush/beach walking. Seems as though there are some dunes in the middle of the island that you can go 'surfing' down. If it's only an hour from Adelaide, I would probably keep it as a day trip.
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Old 07-04-2014, 06:53 PM   #11
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I think they are quite different it just depends what you would prefer.

Kangaroo Island is about 2 hours out of city by car, aswell as how long it takes to get over by ferry. I don't think it is worth going over to kangaroo Island on a day trip - for the money you pay to get over to the Island you would want to stay the night to make the most of the cost.
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Old 07-04-2014, 08:19 PM   #12
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I think they are quite different it just depends what you would prefer.

Kangaroo Island is about 2 hours out of city by car, aswell as how long it takes to get over by ferry. I don't think it is worth going over to kangaroo Island on a day trip - for the money you pay to get over to the Island you would want to stay the night to make the most of the cost.
Oh sorry, I misunderstood. If it's going to take upwards of 3 hours to get there you'd definitely want to stay the night
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Old 07-04-2014, 08:35 PM   #13
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Oh sorry, I misunderstood. If it's going to take upwards of 3 hours to get there you'd definitely want to stay the night
Agreed. Thanks for the heads up. I'll likely concentrate on Melbourne after my ABD. I'll have to see where everything fits in.

I'll have 2.5-3 wks max in Australia. I'll arrive 2-3 days before the Adventures by Disney which starts in Cairns. The ABD (Cairns, Alice Springs, Sydney and Tasmania) is 12 days. And I will probably have 3-4 days after the ABD.
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:02 PM   #14
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Agreed. Thanks for the heads up. I'll likely concentrate on Melbourne after my ABD. I'll have to see where everything fits in.

I'll have 2.5-3 wks max in Australia. I'll arrive 2-3 days before the Adventures by Disney which starts in Cairns. The ABD (Cairns, Alice Springs, Sydney and Tasmania) is 12 days. And I will probably have 3-4 days after the ABD.
Have you booked your flights yet? Honestly, with only 2-3 days before your ABD, I would just stay in whichever city you fly into, then fly up to Cairns when your ABD starts. If your ABD finishes in Tassie, it's a quick and easy flight to Melbourne from there. With those sorts of time frames, you don't want to waste time at airports and flying around too much.

If you haven't booked your flights yet, I would probably look at flying into a more northern city (Sydney or Brisbane - so it's easier for you to get to Cairns), and flying out of Melbourne. If you can't do that, Sydney is kind of in the middle and probably makes most sense for flying in and out of.

Nobody's really mentioned Brisbane, probably because we know that you'll already be exploring QLD on your ABD. However, it's a lovely city, will have the best weather of the three at that time of year, and it would be easy to fill in 2-3 days there. You can also do a bridge climb there, on the Story Bridge. It's not as big or iconic as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but the same type of structure. It's easy to do trips up and down the coast to the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast too using the train. So you could always include Australia Zoo or one of the Gold Coast theme parks in your itinerary if you're having trouble finding things to do. It would be the most convenient city to fly into to get to Cairns.
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:14 PM   #15
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Agreed. Thanks for the heads up. I'll likely concentrate on Melbourne after my ABD. I'll have to see where everything fits in.

I'll have 2.5-3 wks max in Australia. I'll arrive 2-3 days before the Adventures by Disney which starts in Cairns. The ABD (Cairns, Alice Springs, Sydney and Tasmania) is 12 days. And I will probably have 3-4 days after the ABD.
If you need any help with information about Melbourne, let us know.
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