I'm planning a trip to Oz (July/Aug '15...yes I know that's winter!) mainly to see friends and family in Melbourne and Sydney. Just wondering if anyone has any airline recommendations or tips on where to stay (S/C apartments?) and what to see on a budget?
The kids will be 14 and 16 when we go, if that makes a difference.
Some of the estate agents do holiday lets - Ray White is one that springs to mind. Also wotif.com is good for finding apartment complex type places. We also used an agent in Manly (Syndey) called manlyshores (.com). The cost of living is high in Australia - but there's a lot of things you can see/do for free - the Blue Mountains are beautiful, the beaches are good and things like the Ferrys in Sydney harbour give you good views. Do you know how you'll get from Sydney to Melbourne yet? We drove, stopping of in Batemans bay and Mallacoota - Sydney to Batemans was about 4hrs, then about 4hrs to Mallacoota and 6hrs to Melbourne. Virgin Blue is a good budget airline if you'd prefer to fly. We spent 7months travelling around Australia with a 6 & 3yr old so if you have any questions feel free to ask.
Car hire - no idea sorry, we bought a car and sold it when we left as we were there a while. We used the bus, Ferrys and trains around Sydney - good links, similar prices to Uk. The harbour Ferrys have a cheap day on Sunday (can't remember the exact details sorry). In Melbourne driving is crazy - they have trams and you share lanes with the trams. We used the trams around the city, which was good to get around but it's quite a compact city centre from what I remember. I really liked St Kilda, a suburb out of the city centre.
I've also spotted St Kilda as a possible base in Melbourne :-)
As a major arachnophobe (that's the real thing that puts me off going, other than the flight!), will I have problems in built up areas? Friends and family say I'll be fine, but then say that they've only seen one or two huntsman/men recently!
Were you there in winter at all? I'm assuming weather will be like our autumn/spring?
Hi OP, I have family in Australia & have done a few visits. Just about to go to bed but posting a few things before I forget.
Have flown with Emirates who were great, and DH has done Singapore Airlines who were also great. Emirates have very good deals from time to time.
July/August is a great time to go if you're like me and not a heat worshipper. On my trip then, Sydney was terrific - like the very, very best British summer for their winter. T shirt in day, light cardigan maybe at night. Melbourne was a bit cooler and we did need coats and even hats some days there.
Agree about public transport in Sydney - train and ferries did us fine, plus we enjoyed walking around. Stayed in some good apartments near Darling Harbour last time - there are lots of these but I could check on the name and PM you if you want to know. Can't comment on car hire as we used relatives' cars.
I dislike spiders and I only saw one on my last trip and none on the trip before, so I wouldn't worry.
We were there from September-April, Melbourne was late March, weather was changeable, but not too bad. Sydney we were there in Septmeber, January & February and I have good weather memories! Spiders - blue mountains was spidery (shudder) Mallacoota (we stayed in the bush) spidery, Melbourne didn't see any spiders. We stayed in Manly a couple of times and saw none there or around Sydney.
With St Kilda it's a nice place for a day trip but I think you'd miss out on the action compared to staying in central Melbourne. Flights - I've never worked out the mystery to getting cheap flights. Sky scanner is a good site.