Australia in December - please give me your tips and advice

(22 Posts)
ScienceRocks Mon 01-Sep-14 08:56:17

Hello wise MNers,

I am going to Australia over Christmas and new year with DH and my two DDs (they will be eight and nearly five by then) and am tying myself into knots with working out what to do while we are there.

We have exactly two weeks there once I take out flying time and will be based with friends in sydney, other than a few days between Christmas and new year.

So...

What should we do in sydney?

Where should we go in between Christmas and new year? Cairns looks too far, given the time we have, as does Uluru, but is Melbourne doable? Is there enough to do, or is it quite like sydney? Will it be too hot there at that time of year? Would the Gold Coast be a better idea?

What would help us survive the flights? We stop in Beijing both ways, and have access to the lounge in the way back as we have a few hours there. We have iPads etc, but I am worried about them running out of charge. Is there any chance that the DDs will sleep?!

Thank you!

specialsubject Mon 01-Sep-14 10:45:20

get yourself a rough guide from the library which will answer lots of your questions.

wrong time of year for Cairns and Uluru. Melbourne is 10 hours drive from Sydney. Lots to do in the area but it is a sprawling traffic-choked city so it takes ages to get out of it.

FWIW I would see the area round Sydney - Blue Mountains are lovely for one.

book everything soon.

ScienceRocks Mon 01-Sep-14 13:12:29

Thank you specialsubject. We are hoping to fly and use public transport rather than driving, which is why Melbourne was a possible. Will have a look at the blue mountains. I am thinking that it might be a bit much for us to stay with friends for the entire two weeks (for them and us!) but they won't hear of us staying elsewhere in sydney, hence thinking about going somewhere else for a few days.

specialsubject Mon 01-Sep-14 13:33:06

Blue Mountains are two hours from Sydney by train, and you can get around on the bus.

with kids that young who probably have no interest in scenery, I wouldn't plan too much travelling as it will all be the same to them. Going to Melbourne will eat a day each way and the central city won't offer too much for them. Phillip Island and the penguins would be great, but it is a trek out there. Could be done though.

cmt1375 Mon 01-Sep-14 13:36:37

Canberra is good to visit with lots of museums and parks, it is a very short flight from Sydney.

ScienceRocks Mon 01-Sep-14 15:25:12

Thank you both. Is the Gold Coast near enough to sydney to do easily (well, get a flavour) in a couple of days? Is it worth a visit? Particularly with kids? It sounds beachy, but will be get that in sydney and its environs?

ShanghaiDiva Mon 01-Sep-14 15:26:39

Most Chinese airports have areas with a couple of rows of seats all next to sockets, specifically for recharging iPads, phones etc

specialsubject Mon 01-Sep-14 15:52:01

when I was in Sydney we stayed in Manly which has glorious beaches. You can get the ferry to circular quay and marvel at all those for whom it is a daily commute.

ScienceRocks Mon 01-Sep-14 16:44:30

Thanks shanghai, that reassuring to know! Will make sure my adaptor is in my carry-on luggage.

Manly is on my list, thank you!

PeppermintInfusion Wed 03-Sep-14 10:58:06

IMO, the Gold Coast probably isn't worth it- you'd need to fly there anyway, though the flight is short enough. We went to oz on honeymoon last year and stayed with a friend in Brisbane for a few days but went down to the Gold Coast to give him and us a break.
I would describe it as the costas of Australia, fine if you're looking for a beach holiday but not that different to a package hol in Europe (plus a lot of skyscrapers and nightclubs) so you might want something a bit different if you've gone all the way to Australia.
The beaches around Sydney were far better in my opinion- you could maybe go and stay over at Manly for a few days for example.
Fraser Island or the whitsundays may be an idea, though could be expensive at that time of year and you'd probably be better flying than driving as it would take a lot of time.

booksandchoc Wed 03-Sep-14 11:07:55

A day trip to bondai beach, if you can afford it then climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Amazing views, definitely one of my top 10 memories. There is a zoo somewhere near Sydney, over the other side of the bridge I think. If you buy travel passes they can be used on the ferry boats. Walking around the Quay/kings park is nice. There is an old historical area in Sydney, near the Quay, the rockies maybe? Can't remember the name, I would have to Google. There is lots of tour companies who do day trips to the blue Mountains, you can go on the railway up q mountain and normally ties in with a trip to kangaroo/koala sanctuary. If I remember anything else I'll come back. Def lots of factor 50 and shade because it will be height of summer when you are there.

angeltulips Wed 03-Sep-14 11:17:47

Don't go any further north than the Gold Coast - the beaches will be full of stingers and it's rainy season so hot and wet. Ditto Uluru - definitely don't go. Byron Bay would be great at that time of year, it's one of my favourite places.

Blue mountains nice, you could also go to jervis bay which is a gorgeous drive down the south coast. Or if you wanted to see empty inner oz you could drive to dubbo (great zoo) and parkes (biggest satellite dish in sthn hemisphere, v cool if the kids are into that sort of thing).

Melbourne will be pretty empty at that time of year, everyone is away on holidays and down the coast. There's cricket on at the mcg if the family likes that.

Bear in mind that your dates are absolute peak peak peak season in oz so most accommodation will be at top rates and booked out well in advance. Whatever you do, get onto it soon!

angeltulips Wed 03-Sep-14 11:18:25

Ps if you're going to fly anywhere fly to Tasmania and drive down the east coast. Stunning.

ajandjjmum Wed 03-Sep-14 11:27:11

There is lots in Sydney - zoo, beaches, trips to Blue Mountains. I think you need to spend a week solid on the Tripadvisor forums!

We spent a couple of weeks in Australia last year, but in our Summer so the weather wasn't overly hot, and my DC are much older.

If your friends won't let you stay elsewhere in Sydney, maybe book a couple of trips including an overnight, to give you all a break (I think you're very wise to think you might need it! smile)

PeppermintInfusion Wed 03-Sep-14 11:41:16

Books, that's Taronga Zoo- I really enjoyed it, it's such a nice size,go there by boat and go up by cable car. Fantastic views of the city too.
Sydney bridge climb was great also, not sure how old you have to be to do it but it isn't too scary/taxing.

I was there this time last year, so there was a mix of warm and chillier days but I imagine in the hot months you could spend your whole time in and around Sydney outside exploring the different areas and soaking up the atmosphere.

ajandjjmum Wed 03-Sep-14 11:45:07

We were too Peppermint - might have met you on the bridge climb!

ODearMe Wed 03-Sep-14 11:50:35

Byron Bay

ScienceRocks Thu 04-Sep-14 00:48:07

Ooh, more replies, thank you!

FrozenYogurt Thu 04-Sep-14 09:27:03

Living here with two DC aged 2 and 4. We regularly enjoy going to Taronga Zoo; Balmoral Beach; walks around the harbour - plenty of coastal paths and cafés en-route; the Olympic Park Swimming pool (massive kids area); taking the ferry into Circular Quay and back out again to various spots - Watson's Bay is nice; having lunch/dinner at the Opera House bar (gorgeous views of House and Bridge); Natural History Museum; Botanical Gardens; Eastern Suburbs beaches- Bondi, Coogee, etc; Centenial Park; Manly beach; the Aquarium, Wildlife Australia and Madame Tussaud's all on a bulk ticket and next to each other in Darling Harbour.
Sydney has more than enough to occupy you for two weeks, throwing in more onward travel will be pushing it I think! Can you fly into Perth for a few days then onward to Sydney for the duration of your holiday?

FrozenYogurt Thu 04-Sep-14 09:31:28

P.s airport lounges have plug sockets so you can charge your iPads then. A steady stream of movies and snacks kept my two happy for most of the flights. We also bought them both a fairly exciting 'plane' toy each (Woody and Elsa dolls) which was enough of a novelty for the first few hours.

Sazorchard31 Fri 19-Sep-14 23:31:32

Melbourne is amazing! So much to do. Melbourne zoo is great (on train from CBD), Melbourne museum has stuff for kids , there are a couple of tall buildings to go up, go on the tra ms, always a sporting event on (twenty20 good with kids), st kilda has cakes and Luna park (Sydney has a Luna too), day trips can be booked to Phillip Island to see penguins (tho can see them in st kilda too). Healesville has lots of native animals. ( coach trips can be booked from the city). Loads of parks in and around the city too. River cruises on the Yarra.

Gold Coast would be great especially if your kids like them parks. It has a sea world, wet n wild, warner bros studio, Australian adventure to name a few. Plus potential for surfing lessons (stinger dependent!).

Airlie beach has great boat trips to the ehitsundays but youngest might get a bit bored. (I love them but wouldn't take my. 4yo on one).

Tassie very scenic.

You don't need more Sydney suggestions. Melbourne has as much going on and as much to do as Sydney. Both very different cities despite only being 1hr flight apart.

Canberra close enough for a day trip, about 3-4 hrs drive each way. Not a lot to do there but can fill a day.

Coughle Sat 20-Sep-14 00:47:13

Yes Canberra would make a good day trip, actually probably worth staying overnight as there's loads to see and do. The newly opened Arboretum is gorgeous and has the best kids playground in the city.

Zoo is not worth seeing as Sydney one is much better.

Questacon is brilliant - science museum with loads for kids.

It's a very different vibe from Sydney and much easier to get around, so I'd personally plan for 2-3 days in Canberra just for a break.

You can watch some videos of Sydney and Melbourne and Canberra etc on YouTube to get an idea of what the places are like.

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