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Australia - trip of a life time...tips please(40 Posts)
We are planning to travel to Australia in December for three weeks (will mean one week out of school for DDs). They will be 11&13 when we travel.
I love a plan and want to get started on where to go, what to see etc. We have something we need to be in Sydney for for one of those three weeks but have two weeks before then to explore.
Budget not limitless - hoping to do the whole trip for c£15000 and we have free accommodation for one week.
Would love to hear any tips please.
Sorry just to clarify before I explode your screen with suggestions - are you planning on staying in and around Sydney for the 3 weeks or travelling further out?
You need to see Melbourne too, Sydney and Melbourne really shape Australia (sorry to the other cities), in Melbourne there is the Great Ocean Road, fairy penguins on Philip Island.
I would recommend a trip to Uluru as watching it change colour with the sunrise is freaking amazing.
Blue mountains and Philip Island are essentials.
Like a pp I won't explode your screen with suggestions! Australia is superb. I loved the Outback but that might not be your thing.
I've been to Australia twice, although it was a while ago. The stuff I remember as being good:
Wander round downtown, visit The Rocks, Sydney Opera House, Botanical Gardens, Manly ferry (or a Sydney Harbour cruise), if you want a good view go up the city go up the Sydney Tower, Bondi to Bronte clifftop walk, Whale Beach (where they film Home & Away). Make sure you have a couple of days just for hanging out at the beach - there are many to choose from and you can get ferries from Circular Quay to more far-flung ones (like Manly).
Trips out of Sydney: Terrigal (or other beachside community), Blue Mountains.
Melbourne: lovely city, but downtown is small and easily walked. We stayed in St Kilda (right on the beach). Phillip Island (to see Little Penguins), Gt. Ocean Road (deserves a day or two), and we drove north a bit too and visited Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary, Otway Fly (treetop walkway).
If I went back I'd want to get out into the middle of Australia, but with only 3 weeks I'd probably stick to Sydney and Melbourne and some places in and around those destinations, as there is loads to see. Alternatively, you could have one week for each of those and one week doing something else - maybe Queensland.
Thanks very much.
I have been to Australia twice - Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Uluru but the children have never been.
I think we will only need to be in Sydney for a week @Kitchenbound so definitely travelling around.
Interestingly you have all suggested going south and I had thought of going up to the Gold Coast but the fairy penguins sound pretty special!
Keep it coming and thanks for all the suggestions so far.
@SpringNowPlease2018 I think the outback is a must now that you have suggested it, hadn't thought of that before, not really sure why!
What sort of holiday would you and family like? In Queensland you’ve got rainforests, barrier reef etc and beaches (in some parts - but crocodiles at the top!)
Perhaps a trip to Fraser Island and Whitsunday Islands? Very backpacker but there are more family oriented packages
Agree with other recommendations, but would like to add Airlie Beach for a boat trip around the Whitsundays, barrier reef etc.
Tall ship sailing and sunset on different islands was amazing.
There was a short course you can go on in Cairns (I think) that taught you all about the reef etc that would be great for kids.
For a bit of beach time the beaches around Bateman’s Bay are lovely. That’s on the way to Melbourne too.
If you’re going north into northern Queensland Port Douglas is fun. Your children might enjoy seeing the enormous crocs in the crocodile park up there. I nearly had heart failure when one banged against the Perspex boat side when I was sitting next to it and my children thought this was hilarious.
We spent some time in eastern Australia with our two children late last year. We stayed in Manly and it was wonderful. Without throwing a spanner in the works, we travelled to Vanuatu for a week. It was the most amazing place I’ve ever been. Such an amazing opportunity for the children but we had a fantastic time. Tropical, child friendly, and as remote as our 4 and 2 year olds will travel for a very long time. 3 hours from Sydney to Port Vila.
OP I'm so glad you've put the Outback on your list.
Thing is, it's just the most amazing landscape and we saw frilled neck lizards etc.....there's just something awesome about it. There's a gazillion wonderful spots there, we went with a coach company and camped, but I can't remember the name of the company.
We also saw an electrical storm over Uluru. Oh and quite a few poisonous snakes so gird yourself if you don't like that sort of thing
I'm sure the rest of Oz is amazing but I haven't been yet - did Sydney, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, Outback as far north as Alice Springs. Should have done a Darwin extension but alas my companion didn't want to.
We are looking at going this summer (yes, Aussie winter).
Contemplating a version of this with younger kids than yours.
But interested in other suggestions. If we skip the Cairns bit, will we regret missing the reef and rainforest bit? That doesn't seem to feature highly on people's lists.
The west coast of Australia is absolutely stunning and gets missed by a lot of tourists. Depending on how much you want to travel around, you could fly from Sydney to Perth and go up the west coast. Ningaloo reef is amazing, you can snorkel right off the beach and cable beach usually gets ranked as one of the best in the world. (And there’s hardly anyone on it!)
Balloon to really see the reef you need to dive (you don't need to be certified to do it - I'm not and I did!). The rainforest is interesting, but small kids aren't going to care. The north end of Australia is apparently best in winter. I went to Q'land in Nov, which was a bit rainy tbh, but at least it wasn't too hot and humid.
Trees and forests will probably interest my kids more than many, as we currently live in a desert..... And the weather should be better there in July. Torn now. Think that 3 week list is too long for us, but what to drop.... could really do with booking something soon, if we are going in 3 months....
@BalloonFlowers have you booked your flights? The £6k price tag is a big chunk of our budget and I haven't bitten the bullet yet. DD1 is full fare aargh.
Nope. No flights.... DH has only just had the holiday approved.
Trees and forests - get to Perth and head south. Lots of amazing stuff within 500 miles which is tiny by Aussie standards - and no desert bits so things all along..
That's for Aussie summer ( year end) which is the wrong time for the north or outback. Mid year only for those.
Plus Tasmania - again not too big and loads to see.
Tasmania is fabulous - national parks, Hobart, port Arthur, stunning coastline, some great wineries and you don't need to travel huge distances.
I also really like Western Australia - from Perth you can drive to Margaret river then on to Denmark area. Albany is really interesting, there's the tree top walk and probably the best beaches I have ever seen. North from Perth you can visit the pinnacles. Fremantle is nice too and the prison tour there is really interesting.
You can fly to Broome from Perth to discover the Kimberley, but I think December may be wet season.
We flew to alice springs from Sydney and then did a 3 day camping trip to uluru and mt olgas. It was amazing. Cooking over a campfire in the outback was such an experience. I think we booked that part of the trip with trailfinders.
We then flew to Cairns, hired a camper and drove to Brisbane.
Memorable moments from that trip were going to Fraser Island and diving at airlie beach.
The exchange rate is also picking up again so keep an eye on it for currency. We're heading next year again and I'm already considering buying a few dollars cause its so bloody expensive compared to the uk.
The tripadviser Australia forum is really good for tips. I got recommended for August a week around Great Barrier Reef and a week around Sydney / Blue Mountains / Port Stephens but our trip is wildlife focussed as my kids and us love that. In the Cairns / GBR part we are snorkelling in GBR, cuddling koalas, staying in a treehouse in the rainforest where possums feed on your balcony, cassowaries, platypus etc and staying with a lady who looks after tree kangaroos. You can snorkle with turtles in GBR. Weather about 27 and August is preferred time for GBR, Queensland allows cuddling koalas, most areas don't. Magnetic Island is a few hours drive away and has koalas and rock wallabies. Sydney we are just doing a quick boat tour and staying in Watsons Bay, not city people. Port Stephens whale watching trip, sandboarding and koalas in wild. Would have liked to see penguins on Phillip Island but weather pretty bad there in August and its hit and miss with numbers. Had a friend from Melbourne who used to moan about the place constantly though if we would have gone in December would have gone there to see penguins and GOR.
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