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Thinking of go to Australia next Easter, any tips?

14 replies

Rhiannon · 30/01/2002 19:01

We are thinking of a 3 or 4 week houseswap possibly to Cairns next year. Does anyone have any tips, where will we find the most sunshine at that time of year?

Where should we stopover for 2 or 3 days (bearing in mind we will have an 8 and 4 year old with us).

Should we break the journey with 2 stops?

Advice please. R

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bloss · 30/01/2002 22:52

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bloss · 30/01/2002 22:53

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Chelle · 31/01/2002 05:44

Easter should be bordering on OK for the tropics. The best times to visit Cairns (speaking as someone who has done a bit of field research work up around that area) is May to September. Outside that it gets can get very hot and very humid. As Bloss mentioned, stingers (box jellyfish - fatal sting without urgent treatment!) are definitely a problem in the waters around Cairns during the summer months, whether or not they will still be a problem around Easter (I'm presuming you mean Easter 2003) I'll have to check into and get back to you. All the beaches around Cairns (no surf to speak of as inside the reef) have vinegar stations at various intervals for treating box jelly stings. They also have crocodile warning signs but they have a fairly good warning system and the beaches are closed temporarily as a croc swims past! I was swimming at Palm Beach (one of the Cairns northern beaches) last July and the water was about 25 degrees, the visibility was great (snorkelling off Green Island) and the days were around a balmy 27 degrees. Very nice!!!

Make sure you also go inland! Take the scenic train ride from Cairns to Kuranda (at the tops of the mountains behind Cairns) and the Sky-rail back down over the top of the rainforest canopy. Absolutely breath-taking! Kuranda is also very picturesque, but take a boat tour on the river to check out the native flora and fauna as well.

Of course you'll have to do the reef - several times! And the Atherton Tablelands....and Cape Tribulation....I could go on all day!

Last year I was there for a conference so didn't have ds with me, but I seem to always check out the child-friendly stuff these days, anyway, so I can assure there is PLENTY to interest kids of 4 and 8 years old.

Sorry to ramble, but I just love it around there..... Please ask if there's anything else you need to know!

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mollipops · 31/01/2002 07:06

Hi Rhiannon!

I have to agree with my fellow aussie Chelle, far north Queensland is great! I did a Contiki tour up there some years ago, as far as Port Douglas (an hour north of Cairns and also worth a visit!).

It is pretty warm in FNQ all year round! March-April the average min. is around 20 degrees C, and max around 30. And I think ALL houses up there would have airconditioning, just as I imagine pretty much all houses in the UK have some form of heating (but I could be wrong!)

The wet season is December to April, so you'll catch the end of it...it's kinda nice even when it rains it's like a warm shower, and all the frogs start singing...it sort of seems to compliment the whole rainforesty thing! I'm afraid it is stinger (Box jellyfish) season as well, Oct to April...the beaches have nets to keep them out so as long as you swim where the signs say you'll be fine. The beaches are beautiful...Palm Beach, Trinity Beach, Ellis Beach...

Again I agree with Chelle, the Kuranda Scenic Railway is a must, as is the Great Barrier Reef and of course all the islands. There are heaps of tours and cruises, and you can dive or snorkel if you're game! There's Carrowong (sp?) Fauna Santuary (the night tour is good!) and a Crocodile farm (Hartley's Creek) for the kids, plus closer to the city is the Botanic Gardens and the Centenary Lanes boardwalk with rainforest, a freshwater lake, BBQ's and a playground. The markets are wonderful, Mud Markets if you like crafty stuff (near Marlin Marina) and the Night Markets are open every night (good cheap food).

Like Chelle, I could go on and on...oh actually I think I already have!

How did you arrange the houseswap? Are they friends or rellies? (Btw have you seen that miniseries called The Swap? It's about a London couple who arrange a houseswap over the internet with a guy in Perth Aust.!!! Not bad actually, although some bad inaccuracies about Perth and I don't think it was filmed here or even used many Aussie actors (some of the accents were a bit dodgy!) There is no "Perth University" for one, and we cracked up at the part where the uni receptionist answered the phone "Perth University, gidday". Honest, we really don't talk like that!!!!)

Let me know if you think of any other questions (if you dare!!!)

PS When you asked about stopovers did you mean other Aussie places or on the way over here?

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SueW · 31/01/2002 09:00

We flew with Emirates to Australia (Melbourne) last year - I liked it as there were two stops during the journey, splitting the flight into roughly three seven hour segments.

Dubai a popular holiday spot these days and the hotels and beaches are only around 20 mins from the airport. Should be nice at the time of year you are travelling. Friends are going for a holiday there this Easter so if you like, I'll ask her for a report back as to where she stayed and what it was like for kids - theirs are around the same age as yours.

The flight we took also stopped at Singapore but not sure whether you can fly direct from Dubai to Cairns.

We didn't actually stop off anywhere - I prefer to travel straight through as I just can't be bothered with getting through immigration and hauling luggage around more often than is necessary. I tend to take advantage of shower facilites in airports to freshen us up along the way.

Having said that, DH pretty much always insists on stopping so we have stopped off in Malaysia on the way out to NZ before. That was early March and it was hot and sticky and we barely ventured out of the hotel except to its pool.

Have a great time.

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Joe1 · 31/01/2002 11:20

I went to Australia about 3/4 years ago. We flew with Singapore airlines who I thought were great and just stopped the once at Singapore. Didnt like the idea of stopping more than once, just wanted to get the flight out the way. We stayed with relatives at a place called Sussex Inlet, beach and inlet for swimming. We then did the tourist thing, Sydney, Ayres Rock (which was extremely hot one day and rained the next which made the rock look lovely) and Cairns, including the train ride and the reef. Nothing much to do at ayres rock other than seeing the sun set and rise so we flew in one day then flew to Cairns the next. I organised everything through a travel agent in London who were brilliant (mental block on their name something the World, they are in the daily mail).
I went on this trip with family but Im sure we will be out there again in years to come, this time with dh and ds chasing the surf.
You will have great fun. I have dual citerzonship (sp) and if it wasnt for my animals to come home to I would have left my then husband alot sooner and stayed there for a while.

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Rhiannon · 31/01/2002 19:24

Thanks, please feel free to tell me anything and everything, I know nothing far more used to going West so it's all new. We will be travelling from about 5 April 2003 for 3-4 weeks. Have no idea where to go or what to see, can anyone do me a travel plan? Don't want to spend all the time touring around but thought Cairns would be nice. Would rather avoid any fatal bites or stings please and how tropical is the weather in Cairns in April please. All comments welcomed! R

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SueW · 31/01/2002 21:33

LOL re bites and stings - coming out of work tonight I pushed my way through some shrubbery then thought - you silly b*tch. Then I remembered I wasn't in Australia any longer and didn't have to worry about strange insects and spiders....!

Read Bill Bryson's 'Down Under' but read it now, take his travel ideas then put it away. Better still, borrow it from the library so you can't keep going back to check how many of the world's Top Ten Most Venomous Snakes live in Australia

I'd definitely go for 4 weeks rather than three. If you want to do stopovers both ways you could do a couple of days on the way out and a couple on the way back.

Find a good travel agent that will tell you which airlines are offering at least one internal flight in Oz within the cost of your international ticket.

We had friends come to visit us last year (Feb/March) who came via Malaysia, spent one or two nights in KL, flew into Sydney where they spent about 3 days I think, then came to us in Melbourne. They spent almost 3 weeks with us, IIRC, before flying onto Perth to visit rellies for a week, then back via Malaysia. Not sure whether they stayed over on the way back.

My perfect plan for a holiday Down Under would involve going in the summer holidays and visiting Queensland, followed by Sydney, a very short time in Melbourne and Tasmania, over to NZ and back via not sure where. We plan to take DD when she's around 8yo.

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Chelle · 01/02/2002 05:45

Don't worry about the bites and stings!

I have lived in Australia for all of my 32 years and so far have managed not to be killed off by snakes, spiders, crocodiles, sharks, box jellies, scorpions, centipedes...or any of the various assorted other nasties lurking about the place. They don't actually HUNT people to try and bite or sting them, despite the scare stories I'm sure you'll hear from people that have visited, or the press!

Wherever you do travel to in Australia, though, take plenty of insect repellent (available just about everywhere here, so you won't need to bring it from home) as the flies and/or mozzies can get a bit irritating after a while......and remember the sunblock!

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Chelle · 01/02/2002 05:57

Oh Rhiannon.......you can come and visit me on the farm if you want to see some of rural Australia (and lots of wilderness country, gorges, waterfalls, cool temperate rainforest and the like). We are a bit out of the way, though

Anywhere else you're interested in seeing? Just let us know and I'm sure either bloss, millipops or myself (or any other lurking Aussies out there) can help!

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bloss · 01/02/2002 10:10

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Rhiannon · 01/02/2002 15:17

Thank you, keep in coming! R

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Chelle · 07/02/2002 00:58

I agree with bloss, avoid the Goldcoast like the plague (unless you want to do the theme parks, of course)!! Absolutely best beaches on the east coast of Australia are far south coast of NSW around Narooma, Bermagui, Merimbula and down to Eden...spectacular! As bloss says, very, very white sand and crystal clear water! Aaahhh...making me homesick for childhood holidays....

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eidsvold · 03/02/2003 19:00

Rhiannon - my dd, dh and I are off to Australia (from UK) then to visit family and friends. Some parts of the Gold Coast are fine - if you head to the south part - Kirra, Coolangatta or over the border into Northern New South Wales - great beaches and little seaside towns. We are spending a week on the Sunshine Coast - very family friendly with a choice of beaches and activities for everyone. We love it there. Being a Queenslander - perhaps I am biased!! And like the other aussies there - have never been attacked by any of the deadly snakes, spiders, crocs or other such wildlife. The kids would love Australia Zoo - near the sunshine coast - my dh loved it!!

Cairns is beautiful - there is the reef and the rainforest and the tablelands. The boys would love the train to kuranda and then the sky rail through the rainforest canopy.

Sydney is worth a visit - plenty to do. The harbour is gorgeous, beaches fine also.

Just be prepared that easter school holidays for aussie kids are around then.

You have probably organised your flights. We are flying Singapore airlines and doing it straight through both ways with dd ( 6 mths) figure it was better just to get there and then adjust.

Hope you enjoy your stay!!!

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