Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: Australia Trip Suggestions?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    2,918

    Australia Trip Suggestions?

    So I am headed to Australia for two weeks. Arrive in Sydney and leave from Melbourne two weeks later.

    Maybe some of our Australian friends here can give me some insight. Or perhaps others who have made the trip.

    I have the first four days dedicated to Sydney then head somewhere else. What to do next?

    I am debating on:
    Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef
    Tasmania and the Southern Lights / Wildlife / Landscape
    Adelaide and Kangaroo Island
    Hire a car, log on to booking.com, live day by day and just drive with no defined destination except Melbourne 10 days later.

    Some other less promising ideas, Perth or Alice Springs although those ideas are less likely.

    Suggestions?

    Gear to take? The only question would be do I need my 500mm, and that will depend on which direction we head. I think yes in Tasmania, no in Cairns and maybe in Adelaide.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Raid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    337
    Unfortunately I haven't traveled to most of the places you are looking to visit, so I unable to provide much help.

    If you want to photograph birds in the dryer parts of the country you need to go when the drought has been running for at least a few years. This way most of the temporary water courses have gone dry. Birds will travel long distances to permanent water making these spots great locations to setup a hide.

    Going to the Red Center is great but you need to pick low cloud days otherwise it's no fun. Note: The center does get very cold (-5oC) in winter, so pack your thermals.

    As a general rule, in the southern parts of the country, don't go bush in the summer (December to March) unless you are experienced. Otherwise you may end up making the national news as another idiot who returned home in a box.

    Hope this helps.
    Canon EOS 7D, EF-S 10-22, EF 24-105L, EF 50 f1.2L, EF 70-300L, 430EX.

    "Criticism is something you can easily avoid, by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing." -
    Tara Moss

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    456
    Sounds like a good trip! We were in Australia this past March for 2 weeks. Probably a different sort of trip than yours though...we had my 3-year-old son and almost-1-year-old daughter in tow. What sort of trip is yours? Family, business, other?

    We arrived in Melbourne and spent one night in the city then headed along the south coast (Great Ocean Drive) for three days/two nights and back to Melbourne for 2 more nights. Then we flew to Cairns and spent 5 nights in the Port Douglas area (about 1 hour drive north of Cairns). After that we went to Sydney for 4 more nights. We enjoyed all three different areas of Australia and have no regrets. I would have liked to get to other areas as well (Uluru, Gold Coast, etc) but it is a lot of ground to cover and I am pleased with what we were able to do.

    Melbourne is a beautiful city with some interesting architecture, nice coffee culture and an excellent market (Queen Victoria Market). Public transportation (above-ground rail) in the downtown core is free too which is a nice bonus. Make sure you check out both the day and night market as they are totally different vibe (runs as a night market a couple days a week I think...we went Wednesday night). The south coast is of course famous for the Great Ocean Road and I think it is worth seeing (even if you don't do it all). Some iconic (even if a bit cliché) shots of the 12 apostles and other rock formations are a must. The surfing mecca of Bells Beach and Torquay are on the south coast at the start of the Great Ocean Road as well. Additionally there is supposed to be some great wildlife along the dirve and particularly in the Otway National Park, but we didn't see much ourselves.

    The area around Port Douglas was great as well. We opted for the resort-ish town of Port Douglas instead of Carins as we thought it would be a bit more laid back for the kids. The beaches are great, but we were there in stinger (jellyfish) season so didn't swim on the beach there much. Also need to watch out for salt-water crocs. Definitely worth a boat trip out to the Great Barrier Reef for some swimming/snorkeling/diving. There are lots of great places to explore in this area: Mossman Gorge, Daintree National Park, Kuranda, etc. Lots of wildlife here too (we saw wild kangaroos here) and plenty of wildlife parks where you can see native wildlife (snakes, crocs, birds, kangaroos, etc) - nice for kids as you can often interact with the animals (ie feed kangaroos).

    Sydney is also a beautiful city, but I'm sure google can tell you all about that... Bondi beach was a nice visit for an afternoon a short trip from downtown. The harbor is nice for boatrides and lots of iconic pictures can be taken here (opera house, Sydney bridge, etc).

    I can give you specifics for what areas we stayed and specific activities or sights if you're interested (I love talking travel...). Or post pictures of places if that helps give you an idea of whether you want to go somewhere we've been. I have some pictures up on my flickr ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/nfld_stephen/) if you are are interested.

    Have a great trip!
    Stephen

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    2,918
    Thanks guys

    Raid, I am headed there in September. Why the danger from December to March?

    Stephen,

    It is just the wife and I, our youngest is 17 and oldest is 36, none of which get to go.

    Now that you have gone would you recommend Port Douglas over Cairns? I really do not like crowds.
    I have been looking at some of the reef tours and I found one that had pictures and 50 to 100 people were in the water at once. That was not appealing to me, I prefer my trips to be more laid back and not crowded.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    456
    Yeah, I would definitely recommend Port Douglas (Dougie) instead of Cairns. Dougie seems much more "small town" and laid back. We didn't spend much time in Cairns though, so others may have a different take. Dougie was closer to the Daintree NP and Mossman gorge as well which is a plus. There also seem to be a lot of condo-type accommodations there, which are nice as they are usually more comfortable and private.

    As for the reef tours...most do seem fairly crowded. If you go to the outer reef it seems most have a semi-permanent platform. The boat takes you to the platform and you can do different activities from the platform (swimming, snorkeling, diving, helicopter rides, semi-sub rides). There is plenty of room on the platform, but they are pretty basic...ie metal benches/chairs without many good places to hang-out and relax. Quicksilver was the operator who we went with and they seem like a fairly big group. You may have better luck if you check into other operators. There should definitely be someone with a smaller boat doing tours to the reef. Local tour companies would likely be able to point you in the direction of a good small tour. Or just use google since we live in the age of the internet

    Stephen

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Posts
    3
    Hi. I am an Aussie from Victoria, so I'll just put my opinion in. In answer to your question about why not December to March. 1. It is VERY hot. If you go inland, it will get even hotter. Even in Victoria, we usually have days of up to 40 degrees C. 2. Bush fires. Big bush fires and fast bush fires. You do not want be stuck in the bush with a bush fire around you, with no phone service, limited maps and your GPS not working. So, try and stick to the main roads. . Other than that, enjoy your stay in Australia, it is a great place! And if your looking for birds, use eBird.org , we Aussies use it all the time, and it could help you to figure out where to go. And one more thing, if you have a bird ID question, use a facebook group called Australian Bird Identification. You'll get a response in less than a Minute usually. As you have probably guesses, I like birds!
    Anyway, enjoy your stay!!

  7. #7
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Savannah, GA
    Posts
    3,347
    Thanks for the info Reuben! Glad to have you in the forum!

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Planet Earth
    Posts
    2,918
    Thanks again guys,

    Welcome Reuben and thanks, I will check out ebird.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Setters View Post
    Thanks for the info Reuben! Glad to have you in the forum!
    Thanks Sean. Just came across this and thought I could help.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Raid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    337
    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    Raid, I am headed there in September. Why the danger from December to March?
    As has already been stated, in the south it's heat and bushfire time of the year.

    This is what most people consider as the biggest risk. In reality the biggest killer is water, that is floods. We are so stupid we keep driving into floodwaters.

    The one thing I hate about traveling, in any country, are the Tourist Maps you will be offered. These are so inaccurate, they are dangerous.

    September is a good time of the year as far as heat goes in the south. Rain & Floods are a bit more complicated.
    Canon EOS 7D, EF-S 10-22, EF 24-105L, EF 50 f1.2L, EF 70-300L, 430EX.

    "Criticism is something you can easily avoid, by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing." -
    Tara Moss

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •