don’t pay for uluru unless it specifically interests you
Spend plenty of time in Melbourne, I felt it was like the new “america” people from all over the world seem to try and make a start there. Very multicultural city with ambitious civil engineering projects and productivity.
Haven’t been to cairns, Sydney was boring compared to Melbourne…
If you’re renting a car to go to Ayers rock they make you pay an extra fee for going “outback”, I was tempted to tell them I wasn’t going there, risking a fine instead…
Pay your tolls and fines, they will track you :)
Uluru is a very very long way away. You could tour NZ in the time it takes to see all that endless desert.
I spent two months in Australia. The two weeks I spent driving through the Outback were the highlight of the trip. From Darwin, through Kakadu, the Katherine Gorge, the Devil’s Marbles, the MacDonnell Range, King’s Canyon, the Olgas, and, of course, Uluru. Uluru was one of those places that I thought couldn’t be as good as people say, but it was.
plus one for Melby. It still sounds like a very relevant and fun place, with a lot of global commercial activity happening there as well.
Sydney is a great city also. Found just going down to the harbour and getting on a random ferry to be a fun experience.
Personally I flew to Uluru from Cairns, and then from Alice Springs down to Adelaide. Wasn’t really bothered by lots of desert, but a lot of people are. I’d go back to see Darwin down to Exmouth which I didn’t get to.
Perth was a good jump off point to the south-west, but the CBD bar Northgate was a bit quiet. It may have changed now, but it was a nice enough city.
Brisbane also was a bit quiet. But had a great art gallery. And if you’re passing or in the area for Fraser Island/Whitsunday’s then why not.
I loved Tasmania: Cradle Mountain and Whitsunday’s were a highlight of the trip. Equally I’d say that the South East of NSW is where no one else goes – unlike the packed East coast and is superb. Merimbula and Lakes Entrance are GREAT!
If you go to Sydney try and stay for a couple of nights up in the Blue Mountains. Maybe get the train up – takes a couple of hours, and the countryside unveils itself as you go.
Wherever you go, you’ll have a great time. Have fun.
Time & Money are the only things to hold you back from all of it. That is why I am a life-member of Hostels International; hostels/backpackers are extremely inexpensive & relatively easy to book ahead(though you must give 24hrs advance notice if cancelling for refund) and are throughout Australia & NZ. Also, fully equipped tours for little cost are available through YHA Travel Centres; I booked an 8-day, Face the Outback for myself+2 children with Mark at the Travel Centre on Hardware Lane in Melbo from Alice to Adelaide.(My daughter wanted to camp in the Outback for her 15th Bday—almost nothing beats swagging at Uluru/Ayers Rock!) Pick up a YHA Visitors Map & Hostels, which lists all—quite important when considering your travels. Sydney is fantastic, we stayed at the Glebe Point Youth Hostel (not just for youth!), walked extensively around that fine metropolis, went to the wonderful Blue Mountains. We took the train through Brisby to Cairns, dove in the Great Barrier Reef with Reef Magic/Beat, explored rainforest, too. Flew to Darwin, toured Kakadu with Kakadu Dreams. Toured Outback. Took Indian-Pacific from Adelaide to Perth/Freo. Flew back to Melbo—my home away from home—although it has been SIX years since I’ve been there! Australia is a huge continent, we didn’t get much of Western Australia or Tasmania. However, since we were “in the area”, we made it a point to go to NZ, which I HIGHLY recommend, if possible. I have detailed all of this in my forthcoming book (publish date JUNE2012?!) La Familia Hayburg: Down Under. Whatever you do in Australia/Down Under, get away from the city, interact with the people, all of them, indigenous & non-indigenous. Again, the only things holding you back are time & money, spend both wisely!
Ashafras, you made my day when I responded to your Australia visit query. I’m pretty tired now, but still exhilarated about your impending journey. Take your debit card—there are ATMs/bancomats everywhere. Be sure you inform the card company of the forthcoming travels and where withdrawals will be coming from or your card could be cancelled. What a bummer that would be! Do not take travellers checks, especially since debit cards/charge cards go nearly everywhere. I took only VISA debit & VISA charge. I knew my PIN pretty well, but my children knew it faster! I have a neck wallet in which I keep passports 99% of the time, and secured it in a “secret” location when not in my possession.(Such as when on the Kakadu Dreams tour, we spent a fair amount of time in the fresh water streams—the one’s where were crocodile free!) We were there 29MAY-14JUL2006 (5.5 weeks with the Aussies, 1.5 weeks with the Kiwi). One of the first things we bought was pump bottle of Hamilton Quadblock for extreme Sun exposure, SPR30+, screens UVA/UVB/UBC/INFRA-RED. We bought system wide railpasses, but the trains there are only marginally faster than in the USA, slightly slower than in Europe; no bullet trains, but the Indian-Pacific is 3 days (Sydney-Perth)/2 days(Adelaide-Perth); 18 hours (Darwin-Alice); 18 hours (Brisby-Cairns). We extended our stay in both Perth/Freo to Melbo, and Cairns to Darwin with airflights—overland travel by train or bus puts you into contact with the surface, but…! In New Zealand, our focus was South Island, so we flew into Christchurch, then bussed/trained around, usually having 1 overnight in several locations. (Queenstown go 2—Bungee jumping is THE thing to do there, though my daughter did hang-glide instead once! If I could’ve afforded it, we would have skydived. Our primary airline was Air New Zealand, but we also were aboard Jet Blue & Qantas. Almost took Tiger Air, but we just didn’t have the time to get into SE Asia or Oceania. I don’t know how long you have, but unless you live there, it probably won’t be long enough! Enjoy!
Hi! I live in Brisbane but have lived in Sydney and the Whitsunday Islands (Great Barrier Reef) and spent a lot of time in Cairns.
There’s so much to recommend depending on how long you have here in Oz, your interests and age?
If you can buy yourself an Aussie Airpass, this will make flying from A to B a LOT cheaper. Alternatively, you can buy cheap flights point to point online with VirginBlue and Jetstar. Be sure to check the BAGGAGEALLOWANCES. If you don’t state what your baggage will be upfront, it can be pretty expensive to pay at the airport on check-in.
Ayer’s Rock & Alice Springs can be done combined, with a stop in King’s Canyon enroute. Accom. in all 3 places is expensive so you might want to opt for Backpacker or Motel style.
Cairns can be quite noisy, especially at night and if staying in Backpackers accom. If you’re in the 20’s age-group though, it might suit you and you’ll be sure to find lots of partying in Cairns. My advice would be to stay there only a couple of nights then make your way (easy coach transfer) to Port Douglas and do a Daintree Rainforest/Cape Tribulation Day tour from there. You can also do an Outer Reef cruise & snorkel on the reef from Port Douglas too.
Melbourne is an awesome city, as is Sydney. Both excel in food, art, culture, hip, quirk and funky. Sydney has Bondi Beach and the very groovy Newtown and cosmopolitan Melbourne has Brunswick St, St.Kilda and the amazing coastline – see the Fairy Penguins and the 12 Apostles.
**Great place to stay in Sydney is the Sydney Harbour YHA. It’s amazingly well-run, very affordable, clean & in a great location. It gets booked out quickly though so you must book ahead! Don’t forget to check out the amazing views from the roof-top deck if you’re there too!
Have a great time & a safe journey. I hope you enjoy Australia!
Sydney and Melbourne are both vibrant cities with great food, shopping and nightlife. If you have time, I’d recommend going to some wineries outside melbourne – nice day trip and I think you might be able to do tours. I haven’t been to Uluru. As for Cairns, I personally don’t think it’s amazing. I’d recommend flying into cairns, maybe spending a night and then driving 1 hour north to Port Douglas. It’s a lovely beach town, with a 4-mile beach, seriously great restaurants and relaxed vibe. The diving/snorkelling is better because the boat operators head a lot further north than in cairns. Make sure they got Agincourt Reef though, that’s the best! Also visit Mossman Gorge and the Daintree rainforest/cape tribulation to the north. Both are easy drives from Port Douglas and well worth it. I used to live there so I’m biased, but the whole area is really nice. Enjoy!
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