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Old 02-29-2008, 06:36 PM   #1
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Australia Advice Anyone?

I'm going back to Australia in less than three weeks. I haven't been since 2000 and I will again be going to tropical north Queensland (Cairns and surrounding area). We wanted to try to go to Sydney, but it was just too expensive.

(Actually we were originally planning to go to New Zealand but that turned out to be waaaaaay too expensive).

It'll be my wife and I, seven 8th graders and one other teacher.

So if anyone has any advice, suggestions etc, please let me know. In particular, I'm looking for a cheap place for us all to stay for the the last three or four nights after the three nights at the hotel that's part of our airfare package runs out. So if anyone from Queensland or who's traveled in the area who could share some thoughts that would be great!
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:22 PM   #2
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I lived in southeast Queensland for nine years, but never made it north of Bundaberg, so I can't really help, I'm sorry.

Also, if you do the Kuranda Scenic Rail from Cairns up through the rainforest to Kuranda, I will be very jealous. I hear it's fantastic and it's the main reason I want to go to northern Queensland.
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Old 02-29-2008, 09:14 PM   #3
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Can't offer any advice unfortunately, having never been up that far in Australia, but I do hope you enjoy yourself up there, it's beautiful country (or so I've heard) and people are friendly.
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Old 02-29-2008, 11:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Axver
Also, if you do the Kuranda Scenic Rail from Cairns up through the rainforest to Kuranda, I will be very jealous. I hear it's fantastic and it's the main reason I want to go to northern Queensland.


I absolutely ADORE Cairns and Northern Queensland and have been up there (I'm from Melbourne) four times so far ... the most recent trip being last (late) August.

There's a million and one things to do, and if you are into beautiful nature things ( ) you will really, really enjoy this part of the world. Cairns itself is fairly small and rather touristy but if you can manage to make some day trips out and about (visiting Kuranda is a fantastic trip), I highly recommend it. For instance, you can take ferry rides out to Green Island or Fraser Island .... or book a trip (or hire a car??) and drive further north to visit the Daintree National Park You MUST go to Mossman Gorge (you can go swimming there too )

With regards to accommodation, if you're looking for something cheap and cheerful, I highly recommend staying at the Cairns Youth Hostel, you can find more info here:

http://www.yha.com.au

I stayed there on my last trip

I could blab on forever

I wanna go!!!!!!
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Old 02-29-2008, 11:55 PM   #5
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http://www.yha.com.au/hostels/details.cfm?hostelid=42

That's the Youth Hostel
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Old 03-01-2008, 02:03 AM   #6
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I with everything Trance said. North Queensland rules!

If you want to get out of Cairns, staying in Port Douglas is a good option, not so touristy and many great places to eat on Macrossan Street And you're right by 4 Mile Beach which is magnificent (though you probably won't want to swim in the sea now, as it's stinger season).

For accommodation for all of you, again the hostel there might be a good option click here

And again, you can go out to the reef from the marina at Port Douglas (I personally recommend taking a sailing boat out rather than the mega sized Quicksilver ferries, very scenic) or drive up to the Daintree and then Cape Tribulation. Or just lie by the pool and do bugger all (remember the sun screen and insect repellent )

Oooh how exciting! I envy you!!!!!
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Old 03-01-2008, 03:36 AM   #7
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beware of the monkeys.

i've seen what happens when tourists bother monkeys reading newspapers, and it was horrifying.
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:41 AM   #8
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How brave you and your wife are to travel with seven 8th graders, so good luck with that! I love to travel and would love to go to Australia. Looonnng flight though. I hope everything works out for you and your group.

My son did a trip to Europe when he was 14, the summer between his 8th and 9th grade years and it was all planned through EF Tours. They did an excellent job!
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Old 03-01-2008, 06:59 PM   #9
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Re: Australia Advice Anyone?

Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean
I'm going back to Australia in less than three weeks. I haven't been since 2000 and I will again be going to tropical north Queensland (Cairns and surrounding area). We wanted to try to go to Sydney, but it was just too expensive.

(Actually we were originally planning to go to New Zealand but that turned out to be waaaaaay too expensive).

It'll be my wife and I, seven 8th graders and one other teacher.

So if anyone has any advice, suggestions etc, please let me know. In particular, I'm looking for a cheap place for us all to stay for the the last three or four nights after the three nights at the hotel that's part of our airfare package runs out. So if anyone from Queensland or who's traveled in the area who could share some thoughts that would be great!
I'd go for a day trip up to Kuranda, and if you get a chance, head up the Cape Tribulation. There is some inredible scenery through the Daintree. I think theres even a tour organisation who takes you into the rainforest to sleep in hammocks for the night. Beautiful part of the world! Hope you enjoy!
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Old 03-01-2008, 07:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Axver
I lived in southeast Queensland for nine years, but never made it north of Bundaberg, so I can't really help, I'm sorry.

Also, if you do the Kuranda Scenic Rail from Cairns up through the rainforest to Kuranda, I will be very jealous. I hear it's fantastic and it's the main reason I want to go to northern Queensland.
I'd avoid Cairns like the plague, if I were you guys. It's ok, but it's just a large town-like city type place. Same as anywhere, really. Like BEG said, Port Douglas is where you want to stay for the last few days. You can do heaps which will keep the little buggers entertained, too. I'd guess they're not up for some rafting on the Tully, but you can hire cheap cars which can take you on a little croc hunting (you just go looking, no shooting) tour on these little tinnies with bench seats and those awnings and it goes all over the mangroves. The guides are pretty good, too. Very small, cheap, and personalised. You have to do Kuranda, even if it's only to experience the dunnys. Seriously, there's a 20 or something foot drop from the toilet seat down into nothingness. Scariest toilet you'll ever use. They're all enviro designed and weird. No loo paper, no flush, nothing. And you have to take the cable car thing. The kids will love it and so will you both. Another thing you HAVE to do is Mossman Gorge. I swear to god, sean, that water is so pristine that you can drink it straight from the gorge. The Daintree is most likely what heaven will look like, so warn them that this is where you're taking them. They'll love you for it. Australia is full of rain forests, but the Daintree is something else. If money is not too tight, then you have to get out on the reef. We went on the Aristocrat boats (avoid the Quicksilver tours) and it was awesome. You do some fishing and can keep what you catch, if it's legal sized, and can do rides on the donuts if the current is good. Plus you get all the snorkelling gear so you can go down and see the giant clams and schools of every colour fish imaginable. AND they feed you endlessly, so you stuff yourself and have a blast meeting everyone. They're small boats, they charter about 20 at most? The reef is worth it. It's an expensive day, but you're coming all this way to visit - you may as well not stop half way! Also if you catch a fish, I challenge you to find a better tasting one. We caught a trout out there and it's become a bit infamous (and we eat more fish in this house than Jesus ever did, I tell you).

So there's my tips:
1. croc tour
2. the mossman gorge
3. the kuranda dunny and sky car
4. the reef

There's heaps to do, really. The marina has glass bottom boat trips, there's dedicated deep sea fishing, scuba tours, jet skiing, windsurfing, yachting, even bungee jumping (for the kids you really don't like ). Alternatively, you could all sit on the beach for 4 days and still have the best time. You're going up at a good time of year.
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Old 03-02-2008, 12:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Axver
Also, if you do the Kuranda Scenic Rail from Cairns up through the rainforest to Kuranda, I will be very jealous. I hear it's fantastic and it's the main reason I want to go to northern Queensland.
I just got back from Cairns last week, and loved every minute of it. We did the Kuranda Scenic Railway, and the Skyrail (I personally thought the skyrail was better than the railway). We did a snorkelling/diving trip out to the reef with Compass Cruises - only $75 for the whole day - great value!! We also did the Atherton Tablelands, Mossman Gorge etc. I fell in love with Cairns - yes, it is touristy, but you expect that in such a gorgeous spot!

I have to disagree with Angela Harlem tho - I thought Port Douglas was crap - we drove up expecting to spend a day there, that there would be heaps to see or do, but we only ended up staying a couple of hours. All there is is shops and places to eat. I'm sure it's lovely if you're staying in one of the luxurious beach front resorts, but I just found it a bit boring.

If you're at all interested, my photos are here :http://www.flickr.com/photos/acrobat...7603992097594/
if you would like to have a look
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Old 03-02-2008, 02:24 PM   #12
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Your tour to the riff (which is mandatory, seriously ) should definitely include boom netting.
You may find pictures in mandy's picture album.

Want to go back there so dearly.

Wonderful pictures, mandy.
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Old 03-02-2008, 03:04 PM   #13
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Thankyou - yeah, my hubby did the boom netting - unfortunately by that stage of the day I was rather sea sick and sunburnt, so I decided that playing photographer was the safer option But he said it was great fun!!
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Old 03-02-2008, 03:29 PM   #14
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It is great fun. But you swollow so much water that you would probably be sea sick if you already felt sea sick before.

When I did the snorkelling tour they also handed out neoprene vests, because the water was so cold... it had 25°C.
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:33 PM   #15
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North Queensland is one of the better parts of the country to visit for an outback experience, some gorgeous rivers.

And think of you're inability to afford spending time in Sydney as a blessing in disguise. Not a lot to see there...
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