Travel

** Australia Vacation ** Mega Thread - Places you must see, Things to do, Visa, Pets etc.

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If you don't like hot weather but still want to as much as possible, when is the best time to go?
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I spent about 10 days in Australia earlier this year, not a whole lot of time but got a taster of Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmania. Tons of great restaurants and coffee spots in both Sydney and Melbourne, brunch is a big thing.

Sydney
-Bondi beach to Coogee beach coastal walk is nice if you have a morning/afternoon to spare, you could also stop by the Icebergs Club for something to drink/eat
-I was in Sydney for NYE, the fireworks in the harbour were amazing. The whole experience is pretty expensive, but it sure is nice to bring in the new year outside in warm summer weather. If someone does end up going during that time, I suggest checking out the Royal Botanical Gardens. The view of the fireworks is excellent, you'll see both the opera house and bridge from there. The RBG does host their own private, catered events for NYE which are at least a few hundred bucks per person, but if you become a member, you can get access to their "Foundation and Friends" NYE picnic, you'll have to bring your own food and the spots aren't reserved, but it'll be a little less hectic than public spaces. Membership is $65 AUD pp, or $82 AUD for a household (2 adults), while the tickets to the Foundation and Friends NYE picnic is $75 AUD pp.

Melbourne
-Queen Victoria Market
-Moonlit Sanctuary - you can pet (not cuddle) a Koala there for $20, there's also kangaroo, wallaby and pademelon roaming around for you to hand feed

Tasmania
-Freycinet National Park + Wineglass bay
-Cataract Gorge in Launceston
-Cradle Mountain
-There's several sanctuaries for Tasmanian devils around the island, but I went to Devils@Cradle, which is right at Cradle Mountain. Try to go for the feeding times, they'll be pretty active and you can hear them snarl and scream at each other lol
-Lots of great hikes in Tasmania if you're into that, at Cradle Mountain there's trails that range from 1 or 2 hours, to days long.
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cardle wrote:
Jun 25th, 2018 2:56 pm
If you don't like hot weather but still want to as much as possible, when is the best time to go?
March to May and September to November.
Remember that northern Australia (Darwin etc) is close to the equator and is warm most of the year...tropical and humid. Southern Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide) is cooler in their summer and colder in their winter.
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cardle wrote:
Jun 25th, 2018 2:56 pm
If you don't like hot weather but still want to as much as possible, when is the best time to go?
My wife and I are the same - hate the heat. We recently returned from a 5-week trip split evenly between Australia and New Zealand, late April to late May. Australia is a big country so it depends where you're going. Refer to this link for temperature averages for the major cities. A big advantage of going when it's cooler (shoulder or low season) is smaller crowds but some things may be closed, though we didn't run into the latter. Also better/cheaper availability of rental cars and accommodations. Be aware of daylight hours - sunset when we went was usually a little after 5pm.

https://www.aboutaustralia.com/travel-t ... australia/

We really liked Melbourne, probably more than Sydney. We found Melbourne more vibrant whereas Sydney was more impersonal, maybe that's just us. There's a big rivalry between the two. We saw the penguins at Philip Island, quite frankly thought it was overrated for the price (we drove there ourselves rather than take a tour which is even more expensive). Bring warm clothes.

We took 5 days and drove Melbourne-Sydney along the coast. Went to Raymond Island where you can see lots of koalas (free).

Went for a bush walk (aka hike) at Pebbly Beach (home of the "Surfing Kangaroos" ) in Murramarang National Park where you can see kangaroos all over the place. Kangaroos are abundant, so much so they're a bit of a nuisance and have to be culled. I almost hit one with my car one evening.

Coffee there is not like here. Everything ordered is espresso based and seems to cost at least $4 and up. You may want to familiarize yourself with their coffee terminalogy like flat white, short black, long black, etc. so you know what you're ordering. Some places give you a double shot of espresso vs single.

Out of the bigger cities most motels have kitchenettes as the common expectation is that you'll have your own breakfast in your room. When you check in they usually give you a small bottle of milk for your coffee, made yourself which is usually instant or french pressed. We brought a cooler bag to bring stuff from motel to motel.

Prices are typically all inclusive of tax and tip which I really liked though the American/Cdn-style tip jars are starting to show up.
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Nov 23, 2015
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MrDisco wrote:
Jun 25th, 2018 3:10 pm
Wow had no idea we needed a visa to get into Australia.
I was surprised to find that out myself, but fortunately the process is pretty simple.

But still, I would think this requirement must catch people off guard all the time... I mean, English speaking Commonwealth country... why would you need a visa? I would bet that there is someone showing up for every flight from Canada to Australia without the appropriate visa in place. I wonder how the airlines handle them?
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56kbps wrote:
Jun 26th, 2018 12:07 pm
I was surprised to find that out myself, but fortunately the process is pretty simple.

But still, I would think this requirement must catch people off guard all the time... I mean, English speaking Commonwealth country... why would you need a visa? I would bet that there is someone showing up for every flight from Canada to Australia without the appropriate visa in place. I wonder how the airlines handle them?
Airlines will not issue you a boarding pass unless they are able to confirm ETA has been approved.
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56kbps wrote:
Jun 26th, 2018 12:07 pm
I was surprised to find that out myself, but fortunately the process is pretty simple.

But still, I would think this requirement must catch people off guard all the time... I mean, English speaking Commonwealth country... why would you need a visa? I would bet that there is someone showing up for every flight from Canada to Australia without the appropriate visa in place. I wonder how the airlines handle them?
It is not a Visa per se but an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) and Australians (and most others) need an ETA to get into Canada.
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fuzzy2k3 wrote:
Jun 26th, 2018 1:44 pm
Airlines will not issue you a boarding pass unless they are able to confirm ETA has been approved.
Yeah, for sure. But like I say, I guarantee you that in the average flight of ~250 people, I would think there must always be at least a couple who are unaware of the requirement when they show up at the airport. I wonder what the airlines do in that case?
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56kbps wrote:
Jun 26th, 2018 3:48 pm
Yeah, for sure. But like I say, I guarantee you that in the average flight of ~250 people, I would think there must always be at least a couple who are unaware of the requirement when they show up at the airport. I wonder what the airlines do in that case?
We were at Sydney airport and some folks did not have theirs. it was a very big deal. The airline was there explaining the people had them when they boarded. I don't know what happened but the customs people and police were very upset.
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56kbps wrote:
Jun 26th, 2018 3:48 pm
Yeah, for sure. But like I say, I guarantee you that in the average flight of ~250 people, I would think there must always be at least a couple who are unaware of the requirement when they show up at the airport. I wonder what the airlines do in that case?
They will apply for ETA for you. When I last traveled, I ended up renewing my daughter's passport after I had already applied for ETA. So now the new passport didn't have an ETA attached to it. So at the Airport, she asked that I use my phone to apply for ETA. Turns out there is no mobile version for ETA site and it was painful trying to make sure the date formats are right. The rep then went ahead and used her computer to apply and process my credit card before issuing the boarding pass. It was a tense 30 seconds to make sure it got approved right away.

I recommend getting an ETA before even booking your flight. ETA are good for 12 months from the date they are approved

Thank you for your application for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) for Australia.

We can confirm that your application has been successful and that you now have a valid ETA.

If you would like to check the details of your ETA, contact your Travel Agent / Airline.

An ETA is automatically linked to your passport. The customs authorities and airline check-in staff have access to this information, using your passport details, so there is no need for any further documentation or reference numbers to be presented.

Conditions of an ETA are:
It is your responsibility to know what your visa allows you to do while in Australia.
Once your ETA is granted you are able to enter and leave Australia as many times as you need to during a 12 month period, from the date the ETA is granted or until the expiry date of your passport, whichever is earlier.
You can stay in Australia for a maximum of three months on each visit.
You must not study for more than three months.
You must be free from tuberculosis.
You must not have any criminal convictions for which you have been sentenced for a total combined period of 12 months or more, whether or not you served the sentence/s.
It is illegal to work on an ETA. Whilst on an ETA you have no right to work in Australia. You may only undertake business visitor activities such as the undertaking of business enquiries and contractual negotiations or attending conferences.
We hope you have a wonderful stay in Australia.
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Pete_Coach wrote:
Jun 26th, 2018 4:11 pm
We were at Sydney airport and some folks did not have theirs. it was a very big deal. The airline was there explaining the people had them when they boarded. I don't know what happened but the customs people and police were very upset.
They must be used to it, though. Unlike, say, Russia or China where everyone and their dog knows there are visa requirements in place, people probably don't think of Australia in the same way. Even though it is The Wrong Thing To Do, it still gets mentally lumped in with the US and EU countries as a place you don't need a visa for.

I'm sure customs and police get upset, but given that they have to deal with a straggler or two on probably every flight coming from Canada, it's a routine they must be used to by now.
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56kbps wrote:
Jun 27th, 2018 9:41 am
They must be used to it, though. Unlike, say, Russia or China where everyone and their dog knows there are visa requirements in place, people probably don't think of Australia in the same way. Even though it is The Wrong Thing To Do, it still gets mentally lumped in with the US and EU countries as a place you don't need a visa for.

I'm sure customs and police get upset, but given that they have to deal with a straggler or two on probably every flight coming from Canada, it's a routine they must be used to by now.
I think that "people probably don't think of Australia in the same way" is a very old Canadian mindset. Even we, Canada, requires ETA for most visitors to Canada.
Canadians are not the "welcomed" people we used to be and countries are protecting their borders more than they used to.
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As stated ETA is required. Takes 5 minutes to apply.

* Brisbane/Port Douglas/Cairns are awesome and not to be missed, also the rainforest past Port Douglas is worth doing a tour into.
* At the time we went (sept/oct), the whale seeing tours out of brisbane were awesome, tons of whales.
* I'd personally suggest staying in port douglas over cairns, but it depends if you are after quiet or party environment.
* One tourist trap that is ok near Cairns is a trip to http://www.kuranda.org/ you can take the gondala one way, and a train through the rainforest on the other.
* Penguin parades are overrated tourist traps.
* In Sydney we skipped Bondi beach but went to Manly beach instead. It's a Ferry Ride from Circular Quay (In downtown sydney). There is a supermarket immediately when you get off the boat, so its an easy place to do a picnic on the beach should you wish. Everything price wise is much more reasonable than Sydney. I'd actually consider staying there if i went back to Australia/Sydney and just taking the ferry downtown.
* Taronga Zoo in sydney was good, again you reach it by Ferry, you take a gondola to the top of the park, and then work your way down (its on the side of a mountain).
* It's worth walking the Sydney harbour bridge for sure
* Don't miss darling harbour
* To get a good view of downtown Sydney, take the ferry back to Circular Quay from Taronga/Manly/etc sunset/after dark. You'll get great views of the bridge, opera house, etc.
* In the 'red center' the rock is not to be missed, but it is in essence, a big rock. The activity I enjoyed most there was walking around Kings Canyon. https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_R ... itory.html It's easy to drive in the red center and the speed limit is 130KM/HR, however you are not allowed to drive after dusk/dark by every rental company due to wildlife. You can fly into alice springs and fly out of ayers rock (or vise versa) and do a one way car rental. Unless you wish to camp in the outback, then i'd suggest a tour group.
* EVERYTHING FROM THE RED CENTER WILL BE RED, ESPECIALLY YOUR SHOES. We did the red center at the start of our trip and I ended up having to spend several hours washing my shoes to use them on the rest of the trip as the white soles were bright red. Plan the center at the end of your trip or bring a old pair of sneakers or hiking shoes.
* Most people like Melbourne or Sydney, I preferred Sydney I don't recall anything that stands out from Melbourne.
* Great Ocean Road is a worth while trip.
* Adelaide/Kangaroo Island is also a good trip.

The stand out of the trip for me was 3 days 2 night sailing trip on a catamaran based out of Airlie Beach which included visiting Whitsunday beach. https://www.escape.com.au/holiday-ideas ... ef636c490d
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Pete_Coach wrote:
Jun 27th, 2018 10:07 am
I think that "people probably don't think of Australia in the same way" is a very old Canadian mindset. Even we, Canada, requires ETA for most visitors to Canada.
Canadians are not the "welcomed" people we used to be and countries are protecting their borders more than they used to.
Be that as it may. A lot of people have that mindset and I'm not really that curious about why it persists so much as I am with how airlines/customs handle it given that it must happen on a routine basis... if not daily, then certainly regularly. (Although I'm betting it's daily.)

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