Travel

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

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mikek33 wrote:
Aug 19th, 2018 11:25 pm
Visiting Australia for 15 days in late Sept into early Oct.
Seeing: Sydney, Melbourne, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Brisbane.
Would love some first hand advice on things to do and places to see, particularly for Rockhampton and Bundaberg as they aren't as popular as the other locales.
Are you driving? It is over 800 kms Sydney to Melbourne (fairly slow driving so it will be an overnight trip) and about 1700kms Melbourne to Brisbane (partially in "outback" terrain and will take at least 2 over nights). Rockhampton and Bundaberg are north of Brisbane. So, lots of time on the road. It is easy to underestimate the driving times between these places.
Bundaberg is very close to Fraser Island (we stayed in Hervey Bay). Fraser Island is an amazing place, well worth the price of the tour. There are many tours to choose from.
Rockhampton is a town....in an unusually mountainous area of Queensland and that is unusual. The Capricorn Caves are worth a visit. http://capricorncaves.com.au/
Sunshine or Gold Coast are both typical tourist beach areas. Lots of restaurants, bars, clubs and of course, beaches.
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How expensive are hotels ls there? American Chainz
Rate for taking taxes/Uber?
Tour $?
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Sydney
- coastal walk that connects Bondi beach and a few other beaches in the area, depending on when you go, sometimes have outdoor art displays along the walk
- harbor bridge, you can go up to one of the towers and get a view of the city, or you can walk on top of the bridge ($$$)
- take a ferry on sunday, it is one low price for all you can ride, visit the small islands just outside the city
- the rock, the oldest area of sydney, where the british prisoners first settle in, open market and street performers during weekends
- the art gallery of NSW, free admission, worth spending time there, they also have free guided tours
- blue mountains, 1.5 hr drive (also reachable by public transportation)

Canberra, capital of Australia
- Parliament house and war memorial are worth visiting
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ysl5710 wrote:
Aug 20th, 2018 10:05 am
How expensive are hotels ls there? American Chainz
Rate for taking taxes/Uber?
Tour $?
I found Australia to be a bit like going to the US. Even though the exchange rate works in your favour in Australia, posted prices down under are fair a bit higher than what you'd see at home.

Just things like paying $4 for a can of coke, $5 for a regular coffee, $6 for a can of beer, $10 for a magazine, etc. The only thing I can think of that was cheaper than back home was wine. Everything else was either a bit more expensive or a lot more expensive. I think it would be a tough place for a committed budget traveller. I did not do much shopping there.
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Pete_Coach wrote:
Aug 20th, 2018 8:07 am
Are you driving? It is over 800 kms Sydney to Melbourne (fairly slow driving so it will be an overnight trip) and about 1700kms Melbourne to Brisbane (partially in "outback" terrain and will take at least 2 over nights). Rockhampton and Bundaberg are north of Brisbane. So, lots of time on the road. It is easy to underestimate the driving times between these places.
Bundaberg is very close to Fraser Island (we stayed in Hervey Bay). Fraser Island is an amazing place, well worth the price of the tour. There are many tours to choose from.
Rockhampton is a town....in an unusually mountainous area of Queensland and that is unusual. The Capricorn Caves are worth a visit. http://capricorncaves.com.au/
Sunshine or Gold Coast are both typical tourist beach areas. Lots of restaurants, bars, clubs and of course, beaches.
Thanks for the insight.
Flying into Sydney first and staying for 4 nights. Then flying to Melbourne, staying 3 nights there. Then flying to Rockhampton, staying 1 night there. Next day renting a car and driving to Bundaberg, staying 1 night there. Then driving to Sunshine Coast area , staying 2 nights there. Then driving to Gold Coast area, staying 2 nights there. Finish the trip with 2 nights in downtown Brisbane and flying out of there (stopping in San Francisco for 4 nights on the way home).

So in terms of driving looks to be just over 800km give or take over the course of 6 days or so. Have read what you and others online have mentioned around adding time to google maps stated driving times given the lack of North American style highway driving. I hope we spread out the driving enough. We'll see!
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I lived in Brisbane for a few months several years back and, if you're in the area, I strongly suggest you go to Byron Bay. I'm not sure why you'd fly to Rockhampton (family perhaps?) or Bundaberg. There are tours where you actually sleep in Fraser island itself (I did a camping trip there once with a tour group), so it's not really necessary to stay in Bundaberg. Perhaps it's just for a night to break the long drive? If so, that makes sense.
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ysl5710 wrote:
Aug 20th, 2018 10:05 am
How expensive are hotels ls there? American Chainz
Rate for taking taxes/Uber?
Tour $?
Are you asking prices in the cities or in smaller centers? The hotel prices are dependent on where you want to stay, as they are here or in the US. Downtown is more, 4 and 5 star are more, on the beach is more and so on.
Taxi rates are what i consider normal. Taxi charges are different in every city, be it Vancouver, Ottawa or Sydney and Melbourne. Get the Uber app and find out the rates, they change too.
Tour? Tour of what? Prices for tours are different depending where you want to go , what you want to see, how long you want the tour and how exclusive you want to be.
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heymikey wrote:
Aug 22nd, 2018 2:40 am
I lived in Brisbane for a few months several years back and, if you're in the area, I strongly suggest you go to Byron Bay. I'm not sure why you'd fly to Rockhampton (family perhaps?) or Bundaberg. There are tours where you actually sleep in Fraser island itself (I did a camping trip there once with a tour group), so it's not really necessary to stay in Bundaberg. Perhaps it's just for a night to break the long drive? If so, that makes sense.
Thanks for the tip on Byron Bay!

Rationale for flying into Rockhampton is to get north enough to see Great Barrier Reef and experience some of the different parts of the coast (with the rented car) as we head back towards Brisbane. Hindsight is 20/20 - may have made more sense to fly into Brisbane (flights were less than half of flying up to Rockhampton too!) rented a car and driven north from there and then returned back down to Brisbane before flying out. Rental car would have been $200 cheaper to return to same location too. But at least the way we've set it up we won't be driving the same route twice (there and back).

We also stayed in some smaller towns when we travelled Spain and we enjoyed that aspect of experiencing the culture in those places rather than just hitting the touristy hot spots in the major centers. Barcelona could very well be Toronto in a lot of ways...whereas as the small towns gave us some of the authentic Spanish culture.
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Also, I realize this is an almost impossible question to answer as there are so many factors but I'm okay with a ballpark figure.

How much should my wife and I be budgeting for on a daily basis for food (plan to do combination of eating out + making our own), fuel and tolls for small car for part of the trip (approx 1000 KMs of driving), attractions/tours etc. Note - this number would NOT include accommodations and rental car itself (we've already booked and paid for that).
In my head I was thinking like $130CAD/day total (for both my wife and I combined) may be a reasonable number...thoughts?
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$130 seems on the light side to me for 2 people. It's certainly possible, but you would really have to watch your pennies and balance free attractions (beaches, hiking, etc.) with paid ones that can be pricy.

Food is not cheap either... $130/day would not leave much room for restaurant meals. Even if the two of you ate a McDonald's combo 3 meals a day, you'd easily be hitting half of your $130 a day target right there.
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56kbps wrote:
Aug 22nd, 2018 5:01 pm
$130 seems on the light side to me for 2 people. It's certainly possible, but you would really have to watch your pennies and balance free attractions (beaches, hiking, etc.) with paid ones that can be pricy.

Food is not cheap either... $130/day would not leave much room for restaurant meals. Even if the two of you ate a McDonald's combo 3 meals a day, you'd easily be hitting half of your $130 a day target right there.
Right. As long as I'm close - another $25 per day won't break the bank. Ultimately, I don't want to travel to the other side of the world just say "I'm not doing that because I'll go over budget". That being said, my wife and I love the outdoors so hiking and enjoying different landscapes will provide value to us that it may not for others.
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mikek33 wrote:
Aug 22nd, 2018 4:43 pm
Also, I realize this is an almost impossible question to answer as there are so many factors but I'm okay with a ballpark figure.

How much should my wife and I be budgeting for on a daily basis for food (plan to do combination of eating out + making our own), fuel and tolls for small car for part of the trip (approx 1000 KMs of driving), attractions/tours etc. Note - this number would NOT include accommodations and rental car itself (we've already booked and paid for that).
In my head I was thinking like $130CAD/day total (for both my wife and I combined) may be a reasonable number...thoughts?
Gas in Australia is about $1.50 per litre.
As far as attractions, well, it is difficult to say becasue attractions (zoo, etc) car really expensive, for instance, the Sydney zoo is about $45 per person. Doing the Sydney Bridge climb is about $150. Great Barrier reef tours can range anywhere from $125 to $400 per person per day.
Food, again, depending on where and what you eat can be as low as $18 at McDonalds for lunch and up. Our dinners, at reasonable restaurants, including drinks war around $80.
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So we leave for Sydney on Monday! Getting pretty excited.

Wondering what people did for directions when travelling by rental car? Renting the GPS from the rental car company seemed cost prohibitive but not sure what other options we have. Could inquire about a data plan through my phone but I anticipate that won’t be cheap. Suggestions welcome!
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mikek33 wrote:
Sep 18th, 2018 11:33 pm
So we leave for Sydney on Monday! Getting pretty excited.

Wondering what people did for directions when travelling by rental car? Renting the GPS from the rental car company seemed cost prohibitive but not sure what other options we have. Could inquire about a data plan through my phone but I anticipate that won’t be cheap. Suggestions welcome!
You will really need a GPS, especially if driving in cities. I strongly suggest you go and buy one and upload Australian maps. It will cost you about $100 but I truly believe it is necessary.
You can certainly get a data plan and use the maps off the phone but, a GPS can be mounted right on the windshield and is eye level soyou can see the map as well as voice guided.
Enjoy yourself. It is a rat place to visit and so much to see. Not exactly beach weather yet but not too bad.
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Mobile data plans in Australia are cheap. I think I paid $15 for 30 GB of data on some promotion Optus had but there are other options as well (Vodaphone,
Telstra).

Brisbane Airport has a Optus stand and I am pretty sure Sydney Airport will have same providers as well. Just need to show your passport to get SIM. You can download offline Google Maps for free .

Don't know your situation but highly recommend take public transit while there. Taking the ferry/train might be much faster than driving. Uber is an option as well.


mikek33 wrote:
Sep 18th, 2018 11:33 pm
So we leave for Sydney on Monday! Getting pretty excited.

Wondering what people did for directions when travelling by rental car? Renting the GPS from the rental car company seemed cost prohibitive but not sure what other options we have. Could inquire about a data plan through my phone but I anticipate that won’t be cheap. Suggestions welcome!

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