Travel

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

[OP]
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Jun 14, 2008
487 posts
454 upvotes

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

Visiting Australia in July, here is my research until now, please add your comments, this will be helpful for me and others.

I am can not visit all places listed below, I have updated the first post on the basis of input from other great fellows on RFD, Thank you. This will help others in planning their trip :)

Sydney - Opera house, Harbour, go to Bondi Beach, take a speed boat ride, maybe hit the zoo., dinner cruise , Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Queen Victoria Building,
blue moutains

Cairns - Port Douglas, Great Barrier Reef

Melbourn - Phillips Island - Penguin parade, St. Kilda, Yarra valley vine tours, Mornington Pennisula

Great Ocean Road - Twelve Apostles, wild life.

Adelaide - Kangaroo island, Victor Harbor, Mount Lofty, Rocking Horse, whispering wall, wineries and wine tasting, dolphin explorer river cruise ,
south Australian museum, art gallery, conservation park, rundown mall, cleland wildlife park , St. Peter’s cathedral, St Kilda Adventure playground.
Beaches: Glenelg, Brighton, Henley, Semaphore, Port Noarlunga, Christies Beach and Moana.

Brisbane - Fraser Island, Surfers Paradise, Sunshine coast, Gold Coast

Tasmania
Cradle Mountain area
Pacific Islands (i.e. Fiji)

Uluru - Uluru / Ayer's Rock is not to be missed- tents
Coober Pedy

VISA REQUIREMENTS
Get Australian visa BEFORE you arrive in Australia.

It's ETA, information linked to your passport, no physical sticker. Airlines check this when you board the flight.
No ETA, you can not board flight.

Government website $20, If you are comfortable giving your information to private agents, private sites offer this for 10$, For me saving 10$ is not worth it.

Application link https://www.eta.immi.gov.au/ETAS3/etas

For most applications it takes 2 minutes, may take 12 hours or longer in some cases, apply at least 2 weeks before your trip.

TAKING YOUR PET WITH YOU
Australia's dog and cat import conditions are amongst the most stringent in the world. All the required information for exporting dogs and cats to Australia is available on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Australia website.
http://www.agriculture.gov.au/cats-dogs

Where to Cuddle a Koala in Australia
- Check timings and price before you go.

Australia Zoo, Sunshine Coast $40
Billabong Sanctuary, Townsville $24
Cooberrie Park, Cooberrie $20
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Gold Coast $79 with park entry
Dreamworld, Gold Coast $25
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane $Free
Paradise Country Aussie Farm, Gold Coast $45
Rainforestation Nature Park, Kuranda $18
Wildlife Habitat, Port Douglas $20
WILD LIFE Hamilton Island, Whitsundays
Cleland Wildlife Park, Adelaide Hills $30
Gorge Wildlife Park, Cudlee Creek $Free
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, Kangaroo Island $15
Cohunu Koala Park, Perth $15

Speed limits are strictly enforced, many cameras in city and on highways too, 60 means 60 , be careful.

Before landing in Australia, airline will give you a form to fill.

On arrival, you need to go through immigration (you can use e-passport kiosk), collect baggage, go through customs, chances are that your baggage will be checked. Being an island country they have tight bio security rules, don’t bring anything which you are not allowed to (no fruits /nuts/ seeds etc.).
Last edited by dealguru99 on Jul 15th, 2018 9:33 pm, edited 13 times in total.
94 replies
Member
Mar 15, 2004
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Toronto
I got my eta approved instantly when I applied for mine last month.
Going the first week of the new year.

I only have a week in Australia before moving on to other cities in Asia.
I'm planning to spend 2 days in Cairns to see the great barrier reef and the rest in Sydney and the surrounding areas.
Are there any place in or around Cairns where I can feed some kangaroos and/or hold a koala?
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Oct 24, 2013
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BELLEVILLE
1. Sydney Opera house

2. The Great Ocean Road, Victoria (https://www.australiantraveller.com/aus ... australia/)
The route: One of the country’s most famous road trips stretches along its southern coast from Torquay to Allansford in Victoria.
Why is it one of the greats? Taking a trip along the Great Ocean Road is an Australian rite of passage. It winds 243 kilometres along some of Australia’s most stunning coastline, taking in rainforest, sunburnt cliffs, shipwrecks, and, of course, the famous Twelve Apostles – of which there are now eight.
[OP]
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Jun 14, 2008
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Jereina wrote: Are there any place in or around Cairns where I can feed some kangaroos and/or hold a koala?
Updated in first post
Deal Addict
May 16, 2005
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One of the first tips for visiting Australia is that it a very large country with different climates. Don't try to plan too many cities into your itinerary.
Its like having 2 weeks and want to see all of Canada. ain't happening.

And I won't state that there is nothing to see in Melbourne.
Melbourne is such a great city, with so much art culture and food scene. A lot of people would prefer to visit Melbourne as oppose to Sydney, if given a choice.
Plus Melbourne makes for a great base to see some of the other sites in the area. For example, who can miss going to Phillips Island, and seeing the Penguin parade? And if you are going to drive the Great Ocean Road, Melbourne will be a great base to start or end the drive.
Other things to do from Melbourne include: St. Kilda, Yarra valley vine tours, Mornington Pennisula, etc..
Deal Fanatic
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Feb 19, 2010
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Good thread, OP. (Not sure why anybody would down vote it. :eek: )

Planning a lengthy trip to Australia and New Zealand late next year so will be watching closely...
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Apr 2, 2015
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Siberia
Sydney, try coodgie beach too.

Melbourn, go to Phillip island and see the penguins, you won't regret it.

Brisbane, drive upto Mt tambourine for cheese and wine and great sunsets.
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May 10, 2005
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You are aware that July is Winter for Australia. The best weather (although fraught with rain and possible storms) is in the North. the south can be very cold and wet. it can and does snow west of Sydney quite often.
Being Winter months, the activities on the Great Barrier Reef will be limited. The water can be rough and comes up quickly so snokling and diving is sparse..
Fraser Island is not a place you visit on your own. You need special vehicle to get there and to travel the roads. https://www.travelonline.com/islands/fr ... raser.html
Urulu can be very cold at night in the Winter so, if camping, be prepared for that. Also, lots of critters and creepy crawlers there.
Coober Pedy is an interesting spot. Try and stay in an underground hotel. There is a pizza joint there that has amazing food. Can't remember the name but it is a small town with only one pizza joint. The opals are way over priced :)
The East coast beaches are quite rough during the winter. The water will be cold as well. Swim only in marked areas as they are patrolled and have shark watches.
Spent 8 weeks there driving from Sydney to Adelaide to Urulu/Alice Springs, up to Cairns and back down to Sydney.
[OP]
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Jun 14, 2008
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Pete_Coach wrote: You are aware that July is Winter for Australia. The best weather (although fraught with rain and possible storms) is in the North. the south can be very cold and wet. it can and does snow west of Sydney quite often.
Being Winter months, the activities on the Great Barrier Reef will be limited. The water can be rough and comes up quickly so snokling and diving is sparse..
Fraser Island is not a place you visit on your own. You need special vehicle to get there and to travel the roads. https://www.travelonline.com/islands/fr ... raser.html
Urulu can be very cold at night in the Winter so, if camping, be prepared for that. Also, lots of critters and creepy crawlers there.
Coober Pedy is an interesting spot. Try and stay in an underground hotel. There is a pizza joint there that has amazing food. Can't remember the name but it is a small town with only one pizza joint. The opals are way over priced :)
The East coast beaches are quite rough during the winter. The water will be cold as well. Swim only in marked areas as they are patrolled and have shark watches.
Spent 8 weeks there driving from Sydney to Adelaide to Urulu/Alice Springs, up to Cairns and back down to Sydney.
Great information, I wish I had 8 weeks :)
Deal Expert
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May 10, 2005
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dealguru99 wrote: Great information, I wish I had 8 weeks :)
Had to work extra hours and save vacation days for a couple years to get the entire 8 weekends.
Anyway, what are your intentions? Maybe there is more information I can provide? Like I mentioned, it is Winter so there some shutdowns that time of year.
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Oct 17, 2005
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Toronto
ETA can take up to 24 hours in my case in May this year, so be prepared and don't apply for it at the last minute
Deal Addict
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Jun 29, 2010
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The ETA surprised me a little - I thought all Commonwealth countries would be exempt.
I'm hoping to do a trip there in 2020 by motorcycle. It's a guided tour and the spots listed are

North Sydney, Royal National Park, Lakes Entrance, Ninety Mile Beach, Melbourne, Devonport, Freycinet National Park, Wineglass Bay, Port Arthur, Hobart, Strahan, Bells Beach, Great Ocean Road, Great Alpine Road, Australian Alps, Snowy Mountains, Canberra, Blue Mountains.

Sounds impressive until you look at a map and see just how small a region that covers.
Of course, you wouldn't want to take a bike into the Outback I'm sure.
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Dec 12, 2010
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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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Jul 14, 2004
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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: 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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Aug 27, 2009
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cardle wrote: 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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