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Australia honeymoon advice, please

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Sujuann

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Hello, everyone!!!

I searched through the forums to see if I could find any advice on this topic, but there wasn''t any so I thought I woud ask.

My fiance and I are going to Australia for our honeymoon (yeeahhhh!!)! We just booked yesterday and I am soooooo excited!!
Not including the four days of travel, we are spending 12 full days there. We would love to do more but 16 days of vacation was all I felt comfortable for taking. But we feel good that we will be able to relax and see some sights. (Ten year anniversary we will go back and spend a month! We already decided that!)

My questions are these:

- Where do you suggest we go? We are thinking Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns but not sure anymore.

- Is it worth going to Melbourne? Is anything there?

- Should we skip Melbourne and hit Alice Springs?

- Is the Great Barrier Reef really something that you HAVE to do? Would you suggest going somewhere else instead (Port Douglas or Brisbane or elsewhere)?

- How many days in Sydney would you suggest? Cairns? Melbourne? Alice Springs?

- The Good Food and Wine Expo is going on in Brisbane while we are there (going in November). Has anyone been? Is it worth going? Readingint online it looks great. Fiance and I are really into wine (it''s the theme of our wedding).


If anyone has been there or lives there and can help with some advice, that woudl be awesome!

Thanks so much!!!!
 

Harriet

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Congratulations! Sydney is lovely -- I used to live there. Maybe you could spend a couple of days in the City and another couple in the environs (Blue Mountains, Port Stephens). Whatever you do, eat at Tetsuya.
 

Sujuann

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Date: 3/21/2007 10:14:26 AM
Author: Harriet
Congratulations! Sydney is lovely -- I used to live there. Maybe you could spend a couple of days in the City and another couple in the environs (Blue Mountains, Port Stephens). Whatever you do, eat at Tetsuya.
Thanks! You used to live there? That is great!

Do you mind if I ask you... Would you recommend Hunter Valley? We were thinking of staying there overnight. Do you think that 3days in Sydney is enough? And where is Tetsuya? I am soooo curious now!

Thanks!
 

Harriet

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3 days in Sydney is enough, unless you''re serious eaters, which we are. Tetsuya is in the city, and is without exaggeration my favourtie restaurant in the world, more so than Per Se. I''ve never been to Hunter Valley, but I hear it''s lovely and a good place for oenophiles.
 

janinegirly

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may i ask where you''re traveling from and what months? sounds wonderful. i like hearing others'' progress b/c i''m taking a break from planning right now!
 

Jas12

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wow-great honeymoon choice with lots of options! I lived in Aust. for a year (right around hunter valley area) and traveled as much as I could, so hopefully I can help. Since oz is so diverse you have some decisions to make:
a) do you want to pack as much in as possible (if you want to go from Melbourne to Cairns for ex. you will need to fly unless you want to spend days driving) or keep it relaxed and low key?
b) What time of year are you going...The south will be chilly if you are going during our summer (their winter), but Cairns area will be toasty any time of year so if you are going both places you will need to pack fall and summer clothing
c) Are you a beach rainforest loving couple (head northeast) or love adventurous stuff (highly recommend the red-centre, Uluru or remote west coast) or enjoy big city dining and shopping with some beach (Sydney anytime, Melbourne as well!)

If you can narrow it down, let us know if flying b/w spots is an option (Qantas and Virgin airlines often have great domestic flight prices--sometimes cheaper than a bus or train ticket--and a MUST if you plan to see a few cities in just 12 days--Aust. is a BIG country)



Just to get you started, and based on what you told me, he''s a little itinerary I made up packing in as much as possible ;-)---i would skip Brisbane, Sydney and Mel. have a lot more to offer (IMO)
I would start with 2 or 3 days in Sydney (do the beach, harbor sail, shopping, dining etc.) then possibly one day in hunter valley/ 3 sisters (not a ''must'' on my list, but very pretty and if you are in to wine it is a good place to go!)
Then, fly to Melbourne for 2 or 3 days (Great Ocean Rd, City sights,....)
Then, Fly to Alice Springs for a couple of days--do a mini outback camping trip to Uluru (Ayres rock/Kings Canyon)
Then fly to Cairns--dive the GBR, hike in the rainforest, lounge on the beach, relax etc.
This is just ONE of many many possible itineraries (and other may totally disagree) but with something like this you are traveling a lot, but getting a good overview of the diversity of Australia....it would be worth the cost of domestic flights for me....good luck and have fun planning
 

sunshine14

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I''ve been to Australia twice, and if you are heading north, I would DEFINITELY go to Port Douglas!! Cairns is very touristy and if you go a bit farther north to Port Douglas, I guarantee you will be happy! It is quieter than Cairns, has wonderful hotels/B&Bs and amazing restaurants. PLUS they say that the best part of the Reef is there. From what I''ve been told, the reason Cairns is so popular is that the Reef is closest to the coast there, so it''s fastest to get to. But if you go up to Port Douglas, the reef is farther away but sooo amazing!

If you do go, there are a bunch of companies that will take you snorkelling, but I recommend taking one of the smaller ones (not the big double decker boats) because you get more one on one with the marine biologists etc. See if you can find the one run by the guy with the patch on his eye (he''s legendary). His tour is the best.

Have fun!
 

TravelingGal

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As the others noted, time of year is pretty key in any recommendations. But without knowing that, I''d say...

You can''t go to Australia and not see Sydney, IMO. The touristy stuff is fun to do. Bridgeclimb was worth it. Manly Beach. Watsons Bay (Doyle''s is overrated as a restaurant, but if it''s a lovely day, a great spot to have a drink and a bite.) Tetsuyas is considered one of the world''s best restaurants (in one rating, I think it was number 5). I enjoyed it, but it didn''t knock my socks off...however I think that was because my taste buds were dead due to the flu!

A less frequented area I enjoyed: Balmain and Newtown. A very touristed area I hated: Darling Harbour. Something you may find really MEH or good, depending on your mood is trying a pie at Harrys at Woolloomooloo. You can take a walk from there to Circular Quay...it''s a nice walk. Botanical gardens are cool too...mind the bat poo! Blue mountains are OK, but sadly I wasn''t as impressed. Cute areas up there though.

Up north, skip Cairns, go to Port Douglas. I totally agree with sunshine. My SIL lived in Cairns so I did spend a lot of time there, but I love Port Douglas more...it has the island feel without too much of the island prices. Hopefully it won''t be stinger season when you go.

In Port Douglas, there is a ton to do. Two world Heritage sites meet up there...the rainforest and the great barrier reef. Personally, I think you can''t go up there and not do the GBR. I got certified to dive just for it. However, if you simply snorkel, PLEASE do some research on which operators to take. There are a few massive boats that take you out a pontoon, and IMO they suck - we did one from Carins with my inlaws. There are a some smaller operators that JUST take snorklers from PD and I have heard they are fantastic - although I didn''t go on them since I was a diver.

Also, if you can stay in town instead of one of the big resorts just outside of PD (although it will say it''s PD) I think you will be much happier off. There are plenty of smaller, posh boutique style places to stay in town.

For the rainforest, if you really love nature, I cannot recommend enough David Armbrust. He may seem eccentric, but this man LOVES nature and animals. They come to him and birds land on his head. You will see species up close that you can''t on another tour. He IS more expensive, but the lunch his wife cooks for you is wonderful. www.anhs.com.au. The Sebel Reef House is apparently a nice place to stay up there, but I have only been to the common areas, and I don''t know how well it''s held up in the last 5 years.

20 minutes up from Cairns is a cute little are called Palm Cove. Romantic and worth a stay for a couple of nights if you want to mix it up a bit with Port Douglas.

As for Melbourne...I wasn''t as thrilled with it after Sydney, but you could certainly do the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne which is a pretty drive (not good if you are prone to carsickness though) with cute towns a long the way. And of course the apostles. The coonawarra wine regions is en route to Adelaide, and there is also a fantastic cafe a bit out of the way in a town called Robe (I believe). Wild Mulberry cafe with the best meat pies ever.

I have not been to Hunter Valley, but I love the Barossa Valley in Adelaide. If you plan to go up that far, let me know...I have plenty of suggestions.

Whew, that was a lot. More later if needed!
 

Jas12

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just to add---I too would suggest Port Douglas...Cairns is often the jumping-off point to go to TGBR, and is super touristy (but that is not always a bad thing when u are a tourist ;-), flights are most likely cheaper flying into Cairns, so that is why i suggest it, but you should look into Port Douglas, not sure about an airport etc.

Just another note: you need to organize yourself to get to the reef--either a carefully selected tour etc.--it is about 2 hours from the coast by boat (maybe u know all this already, but lots of people think it''s just there, beside the beach). I took a dive boat out to the reef and dove for 3 days straight--it was great and worth the time/money/effort....
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 3/21/2007 2:25:35 PM
Author: Jas12
just to add---I too would suggest Port Douglas...Cairns is often the jumping-off point to go to TGBR, and is super touristy (but that is not always a bad thing when u are a tourist ;-), flights are most likely cheaper flying into Cairns, so that is why i suggest it, but you should look into Port Douglas, not sure about an airport etc.

Just another note: you need to organize yourself to get to the reef--either a carefully selected tour etc.--it is about 2 hours from the coast by boat (maybe u know all this already, but lots of people think it''s just there, beside the beach). I took a dive boat out to the reef and dove for 3 days straight--it was great and worth the time/money/effort....
For PD, you fly to Cairns and just drive an hour. Most hotel can arrange transport for you.

And yup...2 hour to and back from the reef. It goes pretty quickly though and I did it for 3 days also and it was fine.
 

Sujuann

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Date: 3/21/2007 11:06:41 AM
Author: janinegirly
may i ask where you''re traveling from and what months? sounds wonderful. i like hearing others'' progress b/c i''m taking a break from planning right now!
Janinegirly, I guess I should have started with that first, eh?
I was jsut so excited/frustrated I didn''t mention.

My fiance and I decided on Australia becasue it was someplace that we both haven''t been. He and I have traveld quite a bit but not together. Australia has always been a dream of mine and I LOVE Australian wine so it was a go. We are going in November. Getting married on 10-27-07 and then leaving on November 2nd. We wanted to take some time to becompose after the wedding but not too much time. A few days works great even though I was against it at first. Now I love the idea!

Travel there is going to be crazy but God Bless my job! I have had to travel so much that I have racked up enough miles to fly us there! Whoo Hoo!!! So our flight is Orlando, Florida to Los Angeles to Seoul, Korea to Sydney... coming back is Sydney to Seoul to New York to Orlando! Seems we will be going around the world!! LOL We are so excited and can''t wait! Just frustrated on trying to figure out our itinerary once we get there. UGGHHHH!! But at least we''ll get there!
 

Sujuann

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Just to get you started, and based on what you told me, he''s a little itinerary I made up packing in as much as possible ;-)---i would skip Brisbane, Sydney and Mel. have a lot more to offer (IMO)
I would start with 2 or 3 days in Sydney (do the beach, harbor sail, shopping, dining etc.) then possibly one day in hunter valley/ 3 sisters (not a ''must'' on my list, but very pretty and if you are in to wine it is a good place to go!)
Then, fly to Melbourne for 2 or 3 days (Great Ocean Rd, City sights,....)
Then, Fly to Alice Springs for a couple of days--do a mini outback camping trip to Uluru (Ayres rock/Kings Canyon)
Then fly to Cairns--dive the GBR, hike in the rainforest, lounge on the beach, relax etc.

This is just ONE of many many possible itineraries (and other may totally disagree) but with something like this you are traveling a lot, but getting a good overview of the diversity of Australia....it would be worth the cost of domestic flights for me....good luck and have fun planning

Can I say you are AWESOME!!!!????!?!? Thank you so much!!! Okay, I''m going to answer your questions though!


a) do you want to pack as much in as possible (if you want to go from Melbourne to Cairns for ex. you will need to fly unless you want to spend days driving) or keep it relaxed and low key? We are really okay for flying. I have been on Virgin Ble and Quantas checking out their fares. I don''t want to pack too much but I think we will have ... or I will have two bags and he will have one.
b) What time of year are you going...The south will be chilly if you are going during our summer (their winter), but Cairns area will be toasty any time of year so if you are going both places you will need to pack fall and summer clothing We are going November 2 - 17. Arrive in Sydney on the 4th in the morning and leave the morning of the 17th. Twelve full days! WHOO HOOO
c) Are you a beach rainforest loving couple (head northeast) or love adventurous stuff (highly recommend the red-centre, Uluru or remote west coast) or enjoy big city dining and shopping with some beach (Sydney anytime, Melbourne as well!) We are beach/rainforest/wine drinkers. He is adventuros so I feel liek we will have to do a 4WD adventure. Not too much of a beachy person but I would like to lie out for a couple of days... but that''s all.

This may be a silly question but is Cairns really something we should do? I know that hte Great Barrier Reef is there but if you had to choose to send someone to Cairns or to Melbourne, what would be your choice? We like the traveling but want to relax some too. We were thinking just three cities and Sydney is a must becasue we fly in and out.

I love your itinerary, by the way! I can''t thank you enough, Jas12!!!
 

Sujuann

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Thanks so much for the advice and recommendation, Sunshine!! If we go to Port Douglas, I''ll definitely look up the man with a patch.

You have been to Australia twice... if I may ask, how many days did you go each time?
 

Sujuann

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TravelingGal... thank you so much!!! You gave such great recommendations! I am going to share all of this information with my fiance. And you said "more information if needed... well, I am sure I will need it! LOL So I will be in touch once we finalize the cities!

Thanks to all of ya''ll!!!
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 3/21/2007 5:17:31 PM
Author: Sujuann

Date: 3/21/2007 11:06:41 AM
Author: janinegirly
may i ask where you''re traveling from and what months? sounds wonderful. i like hearing others'' progress b/c i''m taking a break from planning right now!
Janinegirly, I guess I should have started with that first, eh?
I was jsut so excited/frustrated I didn''t mention.

My fiance and I decided on Australia becasue it was someplace that we both haven''t been. He and I have traveld quite a bit but not together. Australia has always been a dream of mine and I LOVE Australian wine so it was a go. We are going in November. Getting married on 10-27-07 and then leaving on November 2nd. We wanted to take some time to becompose after the wedding but not too much time. A few days works great even though I was against it at first. Now I love the idea!

Travel there is going to be crazy but God Bless my job! I have had to travel so much that I have racked up enough miles to fly us there! Whoo Hoo!!! So our flight is Orlando, Florida to Los Angeles to Seoul, Korea to Sydney... coming back is Sydney to Seoul to New York to Orlando! Seems we will be going around the world!! LOL We are so excited and can''t wait! Just frustrated on trying to figure out our itinerary once we get there. UGGHHHH!! But at least we''ll get there!
OK, I have been there around that time and although weather is never predicable, at least can offer some insight.

When I left in the beginning of November, I headed straight up to Port Douglas because I wanted to go up there when it was a bit cooler and not quite rainy season. You''re only staying for 2 weeks, so you should be OK however you time it.

Are you stopping over anywhere, or is it just one plane after another? If so, I would definitely recommend that your first stop is Sydney to detox.

I will say one thing about that time of year that I remember in Sydney...flies. Little pesky flies that dive bomb into every exposed orifice that you have. It was maddening. In Port Douglas I went river rafting the March flies were NASTY. They bite and it hurts! They come in late spring/early summer I believe and it''s just pure pestilence. It wasn''t bad in other areas in Port Douglas that I remember..just out on the river that we went to. Going out to the reef was a welcome relief.

It WILL be stinger season when you go, btw, so only swim within the nets. Personally, I didn''t bother swimming at all. Stingers aren''t a big danger out by the reef, so it''s another reason to go hang out there.

OK, so you have to fly in and out of Sydney, which makes it a bit tougher, but here''s what I''d recommend...

Day 1, land Sydney. Check in hotel and STAY awake as long as possible. Stay near the Quay and walk around, grab coffee or whatever. The Park Hyatt at the Rocks is a great location, but there are many other hotels that are right off the Rocks that are very nice.

Day 2 More exploration of Sydney. Take a ferry ride over to either Watsons for lunch or maybe Manly Beach if it''s nice. More exploring

Day 3 Bridgeclimb (3 hours) and more exploring. Maybe dinner at Tetsuya?

Day 4 head out for Port Douglas. Check out the town in the afternoon. Dinner at Nautilus is very romantic IF the weather is nice and it is not windy.

Day 5 Spend the day on the reef. You''ll be pooped that evening.

Day 6 Relaxation day. Get a massage. Do some shopping. Enjoy.

Day 7 Rainforest

Day 8 Drive to Palm Cove and spend a night there

And since you say you love Australian wines...

Day 9 Fly to Adelaide. (you''d have to check if the travel time from PD to Adelaide would work) Try to get to wine country accommodation in the Barossa. Tanunda, Angaston (about an hour outside of town, I think)

Day 10 Wine tasting

Day 11 morning wine tasting?, drive down to Adelaide and check out the town - especially the central market if it''s still open.

Day 12, morning fly out of Adelaide for your flight to Sydney then home.

It probably needs to be tweaked, but if I were you, this is what I would do because I love wine as well. Melbourne just didn''t cut it for me, but we have some melbournites (is that a word) on PS who can definitely sway you otherwise. You could tweak out day 8 of the itinerary I did for you above if you want the last leg to be more relaxing. I could have definitely spent a few days up in wine country. The best part about wine tasting in Oz? For the most part, it''s free!!


12 full days is SUCH a short time. I think even the above itinerary is pushing it.
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 3/21/2007 5:35:52 PM
Author: Sujuann
TravelingGal... thank you so much!!! You gave such great recommendations! I am going to share all of this information with my fiance. And you said 'more information if needed... well, I am sure I will need it! LOL So I will be in touch once we finalize the cities!

Thanks to all of ya'll!!!
Well, I was writing more as you were posting.

Sujuaan, a 4WD expedition is probably not as cool as you think it is. Nothing really looks that interesting being stuck in a car. If you really want to learn about nature, I really recommend David's tour. But it's a not crazy exciting, swashbuckling through the forest, splashing through rivers filled with crocs kind of thing. He takes you for a walk through his property which is in the rainforest. With so much of logging going on, animals are overcrowding in certain areas. He has many animals who have taken refuge on his property. It's a slow eco walk and he shows you a lot, but it may be boring to some who are really not interested in nature. I thought TGuy might think it was slow, but he loved it. I'm not kidding, but you will be surrounded by animals at one point if the weather permits. You could even do just the morning part of the tour, but you wouldn't get that fantastic lunch. Afternoon is out to the dryer part of the area to see how diverse the topography is. He takes 4 people max. Hopefully you will get a day where it could be just you and your hubby.

If you do take David's tour, tell him the crazy Korean girl sent you (the one who married an Aussie). He remembered me for many years after I took the tour with him and I sent him a note now and then. When I met TGuy and we became serious, I took TGuy on David's tour and David approved of my aussie choice. So I have gone on his tour twice in 4 years and it was just as good the second time.

Btw, I found it interesting that some 4WD tours were parked at the edge of his property. They weren't trespassing so David didn't say anything but he told us they did that a lot since his property was one of the sure places they would be able to "show" animals!

ETA, Jas's itinerary is a possibility too, but I would really take out Alice Springs/Uluru. From what I understand it is not that easy to get to, and with 12 days please trust me when I say that covering that much space would be cramming. Plus that time of month may be getting pretty hot out there, and you'd have to check if pestilence would be a problem.

If neither of you are avid snorklers/divers I'd say you *could* skip the reef, but personally I would not!
 

TravelingGal

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One last thing, a great source for travel tips is http://fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=3 . There are Australians there who have been giving travel advice since before I went on my first trip in 2001. You can ask lots of questions there and also just do searches for info.
 

katebar

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Sujuan I agree with all the great tips you have been given so far and will add a few of my own. We spent Xmas in Port Douglas (Queensland is my home state) and it was awesome. It is stinger season so you can''t swim anywhere that is''nt netted and we even wore stinger suits out on the reef because of the Irukandji jellyfish which is tiny but lethal and is found at times on the reef.
Sydney is a must see and do but Melbourne culturally is fantastic and has great resturants and the yarra Valley wine region is very close by.
Brisbane is one hour drive from my home. The food festival may be good I''ll check it out for you but Queensalnd is not known as least yet for its wines. I love this city too but it has a very differnt vibe to Sydney and melbourne
There was a thread about holidaying in Australia a few month ago that might help you too Australia advice
 

Phoenix

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Hello there,

I skimmed through the posts, as I have to go out urgently, but promise to come back with a fuller post later.

From what I can gather, if you're planning to go some time in the next few months, be mindful that certain places like Melbourne can get a bit chilly (seeing that Australia is in the Southern hemisphere, but I am sure you already know this, but not sure if you know how some places in Oz can get bonny chilly - translating into unbearably cold). Also, I'd definitely recommend going to Melbourne if you don't midn the cold or are not going during their winter. DH and I went there a few yrs ago and fell in love with it and have bought an apt there for our retirement as well as have been back several more times! The food and wine are absolutely fantastic. Sydney is great but personally we prefer Melbourne (I am prob gonna get shot for this by Sydneysiders and Sydney- lovers!
). It is much more cosmopolitan and have a lot more to offer culturally. It is not so hectic like we feel that Sydney is. But it does entirely depend on what rocks your boat. If you do stop by Sydney however, I'd also suggest eating at Tetsuya's, like Harriet recommended - it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Melbourne also has lots of restaurants. I can recommend some if you'd like.

There are lots and lots of beautifull places in Oz. You lucky devils!
It'd so be worth the long trips over and back.

Would you consider stopping by New Zealand also, as you'll be in the vicinity, or kind of? It is magnificiently beautiful, particularly the South Island. I'd highly recommennd it too.
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 3/22/2007 12:21:43 AM
Author: Harriet
Tetsuya!!!!!!!!
hehehe, you seem enthusiastic about the restaurant Harriet.

btw, I didn't want to imply that in any way that Tetsuya isn't outstanding. It is. But for the life of me, I can't remember what we ate, except for the sorbet that came to cleanse our palate. Probably because it was refreshing to my fever infested head. I am still pretty bummed that I was so stinkin' sick for that meal. It was a treat for us after the very long ordeal of getting TGuy's green card processed.

Re: Melbourne, I would have to agree that it does seem more cosmopolitan and cultured than Sydney. At least that's what the Melbourne folks keep telling me!
If I gave it a shot, I may choose Melbourne over Sydney to live, but I would always recommend Sydney over Melbourne to visit for a first time Oz tourist. From the many icons people think of when they picture Australia, I can't think of one that is in Melbourne. However, Melbourne shopping absolutely trumps all over Sydney shopping!
Oh and the weather when I was in Melbourne in November SUCKED. But people kept saying if I didn't like it, just wait 10 minutes and that seemed to be true.

NZ is about a 3 hour flight from Sydney (to Auckland). Not too far, when you think about it. However, I have been to Australia 4 times, with 3 of those visits being 3 weeks or more. I still have not made it to NZ!
There is just so much to see in Oz, and still so much I have not seen. With only 12 days, my recommendation would be to stick with Oz, unless you are willing to cut it down to two cities in Oz. I would imagine you could do Melbourne, Sydney, NZ without too much trouble, but someone can correct me if I am wrong. Port Douglas takes a bit of travel time, so that would be harder. It might be better to fly into Christchurch which is on the south island, or wellington, which is south on the north island. I have never been there or planned a trip there, so others would be way better equipped to help...and I could learn a thing or two! Someday I'll make it there, but probably not before I've seen Kangaroo Island, Tasmania, Perth, Darwin, Uluru...you get the drift.

ETA, if you do go to New Zealand, ask for directions to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu.
 

Dandi

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Sujuann... November is a great time to come to Australia, it''s the last month of spring and the warm weather starts to set in, without being scorching hot (and our summers are mega hot!). Port Douglas and Sydney are a must, IMO. And Melbourne... well I think you''ve seen as much and more if you go to Sydney.

Depending on what you want to do, ie. relax in the sun or sightsee, Tasmania is a great destination too, without being too ''touristy''. Cradle Mountain in Tassie is exquisite and the midnight ghost tour of Port Arthur is a hoot, if you don''t spook too easily!

And if you want a more resorty, lie-on-the-beach-type honeymoon, Hayman Island is beautiful. Noosa is too but there isn''t much to do other than sip cocktails and lounge by the many massive pools, which can be nice after wedding planning!
 

Jas12

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Wow, lots of great suggestions...getting overwhelmed yet? hehe

November is a great time to go since it is almost in b/w seasons....the bugs are weird in oz (they do dive bomb!) but i spent over a year there and was never overly bothered by them.

As a general rule you really can''t go wrong in choosing your spots to visit and you just have to recognize that you will just scratch the surface of this huge country. Pick a priority and decide how best to incorporate it. Everyone has different opinions and likes/dislikes.

I think you need to decide if you want to ''pack in the sights'' (3 or more cities in 12 days) or focus on one element (a couple cities tops) My itinerary (or something similar) would mean a lot of transfering b/w places ,packing and unpacking, which may be a little much on a honeymoon, or just right for your lifestyle.....

As for your Cairns question. I think the rainforest and reef are must-sees (but iam a diver and luv the beach) when i was in that area I went up to Cape Tribulation for 2 nights, then Port Douglas to dive then down to Airlie Beach to go sailing in the Whitsunday Islands for 4 days....that little trip was a highlight of my year.

My FI liked the Red Centre hands-down as his favourite part of australia...the deep-red desert, Uluru, the aboriginal art/food/culture impressed him most. You will have to drive a couple hours to get to Uluru, kings canyon and the Olgas from Alice Springs (possibly go with a short tour) and I do know that some people think: why go all that way to see rocks and a canyon?...it really again comes down to what you enjoy/value in a holiday--Austrailia is known for it''s "natural world'' tourism and this is truly it at its most raw form....
 

rainwood

Brilliant_Rock
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We went to Australia for 11 days and divided them up: Sydney 3 nights, Hunter Valley 1 night, Uluru 2 nights, GBR 4 days (on 1 of the islands rather than Cairns or Port Douglas) and a night in transit. It was a whirlwind but every place was so different from the others that we were glad we did them all. Flew everywhere except the Hunter Valley.

Sydney - beautiful, beautiful city. Manly, the Opera House, walking the "coat hanger" bridge, harbour tour, the city parks. Loved every minute even though Qantas lost my luggage and didn''t retrieve it for the entire 3 days we were there.

Hunter Valley - we''re wineheads so spent a night there, driving from Sydney. Will never forget our morning walk through the vineyard with kangaroos watching us. You don''t see that in Napa! Next time, we''d go to Victoria for the vineyards but Hunter Valley was close. One night was better than nothing, but wished we had more time.

Great Barrier Reef - unbelievable. Good snorkeling. My favorite vacation experience of all time was being out on the beach at midnight, full moon, watching the giant sea turtles come in to lay their eggs. Nothing will ever top that.

Uluru - great place to experience the aboriginal culture. The rock was a great sight, although to be honest, the whole red rock experience in Utah is more geologically impressive. But getting a close up experience with the indigenous dances and music was what we enjoyed most.

No worries, whatever you do in Australia will be great! And don''t discount how tiring that long of an airplane ride will be. We used frequent flier miles to go first class and it was so worth it.
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Re Sydney:
You have to see "the Gap". It''s a scenic lookout onto nothing but the Pacific. The Explorer buses are a good way to go around.
 

Phoenix

Ideal_Rock
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9,244
I see there are plenty of really great advice here. I have nothing to add except to say have lots of fun!
 
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