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Australia & New Zealand Australia and New Zealand family travel forum: Discuss family friendly resorts and hotels down under. Get vacation tips exclusively for families, from families.

 
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  #1  
Old 06-23-2009, 04:24 PM
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Kathleen Kathleen is offline
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Default Australia tips?

Australia has been high on our family's wish list for some time. We can manage about three weeks during our summer and would like to start planning for next year. What are your top recommendations for a family friendly tour with a tween and teen?

Thanks!

Kathleen
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  #2  
Old 06-24-2009, 12:59 AM
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Australia is not only a wonderful country to visit but it is a country that has something for everyone, at every age, to enjoy and remember. The possibilities are endless and NO ONE will be disappointed.

Almost anytime of year is good to travel in Australia, mainly because it is such a large country (the USA would fit inside Aussie) so that you can find good weather for whatever you may want to be doing practically anytime of year.

As far as where to go (and how long) well 4 weeks is a good start for discovering and exploring Australia. You can get to the faraway places, for example, assuming you arrive into Sydney or Melbourne, such as Cairns or Port Douglas to get you to the MUST SEE Great Barrier Reef up in the northeastern part of the country. Then, you may wish to fly to Alice Springs and check out Ayers Rock and the Outback for awhile, and I would also encourage you to try and visit Perth (Fremantle) for more gorgeous views, sailing, sport fishing and the Indian Ocean side of Australia. You'd need another flight (a lot of time there are "air passes" one can buy for travel withing Oz) to get back east but I imagine you could add on another for not much and I if I recall correctly, there is a trans-Aussie train that would go to Adelaide, which is also a very fine place to visit - lovely city, interesting allure.

Some folks also like to go to Tasmania - I think you can do that by boat or plane..........everyone I know that did it, enjoyed it. I didn't have time to go to Tasmania because instead of doing an ALL AUSTRALIA trip like you're doing, I did Sydney (LOTS to do there - truly a marvelous, lovely, amazing city) and New Zealand and Fiji. So, while I was down there awhile, I spilt up my time a bit.

One warning - DO NOT TRY TO PLAN A ROADTRIP ON YOUR OWN INTO THE OUTBACK. It is not advisable as the weather can be brutal and there are often long stretches of road with no gas available (they haven't quite made it a transcontinental highway) or water/sustenance and hence can be quite dangerous. Use flights, trains or tours for long stretches.

Get yourself a good Aussie travel guidebook and start reading up on all the wonderful places you && your family can visit (kids might just LOVE trying out some surfing or boogey boarding at FABULOUS Bondi Beach near Sydney!) and then come back and tell us which places interest you the most and then you will get more detailed feedback on planning your trip. I have attempted to give you a more general notion for the moment just to assure you that the amount of time you've set aside is good and where to think about going - and I only mentioned the BIG cities - there are literally so many wonderful places to see and things to do, for kids & grown ups alike, in Australia.

When I was planning my trip - and I have traveled extensively to Europe and visited Asia, Caribbean, Mexico etc - I spent the MOST amount of time planning my trip to Australia and New Zealand. It warrants the time it takes to research and get to know the country and seek out what interests you most. We can work on it more as time goes by.

I personally cannot wait until the time comes when I can go back - to visit my dear friends in NZ and make more new ones in Australia as you truly cannot find nicer people on this planet than those Down Under!!
Only hard part is that trans-pacific flight but Air New Zealand made it quite comfortable (even in coach!) and tolerable, all down to about the last 2-3 hours when you really just want to GET OFF THE PLANE! But the rewards are great when you arrive and the flight will be a faint memory once the fun begins. I was indeed tired when I arrived but my very caring and helpful innkeeper, Mara Dimond, who then owned the Hotel 59 (they've since sold it) in Kings Cross (Kings Cross is not seedy as they say) made me stay awake (I arrived on a Monday morning in Sydney) after having a "wake up shower" and she then mapped out a great walk for me with the reward being that I'd made my way down and around through, among many things, the Royal Botanical Gardens which then opened up onto the spectacular site that is that gorgeous Opera House, Harbour and Bridge - simply breathtaking and I made it through the day, coming back to the inn and getting into bed early and made a relatively good transition to local time, recovering from the flight probably from the kindness of the people, the excitement of being there and the eagerness to explore!!

So let us hear from you again as you get an idea of what you'd like to do whilst in Australia. Look forward to hearing from you again soon!
I can't think of a NICER country for a family to visit than Australia - it just has it all!!

Colleen
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  #3  
Old 07-06-2009, 10:09 PM
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Hi Kathleen

I have lived in Australia for most of my life and I must say it is a wonderful place to live. I have not holidayed in many places in Australia. We have been to the Gold Coast in Queensland quite a number of times though. Queensland has a great climate (tropical). There is so much to do there. The Great Barrier reef and the numerous island resorts.
We though, only go for the theme parks, as we have two young children.
There is Warner Brothers Movie World, DreamWorld, SeaWorld and Wet & Wild water park all of these are great and cater from the young to the old.
There is also a fantastic new themed show called the Outback Spectacular, which is well worth a look. It is a meal and a show with an authentic outback feel, The food is great and the show is magical. (there is even a helicopter that flies indoors!!!!!) We have been twice and both times where just as great.
Queensland is also home to Australia Zoo, made famous by the late great Steve Irwin. This is also a great place to visit, it is a huge park, very well laid out and very easy to walk around. We did a tour last time we where in Queensland (we try and go once a year), we caugh a coach, it takes about 1.5 hours to get up there from the Gold Coast but the scenery is great.
I live in South Australia, just near the Flinders Ranges. This is also a fantastic spot. It is only a couple of hours from Adelaide and it has countless places to stay and visit, The Clare Valley is a wine growing region and has many cellar doors for wine tasting.
The Flinders Ranges is best seen at this time of year when it is green and cool. The summer is very hot, dry and dusty and the flies will drive you mad.
You would be able to drive yourself around the Flinders Ranges as the roads are great and well sign posted. And there are heaps of places to stay.
We have a property in the Southern Flinders Ranges where we grow olives and make Shiraz wine and breed sheep. It has a slight mediteranian climate. A great place to live
The only other spot that should not be missed is the red centre, Ayres Rock and Alice Springs. This is also a fantastic place to visit, we drove from Pt Augusta and it takes about 12 hours. You can catch the Ghan train from Adelaide. This is a fantastic way to see the country side in the comfort of the train. (Not in the coach section though) it pays to spend extra and have a sleeper, where you have your own room, toilet bathroom and can eat in the dinning car. You can go to Alice Springs or as far a Darwin. This would give you a sample of all sorts of sites. Alice Springs is a great base to do tours out to the rock and other historic sites.
Darwin is very tropical and also has a great war time history.

Hope this helps a little
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  #4  
Old 07-09-2009, 11:21 PM
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Aussie Fam is so right. There is SO much to do in Oz - since the entire US can fit inside of Australia, and unless one was planning to spend about 4 weeks in-country, (it's worth it, especially if it's a "once in a lifetime" type trip) than go and do all these great things. I have NZ (South Island) friends who very much enjoy holidaying in Aussie. They particularly like Adelaide as they've been back there several times, likewise to the GBReef. I would also recommend getting over to Perth & Fremantle as this is where Australia meets the Indian Ocean and I've heard nothing but wonderful accounts of folks visits to the western coast of Oz. I didn't make it out west, but that was because I was doing Aussie, NZ & Fiji so I made trade offs. But if it's an ALL OZ trip, I say go for everything AussieFam suggested plus the west coast too.

You won't regret a minute of it. And you won't want to come home!
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Old 07-10-2009, 05:27 PM
luv2go2 luv2go2 is offline
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Thanks so much for all the info about Australia & New Zealand!! They are both high on our bucket lists. Someday soon, I hope
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  #6  
Old 07-16-2009, 10:42 PM
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Rancher Dave Rancher Dave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathleen View Post
Australia has been high on our family's wish list for some time. We can manage about three weeks during our summer and would like to start planning for next year. What are your top recommendations for a family friendly tour with a tween and teen?

Thanks!

Kathleen
One of the key thinks I would scope out now would be any special deals you can snag...ideally look for one of the Qantas deals where you can take several flights within OZ...or add a few bucks on for more flights around. There are so many great sites to see that in three weeks you may want to see the West, East, and South Coasts.

Cairns, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney are don't miss places. In Melbourne head out to the 12 Apostles, they an awesome site. Take the helicopter ride over them for an even more incredible site.

In Cairns definitely at least snorkle the Great Barrier Reef. It is an awesome place to snorkle and dive. If everyone is a diver perhaps even a stay for a night or two out on the reef aboard one of the live aboard boats. I have some great pictures from a week I spent out there...one of the best dive trips of my life.

Have a great time.

One other thing you may look at is one of the RCCL cruises in Australia.
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  #7  
Old 07-16-2009, 11:06 PM
OhCruisinDad OhCruisinDad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathleen View Post
Australia has been high on our family's wish list for some time. We can manage about three weeks during our summer and would like to start planning for next year. What are your top recommendations for a family friendly tour with a tween and teen?

Thanks!

Kathleen
Hi Kathleen - Just remember that summer in North America is winter in Oz. The good news is that winter down under is much milder that we have here in the states. We spent nearly 4 weeks in Oz last June and July 2008 and split the time between a week and a half in north Qld where we based ourselves in Palm Cove, just north of Cairns; a 4 day mini-ship cruise and diving trip on the Great Barrier Reef, and then a week in Melbourne with my DW's family and a week in Sydney. Melbourne was mild to cool - hi 40's at night and up to low/mid 60's during the day. Sydney was about 5 to 10 degrees warmer. We visited Manley via ferry and while the weather was mild, it was not swimming weather. The good news if you are north is that its not stinger season so the water is good for swimming and diving. Another great thing in Sydney besides the harbor ferry system and the Opera House is the Bridge Climb. Our son was 15 last year and it was the highlight of the entire trip. No matter where you decide to go, the folks are friendly and there is a lot to see and do.

Cheers, Mac
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  #8  
Old 07-25-2009, 02:54 AM
tatz61 tatz61 is offline
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June/July is high season for North Queensland (Cairns/Port Douglas) and visiting the Northern Territory. In summer these areas experience the wet season and it is very humid and rainy. Winters are warmer than most places but can get down below 10'C. I wouldn't come all the way here to go to theme parks when we have such great scenery and unique animals. Any questions please ask.
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  #9  
Old 08-12-2009, 10:25 AM
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Kathleen Kathleen is offline
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Default Australia Tips

Thank you all for the terrific Australia advice! Can't wait until we can go.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:58 PM
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Thank you all for the terrific Australia advice! Can't wait until we can go.

Kathleen-

Check out some of the specials put on by Qantas right now. They I suspect are feeling the multiple pinch of bad international economy, especially in USA where many tourists come from, and the newer airline flying between USA and OZ VAustralia, owned by Richard Branson.

Continental just kicked off service to Fiji, so I suspect over time we will see them get back to serving more of Australia...at present they only serve Cairns out of Guam. From your neck of the woods EWR to HNL to GUM to CNS...not too bad.

If your family is into Scuba and Snorkeling let me know in a PM and I can tell you about some of the boats that stay out on the reef...and how to get a nice deal from them. I have one company there that normally says no to young kids on the overnight boat but agreed if we went down that DD could stay on the boat and snorkel because I am a repeat on the boat and in part due to DDs experience on cruise ships.
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