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Thread: Travel tips for Australia?

  1. #1

    Default Travel tips for Australia?

    Hi guys,

    I am planning a trip with my wife to Australia during early August (national day hol) so looking for tips.

    Currently I am not sure how to go about it so any advice is welcomed esp those who are/have stayed in Australia

    Currently my options are

    1) package tour. 7 day SAtours visiting melbourne and sydney cost me like $2k inclusive of airport tax. Hassle free but EXPENSIVE and SHORT.

    2) Free and easy. Return airfare to Melbourne with stopover in Sydney cost like $900 on Quantas. Will have to rent car hotel etc. This is cheap and good for photography but the main problem I have is the driving. I would like to go to scenic places like the great ocean road and my driving isn't all that great. I have driven at the SF Bay Area in California for a period of 2 months and I ABSOLUTELY hated driving in the states. Everyone goes so fast and the highways are so crowded.

    How is the driving at Australia like? Are the roads similar to NZ which is very empty and pretty easy to drive?

    3) go with my in-laws. They have a friend in Adelaide so the trip will BE CHEAP. My FIL has driven in Australia a couple so times so I don't have to drive. BUT I probably will be very boring travelling with in-laws.... last resort

    I am thinking of hitting the above two cities so any recommendations for photo opportunities? I am looking for dramatic coastlines, mountains, lakes, etc. More of the nature side. If there is some STUNNING landscape in Australia that you think I absolutely must visit, feel free to tell me too


    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Travel tips for Australia?

    I recomm Tasmania..
    Fly from SG to Melbourne, then take Virgin Blue to Hobart.. And then reverse for return..
    (can book VirBlue tix online..)

    Nice quiet roads, quaint towns, excellent seafood, verdent rolling hills, ghost walks, fruit orchards, fantastic vineyards..

    I did a 1week drive northbound from Hobart to Cradle Mountain, then hooking eastward for a long coastal drive before flying out of Hobart again..

    Just my say..

  3. #3

    Default Re: Travel tips for Australia?

    I have heard great things about tasmania. Maybe I should book a 7 day package tour and extend it and go to Tasmania on my own.

    How are the Roads in Tasmania? Easy to drive? any recommedations for lodgings?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Travel tips for Australia?

    Quote Originally Posted by wind30 View Post
    I have heard great things about tasmania. Maybe I should book a 7 day package tour and extend it and go to Tasmania on my own.

    How are the Roads in Tasmania? Easy to drive? any recommedations for lodgings?
    Our trip lodgings were mostly B&Bs; we booked them as we went along.. Trip was in Dec'03..
    U may wanna check if it's tourist season when you're travelling; easier to book if off-peak..
    The roads vary from 6-lane mega freeways to country roads to gravel to logging dirt tracks..

    Suggest you rent a 4-WD vehicle, just in case you decide to explore side-roads..
    That's how we found a trout farm where we went fly-fishing..

    Word of warning though: if you're driving through mountains, some ascents can be VERY winding, makes Great Ocean Road look like play-school..
    Likewise, driving down the other side, needs good brakes and downshift.. DRIVE SLOW..
    (2 of my kaki got quite carsick and my brakes pads steamed for 1 hour..)

    Also I had a the HORRENDOUS experience of driving blind through the mountains at night, in rain, and in a cloud bank.. (my navigator got our 2-car convoy very very lost..)

    That said, there are long stretches where you can just engage the cruise-control and enjoy the view.. There were so few cars, that in some places, we just stopped the 4WD in the middle of the road to shoot the scenery..

    Oh btw, there's a Cadbury's chocolate factory in Tassie too.. Lotsa chocs to be bought..
    And a brewery.. And a whisky-still just behind the Information Centre in Hobart..
    You can try a cruise-cum-dinner, or simply buy cooked lobster/prawns direct from the boats by the quayside..

  5. #5

    Default Re: Travel tips for Australia?

    I am going in winter which will be very different from your experience.

    Basically I will not get a 4WD as I will not go off paved roads. No small roads for me. So will you still recommend a trip to tasmania? Are the MAJOR scenic spots accessible by good roads, ie no winding small mountain roads?


    Remind me of the drive up Kaka point in NZ where the road up was like wide enough for ONE CAR..... dunno what will happen if we met oncoming traffic..... I was not the driver then as I totally cannot make it as driver

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Travel tips for Australia?

    Look for fellow clubsnappers in OZ to shoot with ya.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Travel tips for Australia?

    Singtel is having an offer, i think you should check it out.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Travel tips for Australia?

    Quote Originally Posted by wind30 View Post
    1) package tour. 7 day SAtours visiting melbourne and sydney cost me like $2k inclusive of airport tax. Hassle free but EXPENSIVE and SHORT.

    2) Free and easy. Return airfare to Melbourne with stopover in Sydney cost like $900 on Quantas. Will have to rent car hotel etc. This is cheap and good for photography but the main problem I have is the driving. I would like to go to scenic places like the great ocean road and my driving isn't all that great. I have driven at the SF Bay Area in California for a period of 2 months and I ABSOLUTELY hated driving in the states. Everyone goes so fast and the highways are so crowded.

    How is the driving at Australia like? Are the roads similar to NZ which is very empty and pretty easy to drive?
    Melb has loads of scenic places - both natural and man-made.

    Driving in melb can be quite intimidating as its a little more complicated because of the trams in the city. Parking is also quite expensive. I would rather walk around and use the public transport than to drive in the city area.

    Its quite a long drive to the Great Ocean Road to the 12 apostles area - about 4-5hrs each way IIRC. If you take the costal route, it will be quite a hard drive with loads of twist and turns on a narrow one-lane road. Not an easy thing. I would suggest having different drivers for the trip to and fro. An automatic car would be the preferred option as well.

    If you can, do stay overnight at GOR. The morning sun at the beaches is simply wonderful.


    Quote Originally Posted by wind30 View Post
    I am thinking of hitting the above two cities so any recommendations for photo opportunities? I am looking for dramatic coastlines, mountains, lakes, etc. More of the nature side. If there is some STUNNING landscape in Australia that you think I absolutely must visit, feel free to tell me too
    Melb - Great ocean road, The Grampians National Park, Yarra Valley

    Have a great hol!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Travel tips for Australia?

    Quote Originally Posted by wind30 View Post
    I am going in winter which will be very different from your experience.

    Basically I will not get a 4WD as I will not go off paved roads. No small roads for me. So will you still recommend a trip to tasmania? Are the MAJOR scenic spots accessible by good roads, ie no winding small mountain roads?


    Remind me of the drive up Kaka point in NZ where the road up was like wide enough for ONE CAR..... dunno what will happen if we met oncoming traffic..... I was not the driver then as I totally cannot make it as driver
    IMO, if you've explored Melb enough, then Tasi is kinda pointless. Just my own opinion.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Travel tips for Australia?

    Quote Originally Posted by wind30 View Post
    Basically I will not get a 4WD as I will not go off paved roads. No small roads for me. So will you still recommend a trip to tasmania? Are the MAJOR scenic spots accessible by good roads, ie no winding small mountain roads?
    Hmm.. Major scenic spots.. Hmm.. Images in my head are a-flashing back..
    But can't rem the place names off-hand at the moment, need to dig thru' my pics again..

    Maybe you can borrow LonelyPlanet or another guide book to read-up on the sight..

    Personally, I prefer Tassie to Melbourne anytime; but one's meat is another's poison..
    (okay okay, so I've been to Victoria twice, and Tassie only once.. )

    I wouldn't drive in Melbourne city centre, the place is compact enuff for a walkabout..
    My colleagues' car (on a diff trip) almost got clipped by the tram, while trying to execute the "dreaded" hook-turn..

    My relatives in Melbourne always recomm if you can't make up your mind, then do either:
    1. Fly in to Melbourne; rent a car that can cross the stateline; drive the GOR exploring the parks/Grampians/vineyards etc; drive to Adelaide; explore the surrounds; fly back to SG via Adelaide..

    2a. Fly in to Melbourne; rent a car; drive the GOR exploring the parks/Grampians/vineyards etc looping back via Ballarat; fly to Hobart; rent car/explore Tassie; return to SG via Melb

    2b. Same itinerary as 2a except take the ferry to Tassie instead of flying in.. (you drive north to south instead of vice versa..)

    3a. Same as 2a except instead if going Tassie, take the 1~2hr flight to Sydney; fly back to SG via Sydney

    3b. Same as 3a except take the night sleeper train to Sydney instead of flying.. (your lodgings for the night will be kinda covered since you're bunking on the train..)

    4. (For the REAL NUTTERs) Fly in to Melbourne; explore the surrounds; then drive across the CONTINENT to Perth; explore then drive back to Melbourne.. my cousin actually did that, 4~5 days hard driving each way.. Twice.. But then, she likes driving..

    Have fun!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Travel tips for Australia?

    Thanks for all the info.

    SO definately going melbourne. Dunno should I visit Tasmania. I just realise I can view Aurora from Tasmania! wow, it is like one of my dreams to catch the Aurora at least once.

    Anyone saw the Aurora from Tasmania b4?

    found the overnight ferry to Tas, Spirit of Tasmania. Looks big so should be pretty stable. Wonder how rough the seas are for the crossings.
    Last edited by wind30; 14th June 2007 at 10:46 AM.

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