4 weeks travelling east coast Australia
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Nov 19, 2012 3:59 PM Last Post By: Harry_Ramsden
Nov 2, 2012 11:21 AM
4 weeks travelling east coast AustraliaHi,
I was wondering if anyone help with a bit of advice. Me and my boyfriend are planning to do the East Coast of Australia in February 2013 for approximately four weeks including a stop over in Singapore.
We were thinking of flying into Sydney and flying out of Cairns back to the UK. We're planning to use greyhound to travel up the coast to Cairns.
Thinking about stopping at the following with a few overnight coach trips along the way:
7 nights Sydney - visit blue mountains, hunter valley and general sites around Sydney.
1 night Byron Bay - is there anything to do here?
3 nights Brisbane - visit Surfer's paradise and Australia Zoo
2 night Hervey bay - Fraser Island
3 nights Airlie Beach - spend a few days enjoying the Whitsundays!
5 nights Cairns - diving, rainforest ...
I think the main question I want to ask is about budget. After flights, paying for the coach pass and visas etc, would £5000 be enough for the both of us? We'll stay in hostels but will want a private room with private bathroom. We do enjoy drinking but wouldn't want to spend a fortune on it but would probably want to eat out most evenings.
Also, is there any other places we should be stopping off at along the East Coast to visit? Or recommendations of things to do at the places we'll visit?
Nov 2, 2012 6:23 PM
1I'd maybe cut Sydeney back a bit to allow a few more stops. That said there;'s plenty to do here, especially in February, Just head to a beach for a great day out. Sydney has the world's best, and free beaches.
There's the Manly ferry, Watson's Bay, Aquarium and the Blue Mountains is worth a day trip or more.
Byorn Bay is a classy beach resort, well worth a day just to enjoy the trown and beach. 2 days or more and you can head inland and see the rainforest and towns.
Surfers Paradise is an hour south of Brisbane and the most built up, and least attractive part of the Gold Coast. Skip Brisbane and stop somewhere along the Gold Coast for great beaches, theme parks and rainfirest hinterland. Australia Zoo is a zoo. There are many better.
2 night Hervey Bay will allow a single day trip to Fraser. Make it 3 and have a 2 day trip and it will be much better.
3 night Airlie is about right
5 night Cairns is about right, but be aware of the distances involved here - Sydney to Byorn Bay is a 10 hour 800klm drive, Byron to Brisbane is 2 hours and 150 klms, Brisbane to Hervey Bay is 4 hours and 300 klms, Hervey Bay is 11 hours and 900 klm and Airlie to Cairns is 8 hours and 600 klm. That's a hell of a lot of time on a coach and for the most part extremely dull. Those highway rarely come insight of a beach or anything remotely interesting.
Nov 3, 2012 12:13 AM
2I would spend at least 2 nights in Byron Bay, and do a bus tour to the hinterland and Nimbin. Then 2 nights somewhere on the Gold Coast, and 1 or 2 on the Sunshine Coast (where Australia Zoo is) rather than stopping in Brisbane. However,you may find Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney (on the harbour) is a better option than Australia Zoo, which is only famous because of Steve Irwin.
Nov 3, 2012 3:58 PM
3I think Harry Ramsden summed it up pretty well.
Have you thought about flying to Byron Bay? The closest airport is at the Gold Coast (Coolangatta). There should be plenty of flights between Sydney and Byron Bay and you might be able to get a cheap flight for around $70 one way. (Try Jetstar or Virgin). This would save you a LOT of time.
In Coolangatta you could hire a car and drive to Bryon (approx. 1 hour drive). If you have a car you will be a lot more flexible and it shouldn't cost you more than using the Greyhound. Byron Bay is a lovely hippie beach town and I would stay here for a couple of nights at least. It is a very relaxing spot with lovely cafes, shops and restaurants. Byron Bay has a special vibe about it that you won't find in other beach towns in Australia. On weekends you will find a lot of lovely markets in and around Byron, selling clothes, art, jewellery, plants, etc. The markets are great and you should ask around when they are on. There is a good one in Bangalow, but it is on only once a month. In Byron you should definitely go up to the lighthouse. The views from up the top are stunning! It is almost impossible to find a car park up there, so I recommend that you walk.
From Byron you can head to Brisbane and stop at Surfers Paradise along the way. Surfers Paradise attracts many tourists, but I personally don't recommend it. It is a little bit seedy :) There are nicer beaches and areas to stay at along the Gold Coast. Tweed Heads is nice and it is just around the corner from Coolangatta.
Australia Zoo is overpriced and I have seen better zoos. It really isn't that special and you should consider going to a different one.
Here is an idea: Rather than going to Fraser Island you could go to Moreton Island from Brisbane. I can highly recommend it (Look it up!) It is a beautiful island and you can also take a 4WD across and go camping along the beach. There are several shipwrecks that have been purposely placed there in order to create an artificial reef. The wrecks are a great spot for snorkeling and you can easily swim across from the beach. I haven't been to Fraser Island, but Moreton Island may be more convenient, since it is just off the coast of Brisbane and you could fly between Brisbane and Airlie Beach. A one way flight shouldn't cost the world.
I haven't been to Airlie Beach or Cairns myself, so I won't be able to tell you much about it.
To sum it up: Consider flying the longer distances and hire a car for the rest.
I hope this helps! Have a lovely trip. 5000 pounds is a lot of money. Australia is very expensive, but 5000 pounds is definitely more than enough.
Edited by: LisaAnnabell
Nov 3, 2012 7:27 PM
Agree with the above in general.
February should be a nice time to travel, but likely to be warm and humid, even in Sydney.
I would suggest at least a week in Sydney and surrounds. The Blue Mountains really needs 2 days at least to do it justice and do one or two of the famous bush walks. A car is pretty useful there too.
Sydney to Byron Bay is a long first stretch and misses almost all the beautiful NSW coast which can be at its best in February.
Consider stopping in Port Macquarie, which is about 1/2 way, has excellent beaches, lots of accommodation, restaurants etc. if you stay right in town you can walk to everything including the beach. You could even hire a car and spend a week travelling up the NSW coast and going to some of the lesser known spots ( eg Seal Rocks, Blueys Beach, Myall Lakes, Crowdy Bay National Park, Hat Head, South West Rocks, etc etc. Otherwise if you are going to fly, I think Ballina airport is actually closer to Byron, but may not be served by as many airlines. Byron is beautiful and there is plenty to do there.
Agree with other posts to minimise time on Gold Coast and Brisbane or skip altogether.
Agree with Harry that one day for Fraser Island not enough- it is a very large island, takes a long time to get around. Moreton Island may be similar.
Re the Whitsundays, Airlie consider flying to Hamilton Island ( from Brisbane or even Sydney). I have just been sailing up there ( lucky me) and Hamilton ( much as I decry it's despoilation of the scenery) is much closer to the iconic sights in the Whitsundays. Remember for the far north ie Cairns and even the Whitsundays, February is The Wet ,so it will be hot, very humid and it is also cyclone season. It is also marine stinger season, so no unprotected swimming ie full stinger suits or stick to the pool. It may be better to spend more time further south. Have a great time.
Nov 3, 2012 11:06 PM
I'm currently doing a similar trip.I stopped over in Singapore for a couple of days.The airport Itself is worth a visit.I'm travelling for 6 weeks though.I spent 4 days in Sydney and did a organised day trip to the Blue mountains.A bit of advice.Go on your own by train.There is a hop on hop off bus when you get there which will take you to the main viewing and walking points.A day is really not enough to fully enjoy and appreciate this area.Manl and Bondi both worth a visit.Walk around the coast past Bondi and there some other bonza beaches.
I've been using the greyhound and did a 12 hour over night to Byron Bay where I am now.Greyhound is spot on.Byron Bay is well worth a visit.Laid back and relaxing.Defo do the walk to the lighthouse and watch the dolphins below and if your lucky Whales migrating.Though It will most probably be to late to catch them.Also go to Tallow beach the other side of the lighthouse 7 Km of beach with hardly a soul on it.
I'll be heading to Noosa,Airlie and Cairns before heading To Ayres rock then Perth.
As for a budget.Well I' here for 6 weeks with the Mrs.Staying in hostels and dining in some nights and eating out some,Going out for beers and booking your trips etc for a month.5 k might just cut it.Though double rooms within suite in Sydney could cost upto 500 dollars if you want be in the centre for 4 days.Byron Bay about the same.If your eating out every night It can get expensive .Use the hostel kitchens some nights and save yourself a few dollars.A good way to mix with other travellers also.
Have an excellent trip.
Nov 3, 2012 11:24 PM
6Have you thought about flying to Byron Bay ? The closest airport is at the Gold Coast ( Coolangatta ).
This information is incorrect. The closest airport to Byron Bay is Ballina/Byron. It is serviced by Jetstar, Virgin and Regional Express (Rex) and there are a number of shuttle buses into Byron Bay from the airport.
Nov 4, 2012 7:45 AM
7Thank you for all the advice, it's a huge help! I think we've decided to get a couple of internal flights. One from Sydney to Byron Bay and the second from Brisbane to Hamilton Island. It works out no more expensive than getting the greyhound pass. We'll find somewhere to stay on the Gold Coast and spend a couple of nights in Noosa instead of Brisbane.
Nov 4, 2012 2:41 PM
8Book your internal flights before you arrive in Oz as the prices go up nearer the time and you get a discount if booked out of the country ( think it's tax related ) .
Have a fabulous time, I did a similar trip on my first visit. Fraser Island is fabulous and you definitely need an overnight trip at least.
If you're missing Australia Zoo out but still want to do a zoo the Taronga Zoo in Sydney is fabulous and has great views of circular quay.
Just do not try to pack too much in, last year we went to Airlie beach and could not get on a boat trip to the whitsundays for two days and had a similar problem greeting a trip to Fraser Island which all eats away at your time.
Nov 4, 2012 3:33 PM
9Ballina is the closest airport to Byron, but Coolangatta is just over an hour away and maybe cheaper.
Your revised plan looks very sensible.
You could skip Cairns, as you will have seen the Reef, but a bus from Airlie to Cairns would be a reasonable run and then allow you to see the Daintree.
Nov 4, 2012 5:42 PM
Nov 18, 2012 11:50 PM
11Personally, I think you should skip the Gold Coast altogether and spend longer on the Sunshine Coast. Noosa is a great pick, but if you had extra time you could also go to the Glass House Mountains and Montville/Maleny for a pleasant day trip. Gold Coast is great for partying and decent beaches, as well as theme parks and lots of consumerist & touristy type affairs, but if you want something nicer and less 'seedy' I'd give it a miss. I grew up in Brisbane and spent a lot of time on the Gold Coast. It was fun until I turned about 22... Then it just felt dirty, overcrowded and boozy.
Nov 19, 2012 1:17 AM
12I'm old enough to be #11's mother, at least, and still regularly visit the Gold Coast. There is a lot more to it than she indicates, including an amazing hinterland. I don't go anywhere near nightclubs. The southern Gold Coast has a completely different vibe. However, don't go there for at least a week or so, as schoolies is in full swing.
Nov 19, 2012 3:59 PM
13I'm 49 and love the Gold Coast, although, admittedly, that comes mainly from going there with my kids.
At the southern end (Miami, Mermaid, Palm Beach etc) there is little high rise, few crowds and great beaches. The hinterland is gorgeous - hardly anyone goes there but the tall trees, patches of rainforest and the Natural arch are stunning. This is much, much better than Noosa, Maleny or the Glasshouse Mountains IMHO. There are theme parks, and they are fun, but not a patch on Disneyland for example. My pick are Seaworld for the animals and rides, and wet'n'wildworld.
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