Discussion in 'Travel' started by Larry_G, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. My wife and I are planning a four-week trip to Australia from the United States that would likely take place in May 2018. We have a couple of travel guides and are using the Internet, but would like insight and ideas from PN users in Australia and/or from those who have traveled extensively in Australia. Is Qantas the airline to use? We understand there is a Qantas pass if one makes an international reservation on Qantas.

    We are interested in a good exposure to the country, the people, culture, history, nature, and photography (my wife does not do photography, but is great and patient with my camera mania). We realize there will likely be significant travel within Australia. Some of the places we have identified in no particular order or priority yet include: Sydney; Blue Mountains,;Adelaide; Great Ocean Road; Melbourne; Kangaroo Island; Great Barrier Reef and Daintree National Park or Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia; Darwin and Kakadu National Park; and the Ghan train between the south and Darwin stopping at Uluru and other recommended outback places. All of this is completely flexible at this point. We realize the need to be selective as we want a genuine and somewhat intensive experience. Do you know of any Australian travel services that would help in trip planning and possibly provide experienced guides in different locations? We don't just want to be tourists. And, I'd like to come home with some quality, memorable images. Thanks for your time and your insights. Many thanks. Larry
  2. J.M. Many thanks. This is the kind of information we need. I'll check your portfolio for images, that is if I can get to them on this clumsy website. Thanks again. Larry
  3. I spent a year in 1991 in Australia on sabbatical based in Brisbane and was able to travel around quite a bit and then I've been there on 3 other trips, the last one in 2016 with my son's family and grandkids. I've been to every one of those places that you list with the exception of Ningaloo Reef and riding the Ghan. I'd say that all of those places are great places to visit. I would recommend that you be sure to include some time in the outback since that is uniquely Australian (Kakadu and Uluru will certainly fill that need). If you want something that most Australians haven't seen, we went on a safari tour in 2007 to the Gibb River Road in the Kimberlies. The outfit we went with was All Terrain Safari, and they appear to still be in operation. They have a range of trips of varying length. Ours was deliberately low key (no tents or cooks provided, everybody pitched in to help cook and we slept in sleeping bags on the ground), which we enjoyed immensely. On that same visit we also rented a camper van and explored Kangaroo Island on the other end of the country. Lots of native fauna! You can check out my Flickr site for pics (Tom Yin)
  4. Tom, Many thanks for your response. I looked at your Uluru and Kata Tjuta images. As I expected, the landscape is much like the Southwest in the U.S. You were fortunate to be at these places at different times to catch different light. You seem to affirm the places we mentioned. You surely have done much diverse travel. We are definitely interested in the Outback and Have Uluru on our list. Kaya Tjuta looks even more interesting. Many thanks for your response. You have many nice images as memories of your travel. Thanks again. Larry
  5. As an Australian, just a word of warning: Australia is at least as big as the continental USA, so it takes a very long time to get to the more remote places. Only the eastern state capitals - Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne - are quite close to each other. Even the Great Barrier Reef in North Queensland will take a while to get to. But it's worth it!

    Do make sure you see some of the real outback, though, and don't just fly everywhere. I hope you really enjoy it all, and come back with some great photos
  6. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Qantas is a good carrier; their safety record is impeccable. Their ‘no-frills’ branch is Jetstar and I use that carrier for most domestic travel, because it is price competitive I don’t mind ‘no-frills’ for short hops.

    What you will get on a Qantas flight is a majority of AUS flight crew, which is useful to get local knowledge views and more ideas, when they are not serving you XXXX or a Crown Larger.

    Qantas has international partners; if you collect flyby points and credit card points, you might be able to book through a US carrier with a US credit card but still be on a Qantas Airplane. Qantas in-flight and all-round service and comfort is very good, my recent experience (2012 to 2107) is that Emirates provides the best.

    As already mentioned, Australia is physically big. Set about to drive from Sydney Suburbs to the Blue Mountains then allocate 2h30m each way travel; allow more time if travelling in weekday Peak Hours. Fly Sydney to Perth – allow a day for that journey (including conveyance to and from airports; check-in and etc). At the Blue Mountains, the Norman Lindsay Gallery is worthwhile researching if you are interested in his style of Art and Sculpture.

    Note that when in AUS and travelling to some out of the way destinations you will have limited flights departing from limited airports; for example to get to Ningaloo Reef, you might have to fly to Perth first - (I don’t know but this is just an example of what details you’ll need to check and how these details will impact on your TIME.)

    Be aware of the weight (as well as the size) limits on Carry-on baggage; especially for smaller domestic carriers. Typically 7 (seven) kilos, but that might be lighter on some small ‘planes typically servicing remote areas.

    All the destinations that you mention have merit; I cannot recommend any one more than the other.

    However, I do suggest that you research Tasmania.

    As examples only - Cradle Mountain National Park and the Fauna parks around there are exceptional. Off the south of the Island you can journey on fast boats to view incredible landscape facades and wild seals and more.

    The reason I make particular mention of Tasmania is because it is relatively small in size and there is a great diversity of experiences and terrain within this, the smaller of the two main Islands, which comprise Australia.

    If you are up for driving yourself, then renting a car for periods of time when you can make a central location your base would be a good idea: as example only – in Sydney you could do three (long) “day trips” travel to the Blue Mountains; Hunter Valley; Southern Highlands.

    Similarly in a rental car and four or five days in Tasmania you could traverse a large area of diverse landscape and have many varied experiences.

    If you do choose to travel the Great Ocean Road, then driving yourself is (photographically) superior to being on a bus and if you do, do this, then take the time to plan the times that you will be driving, to allow for Sunrise and Sunset.

    May, is a reasonable month of the year to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge – a 1600 hrs climb would be good then. I have mentioned Sydney a bit more than other areas, only because it is likely that you’ll fly into Sydney as your first port, anyway; and if you do fly into Sydney then, it is worthwhile taking a day or two and venturing around, it is worthwhile. Similarly Melbourne, if that is where you first dock.

    If you have any specific questions – just ask.


    Samples - around and near Sydney:


    At Norman Lindsay:

    Sydney Town Hall:

    (one of many) Bush Art - on back roads to Hunter Valley:

    In Tasmania - Cradle Mountain Area:

    In the Ocean, off the south of Tasmania:

  7. If you have the time I would suggest a road trip Sydney - Canberra (Australia's capital city) - Broken Hill (via Wagga, Mungo, Menindee) - Barossa Valley - Adelaide - Mt Gambia - Warrnambool (start of the great Ocean Road) - Melbourne. You get to see 4 great cities, amazing landscape (outback and coastal) and enjoy great Australian wine.
    This would take up at least 2 weeks - probably more. Then a week in Cairns/Port Douglas/Barrier Reef or Kakadu/Uluru. There is so many possibilities - it really depends on what you want to achieve. I find that road trips give you a better feel for a country. I also use B&Bs rather than hotels (see Airbnb) to get to talk to locals.
    William Michael likes this.
  8. Hi, Larry. If you are interested in the road trip suggested by Ian Copeland then I suggest you contact for short outback tours . May I suggest the Broken Hill bush mail run with the Australia Post contractor. This is a mail run covering a loop of about 330 miles and visiting some of the remotest outback properties in New South Wales and takes a full day.

    Also, just refining the Great Ocean Road section, drive from Warrnambool around the Great Ocean Road to Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula, catch the car ferry to Portsea (about 35 minutes) and you are on the Mornington Peninsula. The drive to Melbourne is approx 70 miles but from Portsea you can visit up to 25 or 30 wineries with excellent food from the area. A slight detour on the way takes you to Arthur's Seat, approx 1200 feet in height and with wonderful views across the Peninsula and Port Phillip Bay.
    If you have refined your tour by now and need further information, let me know.

Share This Page