Can we find quiet Australia?
My family (my husband, my two children and my parents) want to visit Australia in December 2012. My mother is older and doesn’t want anything too adventurous. Her only request being that she wants to see an Australian kangaroo.
We all agree and would also like accommodation away from the bustle of big cities. We are just looking for a simple trip and wonder what the average cost would be for air-fare and lodging without any tours of such- but maybe knowing a good place to call just in case we are there we decide to take advantage of such tours.
I can appreciate that the city living might not be for everyone but there are lots of other options that will make for a wonderful trip for your family.
You really need to consider how much of Australia you want to see whilst you are here i.e. how much are you willing to travel around? A bit like the US, you need to get on a flight or spend a long time in a car to get from A to B.
I would suggest the following:
Fly into Sydney and spend a couple of days here to tick off seeing the Opera House and Bridge - it would be a shame to come all this way and not see the infamous sights. Perhaps take your Mum to the Opera House for a performance and leave your husband home with the kids? I am sure she would love that.
You could stay on the outskirts of the city and then get a leisurely ferry into the city. Somewhere like Balmain would be nice as there are heaps of local restaurants right on your doorstep and a 10 minute ferry ride gets you to the Opera house or Darling Harbour.
Try www.stayz.com.au and search "Balmain, sydney" - There are a few things on there for about $225 per night (US and AUD are about the same at the moment)
A day trip to the Blue Mountains could be an option. From Sydney takes about an 1.5 hours in a car (heaps of organised tours available too) - this gets you into the countryside and you can head to Glenbrook and the national park here to find Kangaroos in the wild. Most tours take in a stop off at Featherdale wildlife park too which has lots of Kangaroos.
From here I would then go to one of the following places:
1)The Sunshine coast in Queensland - think beautiful beaches, laid back lifestyles and the famous Australia Zoo - you can see Koalas, Kangaroos, crocodiles, snakes and heaps of other very Australian animals. The kids will love it! It's a seaside holiday.
To get here you need to fly from Sydney to Marrochydore airport or the Sunshine Coast Airport (both are the same airport just different names) Jetstar and virginblue both fly these routes. Booking in advance gets you the cheapest fares - approx $90 each way per person.
Here you can take your pick. Noosa is the most popular area but the most expensive. The outskirts are cheaper e.g. Marrochydore itself for example. Hire a car so you can visit the Emundi markets, go to the zoo and visit Noosa too.
2) Go South and do the great Ocean Road and then spend some time in and around Adelaide. Adelaide is a small city but has 3 wine regions all with lovely quaint villages. From here you can also access Kangaroo Island. This is like a walking zoo - seals and penguins on the beach, koalas in the trees, platypus in the rivers and of course heaps of Kangaroos in the wild. It is totally magical and the island is small enough to get around in over just a few couple of days if you wanted to. Beautiful beaches and coastlines too with nice beaches. There is certainly more driving in this trip and perhaps less to do for the kids but the big trade off is that you will see more of Australia and its charm.
I think these would be my best recommendations. The Great Barrier Reef is another option but December is a bad month to visit - right in the middle of the rainy season which means very very hot, lots of rain and choppy crossing out to the reef. Tasmania is simply stunning and there are plenty of opportunities to see Kangaroos in their little zoos etc. But I don't think there is enough for the kids to do.
Have a look on www.Stayz.com.au for accommodation in
Barossa Valley, Adelaide
You will find accommodation from anything around $200 to $500 per night - it depends on your budget but I think this will be your cheapest option (better than hotel rooms) The other thing to consider is camping.
Most of the big campsites (THE BIG 4) have cabins that you can rent and have lots of activities for kids too. They also tend to be outside of the main towns which might suit you too.
A flight from Sydney to Adelaide should cost you about $109 each way per person. Remember that December is a very popular month so get in early to get the cheapest flights.
My top 10 page will help give you more information on some of the above destinations which I have included here below along with some other key pages. I hope this helps you to find quiet Australia:
Travel in Australia for my top 10 suggestions
Kangaroo Island Australia
Great Ocean Drive
Barossa Valley - Quiet Australia?
Noosa Australia - will give you a feel for the Sunshine Coast, although Noosa is the most expensive part of the sunshine coast.
In terms of tours: See my page here. But once you have decided exactly where you want to go, I can advise which tours would be most appropriate.
Australia Travel Tours
Flights from the US to Australia are currently around $1500. You often see them advertised for $1000 but really they are hard to find at this price.
Hope that helps! Happy planning
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