Australia map

Australia

Australia was the first part of our 54-day trip down under. Even with a full month, there is a lot of Australia to see and distances are long. We narrowed it down to Sydney, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Ocean Road, and Tasmania to visit family. We loved it all and need to go back! We ended our trip with New Zealand.

Food and Beverage $43 per day*

Average per person per day, not including any meals furnished as part of a tour.

Lodging $62-$192 per night

Alice Springs and Yulara were at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Transportation $1,508 per person

This is an estimated amount within Australia only. We purchased our flights within Australia on Qantas along with our flight to Australia. This got us a discount on domestic flights, but we don't know exactly what those flights cost separately.

Entertainment $904 per person

Entertainment included opera tickets, three different boat trips, and a full day tour of the Great Ocean Road.

*In US dollars at time of trip.

Days 1-3: Waikiki, Hawaii

Planned Activities

  • Snorkeling Hanauma Bay

Actual Activities

  • Nothing

The Plan: Our stop in Hawaii on the way to Sydney was primarily to break up the long flight from the US.

The Reality: While we planned to go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, the weather was a little cool and cloudy so we ended up not going. Instead, we just wandered the Waikiki area. It reminded us a lot of Las Vegas, minus the casinos and plus a beach. 

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We spent a couple of days in Hawaii to split up the long flight

Stay at The Breakers

Worn, warm, and welcoming. Good location in Waikiki. Quiet but near shops, bars, restaurants, and the beach.

Get around by walking

We used the Hawaii23 shuttle service to get to and from the airport. $23 each way for two, not shared. It worked very nicely. 

Days 5-9: Sydney, New South Wales

Planned Activities

  • Harbour Bridge walk
  • Manly Beach
  • Coogee to Bondi Clifftop Walk
  • Bondi Beach
  • Taronga Zoo
  • Tower Eye
  • The Rocks
  • The Opera

Actual Activities

  • Harbour Bridge walk
  • Manly Beach
  • Coogee to Bondi Clifftop Walk
  • Bondi Beach
  • Taronga Zoo
  • Tower Eye
  • The Rocks
  • The Opera

The Plan: Take jet lag into account with a relaxed five days including beach time, walking, and maybe some snorkeling along with some sights. And the opera on my birthday. 

The Reality: We lost a day to the International Date Line that I didn’t account for. We were also sick for a day. That didn’t allow us time to do the Coogee to Bondi clifftop walk. And while we visited both beaches we planned to, the weather didn’t encourage lingering. 

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Fly from the US

From Honolulu via Qantas, to break up the long flight.

Stay at the Mariner's Court Hotel

Great location in Woolloomooloo; walking distance to lots of sights and Kings Cross station. Full breakfast buffet included.

Get around using the Opal card

The Opal card is Sydney's re-loadable transport card. We used shuttles to get to and from the airport. Took some trains, buses, and ferries, and did a lot of walking.

Days 10-17: Hobart, Tasmania

Planned Activities

  • NONE!

Actual Activities

  • Mt Wellington
  • Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
  • MONA
  • Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
  • Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
  • Salamanca
  • Port Arthur
  • Tasman Island Cruise
  • the tip shop

The Plan: Leave any planning to our hosts. It was a bit of a struggle since I so enjoy planning trips, yet it was also freeing to let someone who knows the area, and who likes to travel like we do, come up with things to do.  

The Reality: It was great! In addition to all the great stuff that comes with traveling we really enjoyed hanging out with them for a week.

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Stay with family, in South Hobart

Get around by car

Days 18-23: Melbourne, Victoria

Planned Activities

  • Queen Victoria Market
  • Royal Arcade
  • Great Ocean Road
  • Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Shrine of Remembrance
  • St Vincent Place
  • Sea Life
  • St Kilda
  • State Library
  • Chinatown

Actual Activities

  • Queen Victoria Market
  • Royal Arcade
  • Great Ocean Road
  • Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Shrine of Remembrance
  • St Vincent Place
  • Sea Life
  • St Kilda
  • State Library
  • Chinatown
  • Laneways
  • Flying foxes

The Plan: Spend a day touring the Great Ocean Road and the rest of the time exploring Melbourne, trying to group sites together to avoid retracing our steps too much. And eat Greek food. 

The Reality: We were able to see and do everything on our list in less time than we thought. We hit the market, the Royal Arcade, the Shrine of Remembrance, and the Royal Botanic Gardens on our first day. We thought that might take two days. With our “extra” day we journeyed to Yarra Bend where the flying foxes hang out.  

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Stay at the Punthill South Yarra Grand

Beautiful one-bedroom apartment with balcony and city view convenient to South Yarra station and trams.

Get around by Myki card

The Myki card is Melbourne's re-loadable transport card. We used trains, buses, and trams daily. And we did lots of walking.

Days 24-27: Yulara and Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Planned Activities

  • Uluru
  • Kata Tjuta
  • Alice Springs Desert Park
  • Alice Springs Reptile Centre

Actual Activities

  • Uluru
  • Kata Tjuta
  • Alice Springs Desert Park
  • Alice Springs Reptile Centre
  • Scenic drive in West MacDonnell Ranges

The Plan: Seeing Uluru was an essential part of the trip for me. Since we wanted to see more of the outback than just that, and to save some money, we flew in and out of Alice Springs and drove to Uluru.

The Reality: We weren’t quite sure what we would be able to fit in for Alice Springs. We arrived early enough on the way back to visit the Reptile Center. The following day we drove into the West Macs, then turned around when we realized exactly how far away our destination was. And how much gas we would need.   

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Stay at the Outback Pioneer Lodge in Yulara

Choices in Yulara are limited and expensive. While basic for the price, this met our needs.

Stay at the Jump Inn in Alice Springs

Clean though spare room. Nice bed. Interesting onsite bar and restaurant.

Get around by rental car

We rented through Tourism Central Australia in Alice Springs because they offer unlimited mileage.

Days 28-32: Cairns, Queensland

Planned Activities

  • Snorkeling Great Barrier Reef
  • The Esplanade
  • Kuranda

Actual Activities

  • Snorkeling Great Barrier Reef
  • The Esplanade
  • Kuranda

The Plan: Cairns was all about the Great Barrier Reef. It was totally worth it.

The Reality: The markets at Kuranda were a bit of a disappointment but the trip there and back was beautiful, and we took a nice walk while we were there.   

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Fly from Alice Springs

Stay at the Cairns Plaza Hotel

Beautiful one-bedroom suite with balcony and water views. Quiet location on the Esplanade yet walking distance to everything.

Get around by walking

We took a shuttle to and from the airport.

Resources

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