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Old 22nd January 2012, 22:27   #1
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Default Planning a trip to Australia. Tips? Advice?

Hi, I am planning a trip to australia in the month of may (19-31st) with my wife and kid. I am going to visit Melbourne/Sydney/Gold Coast/Brisbane and then fly back to Delhi. I already booked my air tickets (they were getting expensive each passing day).

My basic itinerary is
Reach Melbourne on 19th, Fly to Sydney/Drive to Gold Coast/ Fly back from brisbane to delhi. My tickets from delhi to melbourne and Brisbane to delhi are booked .

I will request fellow Bhpians to help me chalk out a firm plan.

1. Number of days in Melbourne 2/3 days?
2. Number of days in Sydney. 2/3 days?
3. Must do things in Melbourne/Sydney?
4. Public Transport option in Melbourne/Sydney?
4. Hotels in Budget?
5. Indian driving licence would work for a week car hire?
6. Any special Note?

Thanks everyone in advance
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Old 22nd January 2012, 22:50   #2
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Default Re: Trip to Australia - Advice Needed

#5: I am doubtful if an Indian driving license would get any merit. IMO the reputation of the Indian RTO has probably reached the Australian shores. If you hold an international driving license, keep your fingers crossed and hope you are allowed to drive with it.
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Old 22nd January 2012, 23:23   #3
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Default Re: Trip to Australia - Advice Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by abbey4u View Post
Hi, I am planning a trip to australia in the month of may (19-31st) with my wife and kid. I am going to visit Melbourne/Sydney/Gold Coast/Brisbane and then fly back to Delhi. I already booked my air tickets (they were getting expensive each passing day).

My basic itinerary is
Reach Melbourne on 19th, Fly to Sydney/Drive to Gold Coast/ Fly back from brisbane to delhi. My tickets from delhi to melbourne and Brisbane to delhi are booked .

Thanks everyone in advance
On the outright, 12 days might be less too to really roam around Australia. Having said that, 12 days should be sufficiently enough if you pick and choose the venues/places without really trying to do everything that gets recommended.

Top options that come to my mind - I would suggest Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Great Barrier Reef, Opera House, MCG, SCG. There are so many things more, so much to do. Really sorry I can't give you proper pointers, hopefully others should chip in.

I have stayed for a few months in Melbourne quite a few years back, but as I was working I did not get to travel a lot. However I'll try to answer some of the queries.

4. Public Transport option in Melbourne/Sydney?
Both Melbourne & Sydney have excellent tram & bus services for within city travel which should be more than enough. Taxis are available in plenty too. Plus if you want to go downtown or other suburbs, from the main city, there are sufficient bus & train options with regular frequency. Get the routes, and other info online. Look for weekly/daily/weekend passes.

4. Hotels in Budget?
Sorry, but no idea on this.

5. Indian driving licence would work for a week car hire?
Indian license worked perfectly fine when I was there, I see no reason why it shouldn't do now too. Do note if you have the paper license, it might not be accepted. But the smart card was/is well accepted. Get an idea about the traffic rules, they are quite strict about them. Also would recommend you to opt for the insurance cover when you rent the car.

6. Any special Note?
You are probably going in the best season possible - sunny days with nice windy evenings. It's a beautiful country, enjoy

Last edited by ninjatalli : 22nd January 2012 at 23:25.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 01:12   #4
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Default Re: Trip to Australia - Advice Needed

Thanks ninjatalli, Its my anniversary during this period and want to give a surprise to my wife. I am just hoping my plan just work perfect for her and she feels good about it. (ofcourse it within some budget :
) )
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Old 23rd January 2012, 01:59   #5
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Default Re: Trip to Australia - Advice Needed

1# keep 2 days for Melbourne, 1-day local sight seeing and second day for Oceanic Drive and its must to do it, its about 200KM drive one way and its scenic.
2# Keep 2-3 days for Sydney, sight seeing in Sydney usually Bondi beach, Darling harbor, opera house, harbor bridge(if you want to walk on the bridge), Tower, Beaches etc... There is one good place called Port Stephen (Nelson Bay) its 2 Hr drive from Sydney and it require minimum 1 full day to see it has sand dunes and you drive 4WD with 10$ permit or there are rides.
3# Melbourne city life is best compare to Sydney.
4# Both has got good public transport system, specially Melbourne you get one pass for tram, bus and train.
4# Check Wotif.com for good deals, other hotel I prefer is Formule1.com.
5# No issue with Indian driving Licence just need to be in english and you need to carry your passport with you all the time when you drive, make sure both the names in passport and license are same.
6# Driving in Melbourne CBD is different to Sydney CBD, for Ex if you need to go right you have to make turn from left lane to go right when the light are orange I know its bit tricky.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 06:38   #6
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Default Re: Trip to Australia - Advice Needed

@Abbey4u, I believe you have your answers from above posts. Somethings that you should be mindful of while travelling downunder:

1. You'd have done your homework but just in case if you forgot to check Australian weather in May/June, you'll need warm cloths for your travel to Melbourne and Sydney and summer cloths for your Gold coast trip. Do check Australian weather before you start packing. Australian weather can be variable and often unpredictable, so carry mixed cloths to be on safer side.

2. To avoid any dramas with Australian customs, make sure you're not carrying ANY home made food (mithai, laddoo or pinni etc), milk or milk products (baby food included), Indian spices and any wooden items. Such items are not allowed to be brought in to the country and will be quarantined at airport. Last year a friend carried some knorr soups and some branded packed popcorns (Act II ?) on him, he wasn't allowed packed food either. (Hefty fines if you try to carry them or later claim that you forgot to declare (customes treat it as "smuggling") - So no acting smart). If you/family member are vegetarian, don't worry there are oodles of Indian restaurants in Melb\Syd + countless Indian shops that sell ready to eat meals (Haldiram/Vadilal/MTR etc).

3. Carry only basic medicines i.e. paracetamol. If you/your family member have a medical condition and taking antibiotics, make sure you're carrying Doctor's prescription.

4. Make sure your shoes are free from dirt (read soil), esp. sport shoe soles have no hardened soil/dirt in them. Even if you're wearing them make sure you clean any visible hardened soil to avoid fines.

5. Once in the country, you can buy Libera/Lyca prepaid SIM cards from any corner/Indian/Asian or any local grocery shop for that matter to stay in touch with family back home. This sim card will work fine on any non 3g phone and will let you call Australian/international contacts (plus saves money if you're carrying your indian phone on roaming). These sim cards are very popular among Indians to call India at really cheaper rates. A 10$ card will fetch you a SIM card +10$ call value. You don't have to provide an ID to purchase this but may need to read out your passport number to customer care while activating it over the phone.

6. Avoid post dinner/late night walks while in Sydney/Melbourne, if you can't resist your self then stick to well lit and populated areas and strict no no to dark by-lanes, parks etc.

Last and the least, have fun mate (maayt- as Australians pronounce it) and enjoy "no worries" or "no dramas" in reply to your thank you's. Happy holidays in advance

NB: I assumed that you're traveling to Auss for the first time. If you've been here before and are well aware of what I made you to read in my post then appologies.

Last edited by Punzabi : 23rd January 2012 at 06:55.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 09:01   #7
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Default Re: Trip to Australia - Advice Needed

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Originally Posted by abbey4u View Post
Must do things in Melbourne?
If time permits, drive to Great Ocean Road and Ballarat. You require one day each for these destinations.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 16:46   #8
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Default Re: Planning a trip to Australia. Tips? Advice?

Thanks everyone for inputs and some great tips by punzabi. This is my first trip to pacific, so all your inputs are valuable. This is how my final plan looks like. Any Suggestion?


19th May > Delhi - Melbourne
20th May > Reach Melbourne at 5:45 AM. Check In Hotel. Do a City tour.
21st May > Full day Trip to Great ocean Road
22nd May > Melbourne - Sydney. Morning flight. Check in Hotel. City Tour
23rd May > City Tour
24th May > Check Out. Drive to Port's Stephen via Hunter Valley. Overnight at Port Stephen.
25th May > Drive to Byron Bay via Coffs Harbour. Overnight at Byron bay
26th May > Drive to Gold Coast. Overnight at Gold Coast
27th May > Gold Coast Theme park (Dreamworld/Whitewater world/Movie world). Yet to decide which one?
28th May > Drive to Sunshine Coast. Overnight at Sunshine Coast
29th May > Drive till Hervey Bay. Overnight at Hervey Bay
30th May > Drive back to Brisbane
31st May > Brisbane. Day at Leisure
1st June > Checkout. Fly back to Delhi

Regarding Driver's license, Indian license should work. (here's an excerpt from Hertz site)

"At time of rental, the renter must present a valid driver's licence issued from country of residence that has been held for a minimum of one year. If the licence is not in English, then an International Driver's License is also required."

Last edited by abbey4u : 23rd January 2012 at 17:08.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 17:35   #9
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Default Re: Planning a trip to Australia. Tips? Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by abbey4u View Post
19th May > Delhi - Melbourne
20th May > Reach Melbourne at 5:45 AM. Check In Hotel. Do a City tour.
21st May > Full day Trip to Great ocean Road
22nd May > Melbourne - Sydney. Morning flight. Check in Hotel. City Tour
23rd May > City Tour
24th May > Check Out. Drive to Port's Stephen via Hunter Valley. Overnight at Port Stephen.
25th May > Drive to Byron Bay via Coffs Harbour. Overnight at Byron bay
26th May > Drive to Gold Coast. Overnight at Gold Coast
27th May > Gold Coast Theme park (Dreamworld/Whitewater world/Movie world). Yet to decide which one?
28th May > Drive to Sunshine Coast. Overnight at Sunshine Coast
29th May > Drive till Hervey Bay. Overnight at Hervey Bay
30th May > Drive back to Brisbane
31st May > Brisbane. Day at Leisure
1st June > Checkout. Fly back to Delhi
Your plan seems good. Really like the fact that there seems to be a lot of driving being planned. Look for car rental deals with starting point as Sydney (airport/city) and car drop-off at Brisbane airport. Avis, Hertz are the main, but there are a few more.

Great Ocean Road might not take the entire day, but it depends on how far you are planning to go and how much you stop-over in-between. Generally people go till the Apostles and return back. If you are doing that, check out the helicopter rides at the Apostles venue. A bit costly, but worth it.

How are you managing the money exchange aspect? Then what we did was carry TCs from India, and encash them at Westpac banks - this was the only bank that did not charge any transaction fees. The situation might have changed, please do check it up.

@abbey4u, I am going to follow your thread quite earnestly, it's a pity you are going 5 months later and not now.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 18:03   #10
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Default Re: Planning a trip to Australia. Tips? Advice?

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@abbey4u, I am going to follow your thread quite earnestly, it's a pity you are going 5 months later and not now.
That's how i can save the cost. Booking well in advance

Hertz quote from their website (including 33% discount on rental) is costing around 320 AUD for 9 days for a Toyota corolla.

Hotels.com is giving 1 night free if i book 10 nights + they have january sale going on right now. and i looked at few hotels, they seems to be in range of 5-7 k.

However i do need guidance on which area i should stay in Melbourne and Sydney. I want to be close to public transportation like metro etc, so that i don't spend a bomb trying to reach these places.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 19:05   #11
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Default Re: Planning a trip to Australia. Tips? Advice?

Please find my reply inline.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abbey4u View Post
Hi, I am planning a trip to australia in the month of may (19-31st) with my wife and kid.

I will request fellow Bhpians to help me chalk out a firm plan.

1. Number of days in Melbourne 2/3 days?

2days. But I would strongly recommend visiting the 12 apostles taking the Great Ocean Road. So add an extra day if you are planning to do this.

2. Number of days in Sydney. 2/3 days?

2days.

3. Must do things in Melbourne/Sydney?

Opera House, Sydney tower, Bondi beach, Casinos in Melbourne, MCG, etc. I would recommend visiting the respective websites of the cities and shortlist the places based on your preference and taste. For eg: They organize a nice tour in MCG, but you may not like it if you aren't interested in cricket.

4. Public Transport option in Melbourne/Sydney?

Both cities have excellent public transport system. But you may have to buy prepare cards at specific shops if you are going to board a bus, but for trains you get the tickets in the station itself. Some Trams in Melbourne offer free ride(only within the city), you may use them to cut costs.

4. Hotels in Budget?

Check Hotel Travelodge in Sydney.

5. Indian driving licence would work for a week car hire?

Yes. You will have no problem with it.

6. Any special Note?

I think the weather on month of may will be cold with unpredictable showers. So apart from plan A for a day always have plan B also based on the weather predictions on news channels. They are almost always accurate. Also choose to stay only in the city, as stay in suburbs will hamper adhoc planning.

While going on a drive, choose your route carefully in the navigator. You may want to take a scenic route as in case of Great Ocean drive, but the navigator always chooses the shortest route.

Thanks everyone in advance
EDIT: I would strongly advise against driving in Melbourne, the hooked turns and rules in general are pretty confusing there especially for a new comer.

Last edited by CliffHanger : 23rd January 2012 at 19:14.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 19:24   #12
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Default Re: Planning a trip to Australia. Tips? Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by abbey4u View Post
Thanks everyone for inputs and some great tips by punzabi. This is my first trip to pacific, so all your inputs are valuable. This is how my final plan looks like. Any Suggestion?


19th May > Delhi - Melbourne
20th May > Reach Melbourne at 5:45 AM. Check In Hotel. Do a City tour.
21st May > Full day Trip to Great ocean Road
22nd May > Melbourne - Sydney. Morning flight. Check in Hotel. City Tour
23rd May > City Tour
24th May > Check Out. Drive to Port's Stephen via Hunter Valley. Overnight at Port Stephen.
25th May > Drive to Byron Bay via Coffs Harbour. Overnight at Byron bay
26th May > Drive to Gold Coast. Overnight at Gold Coast
27th May > Gold Coast Theme park (Dreamworld/Whitewater world/Movie world). Yet to decide which one?
28th May > Drive to Sunshine Coast. Overnight at Sunshine Coast
29th May > Drive till Hervey Bay. Overnight at Hervey Bay
30th May > Drive back to Brisbane
31st May > Brisbane. Day at Leisure
1st June > Checkout. Fly back to Delhi

Regarding Driver's license, Indian license should work. (here's an excerpt from Hertz site)

"At time of rental, the renter must present a valid driver's licence issued from country of residence that has been held for a minimum of one year. If the licence is not in English, then an International Driver's License is also required."
Indian license certainly works in australia. My colleagues rented a car the last time they were down there. Am not sure if it was an IDP though. I have stayed in Sydney for a while. Apart from the 'city tour', try and go over to the blue mountains which by itself is a day trip (almost). simply beautiful landscape.

Make sure you dont carry any wood or milk / poultry based food into australia. They are paranoid about the quarantine laws. Even the pre-packaged ashirwad dal-makhani I carried was thrown away and so was the chicken flavoured maggi / maggi soups!! if carrying any out of the ordinary medicine, make sure you have a prescription. i had an issue getting simple otrivin nasal drops across!
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Old 23rd January 2012, 19:46   #13
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Default Re: Planning a trip to Australia. Tips? Advice?

EDIT: I would strongly advise against driving in Melbourne, the hooked turns and rules in general are pretty confusing there especially for a new comer.

Thanks CliffHanger, I am not planning to drive either in Melbourne/Sydney. I will take my car only on 24th when i checkout of Sydney and drive towards gold coast. A city drive is something i would always like to avoid
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Old 24th January 2012, 12:38   #14
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Default Re: Planning a trip to Australia. Tips? Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by abbey4u View Post

19th May > Delhi - Melbourne
20th May > Reach Melbourne at 5:45 AM. Check In Hotel. Do a City tour.
21st May > Full day Trip to Great ocean Road
22nd May > Melbourne - Sydney. Morning flight. Check in Hotel. City Tour
23rd May > City Tour
24th May > Check Out. Drive to Port's Stephen via Hunter Valley. Overnight at Port Stephen.
25th May > Drive to Byron Bay via Coffs Harbour. Overnight at Byron bay
26th May > Drive to Gold Coast. Overnight at Gold Coast
27th May > Gold Coast Theme park (Dreamworld/Whitewater world/Movie world). Yet to decide which one?
28th May > Drive to Sunshine Coast. Overnight at Sunshine Coast
29th May > Drive till Hervey Bay. Overnight at Hervey Bay
30th May > Drive back to Brisbane
31st May > Brisbane. Day at Leisure
1st June > Checkout. Fly back to Delhi
There is nothing on Coffs Harbour to watch just drive from port stephen to Gold cost and see byron bay on the way. You can easily do it 7-9 hrs drive from port stephen to Gold coast.
Stay 2 -days in Gold coast must, times goes fast here.
On the Sunshine coast stay at Noosa Head good place.
Rainbow beach is must to see on sunshine coast and there is one waterfall I forget the name its beautiful falling from the cave.
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Old 24th January 2012, 12:44   #15
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Having lived in melbourne for 8 years (I left in 2008) I guess i could answer most questions you may have so feel free to ask any specific questions. I see you are spending 2 days in melbourne, and have planned to do "the great ocean road" trip. With such a short trip I guess this is the best plan.

The beauty of melbourne is to actually enjoy the city. Go to Crown casino area on the yarra river at night. Its the centre of the city. They have a mini fire show on the hour every hour and the whole river side is lit up beautifully at night by surrounding buildings.

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You can also check out the whole of melbourne CBD 360* view from the top of the city by going to Rialto towers Observation deck situated on the 70th floor (i think). This place is a short 15 min walk from Crown casino.

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Other places of interest are the Melbourne Aquarium situated in between Crown Casino and Rialto towers. This will be a treat for the kids.

You could also do a quick visit to St.Kilda Beach. This is just a short tram ride from the city center so you could visit this place during the day.

Other places of interest are MCG, Albert Park F1 circuit (if you are a sports fan). Flinders Station situated in the CBD, the quarky Fedferation square situated in the CBD as well.

Pls do a google image search of the highlighted places to see if it would interest you.

If you love architecture then you can visit the lovely buildings (from outside) of the Melbourne town hall, melbourne city library and a few cathidrals scattered all over the city centre within walking distance or accessable via the city tram.

For places to stay, well you can do a google search and you will come up with plenty of options. My advice for you is to stay in the city centre (A.K.A CBD), that way you can do the great ocean road one day and still be close by to do some or all of the above recommended day attractions which can all be done in a day.

happy planning, and do pack some warm clothes as some days in may can get really chilly. And dont forget to take along a good camera. Also Australia is a very friendly country, always smile and say "hi" if u happen to make eye contact with people on the street. be as polite and courteous as you can because that is what you can expect from them as well .

Last edited by amrisharm : 24th January 2012 at 12:53.
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