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Considering a trip to Australia this spring

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I assume Aussie Girl meant the Pacific Highway. The Great Ocean Road is in Victoria and would have to be one of the most stunningly beautiful roads on earth. Well, the scenery, not the tarmac, obviously.

 

Thanks flms_do_it_better, I did. I didn't mean to give faulty information, just been a little distracted of late. Luckily you are on to it!

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through www.stayz.com.au - you can search country-wide, and it does have a search facility for farm stays.

Stayz are good, but would also give a huge shout out for the good old YHA. They are just fantastic - no age limit, family friendly and family rooms available, kids very welcome, cheap as chips, knowledgeable staff and they also run a series of eco lodges which could be just the ticket. Both of the Blue Mountains hostels are excellent, but staying in a teepee in Nimbin sounds just right!

Having YHA membership (you can join when you stay) can get you a lot of discounts in Oz (including for tours like this one) and as it is valid for a year worldwide, it is certainly worth the money.

 

Also excellent for NZ - especially for Te Anau.

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If wanting cheaper but reasonable accommodation than check the backpackers sites as I have travelled most of Aussie and depending on time the the Red Centre is a must around April /May (not too hot/cold).mOST Aussie backpackers cater for all types of rooms with different rates(even Tasmania ,right in Hobart arounf 100mtres from bay/markets/town and is very clean and presentable.ANNIES PLACE has a centre in Adelaide and Alice Springs and provides transport means between the two and tours to Uluru(Ayers Rock)Kings Canyon and the Kata Tuta (Olgas Range) over a three day period with a three day mini bus/camping package.As I said earlier have travelled a lot and have the maps as well if of any help.Also can give you background on New Zealand if required.Aussie is truly remarkable and I really think if visiting choose carefully where you go each time cause there is so much to see and depending on what type of terrain/budget/interests and time you have will determine your trip.PS all states have lots of food and alcohol at reasonable rates if you know where to go and have fun.
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If you hate hotels, see if you can get a serviced apartment for the week you're in Sydney. I also hate feeling like someone is picking up after me, and at the very least you can have your own space. If you like to be near green areas, try and make it along the North Shore, as it would be easy for hubby to get to work and for you to find places to walk and explore.

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Another option: rent a campervan to drive around the country or sleep in a so-called onsite van (a trailer permanently installed in a caravan park).

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Re $35 main meals.

In inner-city Sydney you can still eat very cheaply. Indian meals start at about $8. Most Asian restaurants charge about $15 for a main meal. Even the awarded best-Thai restaurant charges about $22 for a main. Pub meals are ridiculously cheap, but you get what you pay for, so be choosy. A $5 steak is not the same as a $25 steak. Visiting 'ethnic' suburbs is even cheaper. Lakemba is the heart of Lebanese-Sydney and you can share a plate for 2 for just $12. Try Cabramatta for all the tastes and sounds of Vietnam.

Also, most average-priced restaurants are BYO (bring-your-own) alcohol. For a small service charge (about $2) you can bring along your own wine. This makes a huge difference comapared to the drinks bills in some European restaurants.

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Hi,

If you do have time to hire a car and get out of the city, as others have said head to Coffs Harbour, Yamba and most of all make sure you get to Byron Bay! It's very touristy but out of the 'town' part and beaches you have to go up and explore the hinterlands! It's so beautiful up there and you will have the best time!! To deal with your 6 year old on the plane (although may be extremely hard!) it will be so worth it! You are very lucky to have the chance to go there each year!

Qlder, Louey.

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In regards to food in Australia, I find fast food to be cheaper than here but restaurant food to be a lot more expensive. By fast food I don't just mean McDonalds but any kind of food place that is in a shopping mall, which is basically where most people "eat out" during the day at least. As soon as you have a sit down meal with a nice table and service the price goes up loads.

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Do you have to be a member to eat at RSL or rugby clubs? They were always very very cheap - even if the food was cooked to be eaten by people with no taste-buds or teeth :D

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All these comments about expensive food gives me more reason to stay in self-catering apartments rather than hotels... I presume a BBQ/ grill would be provided. :D Though, I do like the idea of staying on someone's farm/ B&B and letting them cook for me... true Australian style. Which is everything from the barbi, right? :unsure:

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Hi mlovett, it really isn't that expensive, just depends on what restaurants/part of the city you go to. You'll have enough time to look around for yourself and find a place that suits your budget and tastebuds! Please don't be put off by the comments though. But yes, if you stay somewhere that has a BBQ you'll certainly get good use out of it!!! :)

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The rocks is an interesting part of Sydney (in my opinion). There's a pub there called The Australian which does cool pizzas with Kangeroo, Emu and Crocodile. I don't like kangeroo but the others are good.

Don't do the ghost tour

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The Rocks in Sydney is cool to check out as well - ignore the tourist shops and head for "The Australian" you can grab pizzas with croc and emu (kangeroo is garbage). If you see the ghost tour there give it a swerve unless you really like your local histories. Spooky it is not.

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Are Sydney restaurants generally child-friendly?

 

From my experience yes, but you have to be careful when you book self-contained accommodation. Some very beautiful places are couples only and some only allow babies up to 6 months and children from the age of twelve. Here are two child-friendly houses I can personally recommend:

 

The Whalers Retreat - Hyams Beach

 

2 on Rose (formerly The Scribbly Gum Shack) - Hyams Beach

 

The second one is less expensive, but still very beautiful. Both houses are perfect for bird watching. Hyams Beach is a little piece of paradise. Very secluded and serenely beautiful. Nearby in Husskinson you can go on dolphin watch cruises. Perfect for children!

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So, thought I´d resurrect this thread because I´m off back home shortly, it´s Sunday and I´m bored. I thought I would add a bit about the places not covered in detail for future reference (ie: everything outside of the East coast, lol. Typisch, really.).

 

So, first off, Have you made it there yet, mlovett? Still planning on going? It is a beautiful country and I´ve seen a few in my time.

 

Adelaide – Beautiful little city. “The City of Churches”.Was the only capital city founded by “free” settlers. Many Germans. Combined with a bit of time in the Barossa Valley (also beautiful and some of the best wine in Aus) any German should feel at home. Adelaide has one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the world (probably not much help for non-cricket fans, but there ya go). Adelaide can get a bit sleepy at times, but Hindley Street can normally turn something on. Don´t drink the tap water. It is also Australia´s serial-killer capital, for some unknown reason.

 

North of Adelaide – The Flinders Ranges offer the best semi-arid hiking in the country. Further north is Coober Pedy, an opal mining town where almost everything is built underground. They filmed most of the first two Mad Max movies here, if you want an idea of how it looks.

 

East of Adelaide – Nothing. Lots and lots and lots of nothing. I´m only partly joking here. Port Lincoln is the Great White Shark capital of Oz. You can go cage-diving with the wee beasties here, which is very high on my list of things to do when I´m back there. I´ve seen them many times while working on professional fishing boats. It is difficult to describe the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you are standing 2 meters away from a 6 meter, 2 tonne, fish capable of doing around 40km per hour and biting you in half. They stick their heads out of the water and stare at you with black, lifeless, eyes. Unnerving, but awesome at the same time.

 

The Nullabor – Starting, basically, just to the East of Port Augusta, it was famously described by an early explorer as “a hideous anomaly,a blot on the face of nature, the sort of place one gets into in bad dreams”. Covering around 200,000 sq/km and over 1000 km long, it has a stretch of nearly 150km without a bend (That bit is always good for discombobulating Europeans). It is,rightly, considered one of the most iconic road-trips on the planet. Along the way (along most of the way, actually) is the Great Australian Bight. Well worth a look. Hundreds of kilometres of 60 meter high lime-stone cliffs. The enormity of it is difficult to get your head around. Just don´t run out of water.

 

So I reckon I will take a break before this turns into a book. Will try to cover West Aus next post.

 

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Thanks, farmerandy! My husband must go to Sydney ~ twice a year on business. He was due to go this month, but because of our move (which is dragging out), he has postponed it. This month would have been great, because I figured the most plants are in bloom now, or am I wrong? He plans to go early next year, so I hope to join. I just bought another book on the native plants of Oz. :)

 

A friend (and former colleague) is a Prof at Monash U., so I plan to visit her as well. No immediate plans to visit any great white sharks. B)

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Cool. September to the start of December is the wild-flower season in Southern Oz (draw a line from the NSW/Queensland border across to Perth and that is, mostly, Southern Oz). If you go January, February, March you will, as others have mentioned, be there in the "fucking hot" season. But those are the months of the year that define Australia for me personally. And being a Cali chick, you probably won´t struggle too much ;) . As for botany, that time of year is, unfortunately, not the most interesting. Try and make it out to the Blue Mountains on a stinking hot day - they get their name from the blue haze that hangs over them (caused by some kind of interaction between evaporating eucalyptus oil and something or other else. Sorry for the less than scientifimic description).

 

Monash U. has, probably, the best Botany department in Oz. So if you have a mate there, you should get the best "inside" information possible.

 

Oh, and I´m still going to keep plugging away with my amateur "rest of Oz" travelogue :) . If only out of stupid pride. God-damm Easterners - Lucky if you can drag them away from their cappucinos long enough for them to realise there is an Australia west of Geelong :ph34r: .

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I'd advise against Darwin in the the last and early months of the year if you don't like humidity. Wikipedia puts it quite well "...thunderstorms are common and afternoon relative humidity averages over 70 per cent (and it feels more like 90%!) during the wettest months" (December-March) Everything feels clammy all the time and your clothing will grow mould. And then of course there's the many and various critters...

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In regards to food in Australia, I find fast food to be cheaper than here but restaurant food to be a lot more expensive. By fast food I don't just mean McDonalds but any kind of food place that is in a shopping mall, which is basically where most people "eat out" during the day at least. As soon as you have a sit down meal with a nice table and service the price goes up loads.

 

Seeing as someone brought the thread up again, I thought I'd comment on my last post here. Since then I've been back, and the reality is that basically everything over there is more expensive than here in Germany with the current exchange rate, and that definitely includes food. If you're coming from America which is generally cheaper than even Germany, everything will be double what you're used to.

 

 

All these comments about expensive food gives me more reason to stay in self-catering apartments rather than hotels...

 

Don't know if that will help much. The supermarkets (Woolworths/Coles) are one of the areas where I'd say prices are almost double compared to here in Germany. Restaurants are probably 1.5 times, and fast food (mall food) is probably just a tad more expensive. I reckon eating at the mall would be cheaper than cooking at home now in Australia.

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It is,rightly, considered one of the most iconic road-trips on the planet.

Cough, cough... :D

I hitch-hiked across the Nullarbor many years ago, and found it one of the most monotonous landscapes I've ever seen in my life (except for the cliffs you've mentioned, which are stunning). The only other road that came close to that experience was the old, largely unpaved Stuart Highway from Port Augusta to Alice. Flat, hot, dry, flies, flies, flies, corrugation, broken down cars, dead cows, rotting kangaroo carcasses...

post-94745-13206141794105.jpg

post-94745-13206141932797.jpg

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