Author Topic: Australia - November 2012  (Read 5285 times)

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Australia - November 2012
« on: January 05, 2012, 03:41:19 PM »
Hi!

I'm vacationing in Australia this November (solar eclipse) and I could use some information about the Cairns area. Specifically, stay in Port Douglas or Cairns? And how long can one amuse themselves there? I've been in Cairns before, but that was 10 years ago and I had different traveling companions.

I like scuba diving, marine life, and odd attractions, but I'm not much of a beach bum.

Thanks!

snowfire

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2012, 11:33:18 AM »
DH & I are planning the same to celebrate our 25th anniversary.  We are looking at a cruise (Dawn Princess round trip from Sydney. Port days in Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Townsville & Port Douglas.  Chasing the eclipse at sea.)  I'll be interested in hearing some suggestions.

Leafy

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2012, 09:31:34 PM »
I wish I could help you Random Numbers but I'm on the other side of the country and have only been to Cairns once myself about 12 years ago. I thought that a reply might bump the thread up and others who know might see and respond.

Julian

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2012, 11:48:00 PM »
It's been a few years since I was up that way.

Port Douglas is beautiful, but when I was there, it was very 'high end tourist' - expensive resorts, boutique shops etc.  Cairns has a wider range of options, but it is still Tropical Tourist Town.  There have been a couple of cyclones through there since, so things may have changed. 

If you're hiring a car, be careful where you park it overnight, my car was vandalised one night there, in the hotel car park.

There's heaps to see and do if you don't want to just do the water things. 

Paronella Park is an easy drive from Cairns, it's a Spanish style building in a bit of rainforest handbuilt by a Spanish immigrant in the 1930's for his bride.  The builder was very innovative - it's built of mud, railway sleepers and kerosene tins, and he handbuilt a hydroelectric system so he had the first electricity in the area.  It is stunningly beautiful and worthwhile visiting - if you're lucky you may fluke a time when there's a Shakespeare production on there.

Kuranda is an easy drive up the mountain, it's a bit touristy too, but interesting.  Apparently the markets are great, but I missed them.  Lady Barron Falls is spectacular when there's been any rain.

There's also white water rafting, for a day or for several days, depending on the tour you want. 

The Atherton Tablelands make for an interesting day drive, the scenery is spectacular. 

Isometric

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2012, 12:18:45 AM »
From my experience Cairns itself is nice, but the truly beautiful places are just outside, Palm Cove for example. Port Douglas has a much better reputation. If staying in Cairns I'd just keep it to a couple of days then move on - there are many touristy shops (primarily aimed at the Asian tourist market - cheap koalas, pencils, and the like). The Barrier Reef has a repuation for a reason - don't miss it!

Have a wonderful trip!

Milash

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2012, 05:01:20 AM »
I agree, don't miss the Barrier Reef, it is such a great experience. I didn't really like Cairns when we visited it - it was just so hot and sticky, could not wait to get back on the cruise ship on that one. The place we went to on the barrier reef offered both snorkeling, scuba diving, glass boats and helicopter rides. There was also a water slide so it was quite fun - although it does depart from the Whitsundays. I fully recommend it. If you make it down to the Gold Coast, the theme parks are quite fun.

oz diva

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2012, 06:47:41 AM »
If the beach is not your thing, then I'd stay in Cairns. I'm sure you'll notice some changes in 10 years.

Kuranda is the home of dried kangaroo scrotums so if you're running short....

Also, don't forget the rainforest, it's so beautiful up there. It will be HOT in November.

Victoria

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2012, 10:17:52 AM »
Dried kangaroo scrotums? That's ... different.

Thank you all for the info!

random numbers

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2012, 10:19:19 AM »
I wish I could help you Random Numbers but I'm on the other side of the country and have only been to Cairns once myself about 12 years ago. I thought that a reply might bump the thread up and others who know might see and respond.

On the west coast? I'm contemplating a trip over there for the second half of my vacation, it being the largest part I haven't seen yet.

oz diva

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2012, 06:15:12 AM »
Dried kangaroo scrotums? That's ... different.

Thank you all for the info!
>:D

Victoria

WestAussieGirl

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2012, 06:52:25 AM »
If you love marine life, it might be better to plan your west coast holiday between March and July (if you are likely to be able to have another holiday down under). That's when the whale sharks are off the coast of Exmouth.  Swimming with them is not to be missed.

Sorry, no advice on Queensland but can give you plenty of great spots if you do include WA in your trip.

Mom2PBJ

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2012, 09:22:02 AM »
My DH and I are planning a Christmas visit this year.  I was going to come here and ask questions, too, but now I'll just keep checking back for updates from you. 

Also, what is the weather typically like?  I know it's summer there and it would be helpful to know what the normal highs are.

Isometric

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2012, 04:45:15 PM »
My DH and I are planning a Christmas visit this year.  I was going to come here and ask questions, too, but now I'll just keep checking back for updates from you. 

Also, what is the weather typically like?  I know it's summer there and it would be helpful to know what the normal highs are.

The weather is different all over the country, but in Summer it's HOT! In Queensland it's more of a humid heat, it can get quite sauna-esque if yu're not used to it! Same in Darwin, although it gets much hotter there. Perth and Adelaide both get very hot, more of a dry heat, and have a reputation for long heat waves during Jan/Feb. (As in, several days of 100+ degrees farenheit) If you like cooler weather, Canberra and Tasmania tend to stay fairly cool during Summer. Melbourne is a mixed bag, "4 seasons in one day", it can get quite warm in Summer, as the weather can travel from the West, from Perth and Adelaide.

Iris

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2012, 05:40:46 PM »
My DH and I are planning a Christmas visit this year.  I was going to come here and ask questions, too, but now I'll just keep checking back for updates from you. 

Also, what is the weather typically like?  I know it's summer there and it would be helpful to know what the normal highs are.

The main thing to remember is that Cairns is well and truly in the tropics - so it obviously has tropical weather. At Christmas that means hot, hot, humid, humid. It's 10 years since I was in Cairns and when I visited in September it was very sticky.

In terms of where to stay - as far as I remember, Cairns was just a tourist town that happened to be located in the middle of some tremendously beautiful nature, but was a great base in easy reach of the reef and the rainforest. Port Douglas is more resort-y. So it depends what you're after.

Personally, I could do about 5-7 days in Cairns and surrounds from what I recall, but that really depends on personal taste.
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oz diva

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Re: Australia - November 2012
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2012, 06:24:52 PM »
My DH and I are planning a Christmas visit this year.  I was going to come here and ask questions, too, but now I'll just keep checking back for updates from you. 

Also, what is the weather typically like?  I know it's summer there and it would be helpful to know what the normal highs are.

Whereabouts are you thinking of travelling to? Remember Australia is nearly as large as continental America, so when you ask how hot it is, it's like saying what's the temperature in Florida when you're travelling to Maine. It can be quite cool in Tasmania even in Summer, hot and dry in the Southern states and hot and sticky up North.

Victoria