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First timer to Australia/SP


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Good afternoon everyone.

I am just starting to research cruises from Australia to the SP, sailing in November 2021 (if covid allows us to, of course).  My girlfriend and I are from Toronto Canada and this will be our first time on that side of the world.  We have travelled multiple times throughout the Caribbean, the mainland US and Hawaii.

We have narrowed down our options to two cruises....

-10 night Royal Caribbean from Brisbane to Noumea, Lifou, Mystery Island, Port Vila and Luganville 

OR

-9 night Carnival from Sydney to Noumea, Lifou, Mystery Island and Mare

We are leaning towards Brisbane because I would really like to visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.  I would absolutely love to hold a Koala and feed kangaroos.  Is there is a place like that in/near Sydney?

I am also wondering what areas in Brisbane and Sydney should I be looking at for hotels?  We will not have a car and plan to take some tours during the days, but would like to be within walking distance of some restaurants/night life for the evenings?

Any advice would be appreciated!

Thank you!

Erin

🙂

 

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G’day Erin, great to hear you are planning an adventure down under!

 

Jilltoons started a similar post on this post a week os so back ‘Which Australia cruise’.  There has been some great responses with detailed descriptions of the various ports and conditions in the South Pacific.  I suggest you have a read through that to start with and come back to here should you have any more questions.

 

With regards to accommodation in either Sydney or Brisbane, let us know what budget range you have in mind as the dream and the reality can be quite different.

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Thank you so much for your reply!  I did read through their post and there is some great information!  Thank you!

 

I would still like to know if there is a place in/near Sydney that is similar to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. 

 

As far as budget, I am thinking around $350 AUS a night but would go higher if we needed to.

 

Thanks again!

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3 hours ago, erin1998 said:

We are leaning towards Brisbane because I would really like to visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.  I would absolutely love to hold a Koala and feed kangaroos.  Is there is a place like that in/near Sydney?

If you have your heart on holding a Koala, you are not able to do it in NSW but it is permissible in QLD. There are places where you can get up close and pat a Koala in NSW, including Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney.

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I would recommend you stay in the CBD in Brisbane.  There are inexpensive hostels to hotels at all levels.  You could walk to the ferry on Brisbane River to Lone Pine Sanctuary, where you will be able to hold a koala and pat a kangaroo.  Or you could catch a taxi if you wanted to gt to the sanctuary earlier.  You could also catch the public ferry and do a scenic trip along the Brisbane River. 

Southbank is Parkland on the opposite side of the Brisbane River and is the cultural centre with theatre, art galleries and museums.

If you stay in Brisbane prior to your cruise, you could also do a day trip to Australia Zoo, which is very popular.  

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Just now, MMDown Under said:

I would recommend you stay in the CBD in Brisbane.  There are inexpensive hostels to hotels at all levels.  You could walk to the ferry on Brisbane River to Lone Pine Sanctuary, where you will be able to hold a koala and pat a kangaroo.  Or you could catch a taxi if you wanted to gt to the sanctuary earlier.  You could also catch the public ferry and do a scenic trip along the Brisbane River. 

Southbank is Parkland on the opposite side of the Brisbane River and is the cultural centre with theatre, art galleries and museums.

If you stay in Brisbane prior to your cruise, you could also do a day trip to Australia Zoo, which is very popular.  

You beat me to it! I was going to give similar advice to what you have written.

 

I will add, if you are staying in Brisbane you can get to the Lone Pine Sanctuary by public (suburban) bus from the centre of the city. Although slower than a taxi, this would be inexpensive and faster than going by the small boat on the river. It would also give you flexibility on time.

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I'll just add my biased opinion. Sailing in and out of Sydney is truly a magical experience. I am born and bred in Sydney and the experience of cruising through the harbour is something that I never tire of. Also the cruise  terminal (the OPT) is in a great spot between the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Can't beat that!

 

Cruise Ship at Circular Quay in the Morning, Sydney, New South Wales (NSW),  Australia Images | Fine Art Landscape Photography | Ilya Genkin

Edited by christodan
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Also if you are happy to get up close to a koala but not hold them there's two zoos in  Sydney city. 

https://www.wildlifesydney.com.au/

 and 

https://taronga.org.au/sydney-zoo

 

The first one is small but very convenient being right in the middle of the city. There is also an aquarium there.

 

Or you can catch a ferry to Taronga zoo  which makes it a very pleasant way to get there.

 

 

Edited by christodan
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I would go for the Brisbane itinerary. More ports, fewer sea days (I have a personal preference for RCI).

I too would recommend day trip to Australia Zoo. That's where Bindi Irwin resides these days. They day I was there we took in the bird show, it was amazing.

If time and money allows spend a few days in Sydney pre or post cruise for the harbour experience. Take a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly and back, it's a similar experience to a Sydney sail away - just a smaller boat. It goes right by the Opera House. Perhaps take a swim at Manly beach and include a pub lunch.

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1 hour ago, Aus Traveller said:

You beat me to it! I was going to give similar advice to what you have written.

I will add, if you are staying in Brisbane you can get to the Lone Pine Sanctuary by public (suburban) bus from the centre of the city. Although slower than a taxi, this would be inexpensive and faster than going by the small boat on the river. It would also give you flexibility on time.

LOL great minds think alike.  I was going to include the public bus was an option but I didn't know the number, but they could research it. 

I also liked the Brisbane itinerary with more ports and less sea days.

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I think the itinerary on the Brisbane cruise is better than the Sydney one. The only downside is that Sydney is a much more scenic port. It is a buzz to depart down Sydney Harbour and out through the heads, and although Brisbane has its strong points, a vibrant night life is not one of them.

 

Lone Pine is not the only place in Queensland you can fondle koalas. There is also Australia Zoo (Steve Irwin) to the north or Dreamworld Amusement Park on the Gold Coast to the south.

 

An alternative to staying in Brisbane is to stay on the Gold Coast. The advantages being the night life and beaches as there are no real beaches in Brisbane.

 

Things to see in Brisbane:

Tangalooma

St Helena Island

South Bank

Mt Cootha Lookout with Botanic Gardens and Planetarium

Eat Street Northshore

 

That said, Sydney is the more interesting city for tourism by some margin.

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2 hours ago, lyndarra said:

I would go for the Brisbane itinerary. More ports, fewer sea days (I have a personal preference for RCI).

 

More ports, yes, but the same number of sea days:

- a 10 night cruise with 5 ports has 4 sea days

- a 9 night cruise with 4 ports has 4 sea days.

 

However I'd probably choose the Brisbane cruise, mostly because it is a day longer, especially if you can manage to fit in a few days in Sydney as well. The Manly ferry gives the same views as a cruise ship with the added bonus of being able to see it twice. The best option is to go to Manly in the afternoon, have dinner there, then go back to the city in the evening so you see all the city lights.

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39 minutes ago, Chiliburn said:

Instead of Radiance it looks like it could be Quantum of the seas.

If that is the case,that’s the cruise you want

If most of the ports are by tender boats, I would prefer the smaller ships. 

 

I wouldn't book anything yet. RCI usually have a lot of cruises from Sydney to the SP. Maybe wait a bit for them to become available. (Unless it's just not happening next year). And I would pick one with the Isle of Pines included.

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15 minutes ago, christodan said:

And I would pick one with the Isle of Pines included.

 

To give people an idea of what is worth visiting, maybe we should make a list of favourite ports. My top three:

 

Dravuni

Conflict Islands

Isle of Pines

 

And for completeness, bottom three:

 

Lautoka

Alotau

Suva

 

Edited by SinbadThePorter
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Options

Cruise 1 = Way better ports of Call

Cruise 2 = Sydney..

I would take Cruise 2; there is no better port to start from then Sydney, worlds best Harbour...

ps:We will have a cold beer & a Shrimp on the BBQ ready for you...

 

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I'd take the Brisbane cruise.

 

As far as ports go Mare is an OK beach, but that's about it.

But Port Villa is an interesting place with a lot of tour options.

Luganville you could have a car / driver take you up to the Port Orly area.

There are low key / laid back resorts in that area for lunch.

Back via Champagne Beach which is lovely.

 

After the cruise you could fly to Sydney for a few days.

Here is a great way to see a lot on a DIY day in Sydney.

 

1. Ferry from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay

2. Watsons Bay coastal walk. A loop walk via South Head. (2 hrs)

3.While at Watsons Bay go across the road to view the cliffs at The Gap.

4. Bus to Bondi Beach for lunch.

5. Bus back to Circular Quay.

 

You'll see a lot of Sydney that way.

Also you can do your Lone Pine before your Brisbane cruise.

 

 

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WOW!!  You are all amazing!  Thank you so much for all your input.  

We were originally wanting to sail in February 2022, but then read about cyclones.  So we decided to sail in November instead.  (been there, done that with a couple caribbean trips during hurricane season).  I really don't want to book this trip, and with so much excitement and anticipation, have it cancelled due to a cyclone.  But I just read that it is possible for a cyclone to hit in November as well.  Is that true?   

I am sure with all my research and planning, I will have a lot more questions!  Thank you again for all this great information!!!

🙂

 

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14 minutes ago, erin1998 said:

WOW!!  You are all amazing!  Thank you so much for all your input.  

We were originally wanting to sail in February 2022, but then read about cyclones.  So we decided to sail in November instead.  (been there, done that with a couple caribbean trips during hurricane season).  I really don't want to book this trip, and with so much excitement and anticipation, have it cancelled due to a cyclone.  But I just read that it is possible for a cyclone to hit in November as well.  Is that true?   

I am sure with all my research and planning, I will have a lot more questions!  Thank you again for all this great information!!!

🙂

 

Cyclones are usually around February but who knows in this changing world.

the ship will divert to another place or go around it.

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40 minutes ago, erin1998 said:

I really don't want to book this trip, and with so much excitement and anticipation, have it cancelled due to a cyclone.  But I just read that it is possible for a cyclone to hit in November as well.  Is that true?   

 

It's all a matter of probability. The probability of having a cyclone interfere with your cruise is higher in February than it is in November. That is not to say that it is a high probability in either case.

 

I wouldn't worry too much about cyclones, the area of the South Pacific you are looking at covers several million square miles, so there is plenty of room to avoid them if they occur. Just book the cruise you like for the time you like.

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9 minutes ago, SinbadThePorter said:

I wouldn't worry too much about cyclones, the area of the South Pacific you are looking at covers several million square miles, so there is plenty of room to avoid them if they occur. Just book the cruise you like for the time you like.

My thoughts exactly. The possibility of a cyclone is way down my list when booking a cruise. 

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2 hours ago, erin1998 said:

WOW!!  You are all amazing!  Thank you so much for all your input.  

We were originally wanting to sail in February 2022, but then read about cyclones.  So we decided to sail in November instead.  (been there, done that with a couple caribbean trips during hurricane season).  I really don't want to book this trip, and with so much excitement and anticipation, have it cancelled due to a cyclone.  But I just read that it is possible for a cyclone to hit in November as well.  Is that true?   

I am sure with all my research and planning, I will have a lot more questions!  Thank you again for all this great information!!!

🙂

The cyclone season is from November to April.  However, in recent years, more cyclones have been towards the end of the season rather than the beginning.  As others have mentioned, cruise ships change their route rather than cancel due to a cyclone.  November is a good time to cruise.  It is often less expensive because it is before the long school summer holiday season in Australia. 

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8 minutes ago, MMDown Under said:

The cyclone season is from November to April.  However, in recent years, more cyclones have been towards the end of the season rather than the beginning.  As others have mentioned, cruise ships change their route rather than cancel due to a cyclone.  November is a good time to cruise.  It is often less expensive because it is before the long school summer holiday season in Australia. 

Although rare, Fiji has had at least two cyclones as late as early June. May last year we had one on our Island cruise to Vila, there was a cyclone between New Caledonia and Vanuatu. The skipper just went up the west coast of New C, and went around the top to Vila thus avoiding the cyclone.

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