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2023.... Try, try again! Pre-cruise Australia recommendations, please!


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We just rebooked (again) our long (long!!) awaited New Zealand and Transpacific B2B cruises to April of 2023.

We'll be sailing out of Sydney. We'll have a minimum of a week pre-cruise in Australia. We could fly into different city and make our way to Sydney if that helps us maximize our Australia experience.

Any recommendations? The last two years have taught us there are no guarantees. If this ends up being our only trip down under, what should we REALLY try to see and do?

Edited by cruisin from florida
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There is enough in Sydney for a week. If you feel OK with driving on the other side of the road, you could hire a car. In any case you could try:

 

Blue Mountains

Manly Ferry

Harbour Bridge climb

Opera House tour

Ferry to Watson's Bay for views from The Gap

Taronga Park Zoo

Bondi Beach

Royal Easter Show (early April)

Several museums and art galleries depending on preferences

 

It's hard to say what will be open in April 2023, hopefully everything. 🙂

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Thanks!!! We have 0 ports in Australia. We leave from Sydney on a New Zealand cruise, then head out from Sidney on a transpacific. So all our Australia time will be land-based, either on our own or with planning/booking help from a local tour company. (That's what we did for our pre-Alaska cruise week, and it worked out perfectly.)

 

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11 hours ago, cruisin from florida said:

We have 0 ports in Australia.

 

Sydney is a port! 😁

 

I was thinking if you wanted to do something out of the ordinary, April is during football season and Australia doesn't just have one type of football to choose from, but four.

 

Depending on timing you could probably catch one of the big two football codes, either an AFL game at the SCG or a NRL game at one of several Sydney grounds. NRL is the bigger game in Sydney, but AFL is the bigger game nationally.

 

Another option, if you are feeling adventurous, is to arrive in Australia at either Brisbane or Melbourne, and hire a campervan to drive to Sydney via the coast road. This would take some planning and research, but lets you see the country outside of Sydney, but at the expense of seeing Sydney.

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Again Sinbad has it spot on, fly to either Brisbane or Melbourne, rent a car or motor home and drive to Sydney, either direction you have some great spots to visit, I guess another issue is how long you have. 
 

Personally I’d lean towards a car and stay in low price accomm. But be warned many oversea visitors get some nasty sticker shock over prices here, I can’t remember last time I pain under $100 a night for a cabin in a caravan park, or much under $200 for a motel.

 

For time in Sydney look at a serviced apartment you may appreciate laundry facilities and some home cooked meals. 
 

If you can squeeze in a day at the Royal Easter Show, in Sydney, 

 

https://www.eastershow.com.au/about-us/

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Royal_Easter_Show

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9 minutes ago, SinbadThePorter said:

 

They often forget that no tipping required brings the relative costs down. In Australia the price you see is the price you pay.

That's good to know. 20% on top of the price is not inconsiderable. Is there NO tipping in Australia? That is going to take some getting used to. I waitressed through college, and it will feel mighty bizarre not to tip.

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6 hours ago, cruisin from florida said:

That's good to know. 20% on top of the price is not inconsiderable. Is there NO tipping in Australia? That is going to take some getting used to. I waitressed through college, and it will feel mighty bizarre not to tip.

No one is going to say no if you do tip, but no one is going to get upset if you don’t. Minimum adult wage here is now about $20 per hour. Also no hidden taxes if the price is listed as $20, that’s all you need pay (unless you are buying a car or such) sure we have a GST (Goods and services tax) but if it applies to what you are paying it is in the price.

 

I’d say the only people who might get tipped here with any sort of frequency are Taxi drivers, where it’s a rounding up ie fare is $18.70 hand then $20 keep the change (but won’t be offended if you wait for your change either, waiters, but not 20% by any means unless you are at a real high end joint, and bar tenders where you might leave your change. And rounding up is as much for my benefit as theirs, too many coins otherwise.

 

Also our money goes up to $2 in coin form and our notes are coloured polymer (plastic). 5c 10c 20c 50c $1 $2 coins, $5 (pinkish) $10 (blue) $20 (red)  $50 (yellow) $100 (mrs Gut says green, but I’m never allowed have that much in one go 😱) notes

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As Mr Gut says, tipping exists but it is completely unnecessary to actually do it.

 

It used to be virtually unknown, but certain American tourists insist on doing it so the habit exists, but should not be encouraged. If someone asks for a tip they are being a cheeky devil and just tell them that you heard that tipping is not customary in Australia.

 

As for taxi drivers, I assume that they have enough respect for themselves not to expect a handout so I expect my change. If you don't want to keep the change there are plenty of charity jars around.

 

With waiters, unless one has performed a Heimlich Manoeuver on me and saved my life, they aren't seeing a tip. They are paid quite well, especially in the high end restaurants.

Edited by SinbadThePorter
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1 hour ago, cruisin from florida said:

Uluru, Great Barrier Reef, and Sydney

 

Certainly you can. Sydney to Uluru, Uluru to Cairns, Cairns to Sydney are each approx 3 hour flights. But you'll only have 2-3 days at each place once you allow for traveling time.

 

At Uluru, April is a transition time between boiling hot summer and freezing cold winter. So it should be a good time of year.

 

For Cairns, April is basically the end of the wet season.

 

For Sydney, April is the beginning of cooler weather that seems to start around Easter.

 

In Cairns, of the closer islands, Fitzroy island makes for a good day trip. There is also accommodation on Fitzroy Island. Green Island has seen better days.

 

There is also a Skyrail cableway that goes up over the jungle into the mountains behind Cairns. It starts from north of the city and you can come back to central Cairns by a train. Or visa versa.

 

For seeing the GBR you can stay in either Cairns or Port Douglas, about 40 miles north. From either, I would recommend a trip to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree River if you have time.

 

If you are going to NZ in April remember to take some warm clothes.

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If you do decide to go to Cairns I'd recommen staying in Port Douglas which tends to have better snorkelling options and is close to the Daintree for a day trip there. Port Douglas is about an hour from Cairns airport by shuttle bus and that is the best way to go. If you stay near the main part of the town, Macrossan St, then you don't need a car, everything is walking distance.

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11 hours ago, cruisin from florida said:

In order to circumnavigate the globe on the trip, we are thinking about flying Tampa > London > Perth > Uluru > Cairns > Sydney ... then NZ cruise, then Transpacific cruise to Hawaii then flying > California > Tampa..

 

Who knows what flights may be available by then. But we can dream!

That sounds awesome. Let's hope the world is a saner place by then.

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For us, 2 days in Uluru was enough to see the area. Renting a car let us do it on our own schedule. On the other hand, we spent 4 days in Port Douglas (one day at the GBR) and it wasn't enough--there are excellent restaurants (especially seafood) and much to see and do nearby if you rent a car, such as Mossman Gorge, along with Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls and Ellinjaa Falls in the Atherton Tableland area. We second the motion to drive up to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest. Daintree Tea is the best I've had anywhere--we took home 3 big boxes of it. We're now trying to return late next year or 2023.

IMG_6106.JPG

Edited by taxatty
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On 8/8/2021 at 12:51 PM, cruisin from florida said:

We just rebooked (again) our long (long!!) awaited New Zealand and Transpacific B2B cruises to April of 2023.

We'll be sailing out of Sydney. We'll have a minimum of a week pre-cruise in Australia. We could fly into different city and make our way to Sydney if that helps us maximize our Australia experience.

Any recommendations? The last two years have taught us there are no guarantees. If this ends up being our only trip down under, what should we REALLY try to see and do?

Hi cruising from florida! I believe we are on the same cruise. Are you on our Roll Call? I am not sure I have seen you there... So if not, come and join in!

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We are on the Ovation. I've joined one of the two roll calls, but may need to join the other. We're in contact with an Australian travel agent to help map out and book our precruise tour. We're going to speak to her in early September. If you PM me I'll let you know what I find out and provide contact info if you are interested.

We did that for our pre-Alaska travel and it worked out great.

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On 8/13/2021 at 1:04 PM, SinbadThePorter said:

 

 

With waiters, unless one has performed a Heimlich Manoeuver on me and saved my life, they aren't seeing a tip. They are paid quite well, especially in the high end restaurants.

Lol you nicked that line from me. I've been saying it since the 80s and using it here and on TA forever. In every endless tipping chat. 
 

For the OP I agree with the many suggestions. You have enough time to really fully explore Sydney and surrounds - or fly in to Melbourne or Brisbane and explore before heading to Sydney to board the ship. 

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On 8/22/2021 at 8:30 AM, cruisin from florida said:

We are on the Ovation. I've joined one of the two roll calls, but may need to join the other. We're in contact with an Australian travel agent to help map out and book our precruise tour. We're going to speak to her in early September. If you PM me I'll let you know what I find out and provide contact info if you are interested.

We did that for our pre-Alaska travel and it worked out great.

Your message tab is not activated... but that is fine and I think that is true for the majority of us. Maybe you can post on this thread what you find out? We also want to fly in early to Sydney and do some touring. Thanks!

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2 hours ago, nini said:

Your message tab is not activated... but that is fine and I think that is true for the majority of us. Maybe you can post on this thread what you find out? We also want to fly in early to Sydney and do some touring. Thanks!

Hmmmm. I am not sure why that's set that way or how to change it. Will definitely post what I find out.

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  • 7 months later...

Good topic.  I am starting to think about something similar, as I am sure we will only be get to Australia/New Zealand once.  Thinking about a cruise of New Zealand, cruise from Sydney to ?  Port Douglas (haven't done much research on that yet) and land trip to Uluru area.  

 

Lots to think about and plan, so all these idea are great.  Looking to spend about 30 days, and anything more is a bonus, such as South Pacific add on.

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