Author Topic: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?  (Read 4561 times)

Milkshake

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Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« on: August 14, 2017, 08:27:56 AM »
We are planning to go to Australia for our honeymoon in late December/early January. Any thoughts or suggestions for where to go and what to do from folks who live there or have been there? We are both SCUBA certified so we would like to see the Great Barrier Reef before it gets bleached away. We'll be there for as many as 23 days, including the two 20ish hour flights. We would also be there over Christmas and New Years if there is anything cool happening around that time.

Thanks!

marty998

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2017, 03:28:40 PM »
Hey there! If you can withstand the searing heat you'll love it here.

Cairns is usually the destination of choice for GBR touring.. you can catch a ferry out to the reef - from most parts of the coast the reef extends many kilometres out to sea.

I'm looking to do an Adelaide to Alice Springs / Uluru trip in December if I can get the time off from work. In the time you have you could even do a full Darwin to Adelaide trip... apart from the Barossa Vineyards, there is a spot in South Australia where you can go diving with sharks.

Yo can't really beat the Sydney NY Fireworks... but be prepared to camp out from very early in the morning to get a decent viewing spot ;)

Milkshake

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2017, 07:49:11 AM »
That all sounds awesome! Thanks!

AliEli

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2017, 08:22:16 AM »
Bare in mind that it will be really hot here at that time of year.

Melbourne has a pretty great NYE party / fireworks in the city on the Yarra River.  I've heard that the diving in the bay is good.

Where are you coming from and how much do you want to spend?  Do you want amazing food, are you into coffee, wine, beer? I'm sure we can give you lots of suggestions with more info ☺️

Milkshake

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2017, 12:51:36 PM »
Good to know. We will be using points to fly there, and our wedding is pretty cheap, so our budget is pretty open for fancy stuff. We'll be coming from the States and we like all of that stuff! Right now we plan to spend most of our time on the Eastern side, but we would still like to spend a few days on the Western side too.

Especially food though. We love trying great food!

JoJo

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2017, 03:02:16 PM »
If it's in the budget, look at getting a sailboat in the Whitsunday Islands.  One of the beaches there is so amazing.  The sand squeaks when you walk on it.

I do love the outback too - based around Alice Springs.

banksie_82

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2017, 10:10:50 PM »
There’s a saying (said mostly by Melbournians) that goes “Melbourne’s a lady and Sydney’s a whore.”

Melbourne is Australia’s cultural centre – think good food/wine/beer, art galleries and museums, performances, live music, sport, street art, as well as being very easy to get around on public transport or foot. It’s sometimes called Australia’s most European city but you’ll need to be patient and take time to get to know her. I’ll happily admit it’s not the sort of thing international tourists come to Australia for, Melbourne’s made for living in, not visiting.

Sydney is flashy - beautiful harbour, land marks and beaches that will blow you away the moment you lay eyes on her. More than a few days ‘fling’, however, and it’s easy to get weary of. If you do make it there, do the Bridge Climb.

Queensland (north east portion of the country) is like a theme park. Great Barrier Reef, tropical rain forest, theme parks, outback desert, lots of glitzy tourist oriented destinations. I don’t like it but I can see why an international tourist looking for the stereotype ‘Australia’ would want to visit. As a diver, I’d say the GBR isn’t as good as you’d think. The reason it’s famous is because it’s big, but there are a lot more beautiful reefs in the world.

If you are after real outback wilderness, then Darwin is your pick. If you have time, then overland Darwin to Adelaide is apparently like another world. It will be stupidly hot that time of year though… expect 45c in the centre of the country with little shade to be had.

One thing to keep in mind – Australia is big!!! Land mass wise it’s as big as Europe without the Russian part, or as big as continental United States. So if you want to see a few different places, plan to fly. Even then it’s a 5hr flight time between Sydney and Perth, and if you wanted to go to/from somewhere more regional you’d probably need a connecting flight.

nora

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2017, 10:18:05 PM »
If you don't like the heat then Tasmania is a great option for that time of year. Lots of great food etc. Can catch ferry from Melbourne or fly.

nnls

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2017, 10:52:40 PM »
As others have said it can be warm that time of year, and it might not be comfortable up in Cairns in December due to it being wet season, may be a bit nicer a little further south. Though I don't think December/January is as hot/humid as February. Also I personally think Ningaloo in WA is better than the Great Barrier reef though I have only snorkeled GBR and have dived ningaloo, though I will be heading to Port Douglas in October so can update more then.

As someone else mentioned Tasmania is a great place to see the bush and natural scenery and will be cooler and has a nice winery area, nice hiking ect. I was there in February this year and it was jumper weather at night.

Uluru is also amazing, though that time of year it may be too hot to walk around or do the walks through Kata Kjuta as they close off the walks when its above 37 degrees  (about 98F) it was closed off when I was there in November, though the views are still amazing and you can still walk around the rock and the "Field of Lights" at sunset is also really pretty.

If you only have 23 days I would maybe look at what you really want to do and narrow it down, it can take a long time to get between places.  Are you more interested in cities, nature, wineries, hiking, beaches, Aboriginal art/culture etc? If we have a bit more of an idea of what you are looking for it might help us narrow down some places for you to go.




damyst

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2017, 11:12:23 PM »
Right now we plan to spend most of our time on the Eastern side, but we would still like to spend a few days on the Western side too.

Western Australia is a bit of a hike to get to, but there are rewards for those who make the effort. Ningaloo reef is spectacular, accessible, much less crowded than the GBR, and so far mostly intact in terms of bleaching. For a snorkeler like me it was heaven - park your car, step into the water, swim with turtles. Boom.

Margaret River is another gem, with dozens of lovely wineries and great surfing in a stunning natural setting.

Then there's Cape le Grand. I've visited a lot of nice beaches, but haven't seen one like this before or since.

These places are far from each other, and far from the rest of Australia. You're unlikely to see them all in a few days. Also, amenities are fairly basic (except for Margaret River maybe).
But a stay in WA is a memory that lasts a lifetime, so I thought I'd throw it out there.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 01:30:12 PM by damyst »

Milkshake

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2017, 09:14:56 AM »
Great suggestions! I'm excited just thinking about them. Normally I would say we do a backpacking-style of travel, lots of hiking and sightseeing as cheaply as possible. But for this trip I think we are going to take it a little easier.

Leaning towards diving and beaches for sure, but seeing the outback is of interest as well. We are ok with flights around the country, but obviously we would want to optimize the travel path to avoid spending the whole trip on an airplane.

We like wineries and great food, absolutely. We plan on doing a few "excursions", like sailing and diving. I'm not sure what types of excursions exist more inland. We would love to experience true Australian culture for part of the trip, where we aren't right in the thick of the other tourists. We are both a little bit of introverts so seclusion is better than packed cities, but we plan on a few days in the cities.

Also, we are used to summers with daily highs in the upper 90s(F) and humidity in the 80%+ range. I spent some time in Moab, UT this year where daily temps were 105-108F and did pretty well.

I know it's a relatively short trip (stupid US vacation time) and we won't get to see it all, especially not if we want it to be relaxing. Someday after FIRE we'll be back for much longer I'm sure!

Thanks again for all the suggestions, I'm ready for the wedding to be over and the trip to start!

AliEli

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2017, 08:58:24 AM »
Just to give you an idea about the weather - you can expect it to be anywhere from 30-45C at that time (I think that's around 115f?) and very low humidity. Summer here can be like being in an oven!

Ok, so here is my suggestion: you could travel to Melbourne and travel along the great ocean road to Adelaide. There are lots of opportunities to visit wineries along there, there is a penguin colony in Warnambool, there is whale watching.  You can go to kangaroo island before hitting Adelaide. You'd also be able to get to the Barossa valley.

Other suggestions are: craft brewery trail in north east vic (you can also tie in wineries, berry picking, and historical sites). Beechworth, bright, and other towns in the region have craft breweries and hops is farmed locally.  It's easy to drive to, but you'd want to have a couple of days.
The Hawkesbury region north of Sydney is lovely.
Ditto Byron Bay.

If you only have 23 days, I'd suggest that you don't try to fit in too much geographically - while you can fly between WA and the east coast, the travel would be expensive (at least $300pp each way at that time of year) and would eat up a lot of time. Also important to remember that school holidays are mid-December until late Jan nation wide, and that's when a lot of people are travelling. This makes things a) more expensive and b) more likely to be closed. Just something to bare in mind when planning.

limeandpepper

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2017, 10:11:54 AM »
If you do make it to Western Australia I'm adding Rottnest Island to what others have already suggested. I loved it there and it is definitely one of the unique gems of Australia and quokkas are ridiculously cute, blog post here if you wanna read.

Similar to Western Australia, Tasmania excels when it comes to natural beauty... hire a car to get the most out of it. The seafood is awesome too.

Christmas is generally quiet in Australia while New Year's Eve will be super crowded. If fireworks are your thing then Sydney is probably the most spectacular for it.

In Melbourne, have brunch and coffee at a cute cafe, stroll down some laneways and catch some street art, and have a drink at one of the cool bars, it's fun to "discover" some of those hard-to-find/hidden venues! I know all this may sound a bit wanky but eh that's the charm. ;)

Also, don't be stingy with the sunscreen when you're here. The UV levels here get pretty crazy in summer.

JoJo

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2017, 03:27:13 PM »
One more place to look into, and one of my favorite things in Australia:  Fraser Island.  Google it and see if it looks interesting.

one piece at a time

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2017, 03:49:01 PM »
http://www.highandwild.com.au/

As you will be flying into and out of Sydney it may be worth driving up to the "mountains". The elevations are not very extreme, but there is world class canyoning. I've included a random tour company's website.

A very strange event can be found 5 hours drive inland from Sydney http://www.parkeselvisfestival.com.au/ . Look into that so that all of your actual choices seem nice by comparison (some free stoic advice).

Capital cities empty out during January so traffic etc would not be too bad. My pick of an Aussy holiday is hanging out at Coogee Bay for a long time. Beach holiday within a short bus ride to city attractions...this is also the closest beach to the airport!
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 03:53:19 PM by one piece at a time »

one piece at a time

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2017, 03:52:22 PM »
https://www.abyss.com.au/scuba/pc/Shelly-Beach-p4272.htm

Sydney has some pretty awesome dives too, eg the one listed above. Not my thing, but worth looking into.

bigchrisb

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2017, 01:07:33 AM »
An Australian dive addict here.

I'd caution you about north QLD (Cairns etc) over that time period - its stinger season (deadly jellyfish mean challenges for swimming beaches), and its unpredictable cyclone season.  I'd look at going further south on the reef - say Lady Musgrave Island.  I'd also second the sailing at the Whitsundays.  I've chartered sailing catamarans there, and Whitehaven beach is beautiful, along with great snorkelling (but only OK diving).

There is some great diving further south in Australia too - happy to provide more detail if you are after a specific area.

Main thing is that Australia is the same size as the lower 48.  If someone said they want to see the whole lower 48 in three weeks, you would laugh.  Pick a couple of areas and focus on seeing them well.

Last tip is about tipping.  Most Australian's don't tip unless service is truly exceptional.  This is because our minimum wages are very high (a server is probably being paid over $20/hour), so don't rely on tips for a living.  Very different from the US.

limeandpepper

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2017, 02:38:36 AM »
Last tip is about tipping.  Most Australian's don't tip unless service is truly exceptional.  This is because our minimum wages are very high (a server is probably being paid over $20/hour), so don't rely on tips for a living.  Very different from the US.

LOL! In the ideal world, yes, a server would get paid the official minimum wage. In reality, my theory is that the people at ATO (note to the OP: this stands for Australian Taxation Office) love their cheap eats as much as anyone else, and therefore happily turn a blind eye to the fact that many eateries do not pay their workers the proper wage and benefits. I am often amazed by how naive and out of touch many Australians are about this, for example some people were shocked recently when a popular Chinese restaurant in Melbourne was found to be underpaying their staff, and meanwhile I was like, uh, I would actually be more surprised if they were paying their staff properly!

The places where service is truly exceptional are typically high-profile fine dining restaurants, which are more likely to pay their staff correctly, meaning they get proper benefits, a great wage, and often get tips on top of all that. Conversely the poor harried ones working in fast-paced environments that emphasize quick turnover... have a low hourly rate and are less likely to get tips, forget about superannuation or paid leave too. So ironically the ones who are in least need of tips are more likely to get them.

However, having said that, I do concur that tipping is definitely not compulsory in Australia, and I am very happy that is the case. I'm just interjecting to say that they might make more of a financial difference than some might suggest, don't kid yourself that the hospitality industry plays by the rules.

P.S. The happiest day of my life as a server was many years ago when an American and his friends visited the restaurant I worked at and left us a huge tip. ;)  Even after divvying it up between everyone who worked that day, it was still a pretty sweet boost to our earnings.

Anyway, I (had to) digress, but back to travel talk!

deborah

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2017, 04:23:22 AM »
As AliEli said, the trip from Melbourne to Adelaide is good - If you flew to Melbourne (even if you're going to Sydney, the Sydney-Melbourne route is one of the 10 busiest routes in the world, so you can catch a flight very quickly from one to the other), along the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide (although at that time of year the GOR will be full of people, so I would avoid it - but you're an American, so you won't notice), you could dive at Ewens Ponds, see the Naracoorte Caves, the Grampians, the Otways and the crater at Warnambool and Kangaroo Island, and go up to the Flinders Ranges. That would give you a bit of outback, a variety of diving sites, some Aboriginal stuff and interesting scenery.

If you went to WA (I agree with everyone that Ningaloo reef is AMAZING), and up the coast from Perth to Ningaloo, you would see the dolphins at Monkey Mia, the Stromatilites, the wrecks on the coastline, the pinnacles... also down the coast from Perth is Margaret river wineries, and a much wetter area (after the first day going up the coast it is desert).

Around Sydney, you could go from Sydney to Brisbane, and then to Fraser Island - but even that far down, at that time of year, you might have problems with stingers. The coastal drive from Melbourne to Sydney is really nice too.

marty998

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2017, 05:10:57 AM »
The coastal drive from Melbourne to Sydney is really nice too.

Merimbula is a really nice spot if you want to sit on a beach and do absolutely nothing at all.

I spent a week down there once, with a couple of good books and nothing but a care in the world.

Milkshake

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2017, 07:58:30 AM »
Great advice here! A lot of things I never would've thought to even check or ask about. Good to know about the tipping thing too. I'm used to adding an extra 18% to everything that isn't fast food.

It sounds like Ningaloo is highly recommended, and we will probably be looking into diving there. I'm sure we'll still dive the GBR at least once though! Gotta cross it off the bucket list. I'm compiling a list of all the recommendations, and we'll narrow it down from there. Thanks everyone! We're so excited, keep them coming!

deborah

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2017, 04:29:30 PM »
Getting to the GBR AND Ningaloo in 23 days will take you most of the trip, I would think. Do one or the other. Remember that they are the width of the US apart, and you would have to fly up from Perth or down from Broome after you had crossed the continent.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 04:32:04 PM by deborah »

Bee21

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2017, 05:46:26 PM »
That time of the year is the hottest, it is school holiday so prepare and book ahead bc everything will be packed. INot sure about the south, but dec jan is the storm and rain season  in Queensland, it might rain every day if you are unlucky. And def take the jellyfish warning seriously. Cyclone Debbie did quite a bit of damage to the touristy areas around the whitsundays, so do your research.

 I would stay away from the Northern territory bc of the heat. I went there in october, and it was pretty hot, even then. It is spectacular, so it was well worth it, but it is hell. Our tour picked up a couple of sweedish honeymooners on the way back, who gave up on the trip because she couldn't handle the heat and the flies.

My husband used to be into diving and he says the dive around Brisbane (stradbroke and flinders reef) is quite good, and there is no irrakundji around, so if you insist on diving that is something to consider.




AliEli

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Re: Honeymoon in Australia-Suggestions?
« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2017, 08:27:23 AM »
Flying between Perth and the east coast isn't great. Getting up and down the east coast is easy as there are lots of flights every day offering lots of choice and competitive pricing. Flying to Perth from anywhere else in Australia = limited choice and expensive. 

You will need lots of sunscreen. Lots. There wether is nice, but the sun is very harsh here.