General Question

mattbrowne's avatar

Going Down Under - Recommendations for our four-week vacation to Australia in August?

Asked by mattbrowne (31463 points ) February 1st, 2013

So far my wife and I have only booked our flights, which means we’d like to split our trip into two parts. Here’s the schedule

a) Aug 8: Flight Frankfurt – Singapore – Darwin
b) Aug 10 – Aug 16: Darwin and surrounding areas
c) Aug 17: Flight Darwin – Brisbane
d) Brisbane and surrounding areas (3 days?)
e) Drive from Brisbane to Sydney and Melbourne
f) Sep 3: Flight Melbourne – Darwin
g) Sep 4: Flight Darwin – Singapore – Frankfurt

Here are a few questions I have:

1) Which National Parks are a must and which are optional? (also: can we take our rental car into the parks?)
2) How much time should be spend in cities and towns? Museums? Zoos? Botanical gardens?
3) Which routes from Brisbane to Melbourne via Syndey are most scenic?
4) Which routes should we avoid due to potential winter weather conditions?
5) What websites for booking motels/hotels can you recommend?
6) Where do we get the best deals for rental cars?
7) Any tips for animal sightseeing?
8) Poisonous animals tourists might run into?
9) Australian food we shouldn’t miss?

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31 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Sent your question to an Aussie jelly. I would love to go there too.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I would go to Queensland and take the train to Kuranda and I would see the Great Barrier Reef. There is an aerial tram over the rainforest there also.You could travel the Great Ocean Road Melbourne to Sydney (brrr in August) but this will cover the food as there’s lots of pubs on the way. Go online to find rental agencies and packages, someone from these can put together a package for you. You won’t run into any dangerous animals probably. There’s dozens and dozens of tour guides online local to help you. Have a great trip.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The Sydney area has had BAD flooding. Canberra is a little drier.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I would definitely try to see Ayers Rock & take pictures of the Aboriginal carvings / paintings that are there.

iphigeneia's avatar

The floods right now are in Queensland/northern NSW. By August everything should be up and running again, and I think tourist visits would be highly appreciated.

I definitely second the Great Barrier Reef. No need to bring your car to that one, obviously. I haven’t researched your options during the off-season, but in my opinion Queensland in August/September/October just means shorter queues and fewer bugs.

Search around for tours leaving from Darwin. This site looks good for visiting Alice Springs and Ayers Rock/Uluru. This one has fewer options and is more luxurious, but has a specific indigenous cultural focus. n.b. I’ve never been to Darwin or used any of these companies.

Unfortunately I can’t offer you a lot of help because I haven’t been to any National Parks in the areas you’re visiting. Sydney and Melbourne offer all kinds of artistic experiences. You don’t need that long to see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge (unless, of course, you climb it), and you can take a ferry to Taronga Zoo. If you have any specific interests like modern art, theatre, trendy cafes and bars, wine or beer, I can think of some better suggestions, but it’s been a while since I played tourist.

As for food, I can think of heaps of things, but we don’t really have any “local dishes” that you’d go and order from a restaurant for that special authenticity. You can just buy lamingtons from the supermarket.

Bellatrix's avatar

@mattbrowne have you booked your internal flights yet? I ask this because Uluru would be a fabulous inclusion to your trip but your current schedule doesn’t allow for that. You would need to fly into Alice Springs and to drive out to the rock.

The Great Barrier Reef is also a great inclusion and the best access is from Airlie Beach. It takes less time to get out to the reef. Flying into Airlie would probably be difficult so perhaps consider flying into Cairns so you can go out to the reef from there if you do want to see it. From Cairns there is also the Kurranda scenic rail line. My brother and sister-in-law (from the UK) went to Cairns about 18 months ago and absolutely loved the time there.

I haven’t been to Darwin but it is on my list for this year. Mindle Beach is a ‘must-do’ in Darwin. The sunsets are supposed to be breathtaking. I will let you know after I have been in the middle of the year. You need to have your camera ready though. The sun goes down fast.

I will post again later but keep in mind, it takes a lot longer than many tourists imagine to get from one place to the next in Australia.

Can you tell us what you like to do? Are you sporty or do you like more cultural pursuits?

I’m in Brisbane but I have driven around a lot of Australia. There is a sheep station you can stay at out near Broome where the accommodation is lovely and you get to spend time with the owner and if you are lucky, he might take you up in his helicopter. That might be a bit off the beaten track for you though. It’s called Trilby Station. This isn’t just a tourist thing. It’s a working sheep station.

I will post things as I think of them and then you can work out what you can fit in or what interests you. I’m sure @Rooey will have lots of ideas too.

I hope you both have a lovely time while you are here.

Bellatrix's avatar

There’s also the Great Ocean Road between Melbourne and Adelaide. That’s a lovely drive. If your flights aren’t fixed you might be able to do that too. It depends how leisurely you want the trip to be.

rooeytoo's avatar

First of all I would try to spend a couple of days in Singapore if you have not been there already. That is such an exotic place and much history at Changi prison. They also have fantastic botanical gardens there, just don’t spit or chew gum!

You are coming to Darwin at the right time of the year. That season is Gurrung, you can read about it here. You should definitely plan on going to Kakadu and Andy Ralph and family have Kakadu Culture Camp, the site that gives you the seasons. He, Freddie, Douglas, Dell, Jenny and Catherine will give you a real taste of aboriginal life and the night time boat ride hunting for crocs is fun too. If you are lucky they will be having a bush tucker dinner of water buffalo stew, roasted barra in the coals, bush tomatoes and plums. It is all very good. Also in Kakadu an absolute must is the Yellow Waters Cruise. There are many cruises but that one is on the Yellow Waters billabong and it is always spectacular. I prefer the first one in the morning, but the late afternoon one is also wonderful. By the way, Andy can also arrange for a trek into Arnhemland, aboriginal territory where you cannot go without a permit. Lots of people do get a permit, which is expensive and go on their own, but I would not recommend that , you are much better off there with an experienced guide. Andy is a white fella (white fella and black fella are acceptable terms) but his wife Jenny is aboriginal and they know their way around. There are thousands of rock art paintings in Kakadu, many accessible by foot and easily found. In Arnhemland there are even more but less easy to get to, which is where a guide comes in handy. There is not nearly as much rock art, actually very little rock art at Uluru, that is there the dot paintings originated, the top end is the home of the xray painting which is the type of most rock art. If you want to read about rock art, George Chaloupka is the absolute expert as nominated by the aboriginal people themselves. You can google him and learn much. He died recently and it was a sad day, he was a lovely man and used apple computers, we got along well! There are 2 places to stay in Kakadu, the Gagudju Crocodile inn in Jabiru, nice hotel shaped like a croc, very unique. Or Cooinda Lodge at Cooinda, that is where Yellow waters cruises are and that is a nice motel as well. Both have excellent restaurants. You must eat lots of barramundi while you are in Kakadu, it is all wild caught and so very good! If you want to go fishing, I can give you the name of a guide in Jabiru. We never went out with him that we didn’t catch a lot of fish no matter the time of the year. I could go on and on about Kakadu but a couple of days there is about as much as you can afford because Darwin and Litchfield are also fantastic places to see. As @Bellatrix said, Mindle market is a must, it is on Sunday and Thursday nights, I like the Thursday nights better, they always seem more lively. Some interesting crafts, wonderful food of every ethnicity you can think of. There is a guy who makes whips and sells them. He always puts on a show and it is fun. But the best part of Mindle, besides the sunset on the beach, is EmDee. This is a white guy but most black fellas agree he plays the didge like no one else! He has a rack of 4 all amplified and his drummer. All the aboriginal people congregate there and the dancing is wild and crazy. Go to youtube and search for Mindle market and EmDee and you can see. You must also have fish and chips down on Stokes Wharf. The deck chair cinema is fun. You must go to the museum there. Great aboriginal art and the stuffed remains of Sweetheart the biggest croc ever caught up that way. He accidentally died during the capture and Dave Linder the guy who caught him still chokes up when he talks about it. He loves crocs. He and his wife Patty have a tour in Kakadu called Animal Tracks, that is good too. Dave is the official keeper of water buffs. They tried to eliminate them from the park because their hooves damage the ecology, but there are still many around. You have to be careful driving because they often come out of the bush and each year it seems a couple of tourists get killed by running into them. Pick up a copy of the book Sweetheart it will tell you the whole story. Darwin was a military target of the Japanese, it was actually bombed and thanks to much help from the bloody yanks came out of it okay. There are many placques and monuments along the esplanade attesting to this. Also several military museums worthwhile visiting. Many galleries in Darwin, some excellent art, aboriginal and otherwise. There is a place on Smith Street Mall call Colours of the Territory, I love that place, always has good stuff. Your wife will like On Safari on Knuckey street. The big gallery on the left on the way out of town, heading towards Kakadu is a good one also, I can’t think of the name. If you want to purchase art, I will PM you the names of artists in Jabiru who will paint what you want. Eliminate the middle man so to speak. That is all I can think of around Darwin at the moment, oh yeah, Saturday morning the market at Parap, that is good too. Again great food and many galleries around Parap to see as well.

Next stop Brisbane, to me just another city. I would look around there quickly then drive to Rainbow Beach and catch the ferry over to Fraser Island. You can also catch a ferry from Hervey Bay, but Rainbow is much more beautiful and unspoiled in my mind. Fraser is a beautiful place, lots of 4 wheeling on the beach, excellent fishing, nice places to stay and the home of practically the last of the pure dingos in Australia. On the mainland they have interbred with feral dogs and it is hard to find a pure one. Much wildlife to see on Fraser. It is cool, you are driving along the beach and a plane will land beside you.

You are driving from Brisbane to Sydney. Every left turn will take you to yet another probably deserted and gorgeous beach. Don’t hesitate to explore. You will pass the Big Pineapple, the Big Crab, the Big Bull, aussies are big on big statues of stuff! So many things to see along that road it is impossible to tell you about them all, but if you want, I will try, let me know.

Sydney of course has the Opera House and Darling Harbour, many galleries and museums, a good zoo and a ferry ride around the harbour and even better a ride out to Parramatta on the river cats is great fun too. Parramatta is very rich is history and is an interesting area. Rosehill race course is there, that’s not real interesting but in that section of the town, just about every house has a race horse in the back yard. In the mornings we would walk the dogs and along would come a strapper with his charge and we would walk together and chat.

Melbourne reminds me of Boston, very staid and solid. Very British, but there are areas that are y oung and vibrant, St Kilda is very alive and hopping. Much street art, even Banksy has done some stuff there. It is the home of the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground where Collingwood plays!) Rod Laver arena where the Australian Open is held, so many beautiful beaches but the water is always too damned cold to get in! Bells beach where an international surfing comp is held each year. And of course fantastic galleries, museums and the best asian restaurants on Victoria Street. The free circular pram is fun. It is a very difficult city to drive in because of the prams, you have to get in the far left lane to turn right in some places. Be wary if you drive there.

I see some above have suggested Uluru and that is spine tingling but in the middle of nowhere literally. The only near town is Alice Springs. I love it but don’t go out after dark, it has some sad stuff happening there. There is a movie called Sampson and Delilah all filmed in and around the Alice. It gives you an idea of what that area is like. If you decide to go there, I would fly right to Uluru. Or you can fly into the Alice and go out from there. It is about 450k. Kings Canyon is a must see if you go out and of course Kata Tjuta. But really given your itinerary that is one to save for another time. When in Melbourne you are within a one day drive of Adelaide and that is a unique city. It is a capitol city and quite large but reminds me of a small Texas town. More beautiful beaches too. And if you drive there you could go along the Great Ocean Road. The areas around Melbourne and Adelaide are wine country, one winery after another.

If you have a choice between Darwin or Cairns, I would opt for the time in Darwin. Cairns is sort of like a run down tourist town. It has suffered with the downturn in world economies, starting to look a bit tawdry. The Great Barrier Reef is there of course, but people who dive are telling me that unless you go out on a 3 day or more trip, the diving is really deteriorating because of the damage to the reef. Divers say you are better off going out of Airlie Beach in Qld, but again, a day trip just doesn’t make it. You should come back for another month at another time and explore WA, Perth Broome, etc., explore Uluru and the red center on that trip then fly to far north Queensland. It’s a big damn place.

My fingers are tired or I would tell you more. I love this place. Once you are out of the cities it is like another world!

mattbrowne's avatar

Wow! I really appreciate all your responses. I need to print all this and study it in detail, then get back to you with comments and potential questions.

Sorry, I forgot to mention one thing: Our nice lives in Melbourne, which is the reason we travel that far south during the Australian winter. We want to spend at least three days with her. My wife is a school teacher and the only time she has a break longer than two weeks is in August. We realize that spending more time north of Brisbane as well as the central deserts makes a lot of sense. We have to save this for another trip. Same for Western Australia. It’s such a huge country with enormous distances.

Yes, all the flights are booked.

I’ll get back to you within the next couple of days.

Special thanks to you @rooeytoo for this wonderfully detailed description. I will read everything carefully putting the large map we bought on the table next to my printout.

oratio's avatar

Wow, thorough answer, @rooeytoo

rooeytoo's avatar

I lived in the top end for quite a few years and love the area and its character and characters!

mattbrowne's avatar

@iphigeneia – We’ll put lamingtons on our grocery list!

mattbrowne's avatar

@Bellatrix – We’d like to stay in the Brisbane region for a couple of days, because of the warmer temperatures, plus the travel guides mention 300+ days of sunshine per year. Hopefully this is also true for August.

Yes, somewhat sporty. We hiking nature trains (walked down and up the Grand Canyon in 2010).

We are interested in culture too, and in case the weather isn’t that pleasant on our way to Melbourne museums etc are good options too. Otherwise we prefer outdoors.

The Sheep Station sounds very interesting. We definitely put it on our todo-list.

mattbrowne's avatar

@rooeytoo – Singapore is great indeed and I went there twice already. We’ve only got a 4-hour layover, though, so we’ve got to skip it this time.

The Kakadu Culture camp sounds really interesting. I checked the kakaduculturecamp.com website and there’s a note stating “Sorry! No Free & Independent Traveller bookings in 2013. Special Interest Groups Only! You can participate in our Oenpelli Python Project! Camp in a cave in Arnhem Land with Traditional Owners on expedition to collect snakes for our research/captive breeding program.” Maybe that’s a good alternative.

We’ll be careful not to run into water buffaloes. So everybody uses the term “black fella” instead of Native-Australian or Aboriginal people, right? We’ll definitely visit the Mindle market and Colours of the Territory in Darwin!

You mentioned Fraser Island. What about Moreton Island, North Stradbroke Island and Southern Moreton Bay Islands? They are a bit closer with less driving involved.

Thanks for the Sydney tips. We’d definitely like to stay there a couple of days. Parramatta sounds like fun. And we’ll be careful about the prams. In fact, it will only be the second time in our lives to drive right-side wheel cars. We always took our own car to the UK on a ferry. The first time was in Cyprus.

We’ll keep all the other suggestions for a second August trip covering mid- and northern Queensland and the Uluru area.

Thanks again for taking the time to write down all this. Really appreciated!

rooeytoo's avatar

Yeah that sounds interesting, camping in a cave and I think I remember seeing Andy posting about snake collecting. I would definitely look into it.

Yep black fella and white fella are perfectly acceptable also in Kunwinjku, the main language of the Kakadu indigenous, bining means blackfella and balinda means white fella. Now I know that is spelled incorrectly but it is phonetically the way I would spell it. And seriously Yellow Waters Cruise is a must do. You can see lots of images in google and youtube. If Andy can’t take you, I would send an email to Karen at karen@kakadutours.com.au and ask her what tours are going good. Also a flight over Kakadu is another good choice. Helicopter is more fun but you don’t go as far, fixed wing not as much fun (they close the doors) but you get to fly over JimJim and Twin Falls and see much of the escarpment. Karen can help you with reservations for flights also.

Fraser is a World Heritage Place because it is the largest sand island in the world. The inland lakes are crystal clear because everything is sand. And yet huge trees grow there in the rain forest area. It is primarily still wilderness so it is different from the islands you mention, which are just islands! PRetty but nothing out of the ordinary.

Yep Sydney and Parramatta are good choices, lots to see. And in Melbourne, I meant to say trams, my fingers went dyslexic and I hit the p instead of t!

The rule for driving is that the steering wheel always goes on the center line no matter which side of the road you are driving on. That is good to remember especially on the roundabouts!

Bellatrix's avatar

@mattbrowne I will come back over the next few days and while I agree Fraser would be lovely, I don’t think you could fit it into the time you have in Brisbane. Not and do it justice. It would be a long drive (about five hours) to get up there and then you have to get across the the island. Just not the right thing for this time given your schedule.

If you want to go to an island in Qld, North Stradbroke would be a good one but really – you could do other things with your two days. Doing that would again take a big chunk of your time and you wouldn’t get a lot out of it.

I would spend some time in Brisbane. There is South Bank and the Botanic Gardens and even getting on a city cat (a catamaran that takes you up and down the river) is a cheap and fun thing to do to see the city and surrounds from the river. Other things you could do in Brisbane are go to the Gallery of Modern Art. We call it GOMA.

Another thing you could do is go up to the Sunshine Coast and visit Montville and Malany. Very pretty touristy area. Some good local artists selling work up there too. You are also in a good location then to go to the beach and there are some beautiful beaches on the Sunshine Coast! Plus, Australia Zoo (Steve Irwin’s zoo). So that would be a huge day all on its own.

If you like to hike, you could do a day trip to Lamington National Park. There are some beautiful walks up there. Check out this site for OReilly’s. There are some beautiful walks you can do and you can drive there from Brisbane and do a bushwalk for a day trip. There are beautiful waterfalls and great scenery.

I will come back over the weekend with more ideas.

The Sheep Farm is probably going to be hard if your flights are booked. That will be another one for another trip sadly I think.

rooeytoo's avatar

Well I gotta differ a bit, last time I drove from Brisbane Airport to Rainbow it was about a 2.5 hour drive. Granted you then have to wait for the barge and cross over but that is half the fun! But you’re right if only in the area for 3 days, then it would be a rush, although you can drive most of the island in one day, you just don’t have much time to stop and look around. I am a beach nut and the beach and Rainbow and Fraser are about the most beautiful in the whole country and you can get in the water, no stingers or crocs! Good surfing at Inskip (just a hop skip and jump from Rainbow). Depends on whether you want beaches, cities or countryside!

Bellatrix's avatar

It takes 3.5 to drive from Brisbane to Hervey Bay. From where I am, on the South side of Brisbane, it would take more like 4–4.5 hours. Then they have to wait for and board a ferry plus the crossing time. By the time they get there, it will be time to come back. Fraser is not a good idea for a day trip. Beautiful place but not if you get off the ferry and then pretty much have to get back on to come home. @mattbrowne said they only have about three days in total to do Brisbane and the surrounding areas.

rooeytoo's avatar

Ahhhhh, I would leave from Rainbow. That is closer, you get there, choose your barge, drive right on and away you go. And it drops you off on the beach on the uncivilized end of the island, my favorite part! I would rather spend my time there than in Brisbane, just another ho hum city, save your city time for the real Aussie cities of Sydney and Melbourne and see the real Queensland while up there!

mattbrowne's avatar

Thanks once again!

What is the best way to book hotels? The site hotels.com? Are there any specific Australian websites? Last minute deals?

Bellatrix's avatar

I tend to use www.needitnow.com.au or www.wotif.com.au. Another I like is http://www.hotelclub.com/. Check out the Secret Stays. You often find they are 5 star hotels at much cheaper than the normal price.

However, I urge you to check the hotel website because they may do deals with you and sites you can access Australian hotels through in Germany. My brother was able to book a hotel I recommended much cheaper from the UK than I could here.

If you give us an indication of how much you would like to spend a night, I can point you to some in Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane. Brisbane is quite expensive. Ridiculously so.

rooeytoo's avatar

I always use wotif.com, seems as good as any. There is a chain of housekeeping type suite motels all over oz called Quest, they are moderately priced and usually quite nice. In Darwin my favorite place to stay is the Mirambeena Travel Lodge. It is right downtown on Cavanaugh Street so you can walk just about everywhere and the little local bus that will take you to Mindle market stops there. It is middle of the road price wise but the location is great.

I meant to tell you before there is the neatest walkway from the wave pool area at the wharf up to the town. It traces the path people took in the old days when their ships would land in the harbour. It has some great mosaics depicting the city back in those days. I uploaded a map of the route to imgur.com, you can see it here. Look for the steps going up into the foliage just at the roundabout across from the wave pool and follow it up the hill. I never saw it on any of the tourist books, I found it while out for a run one morning. I hope it is still there.

There is a webcam in Darwin and they had a devilish storm last week, you can see it here. Go to this site and scroll to the bottom of the page and you can see webcams for all over the country.

mattbrowne's avatar

Thanks! The Mirambeena Travel Lodge sounds nice for the beginning before we take trips.

Well, six nights in and around Darwin, three nights in Brisbane, three nights in Sydney and the rest on the way from Brisbane to Melbourne. In Melbourne we can stay at our nice’s home.

For the multi-day stays 60 – 80 euros, the one night just on the road can be cheaper. Usually we picked one special place, a lodge which can be more than 100 euros.

Another question: Often it’s better not to book to early, because prices go down when hotels can’t fill all their rooms. Is this true for Australia too?

rooeytoo's avatar

Yep that is true but it can also mean staying in some less than luxurious places if you wait too long. Most all campgrounds in Australia also have cabins available. They are usually less expensive than motels and often very nice. They are great when you are staying in smaller towns.

rooeytoo's avatar

If you go to Kakadu, in order to get into Arnhemland, you have to go across Cahill’s Crossing. It is closed during the wet but some crazies always attempt to get across anyhow. First vehicle was lost this year (late start to wet) was over 1 meter and idiot (who should have known better, a local) gave it a go and didn’t make it. Have a look here and you can see pics of what I mean!

rooeytoo's avatar

Another site to look at. I love the NT!!! The cities of Australia are nice but they are just like most cities in the civilized world, but when you get out in the bush, you see the real Australia, the Australia I love. And it is where the real aussies live. Like in the USA, the people who will come out in the wet and crawl in the mud to help you out of a bog, who will invite you in for a feed and give you the shirt off their back if you need one. And it really is wild and wooly, it is still like the wild west era of the USA I bet!

bkcunningham's avatar

@mattbrowne, I’m not the one going on vacation and I’m beyond thrilled with the helpfulness and precision of the replies you’ve gotten. I’m not very trusting of people on the Internet, but I must say, this discussion has made me realize that our Aussie friends here are for real and reminded me once again that they are fantastic people. What a great job you’ve all done. Really, really nice. It makes me want to visit your country now more than ever.

@mattbrowne, please, take notes and let us know about your trip. Have a blast and make some great memories with your loved ones.

mattbrowne's avatar

Absolutely. Like I did in 2010 after our trip to Arizona and Utah making use of Jelly suggestions !

Kat555's avatar

1) Which National Parks are a must and which are optional? (also: can we take our rental car into the parks?)

While up in Darwin, there are Kakadu and Litchfield. Termite mounds, waterfalls, swimming holes. both are famous, more so Kakadu. Litchfield can be done quickly, but Kakadu needs time or else you wont get much out of it. Yellow waters tour is a great way to see the deadly crocodiles you wont see in central/southern Australia. Down Sydney way i would do Blue Mountains NP.

2) How much time should be spend in cities and towns? Museums? Zoos? Botanical gardens?

In places like Sydney and Melbourne, do spend 4–5 days to see it all.

3) Which routes from Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney are most scenic?

The coastal is the best.

4) Which routes should we avoid due to potential winter weather conditions?

The inland roads in high country NSW/Victoria could be snowy.

5) What websites for booking motels/hotels can you recommend?

I would not book, you’ll find better prices once you are here. there is always something available. Booking too much leaves you with very little flexibility and then you feel you have to make it every day..

6) Where do we get the best deals for rental cars?

You can compare prices online
Campervan: works out cheaper if you stay in caravan parks.

7) Any tips for animal sightseeing?

If you drive from Brissi to Melbourne you really should see wild kangaroos, they are the most common. Koalas are harder, if no luck any zoo park will do.

8) Poisonous animals tourists might run into?

There are always the poisonous snakes but if you watch your steps on bush walks, you’ll be fine

9) Australian food we shouldn’t miss?

Kangaroo, crocodile, emu burgers, also many restaurants have the native bush tucker on the menu.

mattbrowne's avatar

Hi there,
Sorry about getting back to you so late. We spent our summer vacation in Australia (August 10 to September 4) and when we came back to Germany I caught a cold.

It was absolutely fantastic! I will provide more details when I find the time. Here’s a short overview of what we did. Feel free to ask questions about it. Thanks again for all your recommendations. I guess we would have needed 2–3 months to cover everything… Here’s what we did:

Darwin – Botanical Garden – East Point Fanny Bay – Mitchell Street – Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory – Mindil Beach Sunset Market – Litchfield NP – Termite Mounds Buley Rockhole – Florence Falls – Tolmer Falls – Wangi Falls – Wangi Loop Walk – Darwin Parliament House – Jingili Water Gardens – Kakadu NP (2 days) – Window on the Wetlands – Bark Hut Inn – Aurora Resort – Mamukala Wetlands – Ubirr Art Site – Jabiru Visitor Centre – Anbangbang (Nourlangie) – Cooinda – Yellow Water Cruise – Pine Creek Open Air Museum – Charles Darwin NP – Lake Alexander – Galagarrma Tree of Knowledge – Darwin Waterfront Lagoon Area – Darwin Festival – Jetstar night flight to Brisbane – Brisbane CBD incl. City Hall Clock Tower Tour – City Hopper – Noosa Head NP – Tanglewood Track and Coastal Track Walk – Hell’s Gate – Glass Mountain NP – Bribie Island – Lamington NP – O’Reilly’s Retreat – Booyong Treetop Walk – Byron Bay Lighthouse – Grafton – Pacific Highway – Coffs Harbor – Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve – Salamander Bay – Nelson Bay – Whale Watching – Blue Mountains – Katoomba – Lady Darleys Track – Three Sisters – Echo Point – Giant Stairway – Historic Coal Mine – Yellow Robin Link – Scenic Railway – Honeymoon Lookout – Leura – Mount Victoria – Wentworth Lookout – Parramatta – Ferry to Sydney – Sydney CBD (2 days) – Royal National Park – Wattamolla – Kiama Blowhole – Jamberoo Road and Lookout – Goulburn – Canberra (1 day) – Cooma – Jindabyne – Kosciuszko NP – Alpine Way – Threadbo – Scammell’s Lookout – Khancoban – Murray Valley Highway – Historic Trestle Bridge – Wodonga – Shepparton – Yea Wetlands – Dandenong Ranges NP – SkyHigh Mount Dandenong – Olinda – Cannons Creek – Frankston – Seaford – Maple Reserve – Seaford Wetlands – Phillip Island – Koala Conservation Centre – Penguin Parade – Melbourne CBD (1 day) – Great Ocean Road (2 days) – Anglesea – Split Point Lighthouse – Big Hill – Lorne Pier – Sheoak Falls Trail – Apollo Bay – Great Otway NP – Castle Cove – Lavers Hill – Melba Gully State Park – Gibson Steps – 12 Apostles – Loch Ard – Port Campbell – The Arch – London Bridge (what’s left of it) – The Grotto – Melbourne Organ Pipes NP – Flight to Frankfurt via Darwin and Singapore

The weather at the end of the Australian winter wasn’t a problem. During the day it was almost always warm even in Melbourne. Only in Katoomba it was cool and very windy. The downside doing it at this time of the year are the short Australian days. It was dark in Brisbane at 5:30 pm. We tried to get up early every morning!

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