Australia itinerary help!
Australia is a fun country, however, you'd be surprised how quickly your money runs out, and I would recommend at least SOME kind of budget goals before you get there, especially if you'll need to have at best $800 budgeted for your return flight (If you're coming from North America or Europe, anyway).
I visited North Stradbroke Island outside of Brisbane, and that was a little off the beaten path. There are several incredible beaches there, although there's only one or two that are safe for swimming.
^ Main Beach, I believe-- absolutely breathtaking, but not recommended for surfing/swimming.
I wouldn't recommend staying much longer than 2 or 3 days there since you may go a little crazy, but there's definitely enough outdoor adventure (beautiful walks, a bike ride to the middle of the island to check out Brown Lake and Blue Lake) to fill two days.
Regarding your itinerary -- it sounds doable for a month's time, and it sounds like you have the time to stop somewhere if you decide you like it. The East Coast is heavily trafficked by backpackers; meeting people will be no problem.
Greyhound offers a hop-on, hop-off bus pass from Sydney to Cairns that a lot of folks seem to like.
Didn't hear anything about croc wrestling; sounds a little dicey and a bit like a tourist trap. I doubt it's covered by travel insurance.
Steve Irwin, while crazy, I believe was not just an idiot and was actually very calculated and was definitely very well-practiced in his croc wrestling. He started doing it when he was young, on young crocodiles, and learnt from there. Unfortunately, however, he has given many international visitors the idea that 'croc wrestling' is a national passtime and something undertaken by many Australians. It's not. No sane (or sober) Australian would voluntarily go anywhere near a crocodile unless they were a trained reptile handler.
(Note that I am referring to estuarine crocodiles. Freshwater crocodiles have much calmer temperaments and are not considered a threat to human life, however they could still put you in a world of hurt if you made one angry.)
Sounds exciting! I agree with the comment above that a little bit of budgeting is in order - Australia is sneaky like that and leaves travelers without funds sooner than expected.
I would suggest budget flights for getting to the Gold Coast and Cairns. It'll save you time and give you more time in these areas to relax and take advantage of everything in store. I think that focusing on just a few places over your month is better (in my opinion) than trying to cram in too much.
I haven't heard of anyone wrestling crocs, though... uhm... I highly suggest avoiding that sort of adventure
let me know if you have any other questions on your trip! I am based in Sydney
At the moment Australia is expensive to anyone from Europe or America...its a boom country and its showing in bucket loads. AS such you need to be really cautious around your budget and consider what you want to do, where you want to sleep and how you want to eat. These are basic things but critical at the moment.
Sydney is an experience not to be missed if you haven't been there before so don't skip on this just for money savings sake. Consider staying in a hostel or other low cost accomodation. If you like the wild nightlife then go to Kings Cross. I myself find it a little too wild (slowing down now I'm in my thirties ) so would go somewhere different. Indeed do you want to be in the main CBD at all or would you be happy across the harbour somewhere?
Getting away from Sydney? Trains and Coaches are a good option...coaches especially so if you don't mind the mode of transportation. The trains can be quite relaxing as well although I've not costed them up for a while. Whatever you do, if in Kings Cross or another backpackers you will have the Wicked Camper people trying to lure you in for a rental. DO NOT GO THERE. On the face of it they look great but delve a little deeper and its not what it seems to be. The servicing of their fleets is questionable at best and the inevitable breakdowns are treated by the customers services as a laugh and "Part of the experience".
Obviously you can fly to a lot of destinations but the internal flights are quite pricey even on JetStar.
So mode of transportation set and you head north....what next? Well Byron Bay is always a good place to stay if you like beach life, music and nightlife. Originally part of the "hippy" movement its a little (a lot) more commercial these days and is a focal point for those kids on spring break who arent going to Surfers Paradise. Consider either the hostel or the caravan park at the back of town as a good place to stop.
From there head to Hervey Bay via Australia Zoo to see why you DONT want to wrestle a croc! (Although if you must the aforementioned Cape York Peninsula is a good place to do so....just realise that you WILL Die a horrible and painful death ) In Hervey Bay you can organise a trip across to Fraser Island which is a great place to go and chill out, great beaches, safe swimming holes etc. You can go on an organised trip or self drive in a 4x4. Self Drive is good but you need to have some experience offroading irrelevant of what the companies renting the vehicles say.
Carry on up north after Fraser and get yourself to Airlie Beach just south of Cairns. Gateway to the WhiteSundays and masses of excursions to go on to snorkel, dive, swim or just plain chill out. Excellent party atmosphere as well and cheap food a plenty at the backpackers.
Cairns is a place you have put on your list as well I see. Always a good place to chill out and/or party to the wee hours of the morning but you can also use it as a base for several day trips. Consider a visit to Cape Tribulation which is in the Daintree area. NAtural rain forest brilliance and incredibly chilled out. A great place to stay as well although you are nearer the wildlife. Snakes and spiders hanging around the hostels/hotels arent uncommon but you leave them alone, they leave you alone. Easy
Thats just some highlights as well borne out of my 9 trips across to Oz. Like everyone has said, you wont run out of things to do but equally dont fall into the trap of trying to cram in too much, quality time in one place is better than buzzing here there and everywhere.
Enjoy yourself and post some updates about how your trip is going!
It will cost a little more to fly last minute, but your time won't be wasted sheltering in yr dorm watching a cyclone
TC Yasi approaches Queensland
Cyclone and Australia
This will give you some idea just how big Yasi was -
TC Yasi superimposed over the USA
Oh and although you're only here for a few weeks i would recommend coming to MELBOURNE! That's my home city and I absolutely love it! There is so much to do and the weather has been pretty good recently!! (I would say it's much better than Sydney but I guess I say that because there has always been a rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne... but just FYI Melbourne is heaps better )
Wish you had more time to check out our beautiful country... there is so much to see and I know you'll have an absolute ball!! Have Fun!!
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