theDIBB (
-   Pre-Trip Reports (
-   -   Reefs, Rivers and Rainforests - Australia September 2018 (

BONZO 14 Apr 18 07:30 PM

Reefs, Rivers and Rainforests - Australia September 2018
Reefs, rivers and rainforests – Australia east coast pre-trip report

Well, here we go again on another madcap adventure but this time it’s our longest journey to the other side of the world!

As usual it’s:

Shaun (me): getting older, wiser and wider as each year passes!

Alison: ditto!


We are always on the lookout for good deals and as before Qatar had a series of offers that we just couldn’t resist, such a good price in business class that doesn’t come round that often.

Are we flying direct? If you’ve read our recent reports then you’ll know the answer is of course not! ;)

The main reason for this is to maximise the number of Tier Points with BA to maintain our status (so that we get to access lounges and select our seats for free). Also we like stopping off en route – it breaks up a long journey and we get to see more places.

The Qatar deal was start from Stockholm in Sweden, and fly to Adelaide; as always, ex-EU flights long haul can work out considerably cheaper.

As Australia is so big it’s defeated even us commandos in the planning with the time we have. We were trying to do about 5 stops but in around 2.5 weeks it’s not really doable. Because of this we’ve decided to drop the Red Centre, Uluru, and Alice Springs etc. and save it for another trip.


London to Stockholm (booked – ticket number 1)
Stockholm to Doha (booked – ticket number 2)
Doha to Adelaide (booked – ticket number 2)
Adelaide to Sydney (booked – ticket number 3)
Sydney to Cairns
Cairns to Adelaide
Adelaide to Doha (booked – ticket number 2)
Doha to Stockholm (booked – ticket number 2)
Stockholm to London


We’ll fly to Stockholm then stay overnight to make sure we have plenty of time before our outbound long haul flight.

The fly Stockholm to Doha then we have a longish layover so have a free hotel stay in Doha – courtesy of Qatar airways.

Then fly to Adelaide, where we’ll stay for 2-3 days.

Then fly to Sydney, where we’ll have 2-3 days (doing the Harbour Bridge walk, the Opera House and Bondi beach before moving up to the Blue Mountains to explore.

Then we’ll fly up to Cairns for some warmth and to explore for a week or so, doing skyrail, great barrier reef, Karunda railway, Green Island and probably Port Douglas

Then we’ll fly back to Adelaide for the journey home (also having another hotel stay in Doha for free)

We’ve not booked any accommodation yet, or any activities.


Well, nothing is “set in stone” at the moment other than the flights as above, so there’s plenty of time to fiddle with schedules and destinations.

We still need to book:

Accommodation in each location

Attractions and activities to be finalised – snorkelling, white water rafting etc

Possible car hire from Cairns to Port Douglas

Decide on whether to get the train to Heathrow or book car parking

If anyone has any suggestions / recommendations for hotels, activities etc. then do let us know!

MHM 18 Apr 18 09:53 AM

Yay! I really enjoy your reports and Australia is my favourite place in the world. We lived in Sydney for a while a few years ago and have taken several holidays in the Port Douglas/Cairns beaches area.

For Sydney I would say get a hotel close to the ferries as they are the best way to travel. I wasn't so keen on Bondi, it reminded me of Southend (with better weather, obviously!). Mosman is a lovely beach area if you have the time to visit.

In Queensland, I would recommend The Sheraton in Port Douglas, which has 5 acres of swimming pools, or the newer QT which has a great buffet restaurant. There are some lovely hotels in quieter Palm Cove (mostly run by Accor), and finally Coral Sands in Trinity Beach has nice apartments with a good Italian restaurant (and really good cocktails overlooking the sea). Port Douglas has the most to see/do and is where most of the trips out to the reef go from, if going by boat. I would recommend going with a smaller company that takes you to smaller sections of the reef or to the beautiful Low Isles rather than one that takes you to a very crowded pontoon. Try Sailaway Port Douglas

For Kurunda, it is worth upgrading to first class if going one way by train, for the air conditioning and the drinks/snacks. Train up and sky rail back is the best way. Kurunda itself isn't somewhere you would want to spend a long time. Also, Tjapukai by night is a lot of fun!

Have an amazing trip, if you have any questions, let me know.

ali-s 18 Apr 18 11:58 AM

Ooh! Looking forward to this. I'm planning to go back to Oz , maybe in 2021. I definitely want to go back to Cairns and Great Barrier reef, didn't have enough time there before. But think I want to see Perth and Western Australia as well.
I like the idea of the stop overs on the way. It's such a long journey.

AlisonB 18 Apr 18 11:20 PM

Thanks for the comments!

MHM - that’s really helpful thank you. As we start to narrow down more details we’ll continue to ask more questions as necessary!

BONZO 25 Jun 18 01:28 PM


It's been a really busy few weekends and haven't really had time to knuckle down with the planning but the first hotel is booked!

It's the Clarion Hotel® Arlanda Airport at Stockholm

We couldn't make up our minds whether to stay in central Stockholm, even as a Airbnb or at the airport itself.

Luckily, the Nordic Choice hotels group had an advert online that said if you joined their club you could get up to 25% off your first booking and fully refundable up to 24 hours out.

We checked the details and yes we qualified for the discount!

One of the clinchers was the heated roof top pool!

So, one down and lots more to go!

AlisonB 30 Jun 18 10:37 AM

More bookings done!

All our flights are booked:
  • Heathrow - Stockholm
  • Stockholm - Doha
  • Doha - Adelaide
  • Adelaide - Sydney
  • Sydney - Cairns
  • Cairns - Adelaide
  • Adelaide - Doha
  • Doha - Stockholm
  • Stockholm - Heathrow

Accommodation yet to book:
  • Adelaide
  • Sydney
  • Katoomba
  • Cairns
  • Adelaide



BONZO 9 Jul 18 03:29 PM

A few more updates to come but we couldn't quite work out why the dates we wanted for the Sydney Bridge Climb was "blacked out".

Wasn't sure if there was ongoing maintenance or the booking window hadn't opened yet. Alison sent them an e-mail to find out and below is the reply -

Thanks for your enquiry.

Unfortunately, at the moment we are unable to make any new bookings for after 14th September 2018 due to the recent operational changes.

If you would like to find out more in regards to these operational changes, please see our press release at

From the 1st of October a company called Hammons Holdings will be taking over.

Well, we'll just have to keep an eye on things and see how it pans out.:confused2

BONZO 24 Jul 18 02:38 PM

Accommodation all sorted out now!

Adelaide - The Playford Adelaide MGallery by Sofitel

Sydney - Four Seasons (Club level)

Katoomba - The Carrington Hotel

Cairns - Shangri-La (Club Level)

Port Douglas - Thala Beach Nature Reserve

On a roll after spotting a time limited offer with an online TA.

Although they couldn’t beat the rack rate they could get room upgrades and extra’s like free Wi-Fi and breakfast for the same price so it actually costs in.

**Forgot to add they also chucked in $100 spending money for food and drink for free**

So - on with attraction planning, pretty much sorted just need to get on and book things.

BevS97 1 Aug 18 07:10 AM

Oh I shall be watching with interest as this is a trip I’d love to do one day.

disneyme 2 Aug 18 11:16 PM

Sounds fantastic!

My sister recently emigrated to Queensland and I'd love to do a trip similar to this when I go over to visit her. Will be following your plans with interest :)

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 04:03 PM.

Powered by vBulletin - Copyright © 2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.