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Unread 14 Apr 18, 07:30 PM  
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#1
BONZO
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Join Date: Mar 02
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 its our longest journey to the other side of the world!

As usual its:

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

Alison: ditto!

BACKGROUND

We are always on the lookout for good deals and as before Qatar had a series of offers that we just couldnt resist, such a good price in business class that doesnt come round that often.

Are we flying direct? If youve read our recent reports then youll 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 its 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 its not really doable. Because of this weve decided to drop the Red Centre, Uluru, and Alice Springs etc. and save it for another trip.

THE FLIGHT PLAN

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

A BIT MORE DETAIL

Well 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 well stay for 2-3 days.

Then fly to Sydney, where well 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 well 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 well fly back to Adelaide for the journey home (also having another hotel stay in Doha for free)

Weve not booked any accommodation yet, or any activities.


WHATS LEFT TO DO?


Well, nothing is set in stone at the moment other than the flights as above, so theres 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!
__________________


1988 ~ Contemporary ~ Honeymoon
1989 ~ Off site
1994 ~ EuroDisney ~ Santa Fe
1999 ~ Off site
2001 ~ CBR (Aruba) ~ Poly (Tahiti)
2003 ~ WL & HRH
2004 ~ Pop Century, RPH, CSR, PBH, Contemporary
2006 ~ DLP ~ Newport Bay
2007 ~ POR ~ HRH ~ GF
2008 ~ All star sports, BCV, RPH, Vero Beach, VWL
2010 ~ OKW ~ BCV ~ HRH ~POP Century ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL
2013 ~ AKL ~ HRH ~ BCV ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL

Edited at 07:34 PM.
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Unread 18 Apr 18, 09:53 AM  
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MHM
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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.
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Unread 18 Apr 18, 11:58 AM  
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ali-s
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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.
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Unread 18 Apr 18, 11:20 PM  
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AlisonB
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Thanks for the comments!

MHM - thats really helpful thank you. As we start to narrow down more details well continue to ask more questions as necessary!
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Unread 25 Jun 18, 01:28 PM  
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#5
BONZO
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Join Date: Mar 02
Well,

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!
__________________


1988 ~ Contemporary ~ Honeymoon
1989 ~ Off site
1994 ~ EuroDisney ~ Santa Fe
1999 ~ Off site
2001 ~ CBR (Aruba) ~ Poly (Tahiti)
2003 ~ WL & HRH
2004 ~ Pop Century, RPH, CSR, PBH, Contemporary
2006 ~ DLP ~ Newport Bay
2007 ~ POR ~ HRH ~ GF
2008 ~ All star sports, BCV, RPH, Vero Beach, VWL
2010 ~ OKW ~ BCV ~ HRH ~POP Century ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL
2013 ~ AKL ~ HRH ~ BCV ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL
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Unread 30 Jun 18, 10:37 AM  
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AlisonB
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Join Date: Mar 02
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
(Phew!)

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

Activities:

Everything!

Edited at 02:24 PM.
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Unread 9 Jul 18, 03:29 PM  
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BONZO
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Join Date: Mar 02
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 bridgeclimb/bridgecl...wonderful-era/

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.
__________________


1988 ~ Contemporary ~ Honeymoon
1989 ~ Off site
1994 ~ EuroDisney ~ Santa Fe
1999 ~ Off site
2001 ~ CBR (Aruba) ~ Poly (Tahiti)
2003 ~ WL & HRH
2004 ~ Pop Century, RPH, CSR, PBH, Contemporary
2006 ~ DLP ~ Newport Bay
2007 ~ POR ~ HRH ~ GF
2008 ~ All star sports, BCV, RPH, Vero Beach, VWL
2010 ~ OKW ~ BCV ~ HRH ~POP Century ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL
2013 ~ AKL ~ HRH ~ BCV ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL
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Unread 24 Jul 18, 02:38 PM  
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BONZO
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Join Date: Mar 02
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 couldnt beat the rack rate they could get room upgrades and extras 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.
__________________


1988 ~ Contemporary ~ Honeymoon
1989 ~ Off site
1994 ~ EuroDisney ~ Santa Fe
1999 ~ Off site
2001 ~ CBR (Aruba) ~ Poly (Tahiti)
2003 ~ WL & HRH
2004 ~ Pop Century, RPH, CSR, PBH, Contemporary
2006 ~ DLP ~ Newport Bay
2007 ~ POR ~ HRH ~ GF
2008 ~ All star sports, BCV, RPH, Vero Beach, VWL
2010 ~ OKW ~ BCV ~ HRH ~POP Century ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL
2013 ~ AKL ~ HRH ~ BCV ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL

Edited at 02:58 PM.
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