Going to Australia in November

Mr Neville and I are going to be in Australia for 11 days in November (flying in and out of Sydney). I’m looking for suggestions of fun things to do.

We won’t be renting a car- Mr. Neville doesn’t drive, and I don’t think I could drive on the left.

We would like to get somewhere away from the lights on the east coast of Australia for at least one night so we can see Southern Hemisphere stars. But it would have to be a place we could fly or take a bus or train to, since we won’t have a car. Suggestions? I considered Ayers Rock, but I went :eek: when I looked at the hotel prices in the guidebook.

We’re interested in going to some of the wineries near Sydney- I love Australian wine. One of my guidebooks said there are tour companies that go to various wineries- any experience with any of these?

We’re thinking of going to Featherdale Wildlife Park. Any thoughts on that? (They do let adults do the koala-cuddling and kangaroo feeding, right?)

We’re not particularly interested in anything very strenuous- no long hikes, mountain climbing, or things like that.

Go to the Bue Mountains (or slightly beyond). A Sydney commuter train can get you there in less than 3 hours, and the southern sky will be like a blanket of stars - if you’re in the right place. Make sure you go to Jenolan Caves. If you’re not driving, you’ll need to go on a tour (plenty of those). It’s a day trip from Sydney. If you stay overnight, then a kicksrse night sky.

Sounds like you might need a tour. Wildlife parks are plentiful. Feeding 'roos is okay, but in those places they are usually overfed, and the novelty will wear off after a short time. They are just another animal. Don’t hold koalas as they are scratchy, irritable, smelly, and will urinate on you. They don’t like being held and some wildlife parks have banned the practice.

Uluru (Ayers Rock) is a 4-5 hour flight from Sydney. If you just want to get out into the country to see the stars, you can go to places that are a lot closer. Any of the major country centres in NSW (Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Armidale, Albury) can be reached by bus, train and plane and would be great spots to stay. They’re cheaper than Sydney, and many of them are in good wine-growing areas.

The closest wineries to Sydney are in the Hunter Valley, about an hour and a half’s drive north of Sydney. There are many package tours available that will drive you there, take you around the various vineyards and bring you back to Sydney.

I haven’t been there myself, but I have heard reasonably good things about it.

If you’re here for 11 days you should try to get to a few other places too. Melbourne is definitely worth a visit.

Hunter Valley wineries - ditto. Organise a day tour from Sydney and save yourself the trouble.

Featherdale - good place, IIRC (went there as a kid, friendly wallabies with no personal space issues).

Hunter Valley - very pretty, glug glug. (Yum!!) :wink:

I’d second the Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves - very pleasant that time of year, and embedded in some superb Australian bushland. Plus it’s only about 2 hours’ drive from Sydney - I’m sure there are coaches that go there and there would be heaps of little picturesque Bed-&-Breakfast places to stay in.

You and Richard III have fun now! :smiley:

If you make it out to Dubbo, you should go to the Western Plains Zoo: http://www.zoo.nsw.gov.au/content/view.asp?id=219

We’re taking my parents there in July when they’re here for my son’s birthday. We’re staying at the lodge, where they do a night “safari”, a daybreak tour, and a bush breakfast. There are a couple other things involved, too. Dubbo is about 6 hours inland (northwest) from Sydney and, as Cunctator says, you can get there by train. I’ll let you know how it is after we try it. Your weather will certainly be nicer.

As you probably realise, 11 days won’t go far. It is like visiting the USA for 11 days. Good idea not driving in Sydney: I wouldn’t either. Are you going to fly to other cities, or just base yourself in Sydney? :slight_smile:

If they’ve finished the renovations, Taronga Zoo is a good place to go for a day trip. Ferry across the harbour, cable car ride up the side of the bluff and then great views of most of Sydney. A day trip including ferry ride is about $23 per adult (Pack lunches, the food there is insanely expensive and not worth what you pay for it).

Paddy’s Markets in chinatown are great if you want some cheap australian kitsch to take back to your family/friends. Plus good food. Great food. For cheap.

I second the train to the Blue Mountains idea. I never drove when I was in Sydney, and the longer distance trains are good. They run straight from Central Station to the mountains and there’s some nice scenery. If you’re interested, you can even get the train out to Canberra - that’s about a 6 hour ride but also worth it for the scenery and the opportunity to get out of Sydney and see something a little different.

The Hunter Valley is pretty, and although I often seem a lonely voice in this, I love Newcastle and think it’s a terrific town to visit. You could easily do trip to the Hunter Valley and combine it with an overnight stay in Newcastle. Noahs on the Beach is a nice hotel, and you can watch the surfers

I also second the Blue Mountains trip. If you don’t mind a long train journey, do what I did once and catch the train to Dubbo … it’s about six hours, but you go right through the Blue Mountains and see some amazing landscapes. Once in Dubbo visit the Western Plains Zoo, stay overnight and train it back the next day. Long trips, but I enjoy train travel.

Otherwise a day trip into the Blue Mountains is certainly possible. Blue Mountains online. The Megalong Valley is spectacular … I did a day’s horse riding into the Megalong Valley and watched a group of Wedge Tailed Eagles playing games in a paddock.

Otherwise the Southern Highlands are also an easy commute from Sydney, and there are some really pretty little towns with interesting and historic buildings. A bus tour from Sydney would be an easy day trip. I’ve visited Bowral and Picton which are lovely, old towns. Southern Highlands online

I’ve found these: Hunter Valley and Blue Mountain tours from Sydney

Hunter Valley wine tours

Hunter Valley tourism site

NSW tourism site

And if you’re in Australia in November, it’s the Spring Racing Carnival in Victoria … first Tuesday in November is the Melbourne Cup if you’re at all interested in horse racing, or just spectacle.

From Melbourne you could easily do a day trip to wineries, either the Macedon Ranges, the Yarra Valley or the Mornington Peninsula are close enough … or a trip down the Great Ocean Road.

Me, I’d be cautious about cuddling a Koala, they’ve got nasty big claws, they’re slow-witted and bad tempered. They’re interesting animals, but I think the Wombat is far and away more interesting and attractive. :slight_smile:

Hope you have a great trip.

A quick warning for when you visit a wildlife park: an emu attempted to rape my dad.

Yes, I’m serious and I really wish I’d had a camera. My girlfriend thinks I was mean for falling over laughing instead of helping him.

I agree that Canberra (tha national capital) is well worth a visit. The train trip from Sydney to Canberra isn’t quite that long though. It’s more like four and a half hours or thereabouts. You’d probably be best to spend the night in Canberra, which would give you more time to look at all of the sights: Parliament House, the War Memorial etc.

Absolutely. My brother, sister-in-law and nephews live in Newcastle and I visit quite often. It’s a great place.

Another great suggestion. My parents live in the Southern Highlands and it’s a lovely spot. Lots of yummy restaurants, quaint old antique/junk shops and beautiful scenery. And the best pies ever in the Robertson pie shop!

I’ve been to Sydney a couple of times.

Before you go, consider looking at the ticketek.com.au website for relevant plays, concerts, Sydney Opera House offerings, etc.

If thinking about a flight to Ayers Rock (Uluru), etc., get prices at virginblue’s website – it is easy to fly from Sydney to other spots – during my last trip to Oz I spent time going to concerts in Sydney as well as further time in Adelaide and Cairns. A trip to Tasmania may be an exciting possibility. Remote spots in Australia are not hard to come by; Uluru is nice but over touristy.

Consider buying and reading the excellent Lonely Planet guide.

If staying around Sydney, consider day trips to The Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley, and the Southern Highlands (as mentioned). Consider staying in the Blue Mountain for 2-3 days and doing some backpacking.

Hotels in Sydney are not cheap, but it does have excellent hostels (see hostels.com), book early and get your own room. This website has a ratings system which seems quite accurate and is a must for avoiding the many bad hostels and picking the good ones. Avoid hostels if annoyed by drunken British tourists.

Some ideas + reiterating ones already mentioned:

Ferry to Manly (good way to see harbour and Manly is a top place with a nice beach)
Hire a little boat and cruise around Pittwater and stop in a sheltered spot for a picnic on the boat - this is nice
42* bus - 15 min’s from CBD to King street Newtown (restaurants and looking at people looking at people)
You can get a coach to Orange (wine, lovely town, stars) or Mudgee (wine) and Dubbo (great zoo, stars).
Coach or fly to Canberra (lots of stuff, though a bit sterile, stars)
Coach to Newcastle then tour hunter valley (lots of wine)
Train to Blue mountains (for views and a bit of bush)

Sydneycentric i know.

Why does it seem no one comes to Brisbane? It’s great up here!

Back to Sydney though…
In relation to public transport in Sydney, I would recommend the Daytripper
, over the expensive, touristy Sydney Pass, unless you’re sure you’re going to use all the bells and whistles. You may not even need the Daytripper if you know for sure where you want to go. Don’t be fooled! Three days for a Daytripper is $45 for unlimited travel on trains, buses and ferries, whereas it’s $100 for the Sydney Pass. I would recommend using the website as much as possible to find the cheapest ticket for your outing.

If you go to Canberra, I highly recommend the War Memorial, which is a great museum.

Please tell me what, if anything, you liked about Adelaide? I have overseas friends who are making murmurs of visiting and being a native Adelaidean, I firmly believe it’s a nice place to live but I wouldn’t want to visit. I’m really not sure what we have to offer international tourists that’d make it worth their trip.

So any suggestions you might have for Adelaide, d’y reckon you could slip them in here? It’s not completely OT…

The Barossa Valley, the copper mines up a bit north of that area. If there’s historically-minded people on the trip then it’s a great place to visit. I never appreciated those things when mum dragged me out on trips as a kid, but as an adult I’d really like to go back again.

But in Adelaide itself? Nothing special. I love living here but I’m in agreement, it’s not a very good place to visit unless you’ve got something specific in mind (like a concert or a convention or something), because it’s really quite plain and quiet.

I went to Adelaide as a lark. There were plenty other places in Australia that were prettier than Adelaide. I did have a nice stay at the Glenelg Beach Hostel (and how many places can boast palindromic names?), where I met some nice (and thoroughly psychotic) girls and enjoyed many nice pints of beer at a pub near Glenelg Beach. Adelaide, per se, was pleasant but quite spread out… and the clubs on the main street could not really compare to those in larger Aussie cities. Still, Adelaide had some nice wine areas not too far afield, friendlier folk than Sydney or Cairns (from my brief experience), lots of cold beer, a pleasant beach, good roller blading, plentiful good seafood (like other Australian places) and decent shopping. The parks and museum were worth a visit. I spent three days in Adelaide, however, and was not sad to move on to other cities in Oz.