Australia with Toddlers - Itinerary Advice

Old May 17, 17, 11:32 am
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Question Australia with Toddlers - Itinerary Advice

Thanks to the recently announced Air Canada/Aeroplan divorce, I will be burning off my Aeroplan points faster than scheduled to use up my accumulated stash. That means taking the kids to Australia sooner than I had expected. Planned trip is Aug. 2018 when the bambinos will be 5 and 2.5. I'm looking at about 19-20 days.

Virtually every first-time AUS itinerary I've looked at includes GBR and Uluru and despite how heretical it seems, I think we will probably dispense with both as neither seems particularly well suited to our needs, interests and budget at this stage of child-rearing. So that means having to cobble together our own itinerary, and I'd be grateful for any thoughts or suggestions.

SYD will be involved as point of entry or departure... what I'm having a hard time with is figuring out which way to go from there. Seems to me that a logical itinerary would be either:

South from Sydney
SYD - 6 nts.
CBR - 2 nts.
coastal drive - 3 nts. en route southbound
MEL - 4 nts.
ADL? HBR? or elsewhere? - 4 nts.
SYD - 1 night

or

North from Sydney
SYD - 6 nts.
coastal drive - 2 nts. en route northbound
OOL - 3 nts.
BNE - 4 nts.
No idea - 3 nts.
SYD - 1 night

If anyone has done something similar, I'd be interested in hearing thoughts they might have. I'd also welcome suggestions for any places in the eastern part of AUS... I think ADL is about as far west as we will go this trip. Thanks!
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Old May 17, 17, 1:39 pm
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I have two littles around the ages of your kids, so I get where you are at. I wouldn't hesitate to add Hobart in there. Tasmania was so, so cool when I went a couple months ago. You can take them over to MONA and they will be very easily entertained. Parents will like it too.

I like your Northern itinerary better than the south. Melbourne is another super family friendly spot.
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Old May 17, 17, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Travel K View Post
I have two littles around the ages of your kids, so I get where you are at. I wouldn't hesitate to add Hobart in there. Tasmania was so, so cool when I went a couple months ago. You can take them over to MONA and they will be very easily entertained. Parents will like it too.

I like your Northern itinerary better than the south. Melbourne is another super family friendly spot.
Thank you for the suggestions. The rationale behind the northern trip would be to head to the slightly milder winter weather given that we'd be there in August 2018. It looks like the Gold Coast has a bit of a Florida-like resort vibe with beaches and theme parks which could be a nice diversion given that kids just love beaches.

The only thing about the northern trip I'm not sure of is how engaging the road trip part of heading north would be (I'm envisioning a leisurely one-way drive north). I'm also not sure where else to go besides OOL/BNE. CNS strikes me as too far north, particularly given that we're not planning to visit GBR.
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Old May 17, 17, 8:20 pm
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Did I miss how you are getting around. You'll be doing a lot of driving if not going by plane.

I wouldn't include Adelaide in if driving as it is so far out of the way from Sydney and to me there isn't any big ticket items that would make you want to go there.
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Old May 18, 17, 7:01 am
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Originally Posted by Annalisa12 View Post
Did I miss how you are getting around. You'll be doing a lot of driving if not going by plane.

I wouldn't include Adelaide in if driving as it is so far out of the way from Sydney and to me there isn't any big ticket items that would make you want to go there.
The plan would be to do a one-way rental and then a one-way flight from point of turnaround back to SYD. I've found some very reasonable one-way car rental prices.

Thinking it over, we're leaning pretty strongly to the northern route... it seems more manageable. I've learned that less is quite often more when travelling with kids.

The question at this point is where to visit between SYD and OOL... we'd have about 4 nights for that segment but I have no idea what would be interesting there. I'd be grateful for any advice for anyone familiar with that stretch.
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Old May 18, 17, 7:23 am
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Originally Posted by heraclitus View Post
The plan would be to do a one-way rental and then a one-way flight from point of turnaround back to SYD. I've found some very reasonable one-way car rental prices.

Thinking it over, we're leaning pretty strongly to the northern route... it seems more manageable. I've learned that less is quite often more when travelling with kids.

The question at this point is where to visit between SYD and OOL... we'd have about 4 nights for that segment but I have no idea what would be interesting there. I'd be grateful for any advice for anyone familiar with that stretch.
I fly that route so don't know. Asked husband who has driven it and who is a big long distance driver aboutbwhat you could see and he replied not much.

Sorryi can't be much help
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Old May 18, 17, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by Annalisa12 View Post
I fly that route so don't know. Asked husband who has driven it and who is a big long distance driver aboutbwhat you could see and he replied not much.

Sorryi can't be much help
Hmm... I was thinking there might be some interesting seaside towns and scenery to enjoy, but if there is really nothing of interest then I suppose we may have to reconsider our plans and fly that stretch instead.
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Old May 26, 17, 7:32 am
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Personally I would go north from SYD this time of year. Tassie is amazing and I love Melbourne, but you'll get better weather on that route. And it is beautiful. I would consider Byron Bay for a night or two, and somewhere north of OOL but south of Surfer's Paradise for another stop.

Make sure the one-way rental car prices you find are including the one-way surcharge. Advertised prices don't always include it, and the surcharge can be more than the rental itself.

If your are looking to save money, imoova.com is a good site for last-minute cheap rental car and caravan (RV) rentals. I would book a refundable car then keep an eye on this site, as you can score a real bargain (almost free) at times. But only with short notice.
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Old May 26, 17, 3:44 pm
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Thank you for the advice.

I think it's fairly certain we'll be heading north at this point, the lure of nice weather in August is pretty strong.

One way rentals appear to be priced fairly reasonably, no complaints there. I wasn't aware of the caravan option... that might be something to look into. One of the hassles of travelling with young children, as any parent knows, is the time and effort it takes to check out of a hotel. Having a caravan is kind of tempting in that regard, although I've never driven one before and I'm not certain that doing that and driving on the left for the first time is a wise move either!

I think our itinerary is looking something like this now:

SYD - 6 nts.
coastal drive - Forster (or environs) - 2 nts.
coastal drive - Coffs Harbour - 2 nts.
OOL - 5 nts.
BNE - 4 nts.
fly back to SYD - 1 night

That's probably more time than most would spend in Gold Coast, but the idea would be to spend a couple days on the beach, in theme parks, etc. We'd probably also day trip from Brisbane for a day or two so not all 4 days would be spend there.
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Old Nov 10, 17, 3:44 pm
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OK, so due to shoddy Aeroplan availability and a somewhat inflexible schedule, I booked a trip for Aug. 2018 that will have me and my family in Australia for only 14 nights which is shorter than I had hoped.

This is the itinerary (all hotels booked):

Arrive BNE
3 nights @ Brisbane Marriott
5 nights @ Gold Coast Marriott Vacation Club
Fly OOL-SYD (this leg has not been booked yet)
6 nights @ Sydney Westin
Depart SYD

My intention is not to rent a car as all three hotels are situated centrally.

Just wondering if I've made any obvious errors or if I've overlooked anything?

How should I get from Brisbane to Gold Coast? If all else fails I'd do a one-way car rental, but I'd like to avoid that if I can.
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Old Nov 10, 17, 4:03 pm
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Originally Posted by heraclitus View Post
OK, so due to shoddy Aeroplan availability and a somewhat inflexible schedule, I booked a trip for Aug. 2018 that will have me and my family in Australia for only 14 nights which is shorter than I had hoped.
<snip>
Just wondering if I've made any obvious errors or if I've overlooked anything?

How should I get from Brisbane to Gold Coast? If all else fails I'd do a one-way car rental, but I'd like to avoid that if I can.
Too much time in Brisbane, especially as you are staying in the Gold Coast.

Can take the train from Brisbane city or airport to the Gold Coast, then a taxi to the hotel.
https://translink.com.au/
https://translink.com.au/plan-your-journey/maps
https://airtrain.com.au

Airlines that fly in Australia domestically. Excludes some small operators
- Jetstar JQ (a low cost carrier with low-medium-high priced fares owned by QF)
- Regional Express Airways (REX) ZL Regional airline
- Tiger Airways TT (a low cost carrier with low fares owned by Virgin Australia)
- Qantas QF [OneWorld Alliance]
- Virgin Australia VA (Delta & AC* partner) *= some routes
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Old Nov 10, 17, 4:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Too much time in Brisbane, especially as you are staying in the Gold Coast.

Can take the train from Brisbane city or airport to the Gold Coast, then a taxi to the hotel.
https://translink.com.au/
https://translink.com.au/plan-your-journey/maps
https://airtrain.com.au
Taxi with toddlers is a real hassle as they will need car seats.

With the Gold Coast, a car is handy as some of the theme parks are a drive from the beach.

It will also not be that warm in August on the Gold Coast so a car is helpful to get to attractions not at the beach.
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Old Nov 10, 17, 4:31 pm
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Thank you very much for the info regarding transportation, Mwenenzi. I need to look into Translink.

As to domestic airlines, JQ and TT come up often on Google Flights and their fares seem reasonable even factoring in options, so I think we'll likely use one of the two.

I was thinking 3 days in Brisbane might be regarded as a bit long, but we figured day one will be mainly recovery from jetlag so it's really more like 2 full days.
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Old Nov 10, 17, 4:33 pm
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Originally Posted by JClasstraveller View Post
Taxi with toddlers is a real hassle as they will need car seats.

With the Gold Coast, a car is handy as some of the theme parks are a drive from the beach.

It will also not be that warm in August on the Gold Coast so a car is helpful to get to attractions not at the beach.
Hmm... maybe I need to look into a car rental for Gold Coast, maybe just to do the transfer from Brisbane and for a day or two to hit up a theme park.

Parking is extortionate at the hotel in Gold Coast, but I presume there are better deals to be found from other parking lots nearby?
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Old Nov 10, 17, 5:34 pm
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Originally Posted by heraclitus View Post
As to domestic airlines, JQ and TT come up often on Google Flights and their fares seem reasonable even factoring in options, so I think we'll likely use one of the two.
Do not consider or fly TT.

With JQ carefully check the t&c's on what you are buying. Checked baggage is not included in the headline fare.
With checked baggage the JQ fare may not be a lot different to VA or QF.
VA is an AC ff partner on sorts.
Buy the tickets on the com.au web sites. Select Australia as your location.

In Australia carry-on is not what is common practice in North America.
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